Hi, I'm Ola.
There usually are a few things in the about sections of sites that I look for, and I will try to answer these, and a few extra questions about me and this site.
First things first: the name. It is simply the first letter of my first name ("A"), then the number 25 which represents 25 inner characters of my names, and in the end "i", the last letter of my last name. I came up with it when looking for a good, short and memorable (hopefully) name for a website/blog, inspired by the short name of internationalization and localization.
Second: me. I'm a devoted siestologist (yes, that is a "siestologist"), an adopted Sonomad (a resident of Sonoma County, California). An aspiring writer/blogger/person who needs to write to stay quasi-sane and explain the world to herself. An always amazed gardener, and a lucky cook in the land of plenty. A religious practitioner of yoga with its spiritual and physical effects. An occasional jogger, who loves running, or at least the endorphins' cocktail that results from it (and this incredible feeling of freedom and control when you've gotten over a challenging hill or added another mile to the run). A dog lover (because they are the most amazing creatures on Earth, and we can learn so much from them). A linguist, and an aspiring polyglot, completely obsessed by everything that concerns language. A web developer, fascinated by the technology and its impact on our lives. A reader, who religiously profanes books by marking the best parts with definite pencil marginalia. A vegan, a potato chips addict. A permanent and eternal immigrant, a traveler and explorer of the never ceasing to be fascinating world. A wife of the best man in the world. A friend. An imaginative type, a day-dreamer. An amateur photographer. And whatever else I will also become....
The above list was not created in any particular order, and especially not in an order of importance....
Third: more tangential facts about me. I was born (in 1984) and raised in Poland, in a southern city of Bielsko-Biala, nestled in the Beskidy mountains. I spent there the first 19 years of my life, it is where I still visit my family and friends. After high school, presented with the opportunity, I left for Paris, where I spent the month of August 2003, one of the hottest summers on record, a month when the city is deserted by the locals and flooded by the tourists. I lived in a convent run by Polish nuns, visited museums, walked the beautiful streets, and tried to practice my very basic French. It was a truly educational experience. In September of that year, I joined my friend in the south of France, in Nice. I fell in love with the city the minute I stepped out of the train station. The architecture, the sea, the beautiful light -- it must have been one of the most photogenic places in the world. On top of it, I moved to the Villa Saint-Exupéry in Nice Nord, which used to be a small hostel/student residency back in the day, full of people from all over the world. Also, a former convent. A year later, I started my studies of Linguistics or Sciences du Langage at the Université de Nice-Sophia Antipolis. I got my Bachelor's/Licence in 2007, specializing in Natural Language Processing (Traitement Automatique des Langues). In May 2004, during my last month at the Villa, I met the most wonderful man in the world, who happened to be traveling through Nice on his way to a round the world voyage.... Should I mention that he canceled the trip and stayed in Nice? After a few years in Nice together, we lived between France, Poland, and US for a couple of years, until we decided to settle in California in 2009. I've been living here since, and now we have a dog and a garden, I am an American citizen, and it is what I consider home for now (next to, of course, Bielsko and Nice).
What is this THING all about, then?
My American Life or Cultural Learnings of America.... "The Greatest Country in the World!" And other thoughts.
Disclaimer: My American life is not really that entirely American: I should say Californian or even "Sonoman," or to go to an even greater detail: West County (western part of Sonoma County) would be the precise location of my American experience. This is where I am based and what every input about this country will be filtered through and thus this place will also have its imprint on the outcoming conclusions. I haven't really explored the whole country very much, so it would be somewhat generalizing and unfair to talk about it in its entirety while knowing only such a little part of it first-hand. I got to know San Francisco a bit, or as the locals refer to it, the City, and a few places throughout the great state of California: from Mendocino and Napa counties through Santa Cruz and Monterey to San Diego/Coronado, from Lake Tahoe through Yosemite to Kings Canyon and Sequoia National Parks. The famous Silicon Valley (Bubble or not, there is so much going on there right now, it's infinitely fascinating!), a visit to New York (that needs to happen again), a night in Miami (The best orange juice I have ever had in my life. It is not an overstatement. I'd go back there just for that). That all created and contributed to my American experience, paired with living through every day life, consuming media, politics and culture. Is it exhaustive? No. Can I really talk about America as a whole? No. But I can talk about the place I live in that I have gotten to discover, and the people I live with and their habits, and about my and their perspective on American things and life. I feel extremely fortunate to be living here and now, and experiencing the "West County vibes," the best and gourmet (and gourmand!) food, amazing nature and wonderful people around me. America is a fascinating country, and I'll do my best to present it in the most informative way I can.
Some favorite quotes:
"I don't write because I want to say something, I write because I have something to say." F.S. Fitzgerald
"Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working" Pablo Picasso
"Writing and gardening, these two ways of rendering the world in rows, have a great deal in common." Michael Pollan
"I'm just going to write because I cannot help it." Charlotte Brontë
"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow-mindedness." Mark Twain