And another month has flown by everyone! February/March have been my fastest two months left and I wish I could just cling to every last second but they slip away so easily... but I cannot lament because so many beautiful experiences have colored my life in the last month!
I have traveled quite a bit in the last few weeks! The week of my last post, I decided to go to my first European soccer game. Albeit Genoa vs. Udinese (not the best two Italian soccer teams), I was ecstatic to watch soccer again after years and years of watching my brother play and also playing myself. It was an interesting and very Italian day though... The train line had broken a couple weeks before due to a landslide, thus creating many problems for transportation along the Ligurian coast. Instead of taking a single train for 2 or 2.5 hours to get to Genova, I had to take two trains and one bus for a total travel time of at least 4 hours. I arrived, already tired from the trip, and my host uncle Max picked me up with his scooter to take me to his family's house. We arrived at lunch time, which means FEAST! The previous week I was attempting to eat in a healthy and lighter manner after having stepped on a scale for the first time in months, and this day made me realize that I just have to enjoy Italy and its culinary delights while I can. We ate a healthy serving of pasta with ragù, calamari (fried octupus), fresh bread, bugie (a Carnival treat) and cookies from one of the most famous bakeries in Genova! After we were more than full, my cousins lent me a jersey and scarf to make me a true Genoa fan. It was a high scoring game (3-3) that involved a good comeback for Genoa and so everybody left happy! I also got home in 3 hours instead of 4.5 even considering that our train was delayed. (When isn't the train late?) My bus driver was Neapolitan (from Naples/Napoli) and I would just like to inform everybody that he was definitely the American stereotype of an Italian. What fun!
I spent a couple weeks in Sanremo enjoying new friends and nice weather before I went to a Carnival festival in Ivrea. This is one of the oldest Carnival celebrations in Italy and it involves the throwing of oranges by hefty and mighty Piemontese men and their families. I went with many other AFS students to Ivrea where we witnessed and even participated in the orange battle that involves big carts pulled by horses with warriors inside. They were very serious about their tradition and I saw many men with bloodied faces and I even got a bruised leg being a spectator with my red hat (it is supposed to keep you out of the battle)! It was quite fun to see such a wild event and I even got to miss a day of school to do so! In terms of pictures of the event... my camera died half an hour before the battle had begun...
This trip spread out over three days included 12 hours of train. So we can make the conclusion that I basically live on trains or in train stations. I got home at lunch time and then my host mom's aunt arrived from Avila, Spain that evening. Tìa Lourdes is a wonderful person and I loved meeting her! I got to practice my Spanish for five days (although it was really just a Spanish-ified version of Italian) and also enjoy the area I live in! After I got out from school, we would walk home and make some lunch, then go out for a bike ride or a walk along our beautiful coastal bike path that starts in Sanremo and continues for many kilometers. She wore me out because she is so active! We also made sure to stop for a good ice cream and do window shopping. I got to see my host aunt and uncle more than usual and I always love being around them. Saturday we took a drive to Cannes, France where we took a hike in a famous mimosa valley (mimosa is a type of flower for them) on the day of the "Festa delle Donne" that was beautiful! We got lost, but we did so along with a group of foreigners we found that came from Spain, Iran, England, Argentina, Italy and France. Then we went and walked around the very vibrant city of Cannes before stopping for Mexican food on our way home (my first Mexican meal in MONTHS after being used to eating it every single week). We finished off the week by taking a walk Sunday morning and then enjoying a wonderful, completely homemade gnocchi done by Aunt Francesca.
The week after, I did something very spontaneous. I bought a fish just because I felt like it. Sciachelo (pronounced shakelu) Leo Gonzales Villa joined the family on March 12 and he has been a great addition! He is a little crazy and plays with his reflection often, but he is a keeper! I want to get him a friend next week.
This past weekend was spent in Torino (Turin) with my Chilean friend Belen. I had a wonderful time (even if many hours in train and bus were involved) and I absolutely love Torino! We walked a ton, saw a bunch of stuff, talked a lot and ate too much. Torino is a very historic town with lovely architecture and art, but it is also pretty young due to the big university in town. I also loved seeing big parks full of grass that reminded me of home. I will definitely be returning as soon as possible!
I'll wrap it up now. Yesterday I played my first soccer game in about a year and I had fun! I played the whole time and am obviously out of shape because I'm sore after a 40 minute 5v5 game. We lost but it was a good experience anyway. I am studying lots now during the week because this weekend I will be in Paris with my host family! I couldn't be more excited to see the city of love and the wonders that it has to offer. Many pictures will be taken! I am having so much fun, even when I'm here in Sanremo because my little coastal town is starting to bloom with the warm weather and sunshine! More people around town, tourists coming in, plenty of outdoor activities, slowly creeping closer to beach time! I am also deepening my relationships with so many friends (two of the closer ones being Kelsey and Alessia), my class, my family, my teachers, and so on!
I wish nothing but the best for everyone back home, I love and miss you all! Wish you could all be here! Any prospective students that are reading this.. I have one thing to say... PLEASE PACK YOUR BAGS AND GO ON EXCHANGE!
Enjoy the photos.