week 3? That's incredible.

the austrian sky that never ceases to render me speechless. 

Have I really been here for three weeks? 
It seems like forever. Although I have so much to learn about life here in Austria, I have gained so much familiarity. The Alps outside my window that provide a comfort the Cascades did at home; my favorite walking path that cuts through the school grounds; the American flag that hangs faithfully on my wall right next to my maps of the West Coast and Austria; the cornfield up the road that overlooks the Klagenfurt valley and has grassy knolls perfect for sunbathing; and my constant look of confusion that seems to be permanently sewn to my face. I have learned that smiling and laughing are universal. I have learned that the road less taken often leads to surprises, some good and some bad. Finally, I have learned to embrace the present and let the future happen in time. 

Austria is definitely a place for me. Many may remember in the beginning I was extremely unhappy about the Rotary's selection for me because I was leaning towards Asia. I realize now that Asia probably wouldn't of been able to handle me. I'm too loud; too questioning and curious; too physically vibrant; too defensive in regards to liberal views; and way too enchanted by Europe to be fully thrust into Asian society. Someday, perhaps. But not anytime soon, when I am 16 and still growing into personality and ideology that by European standards are correct. Europe's beauty and historic value is so appealing to me. At a young age when most American girls were dreaming of horses, I was lost in the promise of Scottish castles, the Effiel Tower, Greek Temples, the glittering waters of the Mediterranean vs. the frigid of the Baltic, and so on. The cliches of the Germanic culture were so entrancing so many years ago, and yet still I am curious and finding out more everyday.

Thank you so much Rotary for allowing me this chance at reliving all the years I have lost before. I am in my element: exploring and learning. Exchange is an emotional balance beam where one day you slip and fall off, but other days you can do cartwheels and flips that you never even thought were possible. And drifting off from the highs of your days, you are so elated to be in a place you never thought you would be able to call a second home. Danke Rotary!

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