In recent weeks, I’ve been honoured by my fellow bloggers, not once, not twice, but three times! In case you’re starting to get sick of this all new ‘gushing, happy Expat’, I’ve decided to deal with all three in one post, like a kind of awards pile-up, in an attempt to keep it relatively short. I’m going to cheat a little on the rules – answer some questions, not write 22 things about me (because after I answer all the questions, you’ll already know everything there is to know) and nominate some bloggers that I’ve recently started following.
However, blog etiquette (bletiquette?) means that there is one rule that I absolutely cannot skip, and wouldn’t want to, and that is thanking the lovely people who nominated me. Massive thanks to Marie Ann at 1 Write Way for the Super Sweet Blogger Award, and Polyglot Fun and Wellies and Wickets for the Liebster nominations.
The Super Sweet Blogger Questions
Q: Cookies or Cake?
A: Cake, cake, cake. This morning, straight after my breakfast, I had a chocolate and caramel cake – for no particular reason. And then later, because it rained, I had an icing sugar-topped cream bun. So, reason, no reason, it’s always a good time for cake.
Q: Chocolate or Vanilla?
A: Vanilla for ice-cream, chocolate for cake. Did I mention I like cake?
Q: Favorite sweet treat?
A: A pain au chocolat from the French bakery around the corner – for second breakfast.
Q: When do you crave sweets the most:
A: When I’m bored.
Q: Sweet nickname?
A: Not so sweet, but ‘fat midget’. I’ve always been a midget but the cakes are clearly starting to show.
The Liebster Questions:
1. Have you ever told a joke so bad that you had to explain it, which only resulted in a worse situation?
I don’t think so but I get told jokes by my students all the time, which may or may not be funny in Latvian/Russian but definitely don’t translate. Another student then joins in, trying to explain it to me. It’s still not funny. The whole class joins in with the explanation. It’s still not funny but I attempt a laugh, turn to the board and give a (hopefully inaudible) sigh of despair.
Here’s a Latvian joke I found online:
First Latvian: “What is one potato say to other potato?”
Second Latvian: “I am not know.”
First Latvian: “Premise is ridiculous! No one have two potato.”
2. What was the most embarrassing thing you’ve ever done in front of someone you were/are attracted to?
Too many to remember I’m sure, but in Latvia, opening my fridge was probably the most embarrassing. Latvian/Russian men kind of expect their ‘woman’ to be just like their mother so that they can transition from her bosom to yours without any sort of culture shock. So, opening my fridge to reveal an egg, a bottle of water and a bottle of wine put me firmly in the ‘non-wife material’ category. I was still the laughing stock of the local bar weeks later…
3. Which country will you travel to next?
England. I’ll be working in a summer school in Rugby for 5 weeks.
4. Which country will you never go back to?
Probably Poland. After spending 9 months in Radom (don’t worry, even some Polish people haven’t heard of it), the thought of returning gives me chills.
5. Do you enjoy being the center of attention?
It depends on the reason!
6. Have you ever experienced a natural disaster?
I experienced a small earthquake in New Zealand. I decided that as I was in bed anyway, I may as well be comfortable when the end came, so I stayed there. It stopped a few minutes later. I was glad I’d stayed in bed.
7. Have you thought about becoming a great writer, only to experience writer’s block immediately afterwards?
I’ve never even made it as far as the writer’s block stage.
8. Your favorite city in the entire world?
Memphis, Tennessee. Beer, blues and blue suede shoes. What more could a girl ask for?
9. Sea, land, or sky?
All of them!
10. How do you motivate yourself when you face something you don’t want to do?
Promise myself a bottle of wine as a reward for when I finish.
11. Do you enjoy tongue twisters?
I enjoy trying to say šaursliežu dzelzceļš (narrow railway) in Latvian. I haven’t done it yet.
From Wellies and Wickets:
1. What is your favorite color?
2. Why did you decide to start a blog?
Mainly to keep myself sane!
3. How many countries have you been to?
I’ve never counted! Quite a few in Europe, America, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Singapore. And Latvia.
4. What is the one food you can’t stand?
Mushrooms. They actually scare me. If they happen to be in something I order, I end up with a mushroom graveyard at the side of my plate by the time I finish.
5. If you could only pick 5 beverages to drink for the rest of your life, what would they be?
Tea with milk, Club Orange (it’s an Irish thing), wine, beer and vodka.
6. Would you rather have four eyes or two noses?
Four eyes definitely. My nose is already big enough for two.
7. Which of the seven dwarfs do you most relate to?
8. What is your go-to karaoke song?
‘Son of a Preacher Man’ by Dusty Springfield.
9. Which is worse – being too tired or too hungry?
Too tired. I’ve got a twitch in my eye now as a result of tiredness. I keep running to the bathroom mirror to see if I can see it move but I’m too tired to get there quickly enough.
10. What was the last article of clothing you bought and why?
A blue, strapless summer dress. Because it’s summer and I don’t like tan lines.
11. Did you find it as difficult as I did to come up with 11 facts about yourself, answer 11 questions, find 11 blogs to nominate and write 11 questions for someone else?
I’m cheating so it’s not so bad 😉
And finally, my nominees. These are some bloggers I’ve discovered recently that I’m really enjoying, so hopefully they’re happy to receive my nomination! You can choose the Super Sweet or the Liebster, or you can take both! Congratulations!
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Huh, I’ve just come across this post now – how could I have missed it?? Congratulations on all your nominations, and thank you so much for nominating me! I think, cheating is the way to go…
So my apologies for my tardy reply and thank you! 🙂
I got lazy with telling people I’d nominated them! That was my cheat – among others!! Congrats!
Thank you for the nomination 🙂
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I copied it from Sally Field 😉
Your response to Polyglotfun (number 2) was extremely informative. You might want to go into this a little further someday. 😉 please.
Congrats on all of your honors and awards!
Ha, oh god, the pain is still too raw! Despite my protests of it being Friday night and I wouldn’t be doing my shopping until the next day (to be honest, it wouldn’t have changed much!), the look on his face was of such horror, I knew that was it! I’m probably still known as ‘the woman who looks like a woman but isn’t really a woman’ – he’s probably found himself a nice Suzie Homemaker by now 😉
Congrats! As always, you deserve them!
Too kind as always! How was the housewarming?
Haha! Still no corkscrew! 🙂
Screw tops or just push the cork into the bottle with the handle of a knife. I’m a classy chick. 😉
I pushed the cork into the bottle tonight and just had to tell you. 🙂
I’m so proud. Baby’s all grown up! 😉
Never heard that joke about potatos… Maybe i’m not a real latvian?
Hmm, well you have a sense of humour – that’s odd… 😉
Well, that is not a Latvian joke. It just recently originated in foreign European websites. It’s main focus is to laugh about Latvia being too poor and general stereotypes of this country from Western European perspective. Obviously through internet it got attention among some Latvian’s, especially the youth.
I have seen the evolution of this “meme” in international skybars (forums). In a way similar to country balls comics as they often get crossovers.
P.S. Congratulations on your honors and awards I guess, although I yet have to see a blog that would go in depth about Latvian socioeconomical environment and people with pragmatic view.
Hi Edij, thanks for the grudging congratulations! 😉 Yeah, I wasn’t sure if it was a joke about Latvians or a Latvian joke (I don’t know enough Latvian jokes to judge!) but it made me laugh and sort of reminded me of some Irish jokes so I put it in anyway!
And I’m sorry to disappoint but this blog will probably never be a serious commentary on the socio-economic situation in Latvia. For a start, I don’t claim to be enough of an expert to even begin to write about it in any kind of detail. Also, while I’m delighted so many people are reading it, I’m still essentially writing for myself so I write about what I see and what I enjoy, or find funny or different.
I guess the good news is that people from all over the world are reading it and interested in it – some of whom had never even heard of Latvia – and even if the content isn’t always what you’d like, at least they know a little about the country and the people who live in it. One girl has even learned a few words of Latvian and created a programme that translates English numbers into Latvian – because I mentioned that I have problems with invoicing at the end of the month. So I guess that even if it is from my skewed expat point of view, it’s nice that people are interested! Maybe you should start your own blog – a more serious view of Latvia from a local perspective??? Linda.
First of all, I already realized that this blog wasn’t a serious commentary since i started to read your it’s content, I’m rather indicating that many foreign readers will consider your take on this as a serious source material (minus obvious humor).
The thing is that if a person gets to know a country for the first time on certain grounds or way then that opinion and associations will stay imprinted until the persons views on particular subject would be completely refuted. Its human psychology and people usually tend to have primitive view on foreign countries or more specifically to people and countries they cant associate with themselves. So this blog can be viewed as potential stereotype distributor.
As for creating my own blog: 1) I don’t have sufficient amount of time and even if I had I probably would leave it at one point without maintenance. 2) It wouldn’t benefit me in any important way.
Well, I think that if you have the brainpower to realise that it isn’t a serious commentary, most other people will too. Until then, I guess people are stuck with my take on things – unless some Latvian finds 1) the time and 2) a benefit to themselves in starting their own blog. You seem quite passionate about how people view Latvia but not quite passionate enough to actually put in the time to do anything about it. Common problem I guess.
I personally have negative view on Latvia but of reasons that I fully understand. But personally it distresses me to see any person having primitive or not deep enough understanding of particular things which I simply find annoying regardless of what topic.
I am not passionate about this subject, I have had 3 day argumented discussion about reasons behind Soviet occupation policies before operation Barbarossa with 2 pro-soviet forumers, that might be called passionate, not this.
As for you vaguely trying to imply that I’m that “typical” Latvian who complains but doesn’t do anything to change it, well, I have a physics exam to prepare for, graduation and a part time job that needs to be done, so in this case it doesn’t apply for me and it’s not a cop-out. Just because I have some minutes to write comments doesn’t mean I will be willing to spend several hours to create a whole new blog just in spite of you, although I might take some time to reason things you find humorous or not understandable.
Hi again, god help whatever professor tries to argue the finer points of your dissertation with you!
Ok, so you’re not passionate about this subject. You yourself have a negative view of Latvia. You don’t have a lot of time and you don’t want to write a blog. All of this I can understand.
My problem with your comments, if you can call it a problem, is that you comment on my ‘primitive knowledge’ or ignorance but basically do nothing to inform me! One of the reasons I started the blog was to express the things I didn’t understand and see if anyone else had noticed and could help me out. So just telling me I don’t understand doesn’t really help me much – I already know that! You can’t compare the knowledge of someone who’s been in the country for a couple of years with someone who’s lived here all their life. I’m not claiming to be some kind of expert and it’s pretty clear from reading my blog that I’m anything but!
But some people who comment actually try to explain things a bit or to give some sort of reason. Then I think ‘Ok, that makes sense’ and I gain a bit more of an insight. No bad thing I’m sure you’ll agree.
And as for blogging, yes, it does take time. Even my ill-informed, unfunny style of blogging takes time believe it or not. But I do it because I enjoy doing it. It’s one of the few things I do because I like doing it, not because I HAVE TO do it, like everything else in my life at the moment.
Anyway, best of luck with the test and graduation. I’m sure we’ll cross swords again some day soon! Linda.
I don’t have problems with this particular post or some particular entries but of points made in several of them. One of recent examples was your humorous view on Latvian language or more specifically how it works. Another was about few supposed “reasons” and points about living level in Latvia and so called the most attractive Latvian guy.
1. You were making fun of particular language rules, which I just personally find amusing in any way. So we might as well make fun of a green bottle because it’s….green?
2. Your mentioned 413 lat medium salary per month may be a true number but then again, studies have confirmed that only 15% of whole Latvian population receives more than 200 lats Neto per person in family which means there is a large inequality in income. We can have 2 people receiving 2000 lats and 8 people receiving 250 lats which would make the medium salary to be 400 lats per month. Plus there are many other socioeconomical factors like expensive healthcare, taxes, utility costs etc that considerably changes material background. There is so much to expand on this subject.
3.”Beats me how everyone in Riga is walking around toting Gucci handbags and driving Bentleys and BMWs” – well, even knowing the large income inequality and minority actually having large salaries you should know that Riga concentrates nearly half of Latvian population and contains the majority of wealthy side of Latvians. Now from that wealthier fraction the most of really wealthy will live in city center (many will have private homes in periphery) but definitely all of them will be spending their working hours, shopping and activities in city center. So it”s not only surprising but natural.
4. “Girts Ķesters” as Latvian male archetype? Yes, I understand it was a joke, but the way you conveyed it made it seem that you do actually think he is perceived as one of top looking males by Latvian general public which is simply not true. Just because some Latvian websites and TV series is lobbying this guy does mean that most woman find him very attractive. If you would just go and ask more people about this particular guy you would soon find out that most would think that this claim (being one of most handsome and manly guys in this nation) is a joke.
This is just a very short insight about things that might seem funny on first glance but aren’t really “straight” in the real world. If it bothers you that I’m too picky, then all I can say is that the big picture is made from small details.
If I for example had a lacking knowledge about something, instead of publicly making statements and opinions, I would directly study the subject, consult other people who are in position to give a better judgment and then maybe implement that information in something as outspoken or public.
So you seem to prefer people correcting you after you share your views and opinion rather than gathering sufficient info before expressing opinion that would be reasoned enough even for yourself?
Jesus Edij, you’re wearing me out here. For someone who has no time, you seem to have enough to spare to send me epic messages! Of course I always ask my students and other people I know for information – like the ‘how to get ahead in Latvia’ post – that all came directly from my students’ mouths. The salaries etc I looked up online – I didn’t just pluck random figures out of the air. The changing of names – of course I realise it’s a Latvian grammar thing – Erika Kleptona koncerta biletes – the tickets of the concert of Eric Clapton. In Latvian it makes perfect sense. In English it makes him sound like a kleptomaniac cross-dresser. The Girts Kesters thing – I’d never heard of him until I asked some students who was considered Latvia’s sexiest man – they said he’d been voted in 3 years in a row. I can’t claim that everyone agrees with that or know who votes in these things but some people do, and 3 years in a row suggested to me that he wasn’t just some passing fad. Maybe you’re the most handsome guy in Latvia, I have no idea – but unfortunately, people haven’t voted for you so I just work with the information I’m given and that I find myself. If people correct me afterwards or if some things are out of date or not accurate, that’s fair enough. But everything that I’ve written is based on something. Either I’ve seen it, heard it, somebody has said it to me or I’ve found it on the internet. What happens after that is up to individual opinion.
Don’t find it amusing in any way* instead of [find it amusing in any way]
P.S. Sorry for any troubles that are caused by my misspelling.
Another Oscar speech so soon! I see you decided to go with the “Sally Field” this time 🙂
It had to be done!
Congratulations! You are deserving of many awards :). By the way, I thought that Latvian potato joke was funny.
Ha ha, me too! There may be more to come… 😉
Can you explain the Latvian potato joke? I laughed only because I didn´t understand it…
That’s why I laughed too 🙂
Ha ha, it’s because Latvians were so poor that nobody would have had two potatoes! Pretty similar to Irish history!