To say I was completely taken a back yesterday, when I checked my calendar and realized that I am now in my 3rd week of exchange would be an understatement of note.
My initial intention for this blog was to update weekly. Unfortunately, time has not always been on my side and it seems that the days have just slipped into weeks.
These past two weeks have been filled with a lot of adjustment, charades, laughs and LOTS of food. Its fitting (excuse the pun) to add here that I’ve had to purchase 3 new pair of jeans seeing as my South African jeans (genes) cannot handle the Italian Diet.
Without boring you with the details, here is a quick overview of my experience thus far!
- Arrived at Marco Polo airport in Venice, Greeted by my host family (the Toso’s) .
- Met Nona Toni (granny) and saw their spectacular lake house.
- Welcoming party, met +/- 15 cousins, countless aunts and uncles and family friends. I was met with lots of kisses, flowers and gifts.
- Went on a bike ride around my town, Udine, with my host mom Mariangela.
- We went up the castle and saw the most amazing view of the foothill mountains of the Alps
- She showed me a lot of the historical sites, and taught me the history of my town.
- Started school at Percoto
- My English teacher is from Durban!
- There’s an Australian Exchange student named Ellie, next to whom I sit in Class. We never stop laughing in class, and I’m so happy to have her there!
- I met Paige (American exchange student) who is also living in Rotary.
- We had lunch and expolored Udine with a few other exchanges who took a train into Udine. They are all such funny and kind people.
- Took the train to Venice with Paige and Morgen
- Met our Rotary district governor over a delicious plate of pizza
- Met the rest of the exchange students, who I am completely in love with!
- Got completely lost in Venice
- Proceeded to get stuck in Venice due to the cancellation of ALL the regional trains owing to the strike.
- The train we finally were able to get on, broke down in the middle of nowhere and we had to wait almost 2 hours for the next one. (eventually got home at around 12am)
- Got hit with a bout of the flu
- I went through a deeply intensive stage of self-discovery – through the help of Zara and Visa.
- Went Skiing for the first time in the Alps
– The experience was startling similar to that of my mom trying teaching me how to drive (a lot of screaming to stop/slow down/swerving into people and sadly crashing)
The Language has not been as much of an obstacle as I anticipated. I have found it relatively easy to understand, and my family (and extended family) is very keen to learn English so there is a lot of exchange in Vocab.
The cold is something I am not getting used to. I’m counting down the days to summer, so I can shed my daily 3 layer apparel and opt rather for a more flattering blouse and shorts. Cycling to school in 1 degree weather is something your average South African can ever prepare themselves for. Eyes watering from the cold, knuckles growing stiff from underneath your thick woolen gloves, ice cold wind making your nose run and stinging your eyes with the conviction of a swarm of bees… Sometimes the Italian struggle isn’t as glamorous as I’d like to imagine!
My host family has been nothing but kind and welcoming. I’m so blessed to have such an amazing family, school and community of exchange students with whom I can enjoy my experience.
Now that the catching up is complete, I hope to keep you updated on a more regular and consistent basis
Ciao a Presto! xx