Thursday, July 3, 2014

For Now..

I'm so sorry, I'm not emotionally ready to write the last post. I will write it next week.


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

End of School, Beginning of Summer

Hi everyone!

Yesterday I got up at 7 am to go to school for the last time here in Modica. While I can't say I'm extremely sad that it's summer (if I did what kind of teenager would I be?), I can say I'm sad to leave my wonderful class that helped me through so much this year! We got out of school at 10 o'clock after two hours of cake and relaxing, and I was then thoroughly doused with water by my friends (some sort of end of school tradition) then immediately went to my friend Lia's house with about 20 others to relax by the pool for the next 7 hours. A great way to kick off the summer. Here are some photos!
at my little sister's first communion
our big lunch after the mass

greek theater 50th anniversary @ syracuse

The Libation Bearers

pt. 2

so many people

The Eumenides

last day of school selfie
the best class!
the best desk mate I could've ever asked for
the other american exchange student and me :) 

in the pooooool

post swim


 I'm going to try to post every week during the summer so keep checking for updates!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

How to study (or not study) as an exchange student

I am currently in the final stretch of my school year in Italy, aka the hardest 3 weeks of Italian school. I was scouring the web for exchange student studying tips, but I really just wasn't able to find any which led me to the idea of writing this post. So, here are my exchange student studying tips to live by:

1. Communicate with teachers. The amount of respect your teachers will have for you if you just talk to them is immeasurable. Even if the language is tough and you aren't able to speak perfectly, they'll appreciate the effort.

2. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Along with asking teachers for help, your new friends will be an amazing resource. Most will be more than happy to help you out with your homework and studying, and will know some great tricks and tips.

3. Google Translate is your new best friend (and don't be ashamed of it)! Ask this friend for help a lot, it's okay that you need it. 

4. Learn the mode of studying of your new country; for example in Italian school, students do a lot of oral tests so I had to learn how to study for those. On the contrary, in America, worksheets and homework are the best study tools. You gotta learn the new mode to study. 

5. Last, but most definitely not least, is don't kill yourself over studying. As long as you try your hardest, it doesn't matter if you don't get all A's (or 10's, depending on where you go to school haha). You aren't here to destroy yourself over grades, you're here to have an amazing and fun year. Your teachers will not fail you :)

If any incoming exchange students have questions, please feel free to email me!
Love aaaaaaaalways,Maeve 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Roma, Pizza, and How My Life is Changing

Ciao everyone..

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

Thursday, January 9, 2014

4 months & counting

Non può essere che io sono stata qui per 4 mesi...
If you haven't learned Italian yet because you aren't here in Italy with me, I forgive you and will translate the sentence above: It can't be that I've been here for 4 months. And I mean it.. It just doesn't make sense! When I was younger and adults would say "trust me Maeve, time moves extremely fast as you get older" I would just smile and nod and secretly tell myself that I would never ever let my life go by too fast; and now here I am reminiscing on how fast these four months have gone. Now I've got this feeling that if the first four months are the hardest, therefore go by the slowest, that must mean that the next six will seem like 6 days and I really gotta enjoy them.
Okay I'm gonna be honest, that whole last paragraph was a thinly veiled excuse for why I haven't posted anything in a month.. but come on, I'm enjoying myself here! To make up for my lack of posts, I will now provide you with a truckload of photos and explain them:

Event #1: Christmas and "maeve's blonde??"
Yes yes, I dyed my hair blonde Christmas eve so as to be as blue-eyed-blonde-haired-classic-american as I possibly can ;)
After the drastic hair change, my family and I went to my host grandma's house for a late dinner and to play cards with the whole family (late dinner here in Italy = 9:30 pm) and we ended up getting home at 3 am. I present to you some photos of my sister and I messing around with the iPad for you to "ooh" and "ahh" over:
So cute :)
No caption necessary for this one
Me, Valeria (host mom), Lucrezia
Me, Sofia (cousin), and Lucrezia
My little tiny 9 year old Beatrice
Me, my adorable host grandpa, Lucrezia
For some reason, although I'm in a country dominated by Catholics, Christmas day itself is pretty uneventful. We got a gift each, and then went to eat lunch at my other host grandma's house. I think the food is considered the gift part (and what a gift it was.. still recovering from the amount I ate). Christmas night I went out with friends, which usually just wouldn't happen back at home but was really fun.

Event #2: Birthday party
This is self-explanatory, just a fun birthday party for my friend Carola. Here are some photos of us being weird.

Giada & me <3
All of us, with the birthday girl front and center
Giada, me, and Carola
Anna, Giada, Giulia, Carola, Matilde, Zaira, and me (in no particular order)
Giada messing around with Carola's dog 
Miley Cyrus? 
no no, it's just Anna and Maeve 
Valeria & me being American 
Event #3: Capodannooooo aka New Years
This was an extremely fun night. First we went to my host grandma's to eat dinner at 10, then celebrate at midnight, then right away jumped back into the car so I could go to my party, and my host family could go to Modica Bassa (the town center) to celebrate there. I ended up getting home at 5 am, so that was cool, though I didn't really feel the same way in the morning when I woke up...
the girls 
our boots  
before (yes scandalous dress i know i know)
after (i promise i didn't do anything illegal i was just tired)
Event #4: Taormina
Last Friday night Sebastian (my friend from Denmark), Mai (my friend from Thailand), and I packed up and headed to Syracuse for the night. In the morning we woke up and went to Taormina with all the kids from Syracuse, Catania, and Messina for the day. Taormina is absolutely stunning and I love spending time with other AFS kids, so that was a blast. Here's a map to help you understand where everything is:

Mount Etna

Kara, the other American
( shameless promo of her blog)

cute little band singing "che sará, sará- what will be, will be"

Sebastian and me
Sebastian, me, & Mai
be jealous 
horrid pic of me, but cute of Ari (from the Faroe Islands) and Johanna (from Germany)
Peter (from Australia) and me
the beautiful Greek theater

too italian to handle 
the community gardens
I will leave all you cold Americans with this stunning picture of the sea, and remind you to keep warm inside whilst I thoroughly enjoy myself outside! Just kidding, there's this thing called school. But I skipped today and my host dad and I went to the sea with his friend.. so scratch that, here's a better photo of the sea:
or is this one prettier?
 now I'm just being mean..

ciao ciao xoxo