Sveiks, mani sauc Allie!

I'm a 16-year-old Californian attending a public performing arts school. I enjoy books, cats, subtitled films, technical theatre, the ukulele, and languages. In approximately 145 days, I will be an AFS exchange student in Latvia.

So far, that is the extent of my knowledge of where I will be from August 2010 to July 2011. I don't know if I will be living with a Latvian or Russian family, attending a Latvian or Russian school, living in a metropolitan area or on a farm. I don't even know which language I will be speaking on a daily basis. Lacking definitive information makes preparation more difficult, but no matter how much one may know beforehand, I realize that it is impossible to be fully prepared for something like this. And in the end, that's half the fun.

Other than stocking up on winter clothes, of which I currently have none, I've been boning up on Latvian history. Sometime soon I will be recommending the books and sites on Latvia I have found to be most helpful.

Finally, I would like to thank my supportive family and friends (specifically my wonderful parents - hi Mom!), Ms. Geyer at AFS Seattle, my interviewer Mr. Ruzic, and my Global Leaders Scholarship sponsors. Without these people, this experience wouldn't be possible. For the longest time AFS was a pipe dream, something that would happen for other people but not for me. I can hardly believe that this is reality - not just any reality, but mine. In 145 days I am going to pick up my life and move it almost 6,000 miles, to a country with a population smaller than my city. To some, it may sound crazy. To me, this is (quite literally) the opportunity of a lifetime.

Uz redzēšanos!

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