Hugs, kisses, food galore

04:56, Oct 12 2012
abby anderson
BENVENUTI: Fairlie teenager Abby Anderson on an AFS exchange in Messina in Sicily, Italy is surrounded by her host family.

My first month in Italy has flown by. After three days in Rome I arrived at Catania airport very jet-lagged and about to get a big shock.

Three friends and I were the first to brave it and walk through the gates to our waiting Italian families. When we did, it was just Italian chaos.

They were waving homemade signs, holding flowers and presents crammed against a glass wall. When we walked out they started to cheer and clap and as more AFS students trickled out the Italians started to move trying to find their child.

I was grabbed by the arm by a strange lady and pushed into my family where they just would not stop touching me.

I got kisses and hugs as well as them holding my arms and stroking my face.

The rest of the month has gone so fast but I have experienced so much. One of those is Italian driving.


There are about five things to it: no-one wears seatbelts; everybody overloads their cars; they are constantly tooting their horns; and the roads in the city are thin with barely enough room for two cars, let alone another parked on the side. And I am yet to discover what, or if, Italians actually have road rules because they sure don't follow them.

I have tasted some amazing foods here. Everything seems to revolve around food and Italians do not seem to understand when you say you have had enough.

School is so different from Mackenzie College with nearly 1500 pupils and located in the centre of the city.

After showing my class that, no, New Zealand is not located beside Russia, things have had a good start.

The Timaru Herald