Long time no see....
I'm sorry I haven't posted on my blog in awhile, but it's been hard. I've been struggling to write this post for several weeks now but I haven't been able to really explain myself in words. Basically, at this point I feel like I finally have a life here... So much so that it's hard to imagine life without these people, this city, my family. I guess the saying "you cry when you come to Sicily, but more when you leave" will apply to me, because already when the subject comes up I feel like I'm going to burst into tears.
Many things have happened since my last post (3 months ago), so I'll try to fit it all into one readable post!
February: biggest and most important day in February was my birthday :D my friends had a birthday party for me, which was really fun and great! I love them and it was such a sweet idea. They also got me a shirt that has a saying in Sicilian (the dialect in Sicily) and green Vans. The shirt says "there aren't many friends that are in your heart, but these are them" (I had a super hard time translating that from Sicilian to Italian to English, because it's more of a saying than anything and doesn't make much sense in English).
We also went to Etna, the active volcano in Catania, one of the biggest cities in Sicily.
March: most years March has been one of the longest months for me, because we're never quite in spring but we've left winter behind for the most part, so the weather's just kind of crappy. No exception here in Modica, but I was able to break through the seasonal depression when I went to Rome for a couple days. The first two days I was at a Model UN conference which was awesome, then I stayed with my host mom's friend Peppe and his roommates. I fell in love immediately with Rome.. What an amazing city. I would absolutely love to study there someday.
Also went to a fun party for "carnevale" which is just mardi gras celebrated here in Italy!
Okay, here's the long part!
I just got home from my exchange week in Salerno, which is good-sized city on the west coast, about 45 minutes from Naples. The exchange week is basically a mini exchange in which you switch families and cities for a week and tour the area with 5-10 other AFS kids. My family was really sweet (host mom, host dad, and 2 siblings- 11 year old sister and 17 year old brother). It was probably the best week of my year here! I met so many amazing new people from all over the world and saw tons of cool cities and places.
On Monday we all met each other and then went to an artistic school to present the videos we made about our home countries. Afterwards we went to the historical part of the city of Salerno and visited a museum, a cathedral, and a beautiful garden, famous for its abundance of herbs used in medicines.
Pompeii was our destination for Tuesday, and I really loved seeing the cool ruins of the city. Kind of crazy walking through a destroyed city knowing that a couple thousand years ago people were going about their daily lives there. It was a hot day and I actually got a little tan! Woohoo!
We went to another school on Wednesday (my host mom's school- she was an english teacher) to present our videos and just hang out with kids our age. After school we headed to Paestum, which was a major ancient Greek city on the coast of the Tyrrhenian Sea in Magna Graecia. Now it's full of really well preserved ruins which include three temples. We had a ton of fun messing around, taking photos, and eating gelato. At the end of the day, I went to my host brothers' choir practice to see them sing which was also really fun!
Thursday = Naples!!! We spent the entire day there and it was SO much fun. We visited "Castel Nuovo", the famous castle on the seaside, a street filled with fabulous little shops, and a pizzeria to taste pizza in the city where it was invented! We also did a bit of shopping and then headed home at around 7 pm. I went out for a coffee with friends after, then home. I was exhausted.
Friday morning I had to wake up early because we were going to the Amalfi Coast! For any of you that don't know, Amalfi is this tiny village on the shore that is LITERALLY paradise. I think I'll just let the photos say everything.
Afterwards we had pizza with all the host parents and siblings!
Unfortunately, all good things come to an end... on Saturday we went to the school where you learn to cook and ate an awesome lunch there. Then we just went out shopping on our own. After a final dinner with our host families all the kids went out in the town center and to the beaches and had an amazing time.
It really was one of the best weeks of my life, and I'm so grateful to have the opportunity to do these things and meet these people. I now know that if I want to go to any country in the world I'll have a friend!
For now, I'm off of school! Happy Spring Break :)
I'll try to post more often from now on.. Time's flying by.
PS Yes I cut my hair