Thursday, January 26, 2012

Sick of Being Sick

Cough! Cough! A...ACHOOOOO!!!!!

If the tittle and expressions above haven't given you a clue what's this post is gonna be about, you're probably an idiot. Or sick.

Yes, I'm down with the common cold (and I hope to God nothing more). I haven't been to school for a week now. In the beginning, my host sis was sick last Wednesday. We'd normally take the bus to school and I was still in  good health to go to school by myself.

However, because my Italian skills is as good as a 3-year-old kid, I'm not allowed to take the bus myself because they're afraid I might:

1. Not be able to identify the right bus.
2. Take the wrong bus.
3. Get lost.
4. Talk to some random stranger for help.
5. Accept help from a kindly looking fellow in a white van.
6. Somehow find myself next to the Great Wall of China after accepting a glass of coke from the kind fellow and later took a long nap and forget who I was.
7. Spend the next 20 years traveling the world, delivering packets of what looked like dried grass.
8. Eventually watch the news and see a tearful couple mentioning my name and how much they miss me.
9. Recognize that its my parents and remember who I really was.
10. Fight a bloody battle with my master and eventually escape alive.
11. Travel by foot for 3 years to Malaysia.
12. Reunite with my family once again.
13. Fly to Italy.
14. Attempt to take the bus to school again.
15. Take the wrong bus.

So... yeah. I'm not allowed to take the bus to school alone. Yeah.

A few days after my host sis got sick, I got sick too! FML...

Anyway, I hope I've been making a speedy recovery. I've been drinking A LOT of water and using the toilet A LOT of times. The good news is that my pimples are finally going away! YAY!!! In a few days, my skin will be nice and smooth, just how it used to be.

The bad new is that because I haven't been moving my ass for a week and I've never stepped foot out of the house, I've been rolling in the weight gain and I'm SO FAT!!! >.<

When I'm back in Malaysia, its gonna be a strict diet and kilometers upon kilometers of non stop running. Maybe I'd get a personal trainer.

Now I know how pregnant people feel...

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Buon Anno Cinese!

GONG XI FA CAI and 新年快乐!

Its the year of the Dragon, the luckiest zodiac of the 12 years! I have a feeling that there's gonna be a lot of marriages and babies on the way.

Speaking about babies, my host family's cousin recently gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. He's so gorgeous, I fell in love with him straight away. The baby's name is Raffaele, the same name as my host brother. Isn't that cool? I'm so happy for them :)

Oh yeah, on such a special occasion, naturally, I must dedicate a nail art for the year of the dragon and here it is!

Tada!! What  do you think? 

The head was a little tricky to paint on. I had to practice on a piece of paper with both hands before taking a deep breath and paint my nails. Miraculously, even my right hand turned out fine. I have steady hands :P

Lookie! Put my nails together and you get the body of the dragon :)

This year is probably the loneliest Chinese new year ever. Because I'm in Italy. Its weird not listening to the 'Boom, boom boom!!' of the fireworks, or watching a lion dance, going shopping for new clothes, eating a lot, and worst, no ang pau!!! >.<

But how often do I ever get to visit Italy? Exactly.

I've been aware about this and it is a sacrifice I'm willing to make. There's always next year. Plus, I'm having a wonderful time here.

The downside is that I have pimples! Yes, that's right, smooth-as-a-baby's-butt-skin Anne has A LOT of pimples! I'm so devastated :(

Never in my life have I ever seen so many pimples at one time on my usually smooth skin! 

Where did I go wrong???

Anyway, I'm doing my best to get rid of those awful pimples by drinking lots of water (I've been using the toilet more frequently these days), staying away from dairy products (I think that's the cause of it because I've been drinking milk and eating cheese and chocolate nearly everyday), and wash my  face more often.  

I'm so desperate to get rid of it. If it gets any worst, I swear I'll insist upon seeing a doctor! I can't live looking like the surface of the moon, I just can't. I'm really close to tears just looking at the mirror these past few days.

Okay, getting out of topic here. Anyway. 

HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR!! Wishing you happiness and prosperity to all my family, friends, and not forgetting my lovely readers. 

Lots of love from Italy <3

Sunday, January 15, 2012


Thank God its SUNDAY!

I swear, my first week of school for the year felt like the LONGEST week of my life. And I have to go through all that for the next 5 weeks. XP

My very first week of school in Italy was last year before the beginning of our 2 week holidays. It wasn't so bad then because everyone was relaxed and they finished school earlier. But now that the holidays are over, things start to get serious.

First of all, I found out that we had to go to school on a... a Saturday! Yes, I'm shocked too. In our Malaysian school, we only have school on Saturdays for curriculum activities or to replace a holiday. Even then, we don't go to school on that rare Saturdays because... we wanna sleep!

So yeah, its usually the people who have nothing else to do that would go to school on a freakin Saturday. But attendance in an Italian school is very important, so we have to go weather we like it or not. The only free day we get is a Sunday. *sigh*

Unfortunately, I didn't really enjoy the lessons either because everything is in Italian except for English classes. So I couldn't follow the lessons because I can't understand what they're saying... and I get really bored. Sometimes, I get so bored, I actually sleep in the class believe it or not.

Nobody noticed that I was sleeping during the past few days because I have a technique: I'd take out one of my novels, open it to a random page, bend over it and use my hair to cover my face so it looks like I'm reading when I'm actually in a far away land called Dreamland. So far, I haven't been caught yet.

I also discovered not long after that they have no recess!

Like WHAAAAT!? How can you possibly go on for 6 hours in school without at least 20 minutes break?? Apparently, the Italian students can. Its so weird. What if you get hungry? What if you need to use the toilet? What if you need some fresh air and to stretch your legs??

In the end, whenever I need to use the toilet or to buy a drink from the vending machine (did I mention that there's no canteen in the school?), I'd have to ask the teachers in Italian.

Later on, when school finishes, Lia and I have to literally RUN to the bus stop so that we can catch the bus home. And usually, we'd always miss the bus. So we have to either wait or take a 10 minute walk to the city square where all the buses go to and we have to wait about 30 minutes for the next bus to arrive.

In the morning, we also have to take the bus to school and I swear, never before have I appreciated owning a car or being driven around by my parents before! In the morning, the bus is so crowded, I'd usually get squeezed about by the passengers because I couldn't find a seat. 

One time, I've been squeezed so hard by a guy from behind me, I swear I felt something else on my ass. I hope its his phone or something hard in his pockets *shivers*.

On the plus side, I really enjoyed playing sports with the school kids last Friday. We played Badminton. Its been a long time since I've done that.

While Lia was off playing soccer with her friends, I was playing badminton with an Italian boy (because I had no idea how to play soccer) when the P.E teacher told us to have a real badminton match. And guess who won??

ME! I won! Malaysia Boleh!!! 

After I won the match, another boy who was watching us play wanted to challenge me as well. And I accepted, even though I was completely exhausted and dehydrated.

Once again, I won. Yep, I've still got it. Haha!!

The next day, my muscles were aching because I haven't been using those muscles in a long time because of my SPM exams. Gosh, I could hardly walk and my butt hurts so sitting down may take some time. But it was all worth it. It was probably the most exciting thing that had happened during the entire week.

I like my P.E teacher. He's probably the biggest guy I've ever seen so far. He's so tall, I'm barely up to his shoulders. (Yes Daniel, he's much taller than you.) I literally have to look up to talk to him.

I dunno why, but my P.E teacher reminds me of a St. Bernard. A gentle giant. He's very kind. The next day after playing Badminton, he gave me the school team t-shirt!

I realized that "No Al Doping" means 'No to Drugs'. Okaay....
Whatever. Its free!

On Saturday, I'd follow Lia and her friends to Avellino in the evening. It was a different experience walking around the place at night. I've never been out with my friends at night before, we'd usually go during the day.

I really enjoyed looking at the things that are sold in the shops, but we didn't go inside much shops. 
I love shopping....

Oh and the shoes! Absolutely gorgeous! I love their boots, but I don't think its very practical to wear in Malaysia. *sigh* Oh well....

Anyway, we went to a pizza restaurant for dinner and guess what I had...

Sorry for the crap picture. I'm afraid of using flashes in a public place. But basically, its a pizza with cheese, sausages, and yes, believe it of not, french fries! What a strange pizza.

I wanted to try something other than my usual Margarita pizza, but I think I still prefer the classic, which is, of course, the Margarita. The french fry pizza is great, but I find it rather fattening and yes, you get one WHOLE pizza to yourself!

I really have no idea how the Italians do it! I've seen skinny girls and little kids eat those massive pizzas to themselves and they didn't seem very... stuffed. Like me. I could barely eat even half that pizza, but somehow I managed to stuff 3/4 of that pizza in me. Somebody else ate the remaining quarter pizza of mine.

You won't believe this, but, in Italy, you have to pay for the glasses, the cutlery, and basically the service in a restaurant! Its about 2 euros per person, which is about RM8. Damn!

I've been busy this past week and I know I'll be busy for the next few weeks as well. So I'll keep you updated every Sunday because apparently, that's the ONLY free day I have in a week.


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Culture Shocks

Its been about 3 weeks since I first stepped foot upon the Italian grounds and I have learnt that the culture in Malaysia and Italy are COMPLETELY different.

So here are some of the culture shocks I have experienced during my stay in Italy so far.

1. Its all about the love in Italy

When I first met my host family, I planned to give them a hug (and that's already very affectionate for me). But instead, they gave me a kiss on both cheeks each and I realized that this is common in Italy. More kisses and hugs followed after that when I met other Italians during my first week.

I have never received (or given) so many hugs and kisses in just 1 week, I can't even keep track anymore! But you know what? I actually like it.

2. Most Italians smoke

The first thing that greeted me at the entrance of the airport was the smell of cigarettes. Its very common for people to smoke here, including the teenagers. Even my host family smokes, except for my host sister, Lia.

Although I've been offered a cigarette once in a while, I refused politely. I want to experience their culture, but I don't intend to start any bad habits. Like smoking.

But I've learnt to stand the smell of cigarettes now and it doesn't bother me whenever somebody smokes in front of my face anymore.

3. Nobody goes bare footed in the house

OK, I've been quite aware about this culture before I arrived in Italy, but despite all that, I still asked where do I put my shoes when I first arrived at their home. I was a bit surprised that I could walk around in the house wearing my sneakers because I didn't want to dirty the floors.

But everybody seems to be doing it so what the heck. Anyway, if you wanna be comfortable, you can wear house slippers like the one I'm wearing now. Their aunt bought it for me even though I insisted that I'd pay for myself and she said its a gift for me.

Isn't that kind of her?

4. Italians eat fast

That was definitely a shocker for me. I thought I ate quickly. I've always finished eating my food first back in Malaysia, so I was very surprised that everybody else had finished eating their share of pizza while I was only halfway through (and trust me, it was a very large piece of pizza)!

The there was lunch and dinner and every time I always finish last! Even their grandpa ate faster than me =.=

5. EVERYTHING is in Italian. Even the Simpsons.

The Simpsons has always been one of my favorite shows. That's why I was feeling so happy when I saw the Simpsons theme song playing from my host family's TV. I was surprised when I saw Homer speak Italian after that.

In fact, everything that was originally in English has been dubbed into Italian so that the locals are able to enjoy it. We even watched Dragonball in Italian!

Its so weird watching Goku speak Italian...

Its not just the TV. Even the movies played American movies in Italian.

The other day, Lia took me along with her friends to watch Sherlock Holmes. At first, I was like 'Great! Something in English. Finally!' Fat hopes.

The movie is dubbed in Italian and there isn't even any English subtitles for me to read like the ones in Malaysia. I had a feeling that it was a good movie. Unfortunately, I couldn't understand a word of it.

6. Italian kids gamble a lot

Now that its the holidays, I've been following Lia to her friend's house nearly every night to play Tombola or Sinco. Its the Napolean version of 'Bingo' and its quite fun. Except for the fact that I always keep losing money T.T

Tombola. Its a game where somebody randomly chooses a number and call it out. You're supposed to cover the number that is called on your card just like bingo. The first one who finishes all the numbers is supposed to call out 'Tombola!' and you win money.

In the beginning, I didn't win at all because they call out the numbers in Italian so I couldn't really understand. But after numerous times of playing, I began to recognize the numbers and I've won a few times now.

Here's a fun fact about gambling in Italy; it is said that a person who is very unlucky in the game is usually lucky in love. Maybe I'm lucky in love because I never won anything at all during the first few nights :P

7. Loud conversations are normal

Until now, this is something I'm still not very used to. I don't understand Italian very well, so I get very uncomfortable when people starts talking to each other very loudly. At home, people shout at each other when they're mad at each other so I get a little upset whenever my host family starts talking loudly because I can't tell if they're angry or not.

I've been told that its normal for people to shout at each other even when their not mad, but sometimes I'm afraid they shout because I did something wrong. Oh well, hopefully I'll get used to it soon...

And that's some of the few culture shocks I have experienced during my stay in Italy. I'm pretty sure there are a few more, but I'm too lazy to list it down. More updates to come soon.


Monday, January 2, 2012

Christmas in Italy


OK, I know its a very, very late post, but what the hell. I'm gonna talk about Christmas in Italy anyway. 

Being away from home on Christmas day is a totally new experience for me. Despite the cheerful atmosphere in my host family's household, I couldn't help that feeling about missing home and my family.

On Christmas eve, we had a BIG dinner and I mean a HUUUGE dinner. I've never eaten so much food before. At home, my family used to prepare several types of food and we'd leave it on the table for others to take as much as they want.

I'd usually take one meal and I'm done. But here in Italy, things are a little different. Instead of one course like I'd normally have, they have about 5 courses!! XP

These are some of the things we had for Christmas. The food is SOOO good. I really enjoyed it, but there's so much food, I felt like I could explode any minute.

Later on, Lia took me to their basement where they store all their food.

I've never seen so much tomato sauce all my life. They made it themselves last summer. Its used for pasta and other food. Like, seriously? Can they really finish it all in one year??

Actually, I think they can because I've been having food with tomato sauce nearly all the time.

Check it out! Apparently, their uncle and grandpa makes their own wine. How cool is that??

That's where they store their wine. I've tasted it a few times. Its pretty good, actually. Its not as strong as the wine we usually have at home, but its just perfect for me.

On Christmas day, we went to church. The mass is celebrated a little differently compared to Malaysia. 

First of all, its obviously celebrated in Italian, its alright to enter the church late (as in very late. Like, after the homily late), the choir sounds so good (and the priest is not complaining that they sound too 'professional' like my church), and you can exist before the priest leaves once mass has ended. The priest would stay at the altar and greet the parishioners instead.

After mass, my host family took me to a place where there's so many displays of the scene when Jesus was born. Its so beautiful!

I just love the 3D scenes. It must've taken a lot of work to do it.

Isn't it absolutely stunning?

According to the Italian tradition, the gifts are exchanged and opened on Christmas day, unlike my tradition where we exchange gifts on the 26th December which is Boxing day.

I'm was surprised that I actually got a gift at all for Christmas. I mean, I'm just a stranger in the house. I did get each the member of my host family a Malaysian gift though. I hope they liked it.

I was very touched when their aunt gave me something as well as a classmate from school. Even my host mom and dad gave me something too.

Anyway, spending Christmas in Italy made me realize that its not about the gifts, its not about the decorations, and its not about the food. I learnt that Christmas is about being with your loved ones and the miracle birth of Jesus.

I missed my family so much on Christmas, but I had a blast with my host family at the same time.

Merry belated Christmas and a happy new year! <3

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