Wednesday, September 23, 2009, 9:36 AM
ITALIAN SCHOOL/HOST FAMILY
Ok, so let me explain the next few posts that are all conveniently written on the same exact day. School is the most boring experience of my life, which I will explain later, so basically I wrote up a ton of blogger posts during class. Enjoy!

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The Barolo family consists of 5 people:

Pierangelo: "The Dad." He is HILARIOUS! The actor of the family. Everything he does is very dramatic (in a good way), with hand gestures and such. He is really, ridiculously tall too, a common characteristic within the Barolo household, minus one person, meaning me. He barely speaks english, and its humorous to see him try, because he is convinced that he says it right, and then Irene corrects him and he gets annoyed. He is such a great person, and I am glad to call him my host father!

Matilde: "The mom." Ahh, I LOVE Matilde! She is like a little Mary Poppins, always cooking, cleaning, asking me if I am hungry, talking on the phone, or rushing to work. She is so friendly and always focuses her attention on her children and me, and always asks how I am feeling and if I need anything. She is also a great listener when I need someone to talk to! Her english is excellent, so I talk to her as often as I can, which is definitely a negative on my part because I still need to learn some Italiano.

Irene: "The Sister." Irene is the perfect sister figure for me. I don't have a sister, but if I did, she is exactly how I would want her to be! She is so sweet, and constantly introducing me to people as to make me feel welcome and comfortable in my new Italian home. We talk a lot in chopped english, and are conveniently in the same exact class in school. Oh, and she has an array of amazing friends, too. GORGEOUS, btw. Damn, I want an Italian boyfriend...

Francesco: "The Grande Brother." Francesco is sooo sweet. He speaks barely any english, but he uses crazy hand gestures like I do to get the message across. He is funny and always singing or playing soccer. I think I connect with him the most because he is the easiest to talk to, even when there is a huge language barrier that makes it a problem sometimes.

Daniele: "The Piccolo Brother." Oh my goodness, Daniele is a little ball of energy! He is constantly moving around, I can't keep up! He speaks literally no english, which is a total advantage to me because it helps me to learn the language. Little kids = definite help. And ahh he is suuch a cutiepieee.

Anyway, the first week with this crazy, amazing family was so fantastic. They are PERFECT for me! And their apartment is gorgeous! It's this two story flat that is very modern and chic, and I even have my own room! My room is so cosy, I feel like I fit right in! I literally feel apart of the family already with no regrets or worries about being in Italy. However, I definitely think I am at the 'honeymoon' stage of my AFS journey. It means that I am at that place where I haven't yet realized I am here to stay for a year; kiinda feeling like a vacation. Oh, but there is one negative that I currently have: there are mosquitoes all over my room. I don't know where they are, but they are there because when I wake up, I have tons of freaky italian mosquito bites. It's pissing me offffff! Anyone know a good, homemade mosquito reppellent (spelling?), please post it in the comments!

Hmm, so on to school. Irene and I (THANK GOD!) go to the same school in a town called 'Moncallieri,' about 15 minutes away from our casa. It is a scientifica with classico, American-style classes. Except, I have this class called design, which is like an architecture course and confuses me to death. I have PE though, which definitely will help me in the exercise department since I KNOW I am going to get fat here with all this amazing food (I will explain food later, I promise!). So, anyway, school! My first day was great! Difficult and confusing, but definitely great. Once I arrived in class with Irene, I noticed marker written on the wall that said 'Giulia di amo!' and everyone ran up to say hello to me. I felt so welcomed and everyone is so genuine and sweet. The only difficulty I have is the understanding part. At this point in time, I can say simple sentences, such as basic introduction and describing things I like, which would take me months had I not been immersed in this fantastic Italian culture!

Ok, so in my school, everyone is very casual and we, unlike most italian schools, do not have to stand up when a teacher enters a class. And, depending on the teacher, the whole class talks SO much. There is no respect in class, which is fine by me because class is so boring and I can't understand anyway, but it still does not make sense to me. In America, sure, we talk during class, but at least we whisper! In Italy, they are like...yelling across the room to eachother! It's hilariously different. Oh! And though I don't have lunch in school, there is this little room in school that is similar to a cafeteria, but holy cow. Cafeteria food does not exist in Italy. They sell paninis and handmade pastas for ridiculously cheap prices. I have not had anything from the menu yet, but ahh, it baffles my mind in the best way. And the 'international barista,' as he calls himself, is named Claudio, who Irene introduced me to the other day. He is hilarious, and now remembers me as 'the American with the Italian name.' Haha. Hmm. More about school... Well, it's basically structured like your typical American public school, minus lockers and any fancy schmancy equipment. The classrooms are pretty dull, with one desk for the teacher and then a few desks for the students, a blackboard, and windows. Literally nothing else. And in Italian school, you stay in the same classroom all day, and the teachers come to you. But the greatest thing ever is that school is only five hours a day, unlike my crazy eight hour schedule at BASIS. Ugh.

However, the teachers are intimidating to the max here, except for the english teacher. She is kind, but her english is pretty bad. And then she firmly believes that because I speak english fluently, I can analyze english literature without even reading the book she is asking me to interperate. And I tell her I don't know, the class laughs, and now I am the foreign idiot. FML. Or as they say here, MAMA MIA. Haha, one more thing about schools: do NOT go to the bathroom! They are freaky holes in the ground, that scared me to death the first time I walked into a stall, haha. No mirrors in the bathrooms, either.

We had our first math test today. Let's just say that Italian schools teach math so differently that I have no idea in hellll how to figure out the problems. It is the same type of work that I did in math last year, however, my teacher doesn't accept the fact that I find the answer differently than the rest of the class! Hmfh. Oh, well. During the rest of my classes besides english and math, I pretty much brush up on my italian using the 'Italian for Dummies' book Laura gave me (grazie, laura!) and doodle, or talk to the person sitting next to me.

Hmm, that's all I can say for now regarding school. Until next time, ciaoo!

xoxo Julia

Oh! One more thing, I promise. Unlike BASIS (my old school), public displays of affection are VERY common. I'm talking, the second we have a break from class, a boy is on top of a girl, making out. I can't believe how different Europe is, and I don't know whether it is a good or bad thing! Haha, ok ciao for real.

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Monday, September 7, 2009, 11:35 PM
C'EST LA VIE! (YEAH, FRANCAIS.)
Ciao, everyone!

First thing is first: Mi dispiace (I'm sorry) if there are numerous spelling errors and strange words within this post; the computers here are kind of hard to get used to because the keys are all in different places!

Sorry I have not blogged in forever, but SO MUCH has been going on lately that it is kiinda hard to keep up with this! I guess I should start my blog from the beginning, whichis the plane ride from Arizona to (my state) to New York (where the first AFS orientation would take place). So, at4:30 AM Wednesday morning, on September 9th, I went to the Sky Harbor airport in order to catch my plane. There were heartfelt goodbyes on both mine and my parents side; however, I expected myself to cry and I didn't at all! My mom did though... Ugh, why did I not cry! I was just so happy to get on that plane and begin my new Italian life that I didn't. But word of advice for future AFSers: CRY. Haha. It's okay to cry, and completely normal. Don't hold your feelings inside.

Anyway, I walked towards the terminal after saying goodbye to my parents, and was greeted bya friendly AFS face - Giselle! She is from Arizona as well (duh) and it was good to have company on the long, ridiculously tiring flight to NY. Finally, we arrived at the JFK airport whre we were greeted by red AFS shirts and the wonderful volunteers that wore them. Hmm, aside from the fact that we got to meet other people going to Italy, there isn't much to say about the NY orientation. It was boring, and all we did was go over some rules, regulations, and watched some videos. But in a social aspect, it was really fun to talk to people who are going to be sharing the same experiences as me for the upcoming year. Then, at 12 PM on Thursday, we left to go to the airport and to Zurich. There were about 45 kids going to Italy from the USA, so getting through security chekpoints were a long, vigorous, and boring process. Add one flight to Switzerland and another to Rome, and you get a full day of NO sleep. Literally 24 hours without it. And by the time we arrived in Rome for our final orientation before arriving at our host towns, we were dead tired. At least, I was. Once we got to Rome though, we were immediately greeted by people from around the world! There were approximately 400 of us in total, and meeting everyone was soo amazing. God, is it just me or do I now type like an Italian trying to speak English? I hope that's not the case! :/

Anyway, after the Rome orientation came one train ride to Torino (7 hours...ahhhh), Italy, with multiple stops along the way. At each stop, about 5-10 AFSers left to go and meet their host families. It was so cute to see their exstatic face when meeting their family, and it made me all the more nervous to meet mine! But finally, the big, indelible 'Torino' sign came, followed by a 'BIENVENUTI JULIA!' poster from the Barolo family as I walked off the train.

I've been with the Barolos for about a week now, and since I got off the train, I have not stopped smiling. Every day is a new adventure! I feel bad for not thinking about my family in America much, but I am sure they understand how amazing an opportunity this is. I love waking up in the morning, thinking to myself, 'holy SHIT, I am REALLY in Italy!' followed by the Barolo family at breakfast, shouting 'buongiorno, julia!' and 'buon scuola!' Haha. But I'll go into more detail regarding the Barolo family in my next post, as well as my first day of school, Italian food (DELICIOUS, by the way!), and Italy in general.

Until next time, Baciiiii,

Julia xoxoxoox

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Saturday, August 29, 2009, 12:58 AM
ONE MORE WEEK!
Have you ever had one of those days where you put the phrase, "woah, this could be the last time I ever..." in front of every sentence? Let's just say that for me, that's how my week is going. For example:

Me: *watching tv with my brother*
Eddie (my brother): *silence*
Me: THIS COULD BE THE LAST TIME WE EVER WATCH TV TOGETHER UNTIL I LEAVE FOR ITALY!
Eddie: What the hell...?

or...

Me: *at a supermarket with my mom*
Mom: Honey, what should we buy for dinner?
Me: OH MY GOD, THIS COULD BE THE LAST TIME YOU ASK ME TH-...

etc, etc.

I guess it just finally dawned on me that Italy is coming fast, as in 'less-than-a-week-and-I'm-beginning-to-freak-out' speedy freakin' gonzalez fast. With the ridiculous amount of packing, the constant reminder from phone-calling relatives living near and far and asking how nervous I am, and just... everything, I'm starting to get overwhelmed! And what's freaking me out the most is the fact that this is my last week, and I'm so busy that I barely have time to just sit and relax with my family! Luckily, tomorrow is my last day of work, and the weekend, plus labor day, will be the sweet, 'last bon voyage' family time that I need so desperately. I've really been taking for granted all of my 17 years with parents that have done everything for me in the past. Now that I'll be without them for a year, I'm slowly, but surely, beginning to realize just how much they do for me on a daily basis. Haha, so when you read this, mom and dad, just wanted to let you know I appreciate you guys so much! And of course, I'll miss you! And as for you Eddie, well, you know you'll miss me, even if you refuse to admit it!

Hmm. In other news, I got my visa! And I didn't have to go to LA to get it, either! To make a ridiculously long story short: they recently appointed a 'Consulate General' in Arizona, aka, a man from Arizona is eligible to sign visa paperwork in the same manner that the LA consulate would. So yay, people like Giselle and I (you can check her blog out on the right sidebar) from Arizona don't have to travel all the way to California to sign two documents that would take five seconds to do! It's fantastic.

I'm trying to think of what else to say.

Ow, my brother just punched me in the arm.

Crap, I need to pack.

Geez, I'm really leaving in six days.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009, 4:02 PM
UPDATE

41 more days until my LIFE begins, and I have so much to update you all about! Hmm. First thing is first: I've been talking to my host family via facebook, especially my host sister, Irene. She seems like such a sweet girl, and the great news? I'm going to the same school as her next year! It's called Istituto Scolastico Majorana. Check it out at: www.majoranatorino.it. I think it's a liceo classico, but I'm not quite sure. I'll have to ask my host sister the next time we talk.

For those of you that are kind of confused about what I just said, lemmie explain. There are...I think...five? different schools that you can be placed in for high school in Italy. For example, there is a scientific school (liceo scientifico) that pertains mostly to, well, science. There is a schools for art, schools for literature, schools focusing more towards language, etc. My school, a 'liceo classico,' is basically scheduled similar to a regular high school, with nothing emphasized like the scientific or literature schools. I wish I could have gone to an arts school, that would have been amazing! But I'm sure that I'll love the school that I'm placed in, especially because I get to take the bus with Irene. You know what's really sad? I've never taken a bus to school in my life, so that will be a challenge. Thank god I'll have someone with me!

As far as my visa goes, there is no Italian Consulate in Arizona, so I have to travel all the way to Los Angeles (hey, hey, no complaining on my part; I've never been there and would KILL to!) with my parents to sign a bunch of documents in two weeks. It's not as harrowing a process as everyone thinks, but luckily I have all of my paperwork in time and stuff. I know a few people are struggling to put everything together, especially those who don't have their host families yet. I'm really hoping everything works out for all of them though.

Hmm. Well, in other news, I'm developing a youtube channel for AFS italy-goers, so look out for that. I'm hopefully going to be starting it in a few weeks, depending on my work schedule. And aside from that, I'm beginning to figure out what I'm packing for Italy. Oh, and my birthday is this sunday! Woo, 17. :)

Well, I have to go. I can't think of anything else to write about at the moment!
Until next time, baci!


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Wednesday, July 1, 2009, 4:00 PM
HOST FAMILY!
Wow, I think I am going to become addicted to this whole 'blogging' thing. Anyway, just wanted to quickly talk about my host family. They live in Torino, Italy, and seem like the sweetest, most amazing family ever. I will have a 16 year old sister, which is quite different for me because I only have one 14 year old brother back in Arizona. I will also have a 13 year old host brother, as well as an 11 year old brother as well. Wow, I currently live in a family of four, so being the sixth person in a family is definitely going to be something I will have to get used to!

I'll tell you guys a bit more about the family when I receive more information.

Until next time! baciii!

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Monday, June 15, 2009, 10:14 PM
WELLA, HELLO.
How horrible is it that I have absolutely NO idea how to start off my first blog entry ever? Terrible, I suppose. Anyway, I guess I should start off by introducing myself. My name is Julia, I'm from Scottsdale, Arizona, and I am currently 16 years old. My birthday is August 2nd, so in about a month, I will be 17! And in about two months...I'll be in Torino, Italy for AFS' 2009 - 2010 year student exchange program! Hah, bet you didn't see that one coming! But yes, it's true. After pleading and prying to my parents about a student exchange for what seemed like forever, they finally allowed me the opportunity to apply to an AFS program of my choice. I've always admired Italy, and I've always wanted to learn the language as well, so what better way than to choose my first choice country? Plus, my mom and all of her family speak fluent Italian, and I've always dreamed of coming back to America after a study abroad program and being able to talk to them in both Italian AND English.

So, after applying and gaining acceptance into the amazing program, my parents handed me one more demeaning challenge before officially handing over a big check to AFS. I had to get a summer job. This didn't seem like such a hard task at the time, but after months and months of my petty attempts, nothing seemed to be working. I gave up hope. Italy would soon be a dream that would stay a dream, and I would have to endure another year in Scottsdale, Arizona. But then, I had one last idea I attempted to try: the Teen Employment Program. It's this program in Arizona that helps kids get part time jobs when they really need them and have no other options. AKA, me. Luckily, the program gave me an amazing employment counselor who really helped me when it came to finding a job. (If you're reading this, Shelia, you don't even know, that meant the WORLD TO ME!) After applying to multiple places, I finally was able to land a job working as the assistant to a hotel owner. This is currently my eighth day of work, and though it may be 'work,' it is still getting me one step closer to my dream.

I am so happy to have this opportunity, and if you are reading this right now, I hope it enables you to want to go abroad as well! I'll be updating this as much as I can; my goal is at least once a week. But that might change in Italy, of course.

Hope you enjoy my blog, and thanks for visiting my page!

'Till next time,

Julia
baciiiii times a thousand!

P.S. Oh! I forgot to explain why my site is called what it's called. Well, my blog, 'Buongiorno Principessa,' is named after the infamous line from 'La Vita E Bella,' or 'Life is Beautiful.' Such a gorgeous movie, especially if you are interested in Italian Cinematography/Film like I am.

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About

the trials and tribulations of a student exchanger living in torino, italy for one year. this blog is 100% fact, and was written by the crazy, fantastic girl whose picture can be seen above, aka julia. <3

video blog
COMING SOON <3
links
other afs italy blogs:
GISELLE's blog!
SUZY's blog!
VALENTINA's blog!
SARAH's blog!
KATIE's blog!
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misc. links:
AFS homepage
AFS blog site
my facebook
MY ITALIA PHOTOS! <3

Credits
so, basically, there's this girl named hally and she's prettymuch amazing because she created this gorgeous blog for me! you should check her out here.. not literal checking out, but you know. resources: deviantart.com