Always look on the bright side

If you’ve read my previous posts, you might be starting to wonder why I continue to live in Riga. To be honest, I’m starting to wonder myself. But instead of focusing on the fact that it’s -15 on the 15th of March, I’ve decided to compile a list of some of the things I like about living here. So here goes, in no particular order:

1. Seven months of the year, your wine is already nicely chilled by the time you get home.

2. This lady ‘performs’ near the Freedom Monument every evening and never fails to lift my spirits. When I say performs, she moves the bellows in and out and presses a few buttons but every tune sounds exactly the same. And while I know Latvian isn’t the richest language in the world, I’m pretty sure Latvian songs have more lyrics than ‘na na na’. However, when I gave her some money and took this photo, she said thank you in Russian so she may very well be singing Russian songs. Who knows? I’m just happy I can sing along.

3. My local supermarket has started to stock ‘Heinz Beans’.

4. No matter how miserable you look, there’s always somebody, or 750,000 somebodies who look more miserable than you do. It’s like when you’re feeling a little blue about your life, then watch an EastEnders omnibus and realise things aren’t so bad after all. You’re not in love with your cousin, your husband hasn’t run off with a 22-year old and you haven’t had Phil Mitchell’s baby. Life is good.

5. I love that The Bridge of Padlocked Love is so close to the Freedom Monument. So near and yet so far. Some Latvian at some point must have had a sense of humour.

6. Looking at Latvian girls forces me to ask myself if I really need that cake. Invariably the answer is ‘yes’ but I figure that just asking the question is a step in the right direction.

7. Speaking of cakes, Riga has so many fantastic cafés – my current favourite being Gustav Beķereja. Most afternoons I can be found there, working my way through their vast selection of delights, one by one. The owner seems to have adopted me as some kind of stray Irish pet and we have many the stilted, but cheery, conversation in pidgin English/Latvian.

I have, however, learnt not to go there with any male colleagues. She’s so used to seeing me engrossed in a book that the one time I did, she got over-excited and started miming proposals and wedding rings on fingers behind his back. The poor guy must have thought I had some kind of weird twitch as I kept on shaking my head at her and frowning, then realising he was looking at me and smiling again. She’s still asking me where my ‘boyfriend’ is three months later.

8. If you ever feel like shooting something (and you probably will), you can go to an old Soviet bunker and let rip with Glocks, AK-47s and Winchester pump action shotguns. Picturing myself as some sort of Angelina Jolie in Tomb Raider figure, I failed to realise that at 5 foot 1, most of the guns would be bigger and heavier than I am. But in spite of the fact that I could hardly stand, I kept everyone else on their toes by enthusiastically swinging round, gun in hand, every time I let off a shot – I guess just to make sure everyone had seen how well I’d hit the target. Unfortunately, it was always my friend’s target not mine.

9. Riga really is beautiful.

That’s all I’ve got for now. I’m hoping to add to the list when my brain thaws out.

About BerLinda

Adjusting to life in Germany, after living in Latvia for four years. Should be easy, right?
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13 Responses to Always look on the bright side

  1. Ediite says:

    Love your blog.It is brilliant. Thou I was born as Latvian, somewhere along the lines I converted myself to be more… happy and Spanish like, therefore till today, no matter how many times [ this is my 3rd attempt ] to reintegrate in LV, I never made it past 2 years here and the last 6 months here were on count down! 😉

    Your blog pretty much sums up my experience here in Latvia and I too would struggle to make top 10 things at this stage. Thou it is a beautiful country… 😉

    • Expat Eye says:

      Hi Ediite! Thanks for the comment! I’m always happy when a Latvian person likes the blog! At the moment, I’m struggling to find 3 top things about England so maybe I’m just the type of person who will never be happy with anything 😉 Stay happy and Spanish-like! Linda.

  2. John says:

    Summer is amazing in Latvia. Almost makes the other 9 months worth the hassle. Domes Laukums, cheapish beer, still bright around 11pm, live bands playing. As for Latvian, my girlfriend swears that when I speak it with an exaggerated “tirty tree and tree tirds” Irish accent, it sounds much better. Give it a whack and see.

  3. Pecora Nera says:

    Out of curiosity, how much are the cans of Heinz baked beanz. In our supermarket they are 2.20 euros a can. I can buy a nice bottle of wine with 2.20.

    Have you learnt Latvian??

    • Expat Eye says:

      They have the fridge pack – 5 portions of beans in one container! So enough for 5 dinners for 1.69 – I guess around 2.50 euro. I couldn’t buy a bottle of wine for that! They’re much more expensive than the local beans though! I’m picking up Latvian as I go along but haven’t done any formal lessons as I just don’t have the time – or the money! I watch English TV with subtitles so I can read quite well but my pronunciation is briesmigi – or terrible in Latvian 🙂 How’s your Italian coming on? Progressed past yes, no, hello, goodbye and so-so yet?!

  4. 1WriteWay says:

    Lovely post … I actually was wondering why you are still there. You provide some very good reasons!

  5. traveller says:

    Don’t forget the mullets;) I would add to the list the general standard of male attractiveness in Eastern Europe (no offense to your Eastern European readers who I am sure are a fortunate exception) but this is a clear advantage, in that it’s so easy to stay out of temptation’s way:)

  6. kathexpat says:

    Riga looks lovely! That’s a list that should definitely cheer you up in the chill. I love the story at the cafe! I can totally picture it! I hope you and the boy are still friends and it’s not too awkward!

    • Expat Eye says:

      Ha ha, no it’s grand! I was able to explain it to him later – explaining that he’s a friend to her is more difficult! Especially as (I think) the Latvian word for friend and boyfriend is the same! Like I said, not a rich language 🙂

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