Ramble on Leaving Home...

I have one week of school left. It barely makes sense to me. As a junior, there’s none of the pomp and circumstance that the graduating seniors have, all those things that make leaving high school “real.” But this is still the end of high school in America for me. It’s the end of living at home, of living in the Bay Area — of living in California, in fact. Apparently my return date is in July, which means after Latvia I will have one and a half months at home before going to college.  That’s 4 months total of living at home. 
It’s strange - I’ve lived in California all my life, and as much as I like to complain about it, it’s home, and I really do love it. I love that I hear Spanish almost as often as I hear English at school; I love that a block or two away from my house are amazing Greek, Chinese, Japanese, and Indian restaurants. I love my school, I love my theatre, I love my friends. So why I am so eager to get away from here?
Maybe I have wanderlust. While I’ve never lived out of the Bay Area, I’ve lived in 7 houses/apartments. That’s an average of a move every 2.3 years. By the time I graduate, I’ll have gone to three high schools (excluding the online school.) In my mind, my life is distinctly divided into chapters, as cliched as that is. It’s strange to think that this one is ending. 
Lincoln has been my life for the past two years. I live in the theatre. This past year, for the first time in high school, the first day was a reunion with friends, rather than a day of making friends with strangers. When I think of the first day stresses from freshman and sophomore years, I wonder why I’m putting myself through that again. But each time it gets easier, and despite all the great things I have going for me here, I want something more. There’s something inside of me that is drawing me towards Latvia. I’m ready for something new.

Note: My dog is lying on her side and running in her sleep. She is also spotted pink, courtesy of my brother exploding a red pen.

Cultures Shocked forum

A combination of illness, AP tests, and finals projects (can you say research paper titled "Plaid-Clad Loggers: Individualism and Masculinity in Ken Kesey's First Two Novels") have prevented me from posting for, um, over a month. Anyway...
I joined the Cultures Shocked forum (an exchange student forum.) I found the Baltic countries thread (which has pretty much been dead for months) and read about everyone's experiences... it seems that Russian-speaking Latvia has a bad rap. Honestly, I think an exchange program can't be predicted - it really depends on the host family, your school, etc. There are so many variables in each experience that it's crazy for me to start freaking out about the uncontrollable details. Right now I'm just plain excited. I was panicking about obtaining my visa, as I have yet to receive my visa info, when all of a sudden I stopped and had an epiphany: I'm getting a student visa! It sounds so... official! I may be the only person in the world who is actually excited about visa bureaucracy, but it's just another sign that I'm one step closer to Latvia.