Monday, September 9, 2013

The Journey Begins

Well. Here I am in Italy, at the beginning of the adventure of a lifetime.
The last few days have been insane. I've never been more exhausted or confused in my entire life hahaha. Here's a recap of the week:
Wednesday morning I woke up bright and early, and by bright and early I mean the ungodly time of 4:30 am. I had finished packing the night before, so all I had to do was get dressed. My dad & step mom came over to my mom's, along with my 4 closest friends who wanted to come along to say goodbye (thank you again Max, James, Fiona, and Ellie-- you're amazing amazing friends and I love you so much). Then we went to the airport and had to say goodbye.
I'm not gonna lie,  that was probably one of the hardest things I've ever had to do in my life. In fact I feel sick thinking about it because I miss my parents soooo much :(
Gahh.. Anyways then I flew to New York, red eyed and nervous, and met up with three other girls from Minnesota. Two were going to Spain and one to France. We waited several hours at the airport as other kids started to arrive, and then eventually took a bus to our hotel.
There were only a couple of orientation things that day, the most important one being each group was meeting with a returnee from their country. That part was really fun and made everyone super excited.
Thursday we woke up and headed down for breakfast and several more orientation activities. After lunch, we waited until our respective countries were supposed to go to the airport. The Italy group left at 2:15. We then spent an hour or so checking in and going through security.
  The plane we took was giant, but filled with about 150 AFS kids. Add all felt bad for the other passengers hahaha.
After about 7 hours of movies, crappy plane food, and attempted sleeping, we landed in Zürich, where everyone realized just how tired we were. We spent 4 confused and disoriented hours there, and then flew an hour to Rome. Most of us (me included) fell dead asleep during that plane ride.
By the time we got onto a bus headed to our orientation site in Rome, it was 3:15 pm on Friday. We were all confused and desperately wanting to shower. We arrived at our orientation site, which is a huge villa-like thing with a bunch of different little buildings where we stayed. It actually used to be an abbey. We struggled through the first night, tired and hungry, meeting a million different people from a million different countries.
I sat with a few friends during dinner and we talked a lot about how we'd rather just go straight to our host families. I felt a little lonely because I though I was the only one who was homesick, but I think there were others who didn't say it.
I struggled a bit with sleeping the first night because my body and brain were so confused, but after a phone conversation in the afternoon with my dad and stepmom, I felt tons better and ended up having a lot of fun on Saturday!
Sunday morning I got up and basically said goodbye to friends and stuff, and then at 12 all 30 or 40 of us headed to Sicily got on a bus to go to the airport. The flight to Sicily was only an hour long and then all of a sudden we were there. We were all so so nervous but as we walked through the airport to the baggage claim we could hear all of our host families cheering and stuff. We got our bags and then went out to the area where we could meet our host families. It was insane! People were screaming and holding up signs and cheering. I saw my host family right away and ran over for hugs and kisses and ciao's. It was such an amazing experience. 
After tons of pictures, we drove home, communicating mostly through google translate on their iPad. Then, after getting home and putting my bags in my room, we ordered pizza (because they knew I was tired) and talked for awhile. I then called my dad on skype and we talked for a long time. After that I hung out with my host sisters a bit then hit the hay.
After a much needed 11 hour sleep, I woke up confused and wondering where I was. After I realized that I was in my new home I got up and got ready. We ate breakfast (cereal for me) then headed to Modica Bassa (Lower Modica) to see my school (which starts Wednesday ahhhhhhhh) and go to the police station to get my residence permit. 
Then we went back home and I talked to my mom for a loooong time and then my host sisters showed me their favorite artists. It's so funny- they love Macklemore, Robin Thicke, Nirvana, Ozzy Osbourne, P!nk, and a bunch of other American singers. Then I painted my nails and also painted Beatrice's (my littlest host sister).

Now I'm writing this barely able to keep my eyes open, so I'm gonna take a quick nap, then we're going out for dinner and meeting their grandparents. Since I speak little to no Italian, wish me luck :P


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