Sunday, September 20, 2009

8 days, a week?

So i've been in Palermo little over a week now and i'm starting to get settled in. Yesterday (Saturday) was my first day of school. I go to a Liceo Scientifico named after Galileo. The building is like 4 stories high and is nothing like school in New Zealand. In each class there is only a Blackboard and desks and chairs. Everything's really simple. I'm in the 4th year here which means i'm with people around about my age. Everyone in my class is really nice and on the first day everyone wanted to test out their English skills on me. There are a couple of guys in the class who speak good English and the rest just kind of know swear words. It was strange when two guys to show off their English started yelling "Fuck You" at each other and the teacher didn't even bat an eyelid because she doesn't speak english. Unfortunately i won't be able to use the mass number of Italian and Sicilian swearwords i've learnt from my family and friends in class because i'd get sent out. In Italy you stay with your class all day every day and the teachers move around. I like this because hopefully i can make some good friendships with my classmates. A few of them have already invited me to things which is good and all of them have added me on facebook. The subjects we take are various sciences, Italian, Italian lit, English, English lit, Philosophy, Maths and PE (it's actually like 10 subjects I just can't remember them all exactly.) I'm not too stoked about the science or maths but i told my teachers that in New Zealand at my school we don't study maths or science so hopefully she'll go easy on me. Yea so that's pretty much school I can see it getting very boring for me but i'm just going to try to focus on comprehending the language for the first few months.
Everything else is going great. I really love the city and i especially like it when i get to see it from the back of a motorbike or scooter. Mean as fun. The traffic here is insane. Everyone says Italians are bad drivers which i guess in a way is kind of true but i'd say in these conditions New Zealand drivers would have a significant amount more crashes. It's kind of organized chaos. Everyone is really attentive and the constant sound of horns isn't road rage it's more just people letting other people know that they're there. Last night we went out for dinner to a Sicilian restaurant where i got to try lots of Sicilian food. Sicilians do really awesome potato dishes and there are heaps of them which i was stoked with. The seafood I'm not so keen on but Mum you'll be pleased to know that i tried everything. Which included muscles, fried calamari and octopus leg :s Apparently i'm going to a cous cous (sp?) festival or something with the other AFSers next week from what i can understand i'm not quite sure though because the e-mail was in Italian. But if I am then that's cool cause it would be good to catch up with everyone who i haven't seen since Palermo airport. Today i went with a family who are friends with my host family to an old Palace and some catacombs (I don't if that's correct to say some catacombs but give me a break) basically it was this underground thing under a church where there were thousands of mummified corpses hanging from the walls all dressed in clothing from when they died (1500's up until 1920) If anyone reading this is in my classics class tell Mr. Duffy that i went to the place from the National Geographic he gave me and that it was awesome. Corpses are scary it's no wonder they use them in horror movies. The real scary ones were the little girls like 2 year olds who they somehow hung them so it looked like they were just standing up watching you. Badass. I might be going with that same family to a ballet on at the Massimo theatre next friday. I'm not that into ballet but the theatre is real badass and i don't want to pass up the opportunity because apparently tickets are really hard to get to this place. Anyway that's about enough for now hope i haven't bored you too much i'll update in like a week or so cause I'm spending too much time on the computer.
Ciao for now.
P.S. If you're reading please comment so i know this isn't a waste of time.
P.P.S If anyone wants to send skittles sours and marmite i'll be forever in your debt.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

You say goodbye, I say hello

Well I've made it here in one piece. It was a ridonkulously long trip but i made it. Palermo is a beautiful city and my family is amazing I'm loving it here! But i'll get to all that later. Me and 10 girls traveled over 30 hours together from Auckland to Rome. And i was very fortunate that they all happened to be very kind. I got on with them all really well and i think it's cause they're all manly and butch like me :). Rome was fun for the most part except for the whole having not slept for 48 hours thing. I was trying to avoid jetlag so i just had red bull and powered through. There were over 400 people from all around the world all coming to Italia with AFS. It was real mean meeting all these people from around the world who were in the exact same scenario as me having left all of their friends and family back home. It's because of this that you form bonds and friendships really quickly because you're all in the same state. We basically lazed around, ate food and did getting to know eachother activities for 2 days which was all well and good but i was too excited to meet my host family to enjoy it all. On Saturday we all said our goodbyes sang a few maori songs and went our separate ways. I flew from Rome to Palermo where I was greeted by my host family who were all very excited to see me especially Simo who made me a big sign. We drove home from the airport and we tested out our communication skills. For that day i mostly spoke english and Simo translated for me but lately i've been trying to only speak Italiano. We got home and they showed me around the apartment. It's a very nice place in a really cool neighbourhood Sferracavallo. I share a bedroom with my host brother Salvo which is good because we get along really well. That night we went out for dinner (Pizza) for a family friends birthday. By the way if anyone wants to see photos i've uploaded heaps on facebook The food here is really good but i get full really quickly and i think people are offended and think i don't really like the food but really it's just that here they eat about twice as much as we do in New Zealand. I'll update in another post about Palermo the city i'm living in cause i'm a bit too tired now. People were right when they told me being an exchange student is exhausting. i think it's because you have to really use your brain all the time here to even begin to understand a new language. I'm pretty much constantly exhausted. But other than that I'm loving everything my family has been really nice to me and have treated me as one of there own. I'm not quite used to the whole no bare feet thing. Even around the house you have to wear jandals i've been caught out a few times. Also absolutely no wet hair! Which is strange for me because in New Zealand i've used a hair dryer maybe once or twice in my life.
Oh well thats about all i've got time for I start school on Saturday so i'll update on that soon (To those of you who I told i don't need to go to school on saturday, AFS changed my schools so now i do :( Oh well apparently the new school will be better for me so i don't mind too much)

Ok bye :)
Ciao a tutti

Monday, September 7, 2009

Let's go get lost.

I don't really know how to start this. In about 12 hours i'll be leaving Palmerston North. I've done nearly everything i need to: Said my goodbyes, played an awesome last show with the guys I've spent the last 5 years of my life making music with, sung for the last time with the choir that made me stop thinking choral music was gay, worked my last shift and signed out of the school that for better or worse has had me as a pupil for the last 5 years. And i feel numb about it all. The reason i don't feel incredibly sad is because none of it seems real. It hasn't sunk in yet that i'll be spending the next year in Italy speaking nothing but Italian surrounded by only new faces. But it'll hit me sooner or later. I want to thank all my family and friends who helped me fund raise or made donations i really appreciate it and i promise not to waste it. I can't thank you enough.
I'd better get to bed i have a big year ahead of me. I'll try to update this about every two weeks no promises though. I love you all.

Ciao a tutti

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Getting impatient

Time is going far too slow for my liking. Just heard we have to pay for the whole thing like a month before i thought we did. Which means we're going to need to hurry up with the whole money thing. Not much has been going on lately no news or anything. I'm going to try and upload some pictures of my host family and stuff so here goes. To the left is a picture of my host sister Simona and her boyfriend Claudio. I have photos of the parents on the other computer and i'll upload them another time.
Language is going ok slowly i recognize things when i listen to italiano which is a start.

That's all for now. 78 days left.

Ciao a tutti.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


Ciao a tutti.

So quite a few developments have been made in the last few months not least of which being me getting a family! I will be living with the Puccio family in Palermo, Sicily. I will be the 5th member of the family (6th including the dog) there is the Madre (Mother) Rosalba, Padre (Father) Antonino, Sorella (Sister) Simona who is 19, and Fratello (Brother) Salvo who is 16 :) I've been talking to Salvo and Simona over MSN for the last few weeks and they've been helping me a little with my Italiano. I also got a really nice postcard from them in the mail. They seem really nice and i can't wait to meet them. They seem excited about having me come there and they've never hosted a student before.
Also i've just got my first bulletin pack from AFS outlining a bunch of stuff about getting my insurance, visa and passport sorted out (really dull) and also lots of information about Italy which is a nice read. The best thing about getting the pack though was finding out when i'm leaving. I'll be leaving Auckland on September 9th (09/09/09) and flying to Singapore followed by Frankfurt and then Rome! I'll have some orientation stuff there and then I'll fly from Rome to Palermo! It's kind of just starting to seem real getting dates and flight numbers and that kind of thing. Exciting. Also i've been trying to learn Italian (very slowly), i take my Italian text book to school and use it whenever i have free time. Also im going to start skyping with Simona so i can practice Italian conversation.

Raising money has been slow lately because all of my time has been spent on the Senior production at school instead of working but that finishes this week so i'll be able to get back into it.

Alright that's all i've got to say i'll update next time i get more information.


Thursday, December 11, 2008


My name is Josh Thomas i'm from New Zealand and i'll be spending a year going to school in Italy if all goes to plan. I've just recieved a letter from AFS confirming my placement in Italy though there are still a few problems with my age which will hopefully be overlooked by AFS Italy. I'm supposed to be no older than 17.9 years old on departure (Don't ask why it's 17.9 i have no idea) and i'll be a little bit older since i'd be leaving in September and my 18th birthday is in october. I'll update this blog with developments like getting a host family etc. and then when i leave for Italy i'll use this blog to update family and friends on what's going on in Italy. I've still got like 9 months until i leave so time to either father a child or raise the 11 grand i need to make the trip. I think i'll go with the latter. So yea. That's all for now. I doubt anyone will actually read this till i leave but still i'm going to write about the lead up in case anyones interested in doing an AFS exchange themselves.

PS. Before you ask no i don't speak Italian. That's gonna be something i'll need to work on.