Monday, 31 December 2007

Il pericolo di Australia

You know what's really fun? When you come fom a country that's home to some of the most poisonous animals in the world (which you come in little contact with, but that that's beside the issue) and you can impress all the Italians who think they're so macho.
One of the boys in my class here asked me a little while ago if we had jellyfish in Australia and had I been bitten by one. When I said 'no' I could see a smirk forming on his lips, he was going to tell me about how many times he'd been bitten and how excruciating it was, etc, etc. Standard male behaviour. So it was with great joy I could tell him 'In Australia, if you're bitten by a jellyfish, you die." quite matter-of-factly.

This sort of answer always makes people stop and think. I just love it! They asked about sharks too, they wanted to know if any sharks came close to the beach and was it dangerous. I said "Well, yes. But it's not really dangerous." Oh the shock on their faces! "But we learn shark safety in school, it's OK."

But what's funny is it makes me realise just how much danger we ignore. There are safety precautions there like the flags the lifesafers put up and we do learn about these things in school. (Bushfire safety, beach safety, what to do for a snake bite, the list goes on) But the odds really are stacked against us Down Under. I remember thinking once how crazy the Japanese were to not think about earthquakes when the country is on such a huge fault line, but it's what we all do, isn't it? The danger isn't affecting you now so you don't think about it.

The Italians probably think I'm crazy for being so scared to cross the road here but I'm more likely to be hit by a car than bitten by a shark and, given the way Italians drive, I think the statistic is doubled here.

Saturday, 29 December 2007

I thought I was in Italy, not England

I do not understand Italian frozen food. I do not understand because it is terrible, absolutely horrible. Why anyone would choose to sustain themselves with it is beyond me and it’s even harder to understand because, as a general rule, Italian food is fantastic. Every food product I have tasted here outdoes itself in deliciousness but the frozen food is crap. Spam would turn its proverbial nose up at Italian frozen food.

The other day we had a meal of frozen food and, my cold still in full swing, I couldn’t really taste it. I didn’t realise just how bad my sense of taste had been struck until today when we ate the same food again for lunch and I almost gagged. No kidding, I think it was shock as much as anything but I felt betrayed. How could Italians do this to their own people? More importantly, how could they do this to unsuspecting visitors of the country?
For shame.

Thursday, 27 December 2007

I am trying so hard to be the perfect exchange student. I really am. Because I know from experience how bad it can be from the host family’s perspective with... imperfect excahnge students.
So, I have not been using their phone at all, I have not asked them to buy me things or take me places, I’ve tried not to turf people off the telly or the computer (I use these things only when they’re free), I don’t play music too loudly, I’m polite, I help with setting the table and cleaning up and other odd jobs, I have not yelled at the dog and I did not even say anything when it bit me.
BUT this has not worked it seems. I am far from the perfect excahnge student because I am not intergrating into the Italian culture. Despite the fact I go to Italian school, talk to the students and teachers here, have made friends and gone out with them a few times.

I haven’t been doing enough with the family. I found this out on Christmas Eve when I said I didn’t really want to go with them to a party because I was not feeling well. (I have a cold and I can’t breathe and eat at the same time. My bones feel tired and I fall asleep as soon as my body becomes vertical. I thought it would be fair enough.) No. What I thought of as being polite and not being a burden on people when they want to go out with friends was actually me living in my own world and not absorbing the Italian culture.

I am trying so hard here. But the fact is, I found social situations difficult at the best of times when I don’t know anyone. When I also don’t speak the same language as the rest of the people at these social places it makes me a little nauseous.

When I was little and I’d go to parties with my family I used to get a plastic cup of chips or pretzels and one of lemonade and hide under the stairs until my supplies ran out. I had the best time under those stairs, I was never once unhappy. What did make me unhappy was being forced to talk to all the grownups at these parties who would ask “So what year are you in at school?” to start the conversation. After answering this you can’t really ask the same question in return since they’re obviously not in school, it’s rather difficult to find a question to relate to this for the same reason.

As I’ve grown, it’s become a little easier meeting new people but I still don’t really enjoy it. I know also, that what would happen is that I would end up clinging to my host sister and she would just want to be with her friends. So, I have been to a couple of parties with her but I thought it would be nicer for all concerned if I did my own thing and let her do hers.
My host mother apparently doesn’t agree and thinks I have a very negative attitude to it all. So I went to the Christmas Eve party, in spite of my cold, and spent most of it with my host sister.
While it’s never tortuous to got to these parties where I feel to embarressed about my Italian to start a conversation with anyone, it’s uncomfortable and I tend to just sit there for most of the night and I find it a relief when it’s time to go.

It hurt a bit to find out I’m not doing things right and I tried to explain why I am this way but I don’t think they quite understood. It was hard also because I heard my host mother talking on the phone to my real mother in Australia the day before and saying waht a wonderful student I’ve been and how nice, etc, etc. So am I doing other things wrong too and they just haven’t told me? I don’t know if I want to ask because I might cry, which I loathe to do in front of people I’m not close to, and it would probably be just thought of as homesickness.

Sorry about the bitching session ladies and gents, I just needed a bit of a vent. Thanks for reading.

PS: Sorry for any typos, I’m still getting used to this keyboard.

Thursday, 20 December 2007

How TV has changed my life.

Back in the old country I was not much of a TV watcher. (brother and sisters, please refrain from commenting on my childhood years, I'm only talking about recently). On Wednesdays my mother I would sit down to Spicks&Specks, The Chaser, Summer Heights High and (if we weren't too exhausted) David&Margeret At The Movies. That was about it for the week and I felt rather superiour knowing that I wasn't wasting my life watching sitcoms, soaps, reality shows or anything else that might rot my brain.

But now, oh how my life has changed. I disliked Italian TV at first because it frustrated me to watch show that should be in English but had been badly dubbed and was without subtitles. Then... I discovered that Italians get the BBC! I was in love (and still am) and, not only this, but there are some shows that haven't been dubbed (or can having the dubbing taken off). I am now addicted to these: the Simposons, Family Guy, Will&Grace, My Hero, My Family, Desperate Housewives and Gilmore Girls (I love hearing English, even if it's mostly American).

Thursday, 13 December 2007

School in Italy

Just so you know what angle I will be coming from with this post; I prefer school in Australia.
I like changing classrooms; you get to move around between lessons, you can talk to people in the corridor, you can breathe some fresh air, if you're really desperate you can buy food from the school vending machines and eat it in your next lesson, if you don't like the person you're sitting with you can sit with someone else and not appear rude. I could go on but, in short, I like changing rooms and I like being in different classes with different people. Italian schools don't work like that.

I like the Australian classrooms; they have carpet on the floors, not tiles, so chairs and tables don't scrape and echo, because one teacher stays in the same in classroom it becomes more personalised (they put up pictures, have the desks arranged a certain way, etc.) and it's not graffitied. I feel so much better about being in those rooms, you learn better I'm sure. Not having carpets also means that sound is amplified and the Italians (who are not exactly quiet to begin with) are even louder in these rooms.

Those are the main reasons, I know they sound silly and inconsiquential but they matter to me and, no doubt, if you were in a strange school it would be the little things that get to you too.

Oh, and in Australian schools the students don't smoke all the time. But smoking is all over Italy, you can't expect the schools to be any different.

Sunday, 9 December 2007

I'm in Italy... why aren't I shopping?

This thought struck me about 5 minutes ago when i caught sight of myself in the bathroom mirror, looking ab fab in the new jumper my host mother bought me. It's the only item of clothing I have at the moment that's from Italy because, for the past 2 weeks, I've been wearing my Australian clothes (some of which, I'll admit, were bought for this trip but that was a warmth thing rather than a fashion thing).

I am in the country where the greatest sin you can commit is to make "una brutta figura" (a bad impression). If the Italians could lock people up for not being beautiful enough, they would. Why, oh why, aren't in these beautiful shops buying beautiful clothes?
This jumper isn't even that great, it's a simple pullover with stripes but it looks fan-bloody-tastic! How is that possible? Because it's Italian.
Tomorrow, I'm going shopping. I don't care that it's Sunday or that it might rain all day (like today) I want pretty clothes!

PS: I never used to be fashion obsessed, I visited op-shops and Jayjays fir my wardrobe or Target when I wanted something swanky. But now, I'm actually really excited by the idea of buying new outfits. Yesterday I even thought about painting my nails... I think something's taking me over. Oh well, it'll be fun.

Saturday, 8 December 2007

First blog in another country

Hi ho to my readers! (both of you)
Though i've been in Italy for almost 2 weeks now it has been absolutely impossible to get to a computer and when I finally did I couldn't sign in. i felt really bad too, leaving the blog with such a depressing entry as my latest contribution to world media.
Things are much better now, my grandpa is out of hospital and, apprently, walking on sunshine now that Labor are in government. I was so excited when I heard that news but, just my luck, I heard it when I was half asleep, in another country and surrounded by Liberal voters (darn exchange programme arranging flights on Election Day) so celebration was limited to a short dance in a Malaysian toilet cubicle.

Now, a lot has happened since I've been here and I'm a lazy blogger so I'm going to copy and paste bits of my emails for the rest of the post:
(sorry for lack of punctuation, etc)

8 hour flight to KL in which i watched a couple of movies and old episodes of simpsons

spent 2 or 3 hours in the airport feeling really tired. sampled the malaysian burger king fries and found that they're no different but the packet is blue (talk about a shock to the system)

12 hour flight to rome. watched more movies and malcom in the middle eps. slept on my tray table for a few hours and woke up really stiff and sore. plane food was really good and they served juice every 10 minutes.

arrived in rome (now a day later) 5am local time. it was cold! we saw the trevi fountain and i threw in an aussie coin. wandered around for a while until we could go back to the hotel and sleep.
i was in bed sick for the next 2 days with some weird cold/flu/throwing up thing. but the others had a good time

took the train to venice and OMG THAT PLACE IS BEAUTIFUL! our hotel was lovely too. spent the next 2 and a half days walking around venice, taking photos and buying presents and stuff.

took another train to florence. there wasn't as much to do there and the hotel was not as nice. saw the Duomo (the view from the top was breathtaking, David and the Ponte Vecchio.

Then I arrived in Messina (by plane this time) and I've started school here

italian school, what i've noticed:
.you have the same class all day, you stay in the same seat in the same room with the same people and the teachers move to different rooms.
.no one has lockers, they carry their bags to the lesson
.there isn't very much writing, the teacher talks most of the lesson and students make notes. even in maths we didn't do any exercises, i think it's all for homework.
.the classroom is very bare, the front wall has a blackboard and a calendar and that's it
.the italians speak english much better than we speak italian, they even have textbooks in english. (but only for that subject, the others are in italian)
.everyone brings little tissue packets to school because there is no toilet paper in the toilets
.school finishes at 1 or 1.30 and, literally, as soon as they are out of the door the students start smoking (i asked and it's very normal, they don't get into trouble for it)

That's about it so far. I'll be more informative next time but at least this blog is cheerful.

Thursday, 22 November 2007


Currently it is late. Just after 10pm (not that late for all you party-goers out there, people who, unlike myself, have a social life. But late enough for my sister to tell me off when she reads this post and sees the pulication time.)
Anyway, it's late, I have two exams tomorrow and the day after that I will leave the country for two months. I am tried as all hell.

I had a really lovely date with my boyfriend today, our last date before I go (we finally succumbed to stereotypes and saw a movie togethher) which lead to a kind of argument, which lead to Deep and Meanigful which, in turn, lead to me extremely tired and (not wanting to sound like an American soap, but doing it anyway) emotianlly vulnerable.
The date did continue and... Nerd Boy is an apropriate blog identity I suppose... Nerd Boy was a right gentleman to me for the rest of the day, helping me off the bus and being very understanding about our D&M and generally trying to cheer me up, I think he felt a bit responsible.
In truth I'm not entirely sure why I'm so upset, I think it was the coming together of various stresses in my life at the moment (exams, packing for Italy, preparing STUFF for Italy like paperwork that makes no sense, work, school, going to another country for two months where I don't anyone and don't speak the language that well, spending Christmas away from the family, having to buy presents for my host family in the span of a week because I didn't even know where I was going until last week... to name a few)

Mum picked me up from my Italian exam today and we were going to go out to dinner but, instead, we went to see my grandpa who is very, very sick because Mum didn't want to leave him on his own (I don't blame her).
When we got there he was so pale, he wasn't walking properly and he barely spoke. I'm so scared, I was already feeling over sensitive and this just tipped me over the edge. I don't want him to die.

Friday, 9 November 2007

My Blogging Future

Well, I'm obviously very bad at spreading news about myself because for the last few weeks I have been having numerous conversations like this:

Friend: We should do that [activity we were just discussing] in the holidays together.
Me: But I won't be here.
Friend: What? Where are you going?
Me: Italy! You remember that exchange I've been talking about?
Friend: When did you say that?

So I will say, to my cyber friends at least, I am going to Italy the day after I finish exams and I will be there for two months. Hopefully, when I return I will be able to speak the language and this thought is what will be keeping me going when I think that I will be spending Christmas in a strange country without anyone I know, I will not have my two month (well earned) holiday because I still go to school in Italy and I am leaving on my boyfriend's and my anniversary. (I don't usually go in for that anniversary crap, it seems like an excuse to buy presents you don't need. But I'll miss him.)

However, I think I will be blogging rather a lot, for two reasons:
1. I will need an outlet to speak English.
2. It's faster than letters, allows for replies and is more reliable than the Italian postal service.

So, you can look forward to many more of my amusing stories. Hooray!

PS: Aside from the interruption I mentioned earlier, the drama performance went really well. We had fun and there's a cast party next week to blog about.

My Day

I was in the middle of a drama performance this afternoon and a guy from my English class came in (backstage) and told me that I needed to hand in our latest essay right away

it's worth 30% of our grade

I hadn't written a conclusion

if I didn't hand it in right then I would get a 0.

Ohhhhh.... SHIT!

Sunday, 21 October 2007

A milestone!

Ladies and gentlemen, members of the press, your Majesty (who, for some reason, do not come under the title of 'ladies and gentlemen') I would like to announce a milestone! I have amazed myself and others and actually managed to remember my password long enough to have posted... a FIFTH entry! *insert mad whoops and cheers here*
So, what to write in this, my most significant blog yet?

...Hadn't actually thought about that yet.

OK, I have a query;
Why do we place such importance on sex?

When you think about it, there are two (biological) risks
1. Pregnancy (before you're ready)
2. An STD
Both of these can, as far as we know, be prevented with contraception. (There are some women who are so fertile they can pregnant even with contraception but, for the sake of this argument, we'll ignore that for now.)

Before people had connected sex and pregnancy, it wasn't really that big a deal. If a woman was pregnant before marriage it didn't damage her reputation at all because people thought pregnancy was a totally random event, over which they had no control. (This is why we talk about someone "falling pregnant" and "falling ill", people didn't realise there was a way to prevent either disease or pregnancy.)

STDs are something we've only discovered recently, true, they do place a need for trust on sexual relationships but sex had this hallowed place in our mind long before that.

Most religions tell us that sex should be in marriage and in marriage only. Is this because, when these religions were evolving, a woman couldn't trust a man to help her look after a baby without being married to him?
So is it just that we've had it drummed into us that sex is near sinful that we see it as such an uncomfortable subject?

Do we want to see ourselves as a step above animals who have sex whenever they like? But animals eat and drink whenever they like too and so do we.

I'm not saying we should be having orgies all the time or sleeping with anyone we see, but I'm curious. Why do people see sex as such a big deal? Why has our society now been divided into people who talk about sex constantly and read magazines telling them the best rated sexual positions, as opposed to people who still see it as something between to people, to be treasured and kept secret?
I've never been able to explain a boy why girls are so careful when it comes to sex. Sure, they say things like "I know it's a big deal for you" but I don't think they really know why. (Not wanting to offend anyone, I know not all boys are sex obsessed chauvinistic pigs)

So, tell me your thoughts on the subject.

(I could go on but, this post is getting pretty long and I'm sick of the sound of my own typing)

Friday, 12 October 2007

The Apostrophe

The Apostrophe, that is to say, this happy little fellow: ' is being sorely mistreated by today's writers. I notice apostrophe abuse even in the writings of otherwise perfect punctuators (yes, I love alliteration). So here is my message to the world (sit up straight and pay attention)
The Apostrophe has two uses:

1. To indicate where a letter is missing such as "don't". The o in "not" is missing and apostrophe lets you know this. This is called a Contraction.

2. To indicate ownership such as "Sally's bike" Sally owns the bike, it is the bike of Sally. But, because English speakers don't have time to say the words "bike of", we use apostrophe s.

These are the ONLY TIMES you use an apostrophe. There is something of a grey area though, when it comes to the word "it". Let me clear it up;

If you want to say "it is", you would shorten this to "it's" (the missing i gets an apostrophe to replace it)

If "it" owns something, you do NOT use an apostrophe. This is because "it" is an object and one object cannot own another object. So instead, you would say "its".

To review what we've learnt:
Apostrophes are always used in contractions (don't, can't, won't, I've, we're, etc)
Apostrophes are usually used to show possession, but not with "it"

If your use of an apostrophe doesn't fall into either category it is wrong. One thing that really annoys me is when people write CD's or something to that effect.
"I bought 3 CD's yesterday" is wrong
"I bought 3 CDs yesterday" is right

"We're all 6's and 7's today" is wrong
"We're all 6s and 7s today" is right (alternately, you could write the number as a word; "sixes and sevens")

One last point, if more than person owns something, the apostrophe goes after the s.
eg: "The bikes of the girls" becomes "The girls' bikes"
"The tree of the boys" becomes "The boys' tree"

But if the word is plural without an s (children, men, mice, etc)
You would say "The children's bikes"
"The mice's cheese"
and so on.

PS: Sorry if I've come across sounding really arrogant and snobby, it's just that this really gets to me and if I can reach just one person who will no longer be an apostrophe abuser, I'll die happy.

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Today's blog will be written by George

Dear World,
my name is George. I am a spectacular pair of glasses. Currently, I reside in a charming blue and black, fully furnished glasses case.
I've run out of things to say now, so I'll hand the blog back to Nerd Girl;

>.>.>.~.My Addiction.~.<.<.<
Now, much as I dislike the current practice of using punctuation however you damn well please and not for its original purpose (emoticons are an exception), I wanted to make the title stand out and forgot the html code for bold text. No doubt it will come back to me but I can't be bothered changing that title now.

Anyway, my current addiction I just have to share with the world: I sign in to msn and check who's on, regardless of whether I start a conversation or not, I will then open the internet, go onto to Neopets and start playing a game. Neopets is filled with mindless games to play while talking to people or waiting for things to load. I've earnt several tens of thousands of neopoints from amount of games I play. I realised just then that I was addicted because my hand went instinctively to the place where a game window would usually sit on my desktop screen, found none and I felt empty inside.
So I madly searched for a new game and came up with Meepit Juice Break "In this game you are controlling the Juice-O-Matic, an overly complicated machine designed to deliver fresh Juppie Juice to Meepits." I have come to the following conclusion: Meepits are fugly, annoying little creatures who do not deserve the juice I give them and the Juice-O-Matic is... there are no words to describe, play the game and you'll see what I mean.

I'm now playing Destruct-O Match 2, which is much better. I recommend it (along with Snowmuncher, Meerca Chase, Ultimate Bullseye and Goparokko).
To anyone who wants to join this world of crazily named, addictive games, go here:

PS: I did remember the coding for bold text after all. w00t

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

Let's get some viewer responses!

This is probably an optimistc post because my blog does not (yet) have a cult following so I don't know how many responses I'll get.
BUT, I'll ask anyway: What's your favourite party game and why? Anything from Spin the Bottle to Musical Chairs, tell me how to play it and why it rocks your socks. Then, I'll play it at my next partay (hopefully with friends).
Not much more I can say here, so I'll close by saying:
Peace out, don't forget to include idiots in thank you speeches too.

Monday, 8 October 2007

Baby's first blog

Hiiiiiiiiiiiiii! I like fish! =3
OK, I've tried blogging in the past... don't think I ever got past 4 entries before I forgot the password. I will, however, attempt to be less scatty in the future and hopefully this blog will work out. (It's not you, bloggy honey, it's me)
I will say this: my grammar is 98% perfect. (There are a few details I'm unsure about) I seem to recall having an argument with a teacher once because what she had written on my homework was incorrect. Another time I got the twitches because a relief teacher for year 12 English (leaving year high school) wrote "Hamlets Soliloquie's" on the board for them to copy down. In no way was that right... it's just not cricket, as my mother would say.
But, on the interweb, I'm a bit more forgiving and I make mistakes too. :) There wasn't really any reason for saying that, I just wanted someone to listen.

Well, assuming you didn't fall asleep in that little grammar rant, you obviously want to read more of my blog! (Hehe, poor fools... yay! Two oo words in a row!)

I predict this blog will be mostly comments on life, maybe a few of my dramas, amusing anecdotes and such like. For now (since I have none of the above to report on) I will give you a quick run down on my view on Life:
Be happy. I am a teenager and should, by nature, be angsty most of the time but I really can't be bothered. I have a great life, it's not the best maybe (divorced parents, money's a bit tight at times, etc) but I like it. I think about how lucky I am to have what I have and be able to do what I can do. When you only have one shot at living (reincarnation doesn't count because you're not supposed to remember past lives) why would you want to spend that time being miserable?
So, I enjoy simple things and I try not to let bad stuff bother me anymore. Whatever happens I like to think of as an experience to draw on later in life. Now, if you're thinking of asking me "How can I be happy when there are so many bad things in the world?"
I say this "Will being miserable make them better?" No, it will not. What will help is actually getting off your ass and doing something about them. Every little bit helps. (I sound so sicky sweet, I'm practically oozing)
Hmm... I think that's about it for now.

Oh yeah, my favourite colour is purple. The rest, you'll learn later. Toodles. :P