The Latvian Invasion

Today was my last day off at the summer school, so I decided to ‘treat’ myself to a little shopping spree in Birmingham. After around thirty minutes of noise, filth, fatty-fighting and chav-dodging, I began to see the error of my ways.

Call my vision rose-coloured if you will, but I remember shops in England being good. Not so anymore. If I wanted dresses with holes in them, I’d wear my ‘porno’ shoes out, fall over and make them myself. If I wanted leopard print, lace and leather in one outfit, I’d go back to Latvia.



Ah, Latvia! After around an hour in central Birmingham, I was practically aching with the desire to return to the relative sanity and peace of Riga – even a nice, long walk in the forest seemed tempting at that stage…

But of course, I soldiered on, determined to buy even one item so the day didn’t seem like such a total loss. Finally finding one top that didn’t look like a dog had got to it first, and that wasn’t in a size 18-20, I made my way to the H&MΒ changing rooms.

I’d barely taken my top off when a child hurricane started roaring up and down the passageway outside the changing rooms. About to start muttering to myself about how badly-behaved British kids are in comparison to Latvian ones, I was stunned into silence when the voice that reprimanded him spoke in Latvian.

Poor Daddy was fighting a losing battle though. ‘Janis, stop it… Janis, put that down… Janis, we have to wait for Mummy… NO, Janis, that’s NOT Mummy’s room!’

I chuckled to myself, imagining some poor woman with this tiny terror barging in on her in her smalls. My chuckles stopped when I realised that I was that poor woman, and now had a maniacal three-year old at navel level – with his dad close behind, doing his best not to look at my (thankfully bra-covered) boobs.

He muttered a quick ‘sorry’ in English as he dragged the kid out and I swiftly shut the door behind them. The tot tornado resumed until the rather-too-polite-under-the-circumstances attendant asked the dad to take the kid outside.

It's showtime!

It’s showtime!

Deciding to buy the top, more as a souvenir than anything else, I joined the queue. Naturally, Janis Senior soon appeared, a few people back. In a forgiving mood, I gave him a ‘Oh well, you’ve seen my in my bra – how embarrassing’ sort of smile. I got a good old Latvian glare in return, which I found oddly comforting.

It’s nice to see that even when Latvians move to the supposed Promised Land that is England, they manage to maintain the misery. But, then again, if I’d ended up in Birmingham, I’m pretty sure I’d be miserable too.

About BerLinda

Adjusting to life in Germany, after living in Latvia for four years. Should be easy, right?
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49 Responses to The Latvian Invasion

  1. gina4star says:

    Haha, oh that’s brilliant! It’s like Latvia knew! πŸ™‚

  2. 1WriteWay says:

    Too funny! You had to be thinking, “Why me????” But if not you, then I wouldn’t have had the joy of reading this post πŸ˜‰

  3. Pingback: Online Dating – Smithson Style | The Office Inbetweener

  4. Pecora Nera says:

    Shopping in Birmingham for fashion…. nooo don’t do it.
    Have you finished your summer skool?

    • Expat Eye says:

      Last day! Have the awards ceremony to go to and then that’s it! Pack up and hit the road tomorrow! HURRAH!

      • Pecora Nera says:

        You have an award ceremony… was it a Liebster Award?

      • Expat Eye says:

        Unfortunately not! Certificates and prizes for my Japanese boys πŸ˜‰ They gave me a card which all of them had written a little message on. Bless. One of them wrote – Resistance disappeared to talk with a foreigner on the coattails of you… Reckon he had some help with that!

  5. Oh, my, I think you’ve successfully become living Latvian magnet by now πŸ™‚ Level of Latvian experience 99 πŸ˜€

    • Expat Eye says:

      I’m not sure if I’m happy about that or not!! I’ll be flying to Lithuania tomorrow πŸ˜‰

      • be careful over here, or you’ll get polarized on Lithuanians too and next time you go over the Channel you won’t meet a single non-Baltic person. Just kidding πŸ˜‰
        Have a nice rime in Lithuania, and don’t forget an umbrella

      • Expat Eye says:

        I’ve got one, don’t worry! Will have to do a full analysis of Lithuanians vs Latvians πŸ˜‰ Watch this space!

      • I sure will πŸ™‚ I now started thinking that you might be one of ’em celebrities coming to the grand opening of Ikea, and next blog entry will be on how you’ve helped Lithuanian president to cut the red band at the opening ceremony πŸ˜€

      • Expat Eye says:

        You guys are getting an IKEA?! You’re so far ahead of us in LV! If you see someone running away with the big scissors, that’s probably me πŸ˜‰

      • Yes, finally! Can’t wait for Ikea to open tomorrow – I’ve already got a list of things I want πŸ™‚

      • Expat Eye says:

        If it’s anything like the H&M opening in Riga, I’d get there early! Actually, you should already have been there around 3 days ago πŸ˜‰

      • I’m prepared πŸ™‚ Since 15th is National Holiday and I asked a day off for Friday, I think I’m good and ready to camp over there πŸ˜€ If not for some unplanned renovations at home, which I really want to get over with, I’d wait a month or so, but not the case this time round.
        Anyway, with Ikea and later in August HM opening, I think I soon might be back to regular shopping instead of on-line one πŸ™‚

      • Expat Eye says:

        Just passed IKEA on my way from the airport! Did you get everything you were looking for or just get trampled??

      • I won’t go there for now. I want to, but I treasure my hide way too much to let someone trample on it πŸ˜‰

      • Expat Eye says:

        Yeah I’d give it a couple of weeks til the novelty wears off!

  6. Joanne Dalton says:

    Ah Linda, I’m chortling away to myself here in work! There’s deffo a book in this …

  7. bevchen says:

    Obviously you’ve been living in Latvia too long… you attract them now. Like moths to a flame…

  8. Smiles, one more time I am glad to be male.

  9. Too amusing! I suppose it would have been out of character to retort in Latvian, eh? Enjoy the rest of your time ‘home’ πŸ™‚

    • Expat Eye says:

      I was too stunned to say anything in any language! If he’d smiled at me in the queue, I would have said something in Latvian but he didn’t so I didn’t bother! πŸ™‚

  10. pollyheath says:

    Seriously. You’ll never escape the Latvians now!

    Also, perhaps a good idea to double-lock the bathroom door next time.

    • Expat Eye says:

      There are no locks at the summer school! Well, there are on the toilet doors, but the shower is just a curtain. And no locks on the fitting room doors in most shops. You just close it and hope for the best!

  11. rjschutte says:

    Did he really say sorry? How odd…… Must be the English influence.

  12. You can’t get away from them, can’t you?!
    OMG, what’s happened to the clothes shops since I’ve been away?! I so hope The White Stuff has not been touched by the tacky wand 😦

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