Scariest Moment of my Life

Buona sera tutti! (good evening everyone!) I have officially survived my first week of Italian high school! This week has been one of the most memorable, exciting, terrifying, fun, exhausting weeks of my life! Here is why:

Monday: I already told you about my first day… so keep reading ;)

Tuesday: My first class was filosofia (philosophy). The whole hour consisted of talking with the teacher and chatting about our summers. My next class was Italiano (Italian). We talked half of the time, and then the teacher gave us a list of books to buy. My third class was Tedesco (German). This was the first class in which the teacher actually taught us something. Well not me since I’ve never taken German before, but the other students learned something…I think…maybe. My last class of the day was storia (history). We just talked the entire time in this class. Oh and then the teacher tried to figure out where Arizona is located in the United States, but he had to pull out a map because he thought it was in the northern half near Pennsylvania…kinda weird since he’s a history teacher. Should I be worried? haha Anyway, school let out at 12:20 again and I ran with Camilla to the bus stop. Okay, here’s when the exciting part happens. When we turned the corner to see the bus stop, we literally saw like 80 people trying to squeeze themselves up into the tiny door of the same bus. Then we realized that it was our bus! So we ran into the crowd and started pushing people. I felt like I was being squeezed to death by a million bodies at the same time and that my ribs were crumbling inside me one by one. I’ve never felt so claustrophobic in my life. Camilla somehow made it on the bus, and I was right at the door when the bus driver yelled: “Non piu!” Which means “no more!” in Italian. So I stood back and watched Camilla drive away. Luckily, I was not alone. Some of Camilla’s friends were also left behind, so they called Camilla on her phone. Then 10 minutes later Camilla magically showed up out of nowhere! I guess she got off at the next bus stop and walked back; and what a sacrifice she made because we had to wait a whole hour before the next bus came! That time we actually made it on the bus, and then drove home.

Wednesday: This is the day I had the scariest moment of my life, so listen closely. Or should I say “read closely” lol. The day started out normally with getting to school 30 minutes tardy because the bus is ALWAYS late, and then heading off to my first class. My first class was supposed to be Inglese (English), but then the teacher decided to take us on a field trip to another school instead! They wanted us (my classmates) to practice our English with Americans who were visiting our town. It was a short bus ride to our destination, but a long, exhausting walk in the rain. We were all very thankful to get inside the warm school. During our 2 hours in the school, we got a chance to meet the Americans and ask them questions. I mostly just listened while my classmates practiced their English, but it was interesting to hear the many stories the Americans had to tell. Then we got back on the bus and drove back to our school. The only problem was, the bus was late getting back so we didn’t arrive at school until 12:45! I knew Camilla must have been worried, but I didn’t have her phone number or a phone that had service at the time, so I couldn’t contact her. When we arrived at school, I jumped out of the bus and ran inside to find Camilla. When I couldn’t find her anywhere I thought, she’s probably at the bus stop since she’s not at school. But no, she was not at the bus stop either. She probably took the first bus then, so I can take the next one, I thought. So I tried to figure out when the next bus to Arona was, but the schedule was all in Italian! This was when I got very very worried. I was stuck at a bus stop with a whole bunch of Italian students, waiting for a bus I wasn’t sure was even going to come, and I was without a phone with service or internet to call any of my host family. It was the first time that I felt like a total outsider. It was one of the most terrifying moments of my entire life. What am I going to do? Am I going to have to sleep here tonight? Would this count as an emergency where I could break the AFS rules and hitchhike back to Arona? There were a million thoughts going through my head, but then I realized that not one of them was going to help me get back home to Angera. I decided to take a chance, and put my small list of Italian vocabulary to good use. I asked a girl next to me if she spoke English, and she said “un po” (a little). So I explained my situation to her in English at first, but she didn’t understand, so I switched to Italian. Finally after about 5 minutes of a speaking rough Italian with a whole bunch of hand gestures and pointing to my phone, I think she finally understood what I needed. But it didn’t matter anymore because in that moment a miracle happened – I saw Camilla come around the corner and start to head towards me. When we saw each other, relieved smiles came across our faces. I can’t describe how relieved I felt to finally know that I was safe. I was so happy I almost cried.

Thursday: My first class was storia dell’arte (art history). This class lasted two hours. The first hour we just talked about random things and told stories, and the next hour the teacher went through presentation slides while we took notes. It was difficult to write down notes since the presentation was in Italian, but I translated it all when I got home. My next class was Tedesco (German), so I just doodled the whole time. Then I had storia (history) as my last class. This class was very difficult because the teacher would say something, and we would have to write it down. Luckily, my history class is in French, so I knew most of the words and knew how to spell them. Again, I translated my notes when I got home. Then Camilla and I got on the bus and went home.

Friday: In my Italian school, they require all of the students to take PE one day of the week. For me, that day was friday. I had PE for two whole hours. My class was supposed to meet in the gym that morning. However, I was never told that information… so I ended up in an empty classroom for 10 minutes until two of my classmates came and found me. In PE we played volleyball. However, our teacher is apparently not coming until November (??) so most of us just sat and watched. I played for like 10 minutes, but then sat down when I realized I couldn’t even hit the ball correctly. My next class was English but the teacher is still in Canada, so we had a substitute teacher who just talked in Italian for an hour about who knows what. Finally I had French. The teacher just talked in French the whole time so we didn’t learn anything significant. After school, we went home, had lunch, studied, ate dinner, and then Camilla, Martino, and I went to Camilla’s boyfriend’s birthday party. It was held at his house outside, and it was pretty fun! I got to see all of their friends again. There was food, dancing, etc. The party lasted pretty late, so we didn’t get home until around 1:30 am. It’s pretty normal in Italy to start parties late at night and end early in the morning.

Saturday: I had school today. Yes, I will have school every Saturday. It’s an Italian thing idk. My first class was matematica (math), but the teacher wasn’t here so we just talked the whole time. Then I had fisica (physics). That was probably the hardest class of all of my classes so far. The teacher talked very quickly in Italian, and we had to write down everything she said. It was very difficult for me, and I got really frustrated with myself. I looked at one of my classmate’s notes after class but didn’t have enough time to write down everything. Hopefully my teacher will understand since I’m not fluent in Italian yet. My next class was Francese (French). Again, we just talked with the teacher about random things the whole time, so I didn’t learn anything. My last class of the week was Italiano (Italian). Thankfully, instead of talking the whole time, the teacher wrote down notes on the whiteboard, so I just copied down everything in my notebook and translated it at home. After school, I had lunch with my family, took a nap, studied, and now I’m typing this blog post :)

This week has been so full of different emotions and events I can’t even count all of them. Overall, I think I really learned a lot from this week. Not just about school related topics, but also myself, my fears, and my abilities. I’m so grateful to have this wonderful opportunity and I’m excited to see what next week will bring. Talk later!

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