Merry Christmas everyone! I can’t believe I got to spend my Christmas in Italy this year, seems like a dream! This week has been crazy! Wednesday we started making food for Christmas dinner. I helped my family make eggrolls, we made like 50! And we used a pasta maker to make the bread type stuff around the eggrolls, so that was fun to see :) Camilla spent the whole day making gingerbread cookies. She also made gingerbread parts to make a gingerbread house. I’m now realizing that Americans are really really lazy because we just buy the parts at the store and then put them together at home and decorate it. Here in Italy it seems like EVERYTHING is homemade! Thursday I went to the grocery store with my host mom because she had told me that the grocery store is crazy busy on Christmas Eve, and I really wanted to see the craziness haha. It actually wasn’t as busy as I thought, but maybe it was busy to them because Angera is such a small town lol! Thursday night some of Camilla’s and Martino’s friends came over and we played cards, then the family went to mass at midnight but I stayed home because I wasn’t feeling well. Also apparently it’s a tradition in Angera for the town band to play Christmas music the whole night on Christmas Eve, so Camilla did that after mass and didn’t go to sleep until 8:30am! The next day everyone slept in because of the long night the day before.
Christmas day I woke up at 11 and then opened presents with my host family (except Camilla because she was sleeping). I received a nice white, long-sleeved shirt from my host parents, a candle from Martino, and cookies from Camilla. I also got chocolate from Carlotta, Laura, and Edo, and an ornament from Elena! My host family liked my presents to them as well I think! I gave my host mom an apron with an American flag on it, I gave Martino a baseball cap with an American flag on it, I gave Camilla American flag earrings, and I gave my host dad maple syrup. For lunch, we went to my host dad’s aunts house and ate various types of meats, mushrooms, olives, and “insalata rosso.” Insalata rosso is a mixture of vegetables with mayonnaise…I wasn’t a big fan haha. After lunch we went back to the house and prepared table decorations for Christmas dinner. For decorations, we put salt with various herbs into small jars and wrapped ribbons around the lids with holly leaves sticking out of them. We did the same with jars full of sugar cubes and oranges…I can put pictures on Facebook because I’m not very good at describing this!! After decorations, we went to Nonna’s house and started preparing snacks for dinner. I helped a little by taking skins off carrots. Everyone started arriving to the house at about 6, and by 8 there were a total of 28 people at the house! We had to move a lot of furniture to fit two long tables in one tiny room. And somehow, magically, everyone fit around the tables perfectly! Okay, we had to squish a little :) Dinner was fun, I told everyone about how there are a lot of snakes in Arizona and how I kill rattle snakes at my cabin. I also told them about the time I ate one of the snakes and it tasted like chicken. They were freaked out haha. Christmas dinner consisted of starter snacks like salame, bread, and vegetables. Then it went to the main course, risotto with sausage. Then more bread and cheese and snacks. Panettone and pandoro for dessert. And finally coffee and tea to finish. I was so stuffed after dinner my stomach hurt! Between courses we opened more presents. I received a winter hat from someone; I wasn’t told who..but whoever it was, thanks! Dinner went from 8 – 11, so we didn’t go home till midnight.
Italians eat SO MUCH at Christmas time! And apparently Christmas lasts 3 days here because tonight we are going to eat another big meal at Nonna’s house again, and then tomorrow we are eating a big polenta lunch. One of my friends told me that at the end of the 3 days it’s hard to stay balanced because you’re so stuffed with food! Can’t wait to see what that’s like ;) Till next time!