Friday, July 3, 2009

Ciao Ciao

Hey Everyone!!

Well, I suppose this is my last blog, considering I only have 2 days left in Italy! It's really been a crazy 5 months...I really cant imagine coming back. I mean, it will be simple with my family and getting back into the swing of things. But everything else has kind of disappeared. It happens when you focus on something and everything else you just...acciedently forget. In my case , I focused on my parents and my brother...everything else wasnt important, only my family. It took me 3 months to remember my prnicipals name (Sorry Mr. Deville!) Now coming home, Im reflecting (AFS will be happy, thats part of their 3 step program: Listen, Discuss and Reflect....blah, blah, blah. Sorry I really do like AFS, but it can be a bit boring after awhile.) Its like suddenly , it hit me, Im a senoir, I have my license, Kyles a teenager (weird to think least our arguments will be more sophisticated now...or I hope so.) I kind of forgot that I have an actual life in California. And yet it doesnt feel like I have a real life in Italy either. Although Marianna can try and fill the mother spot, she really isnt my mom. My studying at school was a joke because I didnt understand half of the things I was supposed to be learning and I dont really have any good friends that arent Claudias friends. Not really my I have been in limbo for the last 5 months. Thats the best way to describe how I feel right now. Not really belonging to the place I am now and forgetting the home I have in California.

But now, friday evening at 5pm, I realize that in 56 hours (ok, its less with the time changes, but just pretend) Ill be in California, little memories are coming back to me. Its funny how Id forgotten how annoying it was that you couldnt stand by the fireplace without getting bombarded with tennis balls. Id forgotten that its almost impossible to find a bathroom during lunch at school (for some reason the school deems these to be hang out places for bad students. I dont really understand their logic, after all, who wants to hang next to a stinky bathroom?) Just little things, like how my parents only let Kyle and I drink soda when we had guests or ate pizza (honestly I think the restriction was made for my very hyper brother and it didnt really matter because we didnt follow it anyways.) Or how Kyle, my mom and I had a very specific routine in the morning. How Kyle would get mad if I left my straightner on his side of the bathroom or how I would yell and pound on the door when he ran over his shower time. Homw my mom is barely alive before she has had her coffee (I should brew espresso at home...that stuff is stronger and more tasty than American coffee.) Before Italy I had thought Placerville was boring. A small, but spread out town where you cant do anything. You cant walk anywhere and too quiet. But now Im ready for the peacefulness. And I have my license, which makes a difference.

Well, it has been quite a trip. Ive packed everything: a rather large purple suitcase that weighs exactly 20 kilos ( because thats all AFS would cover) and a pink carry on suitcase along with my purse packed to the brim. Ready for the exhausting 25 hour day where I take 3 flights from Rome to San Francisco.

Lastly, I wanted to tell everyone who reads this blog (bless you, you must be crazy or really, really fond of me), helped me out in the beginning and anyone who was ever just there for me: thanks and grazie. I couldnt be the person I am without this trip and you all helped.

A special thanks to my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. No matter where I am at family always stays with me. You were never forgotten=))

Bye, Ciao, Addio, see you in California=))

!!")($(/£Sorry for the errors....try typeing on an American keyboard with an Italian format...I push the question mark button and get an accented e....

Friday, May 29, 2009

I guess now my blog is being featured on the AFS blog here's the link! It's really a great tool and really interesting! (

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

studenti straneri (did you know that the translation for exchange students is "strange students"?!)

Hi everyone!

Can you believe that I only have 40 days left here in Italy? I'm sure my mom can...she happens too remind me too often=)) Sorry, Kyle, but that means I get my wonderful Queen size bed back, buddy. May's been alright for me...I was a bit bummed that I missed mother's day and I'll miss father's day too. But school finishes up this week, which will be wonderful. It is SO hot here! 38 degrees celsius (which is about....100 degrees) and there's no air conditioning at school. Really these Italian schools, especially in the South, don't have any money.

On Saturday I went to Rome with the other foreign exchange students who live in Naples or near Naples. It was really nice, because I don't really have friends here in Italy. There's Claudia's friends that I hang out with at school, but Ilze was the only other person I hung out with beisdes Claudia. I don't mind it...I don't realy connect with any of the other girls, and they don't really seem interesed in inviting me out, so it was nice to spend time with some other people. It's also easier for me to understand the exchange students because they speak a little slower. And you have a lot in common, being exchange students. So on Saturday I met 5 of them. I had to get up at 4.30AM and take the train to Naples at 5.12AM. I was late as usual and literally ran from my house, getting onto the train just as the doors were closeing. Oops=)) We all met at McDonalds in Naples at 6.30 and took the train to Rome (only about 2 hours from Naples.) Ok, let's see...there was Joaquin who's from Chile (I already knew him...he's been in my class since I arrived. He's really nice, but I got all of the dirt on him from the other girls. Apparantley Joaquin is a player. I knew a little bit about it because ALL of the girls flock around him at school, sitting on his lap, and such, but I didn't know to this extent. I think it's just the way he acts around all's hilarious to hear it from Maggie, though), Maggie from New York (she's awesome, we spent some time abusing a certain government official and she taught me bootlegging(sp?) techniques. Haha, kidding, mom) Oana from Romania (my nickname for her is Dracula. She's really nice, though) Linda from the Netherlands (again, awwesome. We spent a good portion of the trip to Rome watching the Eight Mile together. Nothing like bonding over Eminem=)) Aatt (male) and Putnim (female) from Turkey. Putnim is really sweet, and Aatt likes Green Day, so we got along. Ana from Finland taught me some helpful things about the Finnish, so that will help me with Hilla. And I found out that Hilla is actually pronounced "Ella." I'm glad because I felt really stupid saying Hilla, it sounds so weird. Kjersati (pronounced "Shasti") is really direct and of all of the studnets, I disliked her the most. She wasn't mean, but not exactly nice.We had a little disagreement on Martin Luther's theises. Thanks Ms. Munz for making our AP World class read and translate each one of them=)) We went to Piazza Spagna (nothing really to translate...Plaza Spain), saw the Trevi Fountain (yes, I threw coins in it...forgot to wish on the first one, so I added 10 more cents just to make sure) and we visited the VaticanCity. I'm glad I went before with AFS when we first arrived (that time Jessica, Kristen andI spent 1.30 hours in saint Peter's catherdral (sp?) because this time the AFS volunteer told us to meet back at the entrance 10 minutes later! 10 minutes to see Saint Peter's! It's impossible. We went to the Collsseum(sp?) but didn't go in. Basically spent afternoon at a fotball festival drinking beer (not really a festival, but the wrold cup was there, and it's like a Mecca for the Italian men. You have to visit it once in your lifetime=)) I didn't get home until 10PM, but it was a nice day.

On Sunday I stayed home because I was really tired! Camila, my AFS volunteer was a little mad that Joaquin and I didn't go to an orientation for Interculturà that day. But the orientation was for kids like Claudia who are leaving next year (they have about 10 pre-departure orientations like this.) I went to the one before and it was so boring! I really didn't understand why Camila was mad at me...a) I was tired b) it was an orientation for Claudia, so WHY did I have to be there? I'm already an exchange student...

On Monday there was yet another AFS activity. All of the exchange students from around Naples was there. The ones from before and more...Danielle from California (San Louis Obispo(sp?) She was so nice and loved to speak English with me), Liliana from Oregon (Danielle was pretty happy that with me, the US was now the leading group. We beat the Chile people with 4 to 3=)) a girl from Chile (I feel horrible, I don't remember her name!), Juan from Chile (anothe cute Chile guy...we have to watch them...=)), Noi and Lia from Thailand (they were really nice, especially Lia whose about 4'8''=)), Li from China (he was hilarious!) and girl from Estonia and another girl from Argentina (again, I can't remember their names!=(( Giula from Germany (she was so funny! She had a crush on the Interculturà volunteer and kepting running around squealing=))We went to a presentation where this company was awarding students who were leaving next year with Interculturà. We all had to say where we were from, our names , where we live now and what school we go to in our native language. yay, English! It was cool though to hear the differences betwee Turkish, Finnish and Romanian...I always grouped them together before this. After this very boring presentation all of the exchange students went out to lunch which was fun. Danielle, Liliana, Maggie, Anna, Li and I had an "English Party." Then we just hung around in Naples before going home.

Hope you all liked my update! I swear things are more interesting than how I report them. I don't have my mother's story telling abilities! Miss you all!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

April and Florence!

****Sorry! I've been really busy here, but I'm really am going to try and write more often. I'll finish up my wedding story and more of may in the next post, which will hopefully come soon! And pictures too! I felt I owed you all some of the, here's half. I started writing it back in the beginning of April!****

Hi everyone! Spring is here in Italy (well, most days) and school is almost out! April was pretty the beginning things were a bit rough with my host family. But I really don't like dwelling on it, and with some timely AFS intervention, things have worked out for the most part. Easter was fun, even though my family is prety laid back, so we didn't do much. I was able to talk to my Nana and Papa, along with Aunt Sherri, Jennifer, Aliesha, Reed, Kayla and Layla. Spent some time bonding with my brother during boring easter vacaton days...and Claudia dragged me off to the beach twice that week (I have now been to the beach 3 times this month for sun bathing!) And, no, I'm not any tanner. But I haven't gotten burnt once, yes! Sorry, that was a bit random....

Florence - April 21st - 24th

Well, 2 weeks ago, I went to Florence with another class of mine (not Claudia's, but a 2nd years!) It was a lot of fun...though unfortuantley I didn't learn much of the historical parts. The trip was basically based around haveing fun, not really going into depth about the history. We just shopped a lot, saw stautes and churches...and of course we walked the city a million times! It's such a beautiful city! I really enjoyed the company of the classes too...many didn't speak very much english, and so it forced me to use my Italian more, which was helpful. Except when they wanted English lessons! A lot of the guys would ask me to teach them bad words...except when they used used them out of context! (I taught them shit, so they would scream at randon intervals, "you shit!" to someone=)) In turn, they taught me how to say things in Italian (I don't remember, but I'm pretty sure they were variations of penis) then have me repeat them, and laugh. Haha, I did have fun...they were younger, around 14 and 15, but they seemed to enjoy life more, not worried about acting sophisticated all the time. I bought a nice shirt for my dad (not going to say what it looks like, because I would completely ruin the surprise. And i do that enough of the time!), bought some postcards with beautiful pictures of the city (Nana and papa, melissa and grandma, you will all be getting a postcard from Vico and Florence in the mail!!) and I bought a Godfather t-shirt for's awesome and I couldn't resist it! I'm not wearing it in italy though; they are not to fond of the reputation the godfather has caused. But, i assure you, it's an awesome shirt=)) Florence is's really what you imagine an italian city to look like...the perfect italian city. The kids finally convinced the teachers to go to a disco while were here. i know the word "disco" sounds weird, but it's really a club. Most people don't go until they are older, like 17, 18 years old. it was alright...the music was bad, but it was fun being with the everyone. Unfortuantly the girls all thought I was a freak. I had NO idea when i was packing for the 4 day trip to Florence that I would need high heels or nicer clothing. But everyday when we went out for dinner the girls dressed up...Claudia assured me when i got back home that this is the way it always is. Oops. So i partied in my boots=)) That was all that happened in was a lot of fun!!

Wedding in Rome - May 10th

Claudia, Antonio (her boyfriend of one year) and I went to Rome for her cousin's wedding. The train trips to Naples, and then to Rome, were long, but Claudia and Anotnio were fun to talk to. We stayed with Claudia's dad, who I've meet once before, and his wife. I was very nervous about meeting Claudia's family, but they were very sweet and really nice.*****

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Pictures from Varese

My family in Varese and I

Lugano, Switzerland

The group. Left to right: Raffaele (Veit's host brother), Allie, Maria, Veit, Me, Perin, and then random guys from the art school

Perin and one Varese volunteer at the parks

a church in Torino. Once a year, light comes through this hole in the is the light from god. People travel from all over to see this light.
The group again at the Museum of Films. Left to right: Veit, Me, Perin, Raffaele, Tina, Rachele, Max (a Varese volunteer), Chris, Maria, and Allie...yes, we are sitting on toliets=))
Me in the Matrix film at the Museum of Films
Rodolfo Vatentino had A LOT of pictures in the Museum of Films (one of the days I actually remembered to bring my camera=))
Hi everyone! Sorry if I made some of you nervous...I have just been very busy. In the past month a lot of things have happened, not leaving me a lot of chances to relax, let alone write here! All right so in a nutshell: School, school, school. Then I found out (even though my parents and I didn't think I would be able to go because most spots are for the annual students, not the semester ones) that I would get to go on an exchange trip. They told me that I would be going to Varese, a city near the border of Italy, between Milan and Switzerland. But in order to go, I had to find an American fable ( much harder than it looks, we steal most of our fairytales from other countries) and translate it into Italian, find 2 reciepes (American, of course) and translate them into Italian, then make a presentation about an American artist. Oh, and pack, book my tickets for my flights, and fill out forms. I found all of this out 9 days before I was scheduled to leave.... But things were ok...I'll give you a quick recap of each day I was in Varese (Jessi, don't read this...most of it is in your letter I am mailing you...) Oh, and by the way, I chose "Three Billy Goats Gruff" (not American, actually it's Norweigian, but I really needed a story I knew already), Pancakes and Rice Crispy Treats, and Andy Warhol.

Wednesday, March 25th: I had already booked a flight online (I'm just now finding out how quickly things move when you have a credit card=)) packed my luggage, and said goodbye to Claudia.I had to take the bus from the train station in Vico to the airport in Napoli (Naples) at 6:50 in the morning. Got to the airport, read "New Moon" (in English, thanks Mom and Dad) and drank coffee for 3 hours until my flight left. An hour and a half later I landedin Milan and was picked up by Riccardo, an Interculturà (European AFS) Varese volunteer. He took me back to his house where I met the other foriegn exchange studnets who were going to be with me during the week. Veit (pronounced "Fight") from Germany and Perin from Turkey were annual students (by the way, Veit's a guy, and Perin's a girl.) There was also Allie from Canada and Maria from Argentina (they were both semester students.) Those guys all lived outside of the Varese area, like me, in other places in Italy. Allie: Livoro, Maria: actually don't remember, sorry..., Veit: Cosenza, and Perin: Sicily. There were also two annual students who lived in Varse, Tina from Norway, and Chris from Hong Kong. Perin was telling me stories about the famous Sicilian mafia. She said that they go into stores and say they are collecting money for the church (although they never actually give it to the church) and then they give you a reciept saying you paid. This happens monthly. If you don't give them money, they destroy your shop. She said sometimes you see cars burning. Normal occurences. I thought the mafia in Naples was bad. Apparently, there's a part of Naples that is famous for being very dangerous. It's called the "Spanish Quarters." When Marianna took me to Naples, we only walked 5 feet into the alleyway.....It was creepy. She just said that it's not safe to go into. Then of course, there was the man who was shot...but you all already heard that story!

Thrusday: Oh, I forgot to talk about my family in Vares. I had a mom, a sister, Rachele who is almost 17, and a brother, Pietro who is 11. They were all very nice and, even now when things are getting better, I enjoyed their company and way of living more than my family in Vico. We went to a cooking school where a boy took my recipe for Pancakes and cooked them. He let Allie and I cook some, but we burned them. The Rice Crispies turned out a littl weird because they didn't have Rice Crispies only Coco Puffs and the marshmallows were colored. Stephano, the boy who was helping us, left them in the freezer a little to they turned out to be hard and brown.....not the regular Rice Crispy treats.

Friday: We went to Milan! We wen to the Museum of Science and Technology. It was interesting, but I wish I could have stayed there longer. And then the blind institute. We all walked around a room with black walls and no light. You couldn't see anything and they wanted to re-create how a blind person feels. I could barely keep up, because they spoke in rapid Italian, guiding us along the course. We went through crossing the street, climbing onto a boat and ordering at a bar recreations. I realized how much we rely on our eyes. And how much I didn't enjoy not haveing them. Thursday night we went to a Chinese restuarant. Chris, one of the Varese students, taught me how to say "Good Night" in Chinese ("Cho Tai") The Chinese food was pretty good.

Saturday: We got in pretty late the night before (1AM), so I spent Saturday morning sleeping. In the afternoon, we went to watch a water polo game. Rachele plays water polo (not this game) and she was really into it. It's not my sport, but it was nice. That night we all went to a bar called "Jamaica." Allie and I both had strawberry margaritas, which were pretty tasty.

Sunday: We went to Torino, where apparently the Olympics were held awhile back. Anyways, we went to the Museum of Films. It was mostly boring, but some parts were neat. It was all about how movies are made and older films. I'm more of a new age movie person. But it was better than staying home.

Monday: We went to a children's school, and the kids got really excited when I told them that my neighbor has a cow. They asked if we ate the cow or only used it for milk. You should have seen their could I tell them that we slaughter the cow every couple of years to eat as hamburgers?! I'm a coward; I couldn't. After we went around the parks with another Varse volunteer.

Tuesday: We went to an art school where I made a diasterous(sp?) presentation about Andy Warhol. They knew more about him than I did. I did meet a guy from Napa, CA. He moved to Italy 9 years ago with his family. Later we went to Switerland (Lugano)! We went to the Museum of Chocolate. It was wonderful, authentic Swiss chocolate!

Wednesday: I went home, and now I miss everyone=((

So, that was my Varese adventure. Other things have been happening at home:

1) I have some problems with my family. Things are slowy getting better, but somedays, like today, things happen and it slips right back to being a problem. We try and resolve things, but sometimes unexpected thigns happen.

2) My friend Ilze, the Latvian foreign exchange student, is being sent home. She cut her wrist a month ago, and theat's why they are sending her home. We are both pretty broken hearted about it. I'll miss her alot, but I think home is the best place for her right now. She needs some help and I don't think Italy is the right place to get it. Home is better.

That's really it.....of what I can think of....I'll post a new post in a little bit with pictures...

Oh, and the earthquake was northeast of Rome, nowhere near me...thanks for everyone's concern. It meant a lot=)) I don't know too much about it, but Italy is trying to put the town back together right now.

Miss you all! - Kaitlyn

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Carnevale!...and other things=))

The other day was a holiday called Carnevale. It's not just an Italian holiday, it is celebrated around the world, and I'm pretty sure it originated in Brazil. It's basically a combnation of Halooween and Mardi Gras. People get dressed up, usually only in traditional dresses, wear masks (there are different masks for differnt regions of Italy. We have the Napoliatan maks) and little kids dress up in costumes. A couple of days before Carnevale(Carnival) little kids run around in their costumes. On Carnevale, people dance in the streets, there are lots of parades and bands. Claudia and I went to a Carnevale party at her frined's house the night before, where we dressed up in costumes with her other friends. Claudia was little red riding hood and I was an Indian. Haha, if anyone from Mr. Zeller's class reads this, you know whatfirst poped into my mind when they put me into the Indian costume...but I figured it wasn't the best time to rant about injustice and genocide. Just shut my mouth and listen to people go on about how the Indians helped the poor Pilgrims grown corn. Hmm.So my Carnevale wasn't that exciting, but it's still kind of a neat holiday.
Claudia and me dressed up @ Carnevale Party
Antonio(the one on the left) is Claudia's boyfriend, and they are dressed up @ the Carnevale Party...I love this picture=))

Not much has changed...except I can't believe, that on Sunday, I will have been here for a month. I've adjusted to a lot of things already...when I ride the train, I don't even look out the window in awe anymore. On Wednesdays Claudia has an advanced English class, so she stays at school until 5pm, while the rest of the class goes home at 12pm. I take the train home. Yesterady I bought my first snadwich in Castellammare (I was pretty proud of myslef...except when it came to picking the America, we have chedder. Usually it's between, at the most, chedder, monteray jack and swiss, but here in Italy there are a billion cheese and not one of them do I recognize...except maybe Parmasean(sp?) which they eat in slabs....I really don't like it...only ground, not in slabs. Anyways, I just closed my eyes and picked a cheese, but I said it wrong, and the shopowner corrected me. But everything else went OK.)
Marianna working @ Titos in the kitchen...she is the one at the sink with the blue hat on...

Today my AFS coordinator here is picking me up after school and taking me to eat pizza...I guess it should be OK.

Linda's Answers....

1) No, the teachers don't give me grades yet, because the system is very different here. The kids have their book for each subject and they study pages from it, memorize the pages and then give an oral report and it orally tested by the teacher on those pages. I just try and learn Italian...sometimes the teacher's try and involve me in the lower classes, but not often. And at Union Mine (my school in California), I have already completed my junoir year, so I don't need the grades to graduate on time. SO it's OK if I get a 2 in German! (the grading scale here is from 1-10. Claudia who is a VERY good student and studies about 4-6 hours after school everyday, get's 8s usually...)

2) Spell Check: I know, it doesn't have it....I try, I really do, but I gave my mom the Bad Speller's's in America....I'm sorry!
That's really all that's happened...does anyone have any questions for me? It's a lot easier to answer questions, than try and recount my whole week...

*Mom, can you find out when the AVID reunion is and get Ms. Prior's current email address for me? I don't want to send everything on her school address if it doesn't work...thanks!*

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Facts, Answers and Questions....

This post is just to answer Mrs. Hamiliton's questions...I'll post a bigger one in a little bit.

1) No, I don't have a class at school for me to learn Italian. Everyone trys to help as much as they can, and teachers do give Ilze and I (mostly me, because Ilze is getting really good at speaking Italian. She studied it in school for 2 years and had a private tutor for 3 months before she came, so her she can get a lot across.....I can't) excercises, but we are expected to study a lot on our own. After all, the classes we are in have their own agendas and their students already know Italian. Here's a typical day in class (I'll give you tomorrow's schedule; each day I have a different's farther down in another post if you want to look at it)

Math (III AL, Claudia's class) - Really boring. I don't understnad anything....they are studying Analytical Geometry....and everyone who knows me knows that I am horrible at math. I don't understand a lot of concepts at UM, how am I suppose t study it in Italian?! Who ever said that Math is easy because it's the same in every language is a liar....the numbers may be the same, but how you explain the steps is very different. It took the teacher a half an hour, and a lot of gibberish, to tell the class that the interger in the answer must be positive....and WHY couldn't he just say that? Oh well, I copy it all down to look like I'm doing something.

German (III AL) - I have to buy a book for this class soon because the teacher wants me to take tests with Claudia's class...urgh. I vented in an earlier post....that's all I really have to say on the subject. Am I getting better...yes, I now know the words for "yes" "and" "my name is" and "Good Morning"...will I be ready for an oral exam in a month...niene.

Individual Lab (with Joaquin and Ilze) - This is with the teacher who is tutoring the foreign exchange students, she's not the best teacher, but I am learning some things. We just study words, how to buy things, conversation topics...

P.E. (III AL) - There is no teacher for this's not structured like the classes in the US. Kids come into the gym, decide if they put sweatpants on or not...some grab a volleyballl and play...most sit on the floor and chat with their friends. Because it's the only subjects I can actually participate in without speaking...I usually grab abasketball or a volleyball and try and convince Ilze to play with me. It's like pulling teeth though, she doesn't like any physical either a coule of guys join me in shooting hoops (no one but Ilze know how to play a game, and she, of course, doesn't want to) or a couple of girls hit the volleyball back and forth with me.

Italian (2BL) - I usually do excercises in this class on the computer, while Ilze reads a book. The teacher is our Italian tutor...she told me to buy a book soon, so I think I will get the first Harry Potter book, I've read it enough times....

...And on Wednesdays we get out at 1pm...not the whole school, just our class. Each class has it's own schedule and they get one day where they get out early. Because Claudia stays until 5pm at school for an advanced English clas, I come home alone on the train.
2) No, we don't have a library at school. No Libraries period. Everyone buys every book they fact, I have to buy a for German (£22), one for one of my Italian classes (£9,50), an English Literature (£18) and my Harry Potter one (not sure how much it will cost).

3) Titos...well, here are some pictures to help. It has a main restaurant, full bar, tavern down below, and small space upstairs with a fireplace. No specialties...cooks far the nicest restaurant in Vico. It has a huge full screen TV, which plays football games and live music on the weekends...

4) A typical lunch is whatever the cook makes for us (gnocchi is my favorite), bread, wine, water, cheese. Sometimes we have cake and most days we have coffee afterwards...and, by the way, Mom, Dad, don't make fun of me...I like american coffee with sugar, but I also drink Italian espresso without HA!

5) Lunch is a big meal, but dinner is the same too. My family really isn't a typical family...most Italian families have several courses, with pasta first, then meat, and salads....we eat only one course. Which is fine with me...they eat huge servings anyways...I don't think I couldhandle more servings. Lunch is at 14.30 and dinner is at 21.30, usually.

so...that's it. I'll post more about Carnevale, which was today, later=))

Friday, February 13, 2009

Another week.....

So a week has offically gone by since my last post, and I thought you all might like another! My schedule hasn't changed much...each day Claudia and I wake up at 6:30 and get ready for school. I take a shower everyday, something that Italians really don't do. Claudia and Mariannna only wash their hair once a week, in fact tonight Marianna tried to convince me to stop washing my hair everyday (it's actually very good for you not to wash your hair everyday. The natural oil is good for your hair, but my hair gets very oily, very fast and I always feel really dirty when I don't wash every day.) But the showers every morning are horrible...the warm water runs out after 5 minutes, so I have to shampoo and condition very faster before it gets cold. I can towel dry my hair, and it takes only half an hour to completely dry naturally...which is nice. But it is frezing here. FREEZING! My family doesn't have a very insullated house, with wood floors and no rugs makes for a very cold morning. And the window in the bathroom I use doesn't lock, so if the wind is strong, it blows open. It's cold here all the time....and the wind! Oh, most of the cold is probably wind chill. Anyways, after getting ready we eat breakfast...nothing very Italian, yogurt, nutrition bars and these weird, but delicious biscuits. I've actually taken to drinking this Peppermint tea with sugar in the morning and...Mom, Dad you guys will never believe this, but coffee. Not so much the Italian espresso, but caffe americano con lette e zucchero (which is American coffee with milk and sugar). I actually like it...and it's warm=)) Then Claudia and I hurry (sometimes run if we are REALLY late) to catch the train because we are usually behind schedule. We meet Claudia's friends at the train station, usually only 2 or 3, and her boyfriend, Antonio. He is nice, but he doesn't speak any English and he speaks a lot in dialect, which I don't understand any of. Claudia's grandpa speaks only in dialect too and he's determined to have Claudia teach me, but I think I need to learn Italian first=)) We get to Castellammare and walk to school (I was so proud of myself the other day when I walked from school to the train station in Castellammare and took the train home, then walked home...all without Claudia. She had to stay after school for 5 hours. I remembered the way, got my ticket and got on the right train! It was exciting. And now I can navigate most of Vico on my own too!) After school Marianna picks us up at school and takes us to Titos for lunch. Claudia's uncle and aunt own it with Marianna and they all work there...they are both very nice. Whenever they see my at lunch or at night, if we go in, they usually automatically bring me a coke...except sometimes I drink coffee or beer (last night I had my first Italian beer and I didn't really like it that much, but Claudia told me that there's some other that I might like. Mom, I fill up a little glass, I don't drink very much at all. It's ok.) Last night I bought my first cigarettes (sp?) too..they were for Marianna and Claudia's uncle (who's name is Benji, not Tito...I'll explain that name later.) We go home and Claudia studies for hours and then sometimes we go to the gym or walk around Vico. Laely it's been to cold. I promise to get pictures up as soon as I buy batteries for my camera.

School...ahh. Some more negative and depressive people that I know might call it hell, but I only call it that sometimes=)) Sometimes I am very happy and sometimes I feel like crying or screaming. Italians are very friendly people, you say hello to everyone and give everyone hugs and kisses, it's nice. Very intimate and friendly, like they really care about you. But the other day was not one of those days....first the German teacher decided that he wanted the new American foriegn exchange student, who doesn't even understand most Italian, to learn German. And not just start learning German, but catch up on the 4 months of German the class had already learned. I almost lost my head....I don't cuss. People who know me, know that if I do, it's because I mean it....Ilze could only stare at me when we got out of class that day. I think my Facebook comment line that day was "WTF!", I was so mad! I have to translate the textbook from German to Italian with the German-Italian dictionary, turn around and translate from Italian to English with the Italian-English dictionary. There's something wrong with that picture. But that's life, and studying German. Oh, but that's not it....the Math teacher decided that even though I don't understnad any of the math, I am taking tests with the rest of the class....Argh!! That was a bad day. Actually bad is an understatement.

Yesterday was better. We had's nice. I like to play different sports when I'm not forced to run and do structured things. These classes are a joke. This lesson, the teacher sits in the corner, 5 kids surround a ping pong table and the others sit and talk...that's it. Sometimes kids play volleyball, but they really aren't very good. They slap with an open hand and it's pretty bad. Ilze doesn't like to do I found a basketball and started shooting by myself. It felt home I shoot hoops when I feel lonely or just need to think and it felt like my little bit of home. I was all by myself, for some reason nobody plays much basketball here, for awhile, but after an hour two boys who were playing handball joined me. It was nice to just shoot and not have to talk...although I was better than them. They weren't very good, and seem pretty surprised when I made shots they couldn't make=)) And I'm not very good at basketball. So new friends...I even saw one of them in the hall later that day and said hello! Yay for friends=))

Oh it was funny, there's this Italian boy who went on a foreign exchange trip to Alaska last year and I met him the other day. Now anyone who speaks english here doesn't speak very good English and they have that Italian (or in Ilze's case, Lativian) accent. So when this guy started speaking English with an American accent and American slang, I felt like hugging him! I was so happy! Hopefully I get to talk to him more=))

Oh and I know someone is going to ask me this question sometime...the guys here are not that cute. Sorry, the stereotype is wrong. And maybe it's just me, but they all look alike. Tall, dark hair, tan, scooters and leather jackets...all the same. Some are cute, but I personally prefer American guys. There's my 2 cents and now no one has to worry about my runing off with some Italian guy. (First of all, I would walk away with them, not even to trust getting in the car. Claudia's friend's boyfriend who took us to the party on Friday was a good driver, but I don't trust any of these other way am I hopping onto a scooter!) I've got some friends willing to take pcitures though for Rachel and Nicole...I'll get them to them for the AVID DBACK)

Tomorrow's Valentine's Day! Hmm...does anyone have any questions for me? I promise I'll get pictures up for everyone soon! Miss you all and have a fantastic Valentine's Day! Oh and they don't have bagels here! -K

***This doesn't have spell check...sorry if things are misspelled****

Friday, February 6, 2009


Today we had a strike, and it's so different from the US that I thought I would write and tell you all about it. Claudia and I were getting ready and running out the door to catch the train this morning, like we usually do, although we were on time this morning (we are no often on time...the other day we almost lost the train. But teachers here are pretty relaxed about tardiness, especially when you are a good student, which Claudia is.) Anyways, hen we go to the station, there weren't a lot of people there. Usually the place is swarming with teenagers waiting for the train (there are at least 6 different high schools in Castellammare, so every teen in Vico takes the train.) Claudia told me it was because there was a strike, and many people had skipped school to go the strike. But she doesn't usually agree with the reasons for strikes, so she doesn't go very often. Our class gets good grades and they don't skip school very often because they want to study and take the tests. Today's strike was different....a couple of days ago a man was killed by the local maffia (Ms. Hamilton was right=)) in Castellammare. He was shot in his car on in front of his 15 year old son....Mom, it's ok, Claudia said this rarely happens. It is, after all, Castellammare, not Naples. A safe little city. And the man was involved in the mafia in the first place. But it was still big news here, because it doesn't happen often.

So Claudia got several calls from friends in class telling us that they weren't going to school and when we got to school everyone was standing outside the building, even though it was 8:30 and school starts at 8AM (the train was late.) There was a paper put up in front of the school telling everyone tha the strike would begin at 9AM. Of course everyone was happy that we didn't have to go to school. I learned how to say "I am happy that I don't have to go to school" in Italian, so I could answer when people asked me why I looked so happy. Then we entered the square where everyone was at...I'd say at least 300 people, kids from all of the high schools, shop keepers didn't even open their stores so they were there. I even saw one of my teachers! People were carrying flags of each town around and the mayor spoke, then we all walked in a loop around Castellammare. I'm tired, but it was interesting. Claudia said this strike was a quiet compared to others, when people are usually shouting and singing. She said that this one was different because we were paying our respect to the man who died.

So that was my first strike...and I didn't even have my camera! It was Eureka's last day, the foreign exchange student from Malaysia...and I helped Ilze discover Edgar Allen Poe (I know you are proud, Meri)...because we had to read "The Black Cat" ("Il Gatto Nero") in Italian out loud in turn was horrible, but the teacher was insistent that I read. And it was year 1 kids...

So more news..... we are going to a party tonight! Claudia calls it an "18 and over party" but really it's an birthday party for a girl who is turning 18. I don't know the girl, but I think I know some people who will be there...Claudia says that tomorrow we will be very tired in school, which leads me to believe that we will be out past midnight...Urgh, I don't want to go to school tomorrow. Can you believe that when they say "weekend" here, it just means Sunday? Isn't weekend suppose to be plural????

Oh, I said I would post some differences about schools here and school in California....
**When I say "0ur, I mean Californian",
1) Our schools are a lot nicer, which leads me to believe that our school get a lot more money than the schools here
2) There is a statue of Mary in the hallway, where everyone make a cross and bows to...I don't, but then I'm not catholic....
3) They have 6 periods, which they call hours, without all breaks at all, including no lunch....we get out at 2pm, then we go home and have lunch
4) The students stay together all day in the same room, and the teachers change rooms....
5) Everyone here looks so old! Cladiahad a friend who was in year 4 (if I knew Italian I would be in year 4) and I swear he would pass for 20 in the US....they look so old....

Well, that's it for now....hey, my friends...give me updates on what is going on at school! SATs...have you taken them? If not, you better be studying you butts off....

Oh, wait, one more thing! Here are some trips that I know I am taking.....

March - exchange week with AFS ( I get to go toanother family for a week in another city) and I am hopeing to go to Venice!
April - one of my classes that I have without Claudia (but with Ilze) is takeing a 4 day trip to Florence (Firenze)
June - Claudia, Vicky and I are going camping in June in Sardina! Not exactly camping, Vicky has a house there, but Sardina!
Sometime....- Claudia's dad lives in Rome, so we will go there a couple times this year....especially for Easter.

Ok, that's really it...we have to go to by a present for the party...oh, no, I don't do well without sleep........

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Pictures Update

Pic # 1: sign in Paris Airport, #2: another sign, #3: my internatinaol dinner on the flight, #4: the cabin we were in on Air France ,#5: Mail box at the Paris Aiport,#6: A picture of the story of Romulous and Remus...but we all decided that it was too racy of a picture to be in the US, so we must be in Paris. Believe it or not, it is actually an add for can see the tiny coffee cup in her hand=)),#7: Us at the airport in Paris, #8: the toliet in our hotel room in Rome...the back of toliet is on the wall a couple of feet above the actual toliet. It's very odd.,#9: Rome, #10: Another toliet picture, #11: Kristen and Jessica looking like stupid tourists in the Paris Airport, #12 - #13: The Alps lining Italy through my window on the flight from Paris to Rome, #14 - #15: My hotel room at in Rome, #16: there's your bidet picture, #17 - #18: Rome, #19: A little puppy showed up in the hotel in Rome...he was very cute until he peed on the floor. I'm just glad it wasn't on us!, #20-#26: Rome

And the novel continues......

Where was I.....oh, the rome, there's this girl who is from Reno, Sparks area and she is very picky. Btw Mom, she isn't as bad as i orginally thought, but the picky thing gets me. She has specific rules: Only dry salad, no meat other than turkey, no alcohol (absolutley none...not a single drop), no tomato sauce (that's suicide in Italy), no mushrooms, if there's anything she doesn't like it can't be touching something else.....The only thing i saw her eat at the orientation was bread and chocolate sauce on it (I forget what's called) and an american pizza at the airport. She got sick on Sunday and didn't know why. Everyone pratically screamed at her "It's because you didn't eat!" I really don't know how she is going to make it here......See, Mom, you are truly blessed that Kyle and I eat most things=)) How dare you call us picky!

We did get to go to the Vatican City which was really neat. Jessi, tell Meri that the Vatican guards are not that impressive=)) Kristen (the girl from Nevada City), Jessica (the picky one), and I went around inside St. Peter's Catherdral. It was amazing....I can't describe it. Google it and you will see...the most holy place I've ever been to. Nana, Papa and Kyle, I sent you postcards. I had my first culture friends and I were trying to find the tombs and we went around the church asking "Dove Crypto?" which was all we could remember in Italian. Every guard pointed us in a differnt direction. We finally got to a station where the guard told us the tombs were at. We had to pay 5£ each and walk up 372 steps (and they were huge steps.) Suddenly, we found ourselves at the top of the church looking out over the top of the city. It was great......but not the tombs. I never did get to see the tombs.....oh well, there is time to go back someday. Another hilarious story about Jessica: a sercurity guard really liked her. This middle aged man got really excited when he saw her and kept telling her that her eyes were very, very beautiful. He kissed her hand and her cheeks. Alright, some might find this weird, but he was kind, not perverted about saying she was beautiful. And Italians kiss ALL the time! But she took it the wrong way and got really scared and nervous....the guard didn't speak english so Kristen and I had to calm her down and tell the guard why she was scared. Apparently, she doesn't like guys... at all. Very strange for a teenage girl, let me tell you. But she get scared and nervous when any guy gives her attention. Our orientation volunteer suggested getting some beer to calm her down, but Jessica and her rules said no. We went back to the hotel and everyone took trains or flights to their hots families.

I took a train to Napoli (Naples) with an AFS volunteer and another girl who was staying in the city. Then my liaison, Camilla, took me on a train to Vico Equense, because Marianna, my host mother, was busy at work. Claudia and Marianna took me home, and Marianna was sick so she went to bed. This was at about 8pm. I finally got throught o my parents and we talked on Sype for a little, then Caludia invited her friends over for dinner and we all ate pizza. I met Claudia's ex boyfriend, Antonio, her best friend, Vicky (that's the Asian looking one in the photos, Mom. She is actually from Ukraine, and she moved to Italy 4 years ago. I thought Kristina might like that=)) Any way, Caludia invited 3 more of her guy friends (I don't remember their names), but Claudia and Vicky are the only ones who can speak english, so they had to translate a lot. They wouldn't talk a lot, only about Italian football (soccer), but they really light up when Vicky told them that I knew something about Valentino're right Jessi, they REALLY liked him. One of her friends told me he would help me get a poster for you=)) Anyways, we didn't go to bed under 12:30 and I was very tired for school the next day. We took the train from Vico to Castellammare di Stabia, where our school is at. School was....

School was both a nightmare and interesting. Even after my Italian studies, I knew nothing. The day is a blur of kisses (Italian's kiss eachother on the each cheek when you say hi and goodbye, it can add up to a lot of kisses when you meet a lot of people) and "ciao"s (also hi and goodbye) and Italian. No one can ever say that I don't know what it's like to enter high school and know no one....I know exactly what it's like AND I didn't understand a word of what anyone was saying. A few people managed to get a few words in english...about as much as I can ask of someone who speaks spanish. It's exhausting.....I really don't understand very much. I'm starting to pick up some words, but today wasn't much better....they speak so much, so faster. And Italian on paper is a lot like spanish, spoken, it's nothing like spanish. Spanish also has a more literal translation to English....Italian has little words that pop up in sentences, and the end of the word changes a lot.

First day....Claudia and and went to the headmistress's office where some teachers introduced me to Ilze (pronounced ill-zay), who is the foreign exchange student from Latvia and she does speak english. She lives in Castellammare and is very sarcastic....a lot of fun to hang out with. We have the same schedule. She knows a little Italian and understands a lot more than I do. Anyaways, we went to class...and I didn't understnad anything. It's very frustrating, but I study Italian as much as I can. Here is my schedule:

Lunedi (Monday) Inglese (English), Italiano, Matematica (Math), Italiano, Matematica, Filosofia (Philosophy)
Martedi (Tuesday) Chimica (Chemistry), Inglese, Ed. fisica (P.E.), Tedesco (German), Matematica, Italiano
Mercoledi (Wednesday) Matematica, Tedesco, Lez. Individual (Italian for the foreign exchange students), Ed. fisica, Italiano
Giovedi (Thursday) Italiano, Inglese, Italiano, Inglese, Chimica, Italiano
Venerdi (Friday) Italiano, Italiano, Chimica, Lez. Individual, Arte, Matematica
Sabato (Saturday) Italiano, Matematica, Chimica, Italiano, Tedesco, Religione (Religion)

They seperate the subjects into hours. Most of my classes are with Claudia, but some are with the year 2 kids, and other year 3 students.....There are many differences and I'll put up a list in my next post.

No much has happened.....Claudia and I watched the movie Chocolat yesterday. The sound was on english, bu the subtitles Italian, so it helped both of us. Because I don't know much is frustrating and scary a lot of times, especially without Claudia and at school. And I wish everyday that I could be back in my own bed at home going to UM in the would be so comfortable. But I chose this and I am staying...I will be fine as soon as I learn Italian. So I study my butt off, unless I am writing on here=)) Miss you all like crazy....and if you have any questions, don't be afraid to ask! Love, Kaitlyn

Monday, February 2, 2009

New Update

Well, thanks mom for the update.....

New York - 1/28
I flew to New York for my first oreintation. The day was so long...I had to get up at 3AM, get to the airport in San Fran at 4AM, and take a 5 and a half hour flight to New York. At this orientation all of the AFS students from the US, who are going on the Italy, Austria or France programs, are gathering at the hotel. There were about 40 for Italy, 19 for France and 2 for Austria. This orientation was very boring! I realy didn't learn anything at all.

My big downer for the trip: I was sick. I really should have taken Airborne befoe I left, but I procraistnated and look what happened. It wasn't horrible though, I just had major sinus issues. It's not fun flying when you have to blow your nose every 5 seconds.

All of the other kids are really nice. I haven't found anyone who lives near me yet....except for a friend in Nevada City. I met her at the pre-departure orientation and it's good to hang out with her.

Paris - 1/29-1/30
The international flight we took was a lot of fun. I love Air France! We had comfy seats, diner and breakfast (both within 3 hours of each other. We left New York at 8pm, hence the dinner and arrived in Paris at 7AM - their time- so we got breakfast too!) They had about 15 movies to choose from, it was great! Everything on the plane was repeated in French first, then threw me for awhile, considering I couldn't understnad any of it!

I was thinking that I would sleep on the international flight, I had it all planned out. But I got ahold of all the movies and before I knew it the time had passed. The girl in the seat next to me was going to Italy also and she got realy excited when sh found out it was my birthday=)) We landed in Paris when it was 7AM (their time.)

Rome - 1/30 - 2/2
The oreintation in Rome was wonderful compared to the one in New York. They basically gave us some phrases in Italian and fed us. Lots and lots of food....we had 3 course meals for lunch and dinner. It was all good, and not little courses. I felt bad everytime I left food on my plate, but the waiters wouldn't listen when we told them we didn't want any more. They just waved us on saying "No, no, you eat!"

I have to go now, but I'll update again as soo as possible, and let you all know what my family and school is like. Miss you all! - Kaitlyn

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Kaitlyn is in Italia!

Hi everyone!

This is Nancy (Kaitlyn's mom) letting you know that Kaitlyn is in Italia with her host family. I am writing this short update as Kaitlyn won't get a chance to for awhile and I wanted you all to know that she is in Italia.

We talked to her for about 30 minutes today on Skpe. We even got to see her on the webcam. It was really great to talk to her and see her! After spending two days in Rome at orientation she took two trains from Rome to Naples to Vico Equense today and met up with Marianna and Claudia. She sounded happy but tired. Her sister, Claudia, had some friends over to meet her and they were getting ready to eat pizza. A highlight of her orientation was a trip to Vatican City! That was one place that she really wanted to visit on her trip and now she has done it! Tomorrow (actually as I write this she is probably already up getting ready) she will be going to her first day of school. That's about it for now, hopefully the next update will be from Kaitlyn herself! Thanks again for all your support and interest!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Address Update


Kaitlyn Fuqua Marconi - Parco Sale
Vico Equense, NA, Ita 80069

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Flying Time!

Well, time has passed VERY slowly, but my flight's finally here! My last day pf school is Friday, and honestly I can't wait for it.... My mom planned this family party to say goodbye to me on Sunday ( it's going to be interesting...I like planning the parties, not be the center of them), Monday I'll finish packing ( packing has been hard! I'm not too terribly materalistic, but 44 lbs for 5 months is impossible. I have to pack winter and summer things, shorts, bathing suits, ski jacket, shoes for both seasons....and little things like my glasses and host family presents. I tell you it's hard to make the decisions=)), Tuesday mom, dad and I will go to San Francisco and spend the night, then bright and early (4:30AM! I have to be at the airport at 4:30AM. And we all know how bad I am with early mornings...urgh=((. I fly out of SF at 6AM and land in New York at 3PM. After that I'll travel to the orientation hotel in NY, spend the night with the kids going to Italy (the ones who are from the US.) We fly out of NY at 7PM the next night (1/29) and head to Paris...I think we get there around 11AM on the 30th. Then we head to Rome....the US kids meet everyone from all over the world that will be doing foreign exchange in Italy...we have our orientation. Finally I get to take a train to Naples, then a train to Vico...and meet my family! I have been talking with Claudia and her mom and they sound great! It will be nice to spend time with a sister that's my age. When Melissa (my natural sister....for anyone who doesn't know...she lives in Arkansas and is 10 years older.) comes home, it's always nice to get a break from Kyle, and nice to talk to a sister. Unfortunately, those visits are only for a week or I get a sister for 5 months!

Whew...I don't know what else you guys want to hear.....if you have anything specific to ask me, go ahead and comment on the blog.....I'll answer it as soon as I can. Facebook buddies, sorry but I don't think I'll be on fb that often....writing, taking pictures and this blog is really enough to comment on here!