Sunday, December 25, 2011

Buongiorno Italy!

Greetings from Italy! I still can’t believe I’m in freakin Italy. It still feels so surreal. I never thought I’d go to Europe someday. OK, yes I have and it came true!

Travelling to Italy was nerve wrecking. I was SOOO nervous the moment I first said goodbye to my family at the airport. But at the same time, I’ve never been so excited before.  There were so many things on my mind; what if my host family don’t like me? What if I don’t fit in with my classmates? What if I don’t like it here?

There were just so many questions on my mind.

I’m not the only one though. Even Syefah, another exchange student was also nervous. Heck, she was crying when we left our parents!

Its true that I absolutely love travelling, but I also HATE going on long flights. And the flight from Kuala Lumpur to Doha took about 8 effin hours! That’s not even Italy yet. We still have to go on transit from Doha to Italy which is about a 6 hour flight.

So altogether, I’ve been travelling for about 14 hours, but that’s not even counting the 8 hours we had to wait on transit for the flight to Italy.  Yeah, it took us about 22 hours to reach Italy XP

When I first arrived in Rome, the first thing that hit me when I stepped out of the airport was the smell of cigarettes. I’ve been told that most Italians smoke, so I was prepared to tahan the smell if my host family happened to smoke.

I still can't believe I was in Rome. Its like a dream come true :)

Before meeting our host family, we had to go for an orientation camp for 2 days. The volunteers are super friendly and we had a great time!

In the hotel, I found some gorgeous postcards of Rome and I wanted to buy it because I collect postcards. But the counter had no change for 10 euros. Like hello!? It’s a counter, its supposed to have change wth =.=

I brought only notes with me so I was disappointed to find out that I can’t buy a drink from the vending machine. I haven’t had a drop of water since I stepped out of the plane so I was pretty frustrated that not only can’t I buy a drink, I can’t buy postcards or make a call because the freakin counter had no change for 10 euros!

But the place is absolutely beautiful! I fell in love with it instantly.

My first Italian breakfast!  In Italy, there is bread in every meal and I mean every meal. Not that I'm complaining though. Their bread is so yummy!

During our break from the session, Ricardo, our volunteer, took me and my group to the top of the roof to see St. Peter’s church. I’ve always wanted to visit that place! Its been my dream to see the Vatican and visit the most famous church in the world!

I really hope I could visit that place someday *sigh*.

At the end of the session, we all said our goodbyes to each other as we went our separate ways to meet our host families. I was really, really nervous at that time because I was afraid I might not recognize my host family or they might not pick me up from the train station.

Come to think of it, I guess that was kinda silly, huh?

I took some pictures on the way to the train station from the bus. Once again, here’s st. Peter’s church. *sigh* So near, yet so far…

The roads are so clean and the cars are so adorable!

I don’t know what’s this place called, but Lorenzo said it’s a famous court or some sort.

Everything is simply beautiful! I love Italy :D

Sorry for the VERY late update, but I’ve been busy settling down in my new home for the next 2 months.  When I finally took the train to Avellino, my heart was beating fast because I really hoped my host family would like me.

So when I stepped off the train into the cold dark night, I got very worried when I saw no one there. I can’t speak Italian, my phone was dead and I didn’t have any small change to call if there’s a problem. I don’t know if it was the cold or if I was nervous, but my body shook vigorously and my teeth was chattering… you know what? I think I was cold after all.

Anyway, I found a bench and sat there for about 10 minutes before a lady holding an AFS poster with my name on it approached me. That’s when I met my host mom.

I was so relieved! I haven’t introduced you to my host family, have I?

My host family is a family of four, just like mine. There’s my host mom, Genoveffa, host dad, Pasquale, my host sister (I finally have a sister!), Lia, and my host brother, Raffaele.

I liked my host family instantly. They are so kind and generous. When I first arrived at their home, they gave me a brand new coat, hat and scarf because they knew Malaysia is a hot country and they were concerned that I’d get cold here.

I was so touched. I can’t imagine buying things like these for complete strangers. As I was preparing for bedtime, my host mom asked me if I had pyjamas. I told her that I planned to wear my track pants and the cardigan that I was wearing.

She simply shook her head, took out a box containing a set of new pyjamas and gave it to me! The pyjamas is so warm and comfortable. I never thought anybody would be this generous and kind to outsiders like me. 
A complete stranger whom they barely know and they've welcomed me into their home and gave me clothes because they were concerned about my well being.

Apparently, my host family couldn't speak English very well. I discovered that they've been using Google translate when e-mailing me. Luckily, my host sister, Lia, could speak English just fine. Not that great English, but good enough for us to communicate with each other.

I feel so lucky to be in this family.

So anyway, we had dinner of Margarita pizza. It’s a classic pizza in Italy and I really liked it! Really.

I had no idea that I’m supposed to have one whole pizza to myself. I also found out that apparently, Italians eat quickly. And I mean really quick. Everybody else had finished their pizza while I was only halfway through my first slice! 

And trust me, it was a very big slice of pizza.

The slice of pizza was actually enough to fill my tummy, so I politely declined the rest. I really couldn’t eat anymore because I had an apple, a big sandwich, yoghurt, and more bread on the train.

In the house, I saw a fireplace! An actual fireplace that works! My host dad or brother would take firewood from outside the house and put it in there. I know it sounds silly, but I was really fascinated to see a real fireplace that is fully functionable to heat the house.

Raffaele told me that the heat from the firsplace goes round the whole house because there is a heater in every room. The heat from the fireplace would travel through the pipes and out the heater so that it’ll be nice and toasty in the house.

I didn’t have an adaptor for any of my gadgets so I had no choice but to use my host family’s computer at the moment. The keyboard is slightly different from the keyboards in Malaysia. So it took me some time to find the keys and letters I needed to e-mail my family.

In Italy, some of the symbols such as @?()&;*% are in different places and there are also other symbols I’ve never seen before. Its probably an accent which is read differently.

The next day, I had to go to school. I’ll blog about it the next time. Ciao!


  1. Can't wait!!! Gahhhh you can't imagine how much I'm burning up with envy! I mean, it's FRIGGIN ITALY!@!!


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