(or for you non-Italian speakers: hi guys!)
I realize that I haven't posted anything really long or that actually describes my life here at all, so I'm going to write something about school and my daily life here.
Here's a basic description of school in Italy. Almost every school is Monday-Saturday, which may seem like a bad thing, but I've come to appreciate it a bit more than I originally thought I would because school is 8am-1pm, with many random early releases. So yeah, I have to get up early another day that I normally would be sleeping in, but I have so much more time in the afternoons to do things, including taking a much-needed nap. Those schools that take Saturday off, like my youngest host sister's (whose name is Beatrice- pronounced bay-uh-tree-shay), have school until 4 on Fridays. So, I'd rather take the extra morning.
The class setup is much different than that of American schools also. Instead of getting up every time the bell rings to rush to the next class, the teachers are the ones who switch. The students are put in one class and stay with that class for their entire 5 years of "high school" (that's another difference). I'm in class 3C this year, and I love everyone in it. They become your family after spending all that time with them, and I can already feel myself falling in love with my little family.
The school I'm attending would be considered a "public school" in America (although I'm not sure there are many private schools here), but there's definitely a dress-code. I have no idea if it's actually enforced, but I'm choosing to fit in rather than stand out and possibly get in trouble. Everyone wears jeans or leggings, shorts for girls are a no-no, while if boys choose to wear them they have to be long. On gym days, you need to wear or bring sweatpants or leggings. Tennis shoes are basically required for everyday, but sometimes I see the occasional sandal. I personally stick to my trusty Birkenstocks on non-gym days.
The classes I am taking this year are:
- Italian/Latin- luckily, being an exchange student, no one expects me to take Latin. Thank god, because the first time I heard my fellow classmates reading in Latin, I honestly thought they were speaking an alien language that hadn't been discovered yet. My friends, who've been taking it for several years now, are even confused by it. So, I'm off the hook on that, but my teacher recently gave me an Italian grammar book, so I've been doing some exercises with that. It's a bit of a throwaway class because the real Italian lessons come from everyday discussions with family and friends. Think about it, you can study the verb endings of a language for a year, but you won't be fluent unless it's the only thing you hear all day!
- Math- UGH. I already didn't love math, but now I dislike it even more. Everyone says that math is a universal language, but let me tell you, I can't just look at a math problem and automatically understand it, and unfortunately, explaining it can't be done without Italian. So I've been struggling a bit, but I just recently bought the math textbook so hopefully with a little luck (and a lot of Google Translate) I'll be able to understand the lessons more.
- English- by far my favorite class (I wonder why?). Instead of solely focusing on grammar or sentence construction, we're actually learning British and English history, which may sound boring to some, but because it's my only class where I don't have to focus on translating, I really love it. I also enjoy history so it's a good class for me.
- Which brings me to History- to contradict my statement about enjoy history, I do not enjoy this class. And it's not because of what we're learning (not that I really understand what we're learning), it's because of my history teacher's tendency to go "uhhhhhhhhhhhhh" after EVERY SINGLE SENTENCE. Even though I can't understand the other things he's saying, hearing "uhhh" over and over makes me ready to jump out of the windows of my classroom. And I'm on the second floor. So you know I'm being serious here.
- Physics- I've always liked physics, and my teacher is really nice and wants to help me, so this class is up there on my list. Just recently she set me up with a laptop and gave me a list of things to look up on Wikipedia and other websites so I'd understand.
- Chemistry- I know, crazy, right? I have two science classes! Luckily both of these are my favorite science topics and are things I've studied before, so I don't think I'll have a huge problem with them.
- Art- Italian art class is a lot different than American art class. Sure, we learn art history in America, but art history in Italy is much more focused on Italian artists (uhhh duh, because they're some of the most influential artists ever). Also the drawing part is different. Last year I took a painting class in America, and it was all about free painting and creativity. Not the case here. Actually, it's more of an architecture class than anything. Very focused on angles and lines and perfection. I kind of love it.
- PE- turns out physical education is even more of a joke here than in America! The teacher for this class is BY FAR my favorite, and everyone else's as well. He's hilarious and fun, and basically lets us do what we want. Most of the time we (the girls) do some half-hearted stretching, then pretend to jump rope for bit, then finally end up sitting in a circle on the huge mats and talking for the whole hour. It's really fun.
My everyday schedule:
6:45 am- the first alarm goes off, which I quickly silence
7:05 am- I finally roll out of bed and get myself into the bathroom
7:30 am- I head out to the kitchen for breakfast (which usually is cereal for me, because I tried but I can't stomach cookies for breakfast) and to watch tv
7:55 am- my host sister (Lucrezia) and I drive with my host mom to school
8:10 am- school starts
11:00 am ~ 11:10 am- quick break for a snack and talking with friends
1:00 pm- school ends
1:30 pm- the bus comes, also bringing the daily violent struggle with 40 other teenagers to secure a seat on the tiny bus
2:10 pm- Lucrezia and I arrive home after the short walk from the bus station
2:30 pm- we're both usually starving so we eat lunch
3:00 pm ~ 5:00 pm (on Tuesdays and Fridays)- Italian lesson with two other AFS-ers in my area
Then the rest depends on the day! I mostly have a lot of free time, which I try to fill with things to do. It turns out that being alone for a long time doesn't help with homesickness, so I've been really working on keeping myself busy!
Well, there it was! My first reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaallllly long, in-depth post.
Thank you for taking time out of your day to read it!