Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Almost 3 Months!
Sto diventando Italiana! I am becoming Italian, and I love it! I do things the Italian way without even thinking. It's hard when I think of something that we do in Seattle and continue to think of it as normal reunite, or my culture, because it isn't anymore! I eat like an Italian, I clean constantly like an Italian, I blow dry my hair right after I get out of the shower like an Italian, I don't go barefoot in the house like an Italian, I talk with my hands like an Italian, I never use my seatbelt like an Italian, I don't recycle or compost like an Italian (a habit I will break as soon as possible), I go to the villa every Saturday night like an Italian, I eat pasta for lunch everyday of the week like an Italian..and the list continues. But these little habits aren't what make a home for a foreigner, its the fact that I am THINKING like an Italian. I hardly ever compare my two cultures now, for the most part I take the norms of Mesagne as the norms of the world. Its hard now to think of things any other way. I miss certain things about the Seattle culture, but nothing too much that I won't get back next year.
I've realized something wonderful, that most aspects of culture that you want, whether it comes from India, Italy, or Issaquah, you can bring it into the home and family you make for yourself. I can't wait to make myself a home somewhere in this big diverse world!
Ok I'm getting off topic. How about I tell you what I've been doing lately. School has been really regular, without any strikes (lame), but today I didn't have school cause its a holiday, and today most all families here decorate their houses for the holidays. So I've been calling it the "Decorate Your House Christmasy Holiday".
I've been really busy the last two or three weeks with school and friends and I love always having something to do, whether it's studying, hanging out with friends, or studying with friends, its all good for me!
Sunday I went to Lecce, my favorite city so far, with one of my best friends here Bice and her family, including their adorable little dog Margo:) It was decorated festively and was beautiful! But I realize I really need to do some Xmas shopping, which I will so this Saturday with my friend Nora from Norway.
Im going to have my first sleep over in three months on Saturday with Nora, so I'm super excited!

People (my mom) keeps commenting on how bad my grammar is getting, which I did not realize, but I'm sorry if it really is that bad.

Ok I said I would write something in Italian.. Here we go!
Ho stanca e voglio dormire perche' ho mangiata troppo sta sera al baptesimo.
The first part is more just playing off a joke my friend and I have that the only thing I know how to say is "Im hungry" and "Im tired" because Im always one of those, either hungry or tired haha.
Okay I must go now, and I leave you with gratitude for your support and many baci!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Good morning, day or evening to whoever is reading this! This are going just wonderfully here and I want everyone to know that! It's been a little while since I've written so I'll try to catch up a bit, I believe I last wrote about Rome.
I've been getting a lot of questions about whether my school is still on strike and I'd like to make it clear that schools go on strike here for one day at a time, they are very organized about it. So yes, I have been going to school all the regular days for about that last month now, haven't missed a day! I'm really starting to get the hang of school here, I hardly even think of the fact that I go to school on Saturdays anymore, it's so normal. I'm just getting really into the groove:) I've stopped comparing the two cultures as much and am just accepting things a lot easier, however there are still things I don't think I will ever get used to.
The language is really coming along. I've discovered this really cool thing now, that when I think back on a conversation I had with someone I don't remember whether they were speaking English or Italian, even though they were obviously speaking Italian cause hardly anyone speaks English here. I'm pushing myself more and more and trying to find more efficient ways for my speaking to get better. Because even though I'm understanding most everything I am still uncomfortable with speaking when put on the spot. I find myself speaking too fast so my head can't keep up with the translation then I stumble on the words, get embarrassed and just stop. So I need to speak slower. Its better to be more correct then to sound more confident...right?
On the other hand, my English is getting worse! I'm forgetting words and having to speak slower to keep up. Everything is just so slow! Mom you'll probably be happy with it when I get home haha.
I had a spectacular day today cause my cousin Rashaad, the son of my dad's sister stopped by to visit me for a few hours! It was perfect! Most of our time we spend trying to get him on his next train but before he got some homemade Italian cooking from my host mom and I think he liked it:) It was great seeing some family and being able to speak English fluently, but again I noticed that my speaking ability was a little off. I also noticed the fact that I was using my hands A LOT! for the common mannerisms here and felt very Italian, which was kinda exciting! Haha. We took the train from Mesagne to Brindisi where he took a train to Rome and I went back home to Mesagne. I liked the feeling of being on my own and for once being the one who had the upper hand with the language. I liked the feeling of having the responsibility to take us around.
For Thanksgiving I made diner for my host family and some extended family, a total of about 17 people. At first I was really intimidated but my host mom helped me and we got all the cooking done with a few hours to spare! We made chicken (she made chicken), sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, green beans, bread, and I made a mighty delicious apple pie:) Then they added in a ton a cheese and meats, making it an Italian style Thanksgiving!
Tomorrow I have what is called the "Beep test" which everyone tells me is the worst possible thing is the world which scares me. People skip school on the days we have to do it. Two days ago I was in a class that had just done it and two girls were close to throwing up and were laying on the tables. Basically what we have to do is touch the opposite wall before the beep. We start off walking and end sprinting from wall to wall. I still don't completely understand but I'll tell you guys how it goes!
Okay well I have to leave you now!
Always peace and love everyone! And know that I love you all and appreciate your support this year greatly!
Love Kali
P.s. I like Noahs Idea of writing my posts partly in Italian now, so expect that next time. <3

Thursday, November 11, 2010

थे अर्तिस्तिक मिन्ड्स ऑफ़ रोमा!

Ok if your wondering why the title is in Hindi I'll let you know I have no idea why. My computer just got a funny idea to write in Hindi from now on! Good luck trying to find out what this post will be about:)
The artistic minds of Roma! There! I gave it away!
Well as many of you know, I recently returned from Rome with my Italian family! It was very nice, raining and inspiring! The city part reminded me a lot of all the other big cities I've been too, New York, London, Paris, big, with a lot diversity of people (which I've missed a ton!) and pretty dirty haha. I'll tell you my favorite part right away, I ATE CHINESE FOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!! the most exciting event since I've been here! You may think I'm insane for missing Chinese food while I'm in Italia! The country with the best food! But all I can say is that, coming from Seattle where there is every food you can think of, and I eat most of them, its been difficult for me to have a strict diet of only Italian food for the last 2 months and for the nest 8! So yea, it was really good Chinese food too:) Then my host mom was super sweet and saw how much I liked it and went out and bought me spring roles and Indian and Chinese rice making things, which were all really yummy!
Okay now here comes my rant of how beautiful the art was!
Oh my god! There is no way I could capture the feeling or the passion I saw in the bodies and faces of the statues, or the realty of the painted faces, the power in the horses muscles, and the brilliance of the architecture.. I was mesmerized every moment I walked through the streets, for there was history everywhere! Like the colleseo, it was just so grand and graceful, but at the same time rugged and strong, I loved picturing all the people who had been here to appreciate it, when it was first built for gladiators and the millions of tourists and movie makers, etc. who had come to see one of the most famous buildings in the world. And to think that most of this magic was all in dedication to God, all through history men, women, and children have done miraculous things for this man they have never seen, and I was able to see some of the results of this dedication! I might not completely agree with the motivation but all I know is that what I saw in Rome makes this world an even more beautiful place and I hope everyone could at least appreciate the mastery and history a fraction of how I feel about it!
This trip just made me even more interested in art history then I already was (close to obsessed).
Then there were the musicians, who actually made me think I was in Paris a little bit with their accordion music. At one piazza there was a jazz band that I was taking photos of and the man tipped his hat to me for the picture, which absolutely made my hour! Haha!

Well ciao for now!
Much love and thanks,

Monday, October 25, 2010

So I've been thinking a lot about what I want to do in my future and it's complicating to keep it all in my head so I decided to write it down here so you can all give me some input! So please do! Give me as many ideas, information, pointers, and warnings as you can think of! Here is goes.
- i will finish my year here in Italy and learn Italian the best I possibly can.
-Once I get the hang of Italian I'll start looking at French, just to get some basics because it is a beautiful language and is more widely spoken then Italian.
-I'll get the information I need for my possible Senior Project I am thinking of doing that I'll explain later on.
-I'll return to Seattle and start working as soon as possible, before I return I will try to find a job, maybe you Seattle folks can help me find one! B&O possibly...
-Start senior year and continue working part time to save up for traveling in my year off and for university.
-Senior Project: I'm thinking of doing a compare and contrast thing about teenagers all around the world and they're ideas, thoughts, beliefs, hopes and so on, focusing on Italy because I know it best, but also get other information other ways (this is where I could use some ideas, where is somewhere I could get in contact with other teenagers straight from them?) I will also get information from the other AFS students with me in Italy since they are from all over. But maybe I'll do something more specific to kids who have done exchange and how that effects there lives, now and later on. I kind of like that idea because then I could talk to people my age and find other people who did it when they were younger (like members of my family). With both of these ideas I could do my volunteer work with AFS.
-NEXT will be summer and I'll continue working and maybe I'll be able to go on the trip my friends and I have been wanting to go on together to California maybe, but I don't know if I'll have the money.
-I'll find a way to become a resident of California, or whichever state I choose to go to college in. I hope I'll be able to get one or both of my parents to move there, because after this year I kinda want to keep them close enough that I can see them regularly. Then if they do I can say I live with them and become a resident, that's how it works right? After I "live" there a year I become a resident? Then I get the cheaper price for university...?
-I think I will stay in Seattle for the first six months of my year off and stay living with a family member. I'm thinking to stay in Seattle because I will hopefully be able to keep the same job and I will maybe have a better position that pays more at this job then if I started over in California.
-I will have to find something else to do in these months because working isn't enough for me, maybe I could volunteer somewhere (any ideas for the things I'm interested in? Something that would benefit my career of education and child aid).
-I will apply for college to start in the fall of 2013, I am very interested in UC San Diego, to study international studies and education.
-IF I have saved up enough money I will go on the trip through Europe I am planning with my friends, to return to all their cities they lived in during this year abroad to visit our families and friends there, but that depends strongly on my position with college and how much I'm going to have to pay, because it's EXPENSIVE!
-Then comes what I'm really excited for! My trip to India with Jordan, which is basically all planned out. We are still trying to solidify the dates, to leave at the best time there. We will be working on a farm founded by Vandana Shiva, if you don't know who she is she is a miraculous woman and here is the site link for more information We intend to volunteer there for about 3 or 4 months. It is a very good program, all we have to do is pay for our travel there and pay a very small fee to stay there and were given housing and food.
-After I return I don't know what my plan will be for the summer, make my way to California maybe and establish myself there with a job and some friends before I start university.
-Go to university for the first two years then in my junior year I intend to do another exchange through my school, one where I work or volunteer in another country and still get credits for my school in the states. For this program I hope I can find one where I can teach English as a second language or something with children, otherwise I'll just take classes in another country. I'll look into my options when I have a better idea of which school I'll be going to.
-I still don't know how getting a Masters or whatever works but I'll probably go to school longer then four years.
-After I graduate I hope to work for a year or two in the U.S. with children, education or some program to help children in some way, I'm not sure with what yet.
-Then I will find a job or maybe only volunteering for a while in education, maybe teaching English as a second language in a developing country. I would really like that. I like this job because I have the opportunity to travel almost anywhere in the world and have work, because everyone needs teachers. As long as I know some of the language I can get by teaching English, this is why I want to study and learn as many languages as a can so I have even more opportunities.
-Then on goes life, obviously I don't know the exact details of how the next 50 years of my life is gonna go but I'll eventually have kids (after 30) and I'll make sure they know AT LEAST English and Italian and any other languages that I know by then.
-Hm then I want to retire and open a bakery because I think that would be really chill and interesting, maybe in Italy, but now that I've lived here for a bit I'd like to maybe go to somewhere I haven't lived but that has a good economy, maybe Norway...
Well that was a really long post, but I guess it is my life...
But please please share anything you think when you read this, I want to think big but also be realistic, so help me out here!

Love you all!

Monday, October 11, 2010


So to update you all on some politics here in Italy, recently there have been major budget cuts to schools all over Italy, making students and parents furious, of course. This has resulted in less teachers and bigger classes. Some really mean person up top has also decided that school will start earlier and end later, this especially infuriates me because the new school times are one of the main reasons I had to move from my beloved art school. Now school hours are closer to those in the States, but still 6 days a week.
Because of these changes, mostly the budget cuts, students all over the country organized a strike where no student would go to school on Octobre 8, 2010. And parents back them up, agreeing that we can all not go to school because it's for a good cause. Then the ideal would be that those students would go to a protest in one of the bigger cities. However, I didn't go to a protest, to my disappointment.
This is how my day went on Friday: I woke up normal time and drove to school with my host sister, we then met up with her class where we decided who would be the ones to go into the school (only to be excused after a few minutes when there was only 3 people in class). My host sister and I were not the one's to go in, so we went back home with her cousin. We then headed to the shopping center, Auchan, did some shopping, met up with friends, and then I went to a concert that night that was sweet:)
I have decided that I don't mind these strike days if they result in days off and I look forward to more in the future!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Changin' Things Around

Ciao everyone!
I am writing to you while sitting on my couch, in my Pj's, watching the FairlyOdd Parents dubbed in Italian, on this fine overcast Wednesday morning. If you are wondering why I am not in Brindisi at school at the moment, I will tell you that it is because I have decided to change schools! Which makes me sad but I know it is the right decision.
On Sunday night I went to Brindisi with my mom, sister, youngest brother, my mother's friend and her daughter for yummy calzons. On our walk there we stopped by a performance of Pizzica which I have grown very fond of. It is a traditional Puglianese dance and I have been told is about a girl and a tarantula. It is mesmerizing and beautiful, enjoyed by young and old people from Puglia and of course the visitors. It is performed with live singers as well. I will try to put some pictures of it up.
Last night I experienced my first tropical thunder storm and it was fantastic! Nothing like Seattle storms that are just cold, dark and wet. Yesterday it was hot and humid while it rained, and the wind, the wind howled around our flat so loud, whistling like from a horror movie. I was so happy. I now know what my mom is talking about when she says how much she loves storms from the south and from the Martial Islands.

I am now about to begin reading "Amore e Psiche", which is an adorable little book with a Greek myth written about Eros, Afrodite, and Psiche in Italian. It is my self-proclaimed challenge to read this book. Wish me luck!

There will be more to write soon!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I have now been in Mesagne over two weeks and I can't even get close to explaining all that has happened! I am settling in with my family and getting to know them individually as well as a whole. I am happy to be with them. My host mother resembles my own mother in many ways, with her comfort, care and worries haha. I am also realizing the things that are different with these parents, things I have taken for granted at home, so that I need to prove my street smarts and that I am trustworthy to achieve some more freedom. But it will come along with my better knowledge of Italian, for good reason.
School life hasn't been as regular as it will be soon, my school is still getting it's schedule organized, therefore I sometimes have class and sometimes don't! When we don't my class stays together and chats, this is when I have made some friends and have talked (or tried) with my classmates. This is when I mostly wish I knew more Italian, because it is really challenging to make friends when I can't talk to them. But I have succeeded in making some, but they tend to be the one's who can speak some English=) I will get there eventually!
Anyhow, I have been studying Italian like crazy! Whenever I have time apart from homework I am either with my family or studying, which has definitely helped because I am learning it little by little. I didn't realize how difficult of a language it was, but with so many irregular verbs I get frustrated often with it.

Ciao for now,
Love Kali

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My first days In Mesagne

Hello everyone! I have been here with my new family for about four days now and I am very happy with them. I have my two parents and I now have two younger brothers and a sister. They are all very lovely and hospitable! I feel like I have known them forever already and it hasn't even been a week! Imagine after 10 months! But of course it will take some getting used to, because this family is of course unique and not exactly like my own. Firstly there is the language barrier, so I don't quite feel like I know each member of the family as well as I could.
I am trying very hard to learn Italian, maybe so I could at least understand it, which would help in the home and school. Already I have learned more then when I first got here. My mama and sister are very helpful with helping me learn it. Last night we bought post-it's and went around labeling things in the house and in the bedroom, creating much laughter towards my pronunciation of some words haha.

A few days ago I was told by Noah that Grandpa Fred had passed on Thursday night and even though I had known that it was coming soon it was still shocking. To lose both grandfathers in a year is a hard thing to go through for the boys. I am sorry for them.
Fred was indeed like a grandfather to me as well, sharing with me his advice for this year and having good conversations. I am very sad because of this news.
My heart goes out to the Lanphear family, I love you all.

I will write soon I hope.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

2 Weeks!!!!!

Hey! Did you know it's only two weeks until I leave! I cant stay on one emotion for more then a few hours! I'm switching from sad, to stressed, to excited, to worried, to even MORE excited! I just said goodbye to my really good friend Claire today...that was really sad. She's leaving to live in Paris for the year. But then I just talked to my cousin Noah who just got to Norway and that made me feel a lot better, because he has been there for less then a week but is already starting to feel alright.
I feel like I've gotten most of the things I need, but there are some small things still. I am allowed to have one checked bag 50lbs, 1 carry on and a purse. Its confusing thought because once I get to Italy my check bag can only be 44lbs, but then I can have two carry ons.
The last few days I've packed up one of my rooms, but I still have one to go.


Monday, August 9, 2010

Less Than 4 Weeks!

It's been awhile since my last post and since then I have learned a lot about my host family and city. I'm living in Mesagne, Puglia but am going to an art school (yeah!) in the city 6 miles away called Brindisi. I am so so happy that I am going to be going to an art school again, because I've been missing my old one ever since I left.
I have been talking to my host sister on facebook and I like her very much, she is fifteen. She does not go to my school but I will still be with her at home so I am happy about that. I will go to school 6 days a week (ugh) from probably 830 to 130, then church on Sunday. I have never been a part of a family that goes to church, so I am eager to experience a family with new beliefs:)
My Italian is coming along well, I feel like I am starting to get the hang of it, but I am nowhere close to being fluent. But I do have confidence that I could carry on a slow conversation in Italian haha. I found out that you can get up to 16 college credits if I learn Italian this year fluently, so that's top on my list!
I'm getting things ready to leave here, buying all the little things I will need, getting rid of stuff, and packing up my room.
I'm getting soooo excited! I'm sure all of my fellow AFSers know what I'm talking about. My list of "to-do's" is constantly running through my head, so that I always feel that there is something I should be doing. But I'm getting close to it being complete.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Its funny...

So right after I posted the other blog today, I checked my email and got my host family information! Even more exciting! Turns out I'm not directly in Brindisi but very close, about 10 miles. The place I will live is names Mesagne and I am still very happy about it! It is smaller, with about 27,000 people.
I have a mother, father, a 6-year-old brother, an 11-year-old brother, and a 15-year-old sister! Yea!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Brindisi; My New Home!!

A few days ago I got my placement in Brindisi, Puglia! I was so happy when I found out! The only thing I know about my host family is that I have three siblings...I will have siblings living with me for the first time in my life. Exciting! I am happy but anxious about it, because this family has so much power over how my exchange will turn out (even though I know it'll be amazing either way).
The city is very old and beautiful, dating back to at least 14 b.c., when it was conquered by Alexander the Great. There is a lot of exciting history behind this city that I am eager to learn more about. I've been thinking about how it will feel to live in a place with so much history, Seattle only being a few hundred years old, this old city has thousands of more years to have stories from. And I want to know these stories!
I guess it is known for it's fresh goat cheese (my favorite!) and octopus (I guess I'll have to try it finally!). Brindisi attracts a lot of tourists in the summer months, because it is a nice town and has good access to a lot of other cute little towns. It also has the safest natiral port in all the Mediterranean, making it appealing throughtout history and still now. Brindisi itself is a smaller city, with about 90,000 people, it is known as a sleepy and relaxed place. Sounds fantastic right?? It will be a nice shift from the 4 million of the greater Seattle area.
As you can probably tell, I am very happy with my placement so far. I can't wait to tell you all more things about it once I've actually lived there! I will fill you in on my host family when I know more about them.
Arrivederci for now!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

My New Language!

Hey everyone! There is approximately 16 weeks until I leave and wow, that is really soon.
I've been learning Italian from Rosetta Stone, which is working really well! I recommend it! I've been doing it for about three weeks and have already learned so much. Some basic vocabulary, such as gatto (cat), cappotto (hat), figlia (daughter), and un maglietta (t-shirt). Some verbs, corre (to run), porto (to wear), and nuato (to swim). The un/una's, dei's, la's, e's, il's, and gli's are what are getting to me. They're just so confusing.
Overall I am satisfied with this expensive language program and am always excited to learn more! I love learning languages, it just makes me feel so good!

I don't yet know my host family and city. But I want to know SOOOO bad!!! I want to learn about the city, talk to my new family, know if I'll have any siblings, know my school, and just have an official home! I am just so ridiculously anxious and think about getting the call every day!
Well arrivederci for now!

Monday, April 19, 2010

It is Truly Beginning:)

This blog will be my record of my experiences with AFS from now until I return to Seattle in July of '11. It has been arranged for me to leave the country in the beginning of September. This is when I will experience the grief of leaving most of my loved ones here in Seattle, Washington, which I foresee to be the hardest part. The only thing that's going to help me is the fact that I'm flying to Italy!!!!!! It excites me, yet scares me to bits. I will be living without the guidance of my birth parents, my friends, and the community I have built around myself. It really is a frightening thought to me, but when I think of what I will get out of this year, nothing can compare.
It has been a week sense I was officially accepted to live in Italy for 10 months! One of the happiest days of my life was the following Tuesday. Nothing could break my smile:D When I even think of myself living in such an extraordinary place, it breaks all the dark clouds around me so that I may enjoy the thought of the beautiful blue sky that will surround me in Italy. But I do have to say, I will probably start to miss the dark clouds of Seattle eventually...

Why Italy?
Who wouldn't give anything to live in such a place? It's beautiful, has friendly people and delicious food, but there's more then that. The history of the country is dark, surprising, romantic, violent, elegant, and lavishly magnificent. The art is what appeals to me the most. So many monumental artisans originated there in Italy, their paintings still awed by people today. What was it about Italy that inspired such work? There has to be something in the air, or about the people, the food, or the countryside that sparked these classics. This is why I so desire to go here, because of my love of art.

So, yesterday I went to my required orientation with AFS. There I had a lot of questions answered, about rules, tips, policies, and just how the overall experience will be for me and my fellow AFSers. I met several other students that were either going for the summer, to do one semester or a whole year like me. It was nice to talk with some of them about what they had gone through to get this opportunity and what they were doing in preparation. The whole six hours was worth it and I even got sunburned!
Some things I'm doing now to prepare are taking an online U.S. history class to make up for the one I would be taking here in my Seattle school next year. This class is a pain, a huge one at that. But its worth it! I must remember that. I will soon get Rosetta Stone Italian, which is a well known computer program that teaches language very well (another computer lesson I will need to find time for). I'm really excited to start this though, because I can't wait to learn a new language! I will soon need to get a new passport, because I need one that will be valid for 6 months after my planned return date. I will get my visa once I know the city I'm going to live in. Besides these things I am preparing myself emotionally for the difficulties I may experience, the new people I will meet, the chances I will make over this year personally, and the fear of leaving the comforts of my home and family and friends.

Arrivederci for now!