Not Just Shakes & Bakes

In the last post I talked about how I like spend weekends on the sofa watching tv shows, but this time I’m going to talk about how I like to spend time with my friends.

We used to meet during weekends because is when most of us are free from practice or family stuff, but right now Emma F., Cat I., and Sydney F. are doing some volleyball club or water polo and they have tournaments, so we moved the shakes and bakes during weekdays.

Anyhow, those are not just shakes and bakes but something I cannot named.

Each one of us is different from one another, and somehow we have this incredible bond where we cannot stay far from each other.

Sydney is the oldest of the group and she brings positivity, responsibility and honesty to the group. She’s the kind of friend you can always count on.

Emma is the youngest, she’s the crazy person of the group, she brings joy and happiness with her. She’s the kind of friend you meet in the hallways and she will make your day better. 

Cat is the shy and smart pants of the group. You can always count on her jokes, smile, support and wise advices because somehow she knows what you are going through and she just makes you feel better. 

Shaking & baking round 1

When we are all four together laughs, jokes, music, food and energy are always around. If we spent 4 hours together, for almost of the entire time we talk, dance and laugh because friendship where you can be yourself are always the best. 

I’m really glad that I met them because otherwise my exchange year would have been much more boring.

  • Do you have any people that makes your day full of happiness? How?


My birthday was on January 12th and finally I turned eighteen. Here in the USA is not a really big deal, but in Italy I’m and adult.

— Me? An adult? No way, I’m just a little thing walking and breathing. —

Anyways, I’ve always loved birthdays so I was really happy to finally celebrate mine.

My parents called on Wednesday at 6pm (it was actually Midnight in Italy) and we talked for a while and they sang “happy birthday” and I was really happy, but then when we ended the call I suddenly started feeling sad and I started crying a little bit. After the call, Alice, my best friend, sent a really long text and that for sure made me cry a lot of tears.

In that moment I realized that I actually miss a lot my family and friends and being here, in this important day was harder than I expected.  

The best is yet to come: the next day – my actually birthday – I woke up with the need to check my phone because I was sure that all my friends sent me birthday texts, but they didn’t. 

It was totally weird and the only excuse I could give was: “maybe they are just having a rough day, maybe they didn’t have the time… maybe they forgot about it, which is fine

Nora’s pic.

They didn’t forget about it. 

They instead waited until my actual time of birth to send me a video. It was during school and I wish they sent the video later in the day because I started crying really badly.

My family, my best friends and all the people I care about were wishing me happy birthday, saying things I never think of myself.

So yeah, it was definitely a day to remember.

While writing this post I’m crying, but these tears are not tears of sadness; they are tears of happiness because I’m surrounded by amazing people. I’m not just talking of my Italian friends but I had confort by some other people here in Okemos and I’m thankful and grateful for them.

  • Have you ever driven crazy one of your friends just to amaze him/her?
  • If yes, what did you do?


img_0222Right after I came here in Okemos the volleyball tryouts started. The most intense and tiring days I’ve ever had for two reasons: I wasn’t expecting that the fundamentals of the sport were called in a different way and it was totally different than I expected to be.

First of all there were about 20 or more athletes for all the levels: Varsity, Juniors Varsity and Freshmen and everybody was looking at me because of course I didn’t know what I was supposed to do.

The first two hours were miserable, and as a very proud person I was expecting to excel in almost everything but that wasn’t the case. I made a mistake in almost everything I did, so I went home and cry for frustration. What made me going to the other two hours of training was my host dad text, without it I think I would have probably quit. 

I went to the rest of the tryouts and Coach I told me I passed them and that made my day. And a really good start of my exchange year.

Practice was every day, with weight room on Wednesday, from 3 to 5pm. Games on Tuesday and some tournament during the weekend.

Playing with this team made me realize that my team back home isn’t tight as this one and maybe that’s why we lose important games or we have just nice practice instead of good practice. In this team I think I have found the people that I will miss the most when I go back home.


Before I knew my host family I just knew when I was going to leave: August. That was all for a few months, then in May a call came: it was WEP (my exchange organization) and they told me that an host-family picked me, but before I knew who was the family I need to agree to eat vegetarian for a year. I was skeptical at first, many doubts were on my mind: maybe if I don’t accept this family nobody will choose me;  I will not eat meat for an entire year, should I accept still? I wasn’t sure about choosing until I knew who they were. They sent me their application and there, when I saw my host-mum face something sparkled in me. I was totally sure about them: they were my new family.

There was another ‘problem’: my host-family would hosted another exchange student. It wasn’t that big deal actually, I was totally fine with it. I thought that I could share my problems or my experience with someone that would possibly understand me and that would it be very nice.

So right now I’m in Michigan, as I’ve already said, living in a beautiful house, with wonderful people. There’s my host-mum: Marti; host-dad: Jeremy; host-sister: Libby, and Nora the exchange student from Germany.

Pretty cool, uh? 

My  host family!

  • But if you were me what would you have  done?

3 – August 2016


Milan -> NYC

I’m Miranda and I’m from Italy.

It’s been only 4 months since I’ve been here in Okemos, Michigan, for my exchange year.

This exchange year it’s the best opportunity that ever happened to me even though leaving my home, my friends, my family was difficult. What was even more difficult was packed all my clothes for the year: from summer to spring. I essentially packed all my favorite clothes and coats and shoes. The fact that made it harder was that before coming here I spent 3 days in NYC and the goal was that I wouldn’t open the big suitcase, which I did anyways.

NYC was great: Hyde Park, the Statue of Liberty, the Brooklyn Bridge everything I visited was worth the stop. For me the city was a little chaotic: too many people and too many cars and I really thought during the whole three days that in Italy we drive a little better, but it was definitely a really good trip with intense walking around the city (my Health app says more than 34,000 steps in a day). I spent those days with other exchange students coming from France, Spain and of course Italy, and I made some friends who I’m still talking to: we share problems with our host-family (if any) or every activity we do in school or out school.

It was the 6th of August when I first saw my host-family, and it was actually on accident.

My  room!

We walked in each other because my flight was early. They welcomed me with a big colored sign “WELCOME MIRANDA” and after that we spent the day wandering around Okemos: they  showed me the path that I’m still using to go to school and Downtown. We went to a Pub and I ate half of ‘wrap’ (that I’m still ordering every time we go there) and some fries, because my stomach couldn’t handle the massive portions of food yet. For a first day it was all good except for the part where I fell on Libby, my little host sister. I felt really bad and for the first impression I bet it wasn’t good.

My life here so far is what I was expecting to be: unforgettable. I met many people so far and most of them I think I can call them friends or more. My host family is slowly becoming my second family and I’m not regretting at all my decision about doing this exchange year.

As I’ve already said: this is the best experience that someone could do. 

  • What about you? Would you like to do an exchange year if you had the chance?
  • Would you like to have a different life from your current one?