Hello everyone! It has been a long trip. Already 10 months have gone by! Can you believe it? I certainly can’t. Of course lots has happened since I last wrote, but you can probably guess most of it: school, Latvian lessons, concerts after concerts after concerts. And then something wonderful happened! Americans came to visit! On May 24th, to be exact. (That was still over a month ago, but I might as well start somewhere.) My friend, Abbie’s choir came to the Baltic States for their international choir tour! What a small world it is!
The day started off with me having a concert (of course) in Vidriži, which is north of Rīga by about an hour. I was there with my choir for the birthday of one of the most popular composers in Latvian history. If he would have been alive, he would have enjoyed it. We sang at a newly-constructed church, which is unusual, on an extremely hot day, which is also unusual, in a city that my host parents have never heard of, which is very unusual. It was a great adventure!
These are my friends, Inga and Kristīne. You will hear more about them later… 🙂 The church was quite small with only four or five rows, but it had a nice resonance. We practiced, then went for a walk along the road to a pond and watched as all the boys went swimming in their underwear. Excellent. It was so hot and I wanted to do the same, but we only had about 20 minutes before our concert, and I didn’t deem it to be a good idea. I watched as a woman swam all the way across the pond to where a bar was situated on a dock and someone gave her a drink of his beer. Latvians, they’ll do anything for a drink.
We had our concert, and I practically melted. The tiny church with only five rows was packed with easily over 100 people. You could not fit one more person inside. There was no air conditioning or windows that were able to open. We stood at the front of the church in our long skirts and heels and sang 8 songs. I didn’t think I would make it. I could feel my face dripping. But thankfully we all made it through. The things we endure for what we love…
After the concert, I was picked up by my host dad and we drove to Rīga to see Abbie’s concert. They were singing at St. Peter’s Church in Old Rīga, one of the most popular, and most beautiful, buildings in the city. I definitely have a picture of it. I’ll search so that way you can have a mental image. It is also one of the highest points in the city and you can ride the elevator to the top and have a really amazing view. Oh look I found a picture of me dancing in front of it! Excellent!
You can’t really see all of it, but it is pretty majestic. I suggest you look it up. Anyways, her choir sang there along with another choir from Latvia. I invited my friends Simona and Liene (Latvians) and Pauline (German). Thankfully, I got to meet Abbie before she had to sing. When I first saw her, it felt so strange. I had to keep touching her to make sure she was really there. She was the first person I had seen from my “old life” in 8 months. And there she was in my world. My brain also had trouble keeping up with her English. It was simply too easy to understand. I am used to making educated guesses about what people are saying, but I understood absolutely everything not only she said, but all her choir members around her. It was a bit of an overload, but a bearable one.
It was a wonderful concert! It sounded so beautiful echoing throughout the old stone walls of St. Peter’s church. The song that the choirs sang together, Pūt Vējiņi, was absolutely amazing. At the end of the song are two solos; one one sung by a Latvain, the other an American. It was so great! I was very impressed.
Over the next week, I met Abbie and her friend Amy everyday and showed them around! It was so wonderful that I could show them a little bit of what it is like living in Latvia. We ate yummy (gluten, fish, and peanut free) food, went to the Baltic Sea, visited the KGB museum, met with some Latvians. The best part was that I got to translate for them. I never had the chance to do that before! It was such a good feeling!!! It made me realize how much I really have accomplished over this past year, and it is quite a lot. If anyone needs Latvian translating, hit me up. Here are some picture of our adventures:
I don’t know about them, but I had a marvelous time!