Stranger danger?

So I’m back in good old Blighty. This will be my home for the next five weeks.



I flew into Luton airport on Wednesday afternoon and went to buy a bus ticket from the National Express office. Faced with the cheery smile and ‘How can I help you, darling?’ of the ticket seller, this hardened expat’s lower lip trembled and I had to fight the urge to break through the glass to hug the woman. That’s what three years of living in Latvia does to a person. A smile and a kind word from a stranger makes you want to weep and cling to their legs so they can’t get away from you – ever.

With over an hour to kill until my bus, I bought a cup of tea with milk (and no funny looks) and sat outside in the rare English sunshine. Soon afterwards, a middle-aged couple asked if they could share my table. He was giving out about the price of parking – at 15 quid, I didn’t blame him. The fact that his recently-purchased muffin was low-fat was the icing on the offensive cake in his book.

Thirty minutes later, they knew all about my life in Latvia, the languages spoken there, what Riga is like, what the rest of the country is like (forest), and how I ended up there in the first place. I found out that their son is also a TEFL teacher but living in Austria, how proud they are of their kids and their grandkids, what the husband does for a living and, of course, how he feels about low-fat muffins. Every Latvian’s worst nightmare, I’m sure.

For me, it was a breath of fresh air – how nice that total strangers can pass the time, share a little about their lives and put a smile on each other’s faces, while stuck in the ‘travel-dead-zone’. Meanwhile, a Latvian guy from the plane pulled a chair away from everyone else and sat staring at the EasyJet hangar…

But hey, katram savs as they say in Latvia. Each to their own.

About BerLinda

Adjusting to life in Germany, after living in Latvia for four years. Should be easy, right?
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31 Responses to Stranger danger?

  1. gkm2011 says:

    Great post, I can totally relate. I sat next to a woman on a plane in the US this summer and before we even took off I knew that she had just finished up a round of cancer treatment and was on her way to a summer cottage not 100 miles from ours. Small world. This would not happen in China.

    • Expat Eye says:

      It’s all getting a bit much now to be honest! I went into the supermarket the other day to buy phone credit and got a 5-minute diatribe about how useless the cashier’s husband was! Thanks for visiting my blog!

  2. Linda what a great story! The familiarity of returning home can be a joy – language, nuance, food (even if it was stuff you hated)! Have fun at home and soak it up. All the best, Terri

  3. gina4star says:

    Aww that’s so nice! Bless, it’s so lovely how something so small and seemingly insignificant can mean so much! What a lovely story to start off your stint in Blighty! πŸ™‚

  4. I like hot tea with milk so no funny looks here! πŸ™‚ But I agree, it’s amazing what a smile and some nice conversation can do for your mood! Hope you enjoy yourself!

  5. 1WriteWay says:

    So good to hear that you’re off to a good start! I do hope you can post (and frequently) while at summer school. I practically live for your posts! (And I need to find Pecora! I’ve missing him of late too!)

    • Expat Eye says:

      I know! Wifi has been down since Friday – I thought I was dying! A lot of reading to catch up on and possible a new post on the way later! Hurrah! I miss Pecora too – we should start a petition πŸ˜‰

      • 1WriteWay says:

        That would be funny … a petition to bring Pecora back to the blogosphere. I went to his last post and commented. He responded so maybe that can serve as a petition … just go to his last post and flood him with comments until he adds a new one πŸ™‚

  6. Does this mean no posts for 5 weeks? How will I survive without your adventures in Latvia? Mrs. G and I will be disappointed. She enjoys your posts as well and wonders if Lithuanians are the same. She only goes in the winter when everyone is inside.

    • Expat Eye says:

      Ha ha, poor her! Not the best time! Well, the wifi is down at the moment and I’m being kicked out of the school so it’ll be a few days before the next post – I’ll try to make it extra special πŸ˜‰

  7. bevchen says:

    YAY for tea with milk and no funny looks πŸ˜€

  8. livliveslife says:

    Yep, definitely jealous. I hope you continue to post some pictures of lovely old England!

    • Expat Eye says:

      It’s a bit like Hogwarts I think! Inside isn’t so swish, don’t worry. I have my own room with a sink but shared everything else! And I have to traipse up and down 3 flights of stairs just to make a cup of tea!

  9. No sign of reverse culture shock there πŸ˜‰

  10. rjschutte says:

    It is time to charge the battery again. The best way to do that is around smiling and open people. People who are not afraid to talk to strangers. That is wht everybody needs πŸ˜‰

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