Friday, December 30, 2011

Happy New Year!

It's the last day of 2011! The last day of an amazing year. 
A year where so much has happened and so much has changed. 
A year of new opportunities and adventures. In 2011, I have met some of my best and closest friends. 
I Learned to snowboard and I helped to raise money for charity.
 I learned that I would be spending the next school year in Italy and I learned to drive. 
I flew to Vancouver with my school and I took my first solo road trip.
 I spent precious time with old friends and family. 
I went night swimming at Wasaga Beach and I have a new sister.
 I turned 17 and then 7 day later I boarded an airplane bound for Milan. 
I have seen cities that I've only ever dreamed about; Verona, Rome, Naples.
 I've had to deal with the loss of my grandpa and the reality of being so far from home. 
I have the opportunity to learn a new language and expand on the ones I already know.
 I got to welcome the newest member of my family, my niece, Hailey Morgan Thistle, to the world. I've had the privilege of living with and getting to know the Antonioli family and sharing the holidays with them. 
Most importantly, 2011 has blessed me with family and friends on every continent in the world and I am so fortunate to know every last one of them! 
2011 has been one of the best years of my life and I want to thank every single person who has been apart of my life and will continue to be apart of my life for many years to come! 

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas in Italy!

This year, these famous lyrics have not been more fitting, 
"Christmas Eve will find me
  Where the love light gleams
  I'll be home for Christmas
  If only in my dreams" 
This has been my first Christmas away from home, away from my family, and to be completely honest it doesn't feel like Christmas, at least not the Christmas I know. Christmas Eve I went with my host family to Lauretta's (my host mom) sister's house for dinner. Normally for Christmas Eve dinner back home whether I'm with my mom or my dad, we usually have steak and crab legs, but here in italy my meal was a little different. My host family is Catholic and because of that, they do not eat meat the night before Christmas, almost like a kind of fasting. They wait until Christmas day to eat meat as a celebration of the birth of Christ! So, the first course was this potatoes and octopus salad that had tomatoes and olives in it. It was actually pretty good, however it was hard to get over the texture of the octopus. We also had eal, which I didn't eat but I wasn't the only one so i didn't feel to bad The second course was pumpkin ravioli which is quickly becoming one of my favourite dishes! I love it! The third course was a fish and unfortunately my host uncle made the mistake of showing me the fish while it still looked like a fish and I couldn't bring myself to eat it. After we finished dinner I helped my host aunt clean the dishes and then we all called Lally on skype so she could say hi to everyone! After dessert, Lauretta and I went to the Duomo, the giant Cathedral,  for midnight mass! It was actually pretty interesting, since I have never been to a Catholic service before and even though I couldn't understand everything the priest said, I understood most of it. When we got home, I went to bed and waited for Santa to come. 
Christmas Day was a little sad for me, remembering the little traditions and memories of back home, but it was still a good day. Since no one woke up until 10:30AM we didn't open presents until 12:00PM. From my host mom and dad I received a special Italian necklace, a starfish, which is said to represent fragility, the fragility of life and love. My host brothers gave me a purple day planner with Marilyn Monroe on the cover for 2012 and my host grandma gave me a yellow wallet/clutch for the summer. I also opened the package from my mom and the cards from my aunt and my grandma which was really nice. After presents Roberto's mom and dad came over and we had our turkey dinner for lunch, which was excellent! Then I went on skype and talked with my family which made me feel a better about not being physically there with them. After that it felt like any other day. It was actually kind of depressing in a way because we didn't do anything. Normally back home I'm so busy traveling around seeing all my family that christmas doesn't end until boxing day or even the next day, but this year christmas was over by 5:00PM. 
Even though I was sad and I missed my family it was nice to experience how other people celebrate Christmas and it made me really appreciate my family and how we celebrate.  
I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and I will see you in the New Year!