So I am gonna agree with my friend Mollie and join in on the group of people that hates writing blogs. I am sorry but I do not see how someone could actually do this without being forced to!! Anyway, my current point in Italy is driving through Liguria (an area on the coast of Italy, where Genova is) in a camper with my best friend Tonje and her family! However.. from the beginning :)
March 20th-28th I went to Siracusa, Sicilia for one of the best weeks of my life. I met so many new friends, got to see how the other half of Italy lives, and got to see sun! And I also had the wonderful opportunity of getting BURNT by the sun! Woooohoo!
Saturday - Saturday morning there was a manifestazione so I didn't go to school.. but I woke up a little late and I though okay I'll just meet everyone at castello (which is usually where the manifestaziones go before piazza duomo). So at like 8.40 i was at castello, and absolutley no one was there. I walked around Piazza Dumo for about 3 hours, and then everyone showed up! It turned out that the manifestazione had started in a completely different place hahaha. Anyway it was one of the biggest manifestaziones that i had seen, and it was for the people against the mafia. It was really, REALLY packed. All of Piazza Duomo was filled with people. Anyway after this I got coffee with my assistente and we talked for a little before I had to go home and pack my suitcase because I was leaving for Italy in 3 hours! Since my parents were at their vacation house, I went to my friend Tonje's house (because both of us were going to Siracusa together) and her parents drove us to the airport. Milan has two airports, Malpensa and Linate. Malpensa, the more common one, is actually really REALLY far away from Milan! At least an hour long drive... it's weird but whatever we got there and we were soon off to Cataniaaaa! When we arrived in Catania, it was such a deja vu like we had been in the same position but 6 (almost 7 now) months earlier. However, this the was so much better because I could speak and understand italian! I can't stress this enough to departing students, but if you can learn the language at least a little before you come because it makes things so much easier and more enjoyable. So I got with my host family immediatly, and i am sooo happy to say they are definetly some of the nicest people i have ever met. There was a dad, Sebi, a mom, Patrizia, and a daughter that was 16, Marina. I absolutley love them all and I got along so well with Marina my new sister!! Having a sister the first time didn't really work out that well... ahem. However, Marina was the best sister everrr and I love her a lot! So this was the first night, and we all drove back to Siracusa (it's about an hour 1/2 drive from Catania, which is where the airport is). Then my sister said I was going to a party with her and her friends.. but my family remembered I hadn't eaten so on the first night I got to try arancini which is a sicilian delicacy and they are reallly good. Its like a ball of rice with meat cheese and vegetables inside and then fried on the outside.. anyway if you go to Sicilia I reccomend getting one. Then I went to a beachside villa with my sister.. it was reallly really different! For the whole night (which ended at 1, which was really early for me!) we just talked, played cards, foozeball, volleyball, soccer and listened to music. When they say party in Milano they mean PARTTYYYY complete with everyone very dressed up and lots of alcohol and dancing. Here party just meant hanging out with your friends... it was really fun because all her friends were sooooo nice! They taught me some sicilian slang, like there was this one word that I didn't know and they added it on the end of every sentence and when i asked they said it was mpare (pronoucned Mbare). Apparently this is an abbreviation of Compare (which means friend).. so they just say friend at the end of every sentence. Sicilians have a lot of love :) I also got to go on scooters sooooo much during this week! It is how they usually get around... so I got to join in and that was probably the funnest part! So after the party we went home at about one and went to bed... which was good because I was soooo tired.
Sunday - The next morning we woke up and there wasn't any plans that AFS had made so I got to hang out with my sister all day. We went to a volleyball game in the morning because her and all her friends either play volleyball or water polo... after the volleyball game (sicilians like to cheer, like a LOT they are some loud people) we went home and ate lunch and then in the afternoon there was another volleyball game in which she played. When the Sicilians think that something is unfair or the score is wrong, they really will not quit yelling until something is changed. It is quite a spectacolo (i have forgotten the english word for this). But it's a big show. Howeverrr at night we went home and then went to bed early because the day after I was going to Catania!
Monday - Monday we all went to Catania. There were 6 of us, a turkish girl who was living 40 minutes outside of Rome, a norwegian guy who is staying in Torino, a brasilian girl who's living in Savona, near Genova, a swedish guy living in Bologna, and then Tonje and me. The 6 of us had soooo much fun together all week. In Catania we walked around the city all day long, it was really fun! The day was so beautiful, it was sooo hot and sunny in the morning (when we did all the walking) and then when we went to the seaside in the afternoon the clouds rolled in, nice timing thank you. Anyway Catania was a really beautiful city because unlike Milan it's not all flat it has many hills and curves and so that made it pretty :) We saw the two universities, a market that stank like fish, and a bunch of pretty statues and landmarks. It was also reallly green there.. and you could see Mt. Etna, a really big active volcano! Then in the afternoon we went to the beach, but there wasn't sun anymore so we didn't go swimming but we did a big of rock climbing/manuvering and then got on the bus headed back at Siracusa.
Tuesday- Tuesday we went to the artistical school. I was really excited because everyone says that the schools in the north are much more nicer kept, and that the schools in the south are kind of gross. Well the two schools that I went to in the south made me think differently but whatever. The artistic school was awesome! In the morning we got to do painting and it was sooo much fun and all the kids were really nice... they also do some amazing work they're really good at art in these schools! They had made models of some buildings and they looked really realistic, like what people who were building these buildings would use. Anyway in short the italians are talented people. In the afternoon we went to the Greek Theater of Siracusa... it's realllly big. We also visted a big hole in a cliff/wall and I don't know how it is called but it's famous as well. Anyway there was a huge echo in there and it was really fun because everytime we yelled something Tonje screamed. So everything at il Teatro Greco was really pretty and we all had fun. That night we all managed to go out to dinner together, which meant going and getting pizza in Ortegia (which is a small island attatched to Siracusa, and it's where all the nightlife is) and then finding a bar. Turns out not many places are open on a Tuesday night in a small town! Who would have known.. anyway we found a cute place called Cafe Giufa or something and then we all got a drink and went home.
Wednesday - Wednesday we went on a long trip to a river called the River Ciane. We were also with about 40 middle schoolers.. like 11 or 12 year olds I don't remember.. maybe even 9 or 10. That was sooo much fun to have all these little italian kids with us because they would just NOT STOP TALKING!! Never a dull moment eh!!!???? hahaha Anyway so the boat ride was sooo beautiful and lovely it was perfect weather we saw ducks. ect... and then we had to start walking. I think that they planned for us to walk to a mud factory or something equally as interesting but the problem was there was too much mud to treck through the wilderness. Also my good friend Isabella decided to wear ballet flats that day! At the end she took them off and went bare foot in mud and I was screaming with tennis shoes on just becuase there were loads of bugs.... that wasn't too fun. We also stopped in a meadow for lunch for like 15 minutes and I took off my jacket because it was really hot. 15 minutes later I looked like a lobster! Awesome! Anyway... we actually turned around because there was too much mud and then we walked along a road lined with orange and lemon trees to the bus. We picked the lemons and oranges and if i remember correctly the oranges were disgusting but the lemons were sooo good and wicked tart and delicious and I made lemonade, sweet. Anyways after that long morning we went to a sort of farm with PEACOCKS wow and it was like also a place where this guy made art out of papyrus.. like the old paper that they used to write on in ancient days and we learned how it was crafted and everything, very cool. That night I went to the seaside when it was all super dark out with a friend and it was soo much fun and I went in the water which was WARM not like swimming but halfway okay anyway... tiring day.

Thursday -We went to Taormina! It was probably one of the most beautiful towns i've ever seen and I can see why it is a tourist hot spot becuase it was gorgeous. It's set up on the hills so when you look over this one main balcony at the piazza its like a square and you look and see nothing it seems like the world has ended but when you look down there is the sea. Also the Teatro Greco there was realllllly big and quite beautiful as well.. and they still have people perform there today like they had Bob Dylan even one time! Wow anyways I liked Taormina a lot!! We went around and saw all the sights... and then there were also the kids who were living in Taormina for the exchange week and I got to see my american friend Liz right before she went home :\ Taormina was a really beautiful city at the end :)

Friday - Friday we went to school again, but this time we went to the scientific school instead of the artistic school and we had to talk to kids about the afs experience for 4 hours... which was really not fun. At the end we got to tour the school though and that was cool to see the differences... I noticed that there is a lot more graffiti in this school but I also saw a computer lab with what looked like brand new flat screen computers (which we definetly do not have in the north) and that was really cool. In short the schools in Siciliy definetly are different but I didn't exactly see a change for the worse which means either the school I go to in the north is really ghetto and old or there just aren't that many differences. Friday night all the AFS'ers and the parents and the vollunteers went out for pizzaaaaaa and then the intercultra kids all went to a bar.

Saturday - We all woke up feeling very sad that this was our last morning here in Siracusa... a couple of us met for breakfast on Ortegia and then did a little bit of tourist shopping and we got to see the seaside (actually the whole of ortegia, it took like, 30 minutes to walk the entire town) and then it was time to go back to the families so we could say goodbye and get driven to the airport. I really love my host family in the south as well, and I noticed that people in the south in general are more open. My family was really nice and I couldn't have asked for sweeter people and hopefully I'll be able to head down there to say bye before I go back to the states!

We got back to Milan Saturday afternoon and that night I went to a party with my danish friend Nanna of a girl that was going to our school for four months but then she had to go back home to Australia. Sunday after that was sooo hot that all I could do was lay outside and melt... I am pretty sure I will die during the summer here because in these days it just keeps getting hotter and hotter. Then easter break started the 1st of April! We had an 11 day break... it was wonderful but at the same time really sucked because it was so hot and exactly like summer and knowing that I had to go back to school in 11 days was terrible. Anyway I got to go to Rome with the family of my friend Tonje... in a camperrr! Rome was amazing, really really beautiful and everyone says that Rome is the most beautiful city in Italy and I didn't really believe it but one time we were on a boat touring the river and seeing all the sights from the river and then we got off and as we were walking up to a bar to get some coffee there was just a really small, beautiful fountain right in front like a miniature piazza and the thing that makes Rome so pretty is that it is absolutely full of things like these, just old old parts of Rome scattered all over the city. Other things we got to see were the Sistene Chapel, the Colluseum, the Pantheon, the Piazza di Spagna, St. Peter's Bascilica (all decked out for easter). We also went to Genova to see Tonje's norwegian parents, and we got to go to the most enormous aquarium i'd ever seen. Genova is on the seaside and they have a huge aquarium for everything literally everything was inside not just sea animals also like rainforest simulations with like frogs and croccadiles it was awesome. We spent about 4 hours there and then went out to lunch with Tonje's parents, and then we headed home because Tonje had to study and that was the end of 6 days of the break. The rest of the break I just hung out with my friends, tanned, and dreaded going back to school.
Break ended, I had to go back to school but a couple weekends ago (or last weekend or something) I got to go to Venice with my friend Mollie! I am really lucky because my family actually has a little apartment in Venice, and it was sooo beautiful. A city built on water with the littlest streets and corners you turn to find piazzas and absolutly no cars. Venice was really amazing, me and Mollie went to see everything from the HUGE piazza San Marco, the bridge Rialto, the gondolas, everything was so so so gorgeous and just like in a fairytale like every story you read about venice being like a fairytale is really right it's crazy. We also saw parks of venice... and I bought a mask! Venice is FULL of masks like everywhere you go there are tons of mask shops because yeah, it's famous for them and they cost from 8 euros to like 400 or 1000. There are all types and I definetly have to say that the thing i liked the most about Venice was all the masks. Everytime we passed a shop I had to go in it and look at all the masks... Mollie was kind of mad at the end of the day because we'd gone in about 400 mask shops. When we came back.. suprise suprise school again. 39 days left! Kill me. Anyway one day after school (Saturday) a bunch of fasiscts decided to drop by our school and say hi! It was definetly the scariest thing I had ever seen. All the professors had to stay outside the school because the fascists came to like, start fights and we stayed there for 3 hours in the end! Right now there is new graffiti like Nazi! on the side of my school, thanks guys. The thing is that people are really dangerous here like I didn't get it because, hello I'm from Alaska I just have to worry about polar bears entering my tent at night and stuff but me and my friend Marco had to get a ride home at 3 in the afternoon, broad daylight, because it was too dangerous to walk 15 minutes to our houses. So the rest of the day I was very shocked and it was just a really freaky experience. The reason they were there is because yesterday, the 25 of April, is the day that Italy was liberated from Fascism. So yesterday there was a huge manifestazione-festa at Duomo where we all celebrated not being nazis and other good things. Then me, my brother and a bunch of friends all went to Parco Sempione where we got to sit in the grass and listen to drum music for like a billion hours it was amazing because they were so good! Yesterday was also really really REALLY hot like 85 degrees and I really don't know how I am supposed to survive here. Anyways... everytime I write I'm just reminded of what a short time I have left here so I'm going to go out and enjoy it :)

- Signed up for the SAT
- Going to see David Guetta
- 2 1/2 months left

Will try to update more, but as days get shorter here chances are it's not gonna happen haha :)