The best family in the world

Culture. Culture culture culture. Italian culture.. where to start. Haven't a clue. I guess I should start by saying that I kind of wanted to write about more than just my days in this one... So here's a little insight on italian culture. I'm just going to flat out say it, italians are very proud people. They're really self concious, proud people. . A italian friend commented on a american friend of mine saying "SOS diet" on her wall. Now any american would be like, WTF is your problem are you calling me fat I am going to kick your ass. However, this was followed by the guy who said it explaining that he didn't mean to be offensive, but that when my friend went back to the United States he wanted her to be beautiful so that people would think that Italians were beautiful. Now, I don't really know anyone who would ever derive that from that kind of statement.. but that's how italians are. Almost ALL italians!! It is so different and .... experiencing this culture is just like WOW. It's like you can't believe what some people say because it's so direct and unforgiving but they don't mean it as mean! They don't even want to hurt your feelings... they just want you to look good so that they as a country look good. I also talked to on of my friend's parents because I wanted to get opinions on what Italians think of their culture... I asked her dad what he liked most about Italy and got a really unclear answer that I didn't understand (like he said it was beautiful... and some other stuff but there was a lot of uncertainty). Then I asked him what he least liked about Italy and he only had one answer, italians. As in the people. It's like this country is full of people who 1)love their country but also 2) are ashamed of the people living here as well. I live in the north, and one of the first things that my family explained to me is that there are almost two different Italys. (Italies? No lo so :P) There's the north, which ends at about Rome, and then there is the south. Everyone says that the north and the south really don't like each other. The south says that the north is full of people who work too much and don't know how to have fun, and the north says that the south is full of people who never work because they are lazy and just sit around all day. However, the north reallllyyy doesn't like the south, but when I talk to my intercultura friends who are staying in the south they say that the south doesn't really even have a problem with the north. When I said this to my family they came down with one reason.. money (why is everything always about the money?) I guess that the north (since they work more) ends up giving money to the south in a way? And they don't like it because they don't think that the south has earned it.. it's all very complex but I think it's really sad that they believe their country is so divided. I love Italy, above ALL the italians... so I don't know. I am very lucky to be blessed with an amazing city, and amazing family, and absolutely wonderful friends. I know many people who did not get this lucky and I don't know.. every experience is different? But sometimes when I hear about my friend's family problems and such I feel terrible because I do know what that's like, I lived it for 3 months.. and just now it's like there's a fit. I think the more you love something the more you want to be... like that. Tipo, I am absolutely innamorata with Italia.. and that just makes me want to learn the language more, makes me want to have more italian fashion... want's to make me lose weight because they are... obsessed with being thin here, like that's just how it is. That is their culture. The place that believes that they have the best food in the world wants you to eat eat eat it but not gain weight.
MUSIC - Italian teens really love this thing called house music. Like, they're OBSESSED with it. House is the type of music they play at discos... so it's kind of like techno but less lame. It's just pumped up electro dance music... well that's their culture music. No joke, forget about italian swooners or whatever there is no one serenading you here... but they love house. :P
Fashion - For the most part, Milan has AMAZING fashion. However there seems to be a trend of MICHELAN MAN PUFFY JACKETS. No joke, it's basically a plague. Sometimes, you might be lucky enough to see the michelan man puffy jacket trenchcoat. It's a pretty killer sight :D Other than that... all the girls wear skinny jeans. You will see a rare person wearing flare pants. Even on the subway, which is where you see the most freaking variety of people... THEY ARE ALL slim cut jeans. Luckily, I decided to come with one pair! Hahah. Boots are common.. but unlike America only guys wear skate shoes, and guys only wear skate shoes sometimes. Girls wear low sneakers... like keds or something I dont know but they're like little shoes :P haha Unless it's the weekend or a party... then it's always heels. Other than that they dress nice for everything... not many a person wears sweatpants and things like that to school. Guys... when I was reading blogs of people in Italy when I was in America they all said that guys dressed really gay, like tight tight jeans and stuff, the same as girls. However, in Milan I have only seen a few guys wear skinny jeans.. they wear normal clothes like hoodies, t-shirts, button up shirts, pants, there's some gangster pants, there's some skinny jeans.... But no one has their boxers hanging out because they don't wear boxers... okay yea. I think that people here just tend to dress a bit nicer for normal everyday things... like in America we say oh well i'm not getting dressed up to go to the grocery store.. well they get dressed up to go to the grocery store here. Think that has to do with the whole "proud people" thing. Neeext.
Allora... enough of that and now on to Natale!!!
Natale is Christmas... and they're big on Christmas. However.. I have to say I was expecting very different. I think we all were... Christmas here is super different! At home, christmas is a big family day that you would be reaaaaalllly lucky to get out of and go play with your friends but it is most likely not going to happen because it is FAMILY TIME. Alllora for christmas here, we all woke up at about 10 or so and opened presents... or presented each other presents because we had gone shopping for them the day before (my brothers don't like suprises? I guess... so what they do is their parents take them shopping and they get to pick out what they want, pretty sweet deal). For christmas i got a really cute dress from my brothers, a book in italian (yeaaaaahhh) a journal, and a Swarvoski crystal necklace from my host parents. They are pretty much my favorite people ever. I gave my host parents wine, and then also joined in with my brothers and we all bought them a new keyboard for the computer and a really nice pair of motorcycle gloves for the dad. I wanted to get my brothers something cool and suprising, but shopping for guys is FREAKING HARD. Too hard. So I got them soccer balls haha. After we opened presents we had lunch... which also wasn't as big as deal as I thought it would be... I know that other exchange students had different meal experiences haha. First we had these appetizer things that were like puff pastry.. shrimp with lots of goo that were really pretty but I declined eating because my family knows I don't like mayonaise .. and I am open to new experiences I mean I ate pate (liver) before I knew what it was haha... allora after that we had raviolinni.. which are really little ravioli in broth and they were good.. then everyone had meat like there must have been 3 pounds of pate. I politely declined. There was a lot of prosciutto and stuff like that.. and then we had Pandoro and Panettone for dessert. Pandoro is like the delicious, free of disgusting dried fruit version of panettone. Panettone is fruitcake. Fruitcake is the same all around the world. Fruit cakey and non appealing. After lunch (which was just my family and my dad's grandma), my brothers went out to hang out with their friends... I was kind of unaware that this was allowed aha so I pretty much sat around all day.. I also went on a walk from Duomo to my house... which was cool because it is actually not that far and it was a really pretty day with lots of sun. I felt kind of homesick on this day, but I'm guessing thats normal. That night, I thought that we (Lorenzo, Riccardo and I) were going out for drinks with their cousins.. turns out everyone goes out for drinks on christmas night! There was about 40 people... then they played soccer until 3 in the morning when we went home. It was cool. I enjoy these new traditions.. ha. The rest of break was fun... my friend Mollie from Monza slept over... I don't really remember doing anything too amazing but yea it was fun. Then... BUON CAPODANNO! Today is New Years... which means BIGGGG party here. Last night I went to a place in the mountains called Binago with my friends from school... my friend Federica has a house there and her parents let us use it for our new years party whooo!!!! Popping champagne.... setting off fireworks.. going to bed at 5 am... it was quite a fun night :) I'm just saying, when the italians say they are going to do the shopping for alcohol.. they really do it, something like 200 dollars worth. Haha first my friend's dad came to get all of us (there was like 20 of us) from the train station... and there was a BUNCH of wine in these plastic bags and we were walking to Fede's house when two bottles accidentally dropped and broke... her dad started laughing at us. Why is this country so chill. Just describing the festivities too... not trying to endorse underage drinking or anything but that is what they do here. Except when we did the shake up champagne and spray it on all your friends thing my hair got a big shower and now it is really sticky and stuff from champagne STILL. When we got to the house Fede's mom cooked dinner for us all... they eat lentils on new years for good luck? Ok :) haha also red underwear. Red underwear is a must have. It is so much of a must have that when I said I wasn't wearing any because I didn't know about the traditions, a friend from school pulled out a red pair of underwear and threw them at me saying I knew extra's would come in handy! Carinissimaaa hahah. Anyway, I am soooo tired.. I slept 3 hours today, and tomorrow I will be going to France with my family for a week to ski, and then I will come back and write about it. However, I hope everyone had a fantastic new year and that this year will be the best yet.. it already has been for me and we've still got 6 months to go! By the way, I'm never coming home. Sorry mom and dad. :)

AUGURI, HAPPY 2010!!!!
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