Monday, October 24, 2011

Take a Walk in My Shoes.....

                So first off I would just like to warn you I’m about to go into a rant. Now I know it’s wise to do It on such a public place, but I just need to get this off my chest. But I also know others just don’t like people who rant so if you don’t want to hear me verbally nag someone to death then skip down to  (***********) and you skip the rant and start to read about my life in Italy. If you need a good butt chewing sessions then read on as you please. Thank you…

                Last week I got my personalized intercultural student timetable. Otherwise, I’m not in class, though philosophy, latin, etc… I’m in different classes all over the school. (which is a real blessing because I’m not very okay with sitting in one place for so long and my butt going numb) I have around  6 to seven hours of Math each week and around the same for Italian. Even getting moved toa  first year class to help with my grammer. Perfect. I get to meet more people, the teachers won’t get taken by surpise when I go wide eyes when they speak rapid Italian and maybe they won’t hand me a test that I have no clue how to take and looks more like Greek than Italian.
                Also before I start ranting I know it’s very generous for the school to allow me to do this. They could have just sat m at the back of some classroom and left me there. Never acknowledging me, not giving me a test, just letting me be. Not that I would have complained but I’m sure after a while I might have started chiseling lines on the wall to pass the minutes of school.
                But I would just like to say before you start bitching at me, how about you step into my shoes. You go be an Exchange student, get dropped in a completely different culture, away from your support system, across an ocean, in a place that is foreign as the ancient world in American minds at times. Then you come back and talk to me and see what tone your whistling.
                What I’m talking about is how at school today I was told that I really needed to start learning Italian. On the outside I smiled, looked ashamed and said “Yes. I’m trying” But on the inside this is what I thought. “No **** Sherlock, really?”.  (Pardon my potty mouth but that phrase looses it’s power if altered, truly)
                I mean I’ve been ehre not even two months. I’m trying, truly. If you talk slow enough I can understand, or use hand movements and you won’t even have to wiat a second after speaking for me to understand. But if there’s a verb you have to wiat for me to conjugate. You’ll know when I’m lost, I’ll tell. Otherwise I’m translaiting in my head or double checking that I have it right.  I know my Italian is not amazing. But truly this is a hard language. It would make English professors at Cambridge bash their heads against brick walls if they had to learn. Even my host mother agreed. But I still try. Also it’s hard to make perfect sentences so if a sentence is new to me or I’m trying to explain. I often speak neadethalicly. Think tarzan, the verb and subjects, no articles, very broken. Yes that is often times me speaking Italian. Of coruse around my host family, I’m a lot more bold. But in public, not quit. They would probably run screaming at how bad I butchered the language.
                Anywho back to my rant, so this unnamed unidentified person has the audacity to tell me that I really need to start learning Italy. (That is their words nicely) What I wanted to say to them after I said I was trying and they still said “I know” but… was this… . I have been here less than two months. I can understand pretty well, read a lot better, and get around town byself. Im sorry if I don’t understand school. But I’m not going to shove my head into an Italian book and learn Italian now! I have one year, ONE YEAR, in Italy. tO enjoy this. I want to learn the language, but if that’s all I wanted to know I would have just taken a class back in Texas and stayed comfortable at home. But instead I wanted to learn the culture and the people. I choose to leave my  comfortable life in Texas to have an once in a lifetime experience in your country. That means going out, walking around, being in the culture. Watching it. Not sticking my head in Italian work books twenty four seven  sicne I landed so I can speak fluently.  I mean for two of the weeks I was here I was going through culture shock so bad I about sold my soul to go home. When you dispising a place that much, or yearning for home that much your not going to want to learn the language of said place! Of course now I don’t feel like that. But I also don’t have an edict memory, I’m not going to remember everything. Truly I can’t tell you how many times I’ve asked how to say washing machine in Italian. I still can’t tell you how to say it let alone spell it.  I mean I’m leanring a new language while I’m leanring a new culture. I’m not making exscuses for myself, but unless I’m that pointy eared guy off of Star Wars (Spoke is it) and his race that aren’t supposed to have no emotions therefore they learn at supper lightening speed i’m not going to speak fluently by Christmas, truly sometimes I don’t think I’ll ever be able to speak fluently.
                And I don’t know if it just cause this is a sensitive cord with me, or the fact that this person has repeatedly hinted at this and now just bluntly said it but it about dang near put me in tears. If it wasn’t for my friends I most likely would have to have the school to call my host mom because I would have sat in the middle of the floor and cried.
                And when I came home and wasn’t excited after lunch just rushing through my meal to open my package that had arrived from home for my birthday my host mother asked me what was wrong. Que the almost tears again.
                But this time I had my host family, and they like always make any crappy day better. MY host mother talking about how monsterish the Italian teachers are and my younger sister comforting me by saying she wouldn’t want to be in my shoes learning Italian.
                Okay I think I’m done for now, I feel just a bit better. But I’m still stewing, partially.
Okay the rant is finished…
                MY life here has been going very well, time slipping past my fingers at the speed of light sometimes it seems. I have discovered little treasures about my town on my own, bonded with my host family (especially my host sister) more. I’m really loving Italy and at times never want to go home.
                I’m teaching myself to knit, my host sister already  asking for me to make her one once I get good.
                It’s getting colder, and sometimes I wish I were the kid of the Christmas Carol movie. You know the one with the red rider BB gun. I want to be the little brother bundled up to tight he has to waddle when he walks, because sometimes I’m that cold.  I wiat for halfway through Novemeber when we can turn the heater on. I will be clinging to the one in the bedroom, curled up right in front of it. If you don’t believe me I’ll take pictures.
                We had a famous Italian racecare driver come and tlak to use at school about safe driving ( I found the irony.)
                My parents miss me, and I love it when they do. Because their really nice to me, If I was any more spoiled I might take advantage of it. (That’s a joke. I love my parents, nanny and certain other family members and people. You are all amazing!!!!) The certain other people, eh……Family politics, the only politics I don’t enjoy because you just can’t turn off the TV to shut them up.
                The Nutella finally found me, I’m gaining some of the weight I’ve lost back, so I’m going to start running. I thought about doing it today but I procrastinated long enough the rain decided for me. Can’t say I complain.
                Also today I got a ackage in that my Nanny, mother , dad and step-mother all cooperated on for my birthday. This thing probably weighed the size of a one and half year old. And was stuffed. But in it was little things not only for but my host siblings and host mother.
                But there was also ingrediants for me to make Mexican food. Ranch and my nanny even put a small jar of Nutella in ther which made me and my host mother laugh. Also there was a pouch of chocolate chip cookie mix. I think my host mother was more excited about it than me, and that’s saying something. We discussed when we would make them as we ate NUtella and pre-preped the apple crumble that is going to be made tonight. (Have I mentioned how spoiled I am?)
                I also got my fluffy pajama pants, my house shoes and my sweetshirt, I’m currently the warmest I’ve been since it started to get cold. Translation: I don’t feel the need to hibernate.
                OH also someone should have been videotaping me eat lunch today because we had “buccine” which means something with a hole-bucco(in Italian, I do believe). Think  of spaghetti nodles so fat their hard to widn around a fork, and then they have a small hole in the middle of them (like sour puch straws) so you can’t slurp them or suck that small little tail part inot your mouth because you just suck in air. I thought I was going to have to just start picking it up and eating by hand because I couldn’t get any to stay on my fork for my life. Truly it was a sight to see, I’m laughing at myself as I think about it. But despite being very difficult to eat they were very good. Add them with some fat Italian grapes and it was the perfect lunch.
                So life here is good.
                My parting words and lessoned learned.
                Someone once said that an Exchange students exchange was built on awkward moments. I don’t remember who it was but they were so right they should get an award.
                Also the life of an exchange student is not glamourouse as many believe, and it’s not easy, or all about partying. But I would not pass up this chance if I had the choice to go back in time and have never picked up that pre-assement sheet, or what ever it was called.
                So I’m doing good. I wish you all. I’m going to go curl up under a blanket and knit some.
                Y’all take care.

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