Tuesday, July 3, 2012

L'ultima Giorno in Italia

Il mio l'ultimo giorno in Italia è oggi. Vorrei ringraziare tutti i miei amici, le mie famiglie ospite, e Rotary per quest'anno indimenticabile! Ho avuto le famiglie che mi hanno sostenuto e gli amici stupendi! Quando mio nonno è morto in Ottobre, sono mai stata da sola. Durante la mia prima natale fuori la casa sono stata circondata dagli amici. E quando mi mancato la mia famiglia vera, ho realizzato che già avevo la mia famiglia qui in italia perché gli altri studenti dello scambio sono la mia famiglia! Sono gratissima a tutti per tutto hanno fatto per me in questo anno e prometto che mi mancherete! Vi invito a stare con me in Canada quando volete!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

YOLO

Hey Guys so I know I haven't updated you in months however I have a good excuse! I have been living my exchange to the fullest. I have snowboarded the Alps, changed host families so that I'm now living on a farm! I went to Berlin with my school and got to go to the Premiere of The Lucky One and saw Zac Efron and Taylor Schilling. I went to Lake Garda with my first host dad, an amusement park with my class, celebrated the last day of school with all my friends, recieved my "good exchange student" certification, said goodbye to some amazing friends and now I am with another new family while my host family goes to Sardegna for the week.

Now you might be wandering why I didn't go with them well that is because on Monday I will be flying to Paris with one of my best friends, Giada, for 8 days! I know, you don't have to tell me, I am the luckiest girl in the world! Paris will be so amazing. Giada and I will be staying with the family of a friend of Giada's and we will get to experience the real Paris and not just the tourist Paris. Although we will be doing all the tourist things like the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame and the Louvre Muesem.

Tomorrow I have my final concert with my music school. I'm singing Ave Maria by Beyonce and I am also singing 4 songs with the choir. The choir is comprised of the students hand selected by our Meastra, Monica! I have had so many amazing opportunities with this music school and I am so sad to say goodbye!

Which brings me to my next point. I only have TWO more weeks until I return home, 14 days. It seems so surreal that after living in a country for 10 months, learning it's customs and it's language, that I just have to leave it and go back to how everything was before. I am actually more nervous to return home than I was coming to Italy in the first place.

Seeing as how a picture is worth a thousand words I decided to put all the events I missed writing about into the pictures below!















Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Make Kony Famous! Kony 2012

People always ask how they can can save the world. How it is possible for one person to make a difference. Well you can make a difference right now by taking 31 minutes out you day. 
30 minutes to watch the video, 
1 minute to pass it on. 

Kony 2012


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Carnevale Part 2: The Parties!!

Because it was Carnival we didn't have school Monday or Tuesday, so you know what that means, Party!! On Sunday night my friend Cristina was having a "Carnival Party" at her Oratorio. For those of you who don't know an oratorio is basically just a youth club! Since it was carnival it was of course a costume party! Yay! Unfortunately I didn't have any costumes here so I just dressed up as myself and wore my mask that I bought in Venice. Seeing as how it was probably the last time I was going to get to wear it, I wore it proudly! The party was a lot of fun and we played this one game where you put a piece of spaghetti between your mouths and start dancing and the couple left dancing with there "spaghetto" still whole, one! 






We also did group dances to songs like Hoe down Throw down by Miley Cyrus and Ai Se Eu Te Pego by Michael Telò, that have organised dances to go with them which was really fun! 























On Monday, we celebrated my other friend Cristina's Birthday! We met up with about 6 girls from our class and went out for lunch at little coffee bar overlooking the park! We stayed there for about 2 & 1/2 hours before they walked with me back to my house. After that I enlisted Lizzy in my search for Cristina's B-day present since I still hadn't found the perfect gift! I ended up getting her a concert DVD of The Who, which is one her favourite bands! Than I went home and relaxed before getting ready to go to her party! My host mom drove me there and because she has never been to Cristina's town we got lost and ended up being almost an hour late! I only knew two people at the party, when I got there. My friend Maria from class and Cri's best friend Elisa but by the end of the night I had made friends with almost everyone there! It is so much easier to make friends when they find out your Canadian and you speak English! Apparently it makes me much more fascinating because for about two hours they just swarmed me asking me questions, it was a lot of fun and I can actually say that I now have a friend named Fabio! My host mom came to pick me up around 12:30AM but we didn't get home till about 1:00AM :) 

Mio Carnevale era una grande successo!-  If you don't understand there's always Google Translate!! :) Hope everyone had a great Holiday whether it was Carnival, Family Day or President's Day! 






Carnevale Part 1: Venice!!!

Ok everyone let me just start this post by saying CANADA NEEDS CARNIVAL!!!!
Carnevale for me officially started on Saturday when my Rotary district 2050 and the another district out of Milan, 2040, took all of the exchange students to Venice to celebrate carnival. It was beautiful just how I imagined it would be! 


The first thing I saw when we walked out of the train station was the beautiful grand canal and because it was the grand canal we all posed to take our group shot in front of it. This was not easy with almost 50 of us! After the photo op. we made it about 30 feet before we ran into a group of people dressed as the character from Mario except they were missing Mario, this worked out for my friend Kurt because he had dressed up as Mario for carnevale! 

                                                                               


Than we walked around Venice looking for mask shops and stopping to look at the different street shows and take pictures with all the different people in costumes. 
After an hour or so it was time for lunch. We went to this tinny little restaurant that Rotary must have pre-booked because there was barely enough room for all of us let alone any other customers. I really didn't care for lunch, the first dish was a seafood salad (i.e. cold), the second dish was gnocchi with octopus and some type of pesto sauce! Not the best meal but I wasn't that hungry anyway. The restaurant was decorated with a bunch of different ties and my new friend, who is from Niagara Falls, Jordan, saw a Canadian one, so she took my photo with it! 
After lunch we made our way to San. Marco's square, where the bulk of the carnival festivities were taking place. On the way Lizzie and I stopped in a Masquerade shop where I found a beautiful mask for only 8 euros! 
While in the piazza Jordan, Kayleigh and I had our pictures taken with tons of people in all different costumes. There was even a man dressed like Jack Sparrow, who, in my opinion looked very similar to Johnny Depp! 








































At about 4:15 we all had to meet back at the tower with lion out front next to the water. There Ashley, Jordan and I had out picture taken with the Canadian flag! Canada represents!! 


Than Rotary paid for us all to take water taxis back to the train station, which was really cool! I got to a whole part of Venice I wouldn't have gotten to see otherwise!











Sunday, February 5, 2012

Let's Talk Weather!

As most of you reading this are from Canada (and also other parts of the world) you know the weather of 2012 has been anything but normal. Of course for me to say normal, I should probably first state what normal for me is. Normal for me in Collingwood, ON, is about at least 5-6 ft (2 meters) of snow this time of year, with temperatures ranging from -10 to -25 degrees Celsius. Of course I knew it would be different in Italy. I thought it would be warmer, I hoped, but  didn't bet on there being any snow, and I especially didn't think that we would have earthquakes. No, you did not just read that wrong! 
Now I know earthquakes are not technically weather but since I didn't want to wright a whole other post just about them I thought I would lump them in with this one. Two weeks ago, while I was sitting in my classroom at school on the third floor, I suddenly felt my very first earthquake. It was a very surreal experience for me. I was just sitting in class "listening" to the Prof. when all of a sudden the desks started shaking and the ground started wobbling. A few of the girls jumped out of their seats and started to get under the desks. It lasted only about 40 seconds but after it was over we were all a bit "shook up" and for fear of another quake, our class along with a few others evacuated the school. When we went back inside and I sat at my desk I still felt as though the class was shaking. It was the strangest feeling. 
Two days later after I had finished school for the day and had eaten lunch, I was sitting at my desk, checking out Facebook, when I felt it again, that sensation of the solid ground shifting beneath me. I ran out into the living room where my host brother was shouting "Terremoto!" and our house keeper Angela was asking if everyone was OK. This second one was not as strong as the previous one but it was still pretty intense. I learned from the newspaper the next day that the first earthquake had a magnitude of 4.9 on the Richter scale. 
This week, on February 1st, I received my first snow fall of the season! It was only a couple of cm, 4cm at the most. However it was still snow and it was beautiful. Unfortunately it was not enough for them to cancel school the next day, even though that was what everyone was praying for.  It is so strange for me to think that last year I had two weeks of snow days in December and here nothing.
It also snowed again last night and it was bellissima. I went out for dinner to a pizzeria with my Italian friends and Matt, Sam & Kurt, where we watched a friend of Valentina's band preform. They where actually pretty good and they played some really good classic rock! After we walked in the snow to the centre and it was incredible. It was like magic, the moon shining through the falling snow, like something out of a movie. 
It was also snowing this morning and our courtyard had about 3 cm of snow! It was so strange to talk to my mom about the weather today because they have NO snow and very mild February temperatures for Canada, and I am living in Italy where it is snowing right now! Maybe the world really will end this year. I hope everyone is having a great winter no matter the weather! If there one thing I have learned since being here it is that if you try to enjoy and make the most of everything life hands you, you will be never be disappointed!  





Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I Am A Woman

I am intelligent, I am strong, I am beautiful, I am wise. I am courageous, I am friendly, I am hard working, I am funny. I am dependable, I am determined, I am capable, I am reliable. I am responsible, I am emotional, I am skilled, I am whimsical. I am proud, I am tolerant, I am self-reliant, I am a woman.

Pass along this message in support for all the women of the world who are still suffering from gender inequality.

Sono intelligente, sono forte, sono bella, sono saggio. Sono coraggioso, sono amichevoli, sto lavorando duro, sono divertenti. Sono affidabili, sono determinato, sono capace, sono sicuro. Mi sono responsabile, sono emotiva, sono qualificati, sono stravaganti. Sono orgoglioso, sono tollerante, sono autosufficienti, sono una donna.

Passare lungo questo messaggio a sostegno di tutte le donne del mondo che ancora soffrono di disuguaglianze di genere. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

When Your Friends Become Your Family

On Facebook, we, the exchange students, have a group called You Know Your A Rotary Youth Exchange Student When..., and one of the most popular posts, and certainly one of the most true posts is, "when your friends become your family". I don't know what I would have done if I didn't have the most amazing friends in the world here in Italy. Without them I'm sure I would have went home back in October when my grandfather passed away and it's time like this week when I'm feeling homesick or depressed, that I am so grateful that I have them to lean on.
Last Saturday night I had all of the Cremona Exchange students over to my house for a small party to celebrate Christmas and the New Year and also to open up our Secret Santa gifts. 
On Monday, my friend Lizzy, invited me to eat dinner and sleep over at her "house" (it's really a mansion, her host family are the richest family in Cremona) because she didn't want to stay at the house by herself since she is afraid the house is haunted! 
On Tuesday, Lizzy and I, went over to Ashley's house for dinner because her host parents were going out. Her mom made the most amazing home-maid pizza for us, it was incredible! 
Wednesday I had my vocal lesson with Monica, we started working on All I Ask Of You from the Phantom of the Opera, which is a duet that I will be singing with a boy also from the Association for the Easter Concert in April. 
Thursday Ashley came over to my house and we watched Eclipse, the 3rd installment of the Twilight Saga (if there was a way to make a vomit face icon I would :p). 
On Friday after I went to the gym with Kayleigh, Corinna came over. She was going to teach Matt, Ashley and I how to waltz. Unfortunately the other two forgot so it ended up just being us. We didn't dance so we talked instead. Than I went over to Lizzy's house again for dinner since her host most was stuck in Milano.
Saturday afternoon I went to Brescia with some girls in my class. Right after school we walked to the train station and took the train to Brescia, it was about 50 minutes. Than we walked to the mall where I had a Piadina (grilled sandwich) for lunch and than we walked around and shopped. I found a couple of great things from H&M. At 5 o'clock we left the mall and went back to the train station. Two of the girls lived in a different direction than Cremona so they took a different train than we did. My other friend had to get off a few stops before Cremona as well since she doesn't live there either. So after a while it was just me on the train home. It was actually pretty cool because I realized I could definitely travel alone. It was a real confidence booster. 
Saturday night (last night), Matt, Ashley, Kayleigh and I went out to a Chinese food restaurant with our friend Sierra to celebrate her 16th birthday, which was on Wednesday. The food wasn't as good as the Mandarin but it wasn't horrible either. After dinner we walked to the centre where we met up with Lizzy, Corinna and Francesco and we went to the Irish Pub for a while. Unfortunately, because I was in Brescia all afternoon I was pretty tired so I called it a night around 11:30pm and went home. 
This has been a great week with my friends! I love them all and they are most definitely my family while I'm living in Italy. It is so weird to think that in exactly 154 days I may never see them again.
I will try to update you more regularly on everything that is going on in my life here and I would like to wish all my friends back home good luck on there exams starting next week! 
Ciao
Amanda 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

No, Not London, Ontario... London, England!

Growing up, everyone always told me that I'm a lucky girl, but I never realized how lucky until I spent the first week of 2012 in London, England. I spent the wee hours of the first day of 2012 watching Canada kick a** in the World Juniors Game vs. USA. Than I spent that afternoon and evening waiting in airports, flying in planes, taking trains, and driving on the wrong sides of the streets. It was a very long but very exciting way to celebrate the first day of a new and what I hope, an amazing year.
London was incredible, I love it! And this time instead of it just being my host mom and I, it was also her friend, Ale, and Ale's daughter, Ughetta.
Day 1:
Buckingham Palace
St. James Park
Piccadilly Circus- Not an actual circus for people that don't know (Mom)
Aéropostale-  Which was the most impressive example of corporate, brainwashed America.
Soho
Oxford Street












video


Day 2:
The British Museum
Carnaby Street-Good Shopping!









Cleopatra's Sarcophagus 










Day 3:
The London Eye
The Tate
Millennium Bridge
St. Paul's Cathedral


























Day 4:
The Tower of London
The Science Museum
































Day 5:
Westminster Abbey
South Kensington
Trafalgar Square

























So that's London in Pictures and Words! London is, in the words of Jim Carrey, B.E.A.U.tiful and now I am a pro at using the London Underground!