A brush with a Latvian

Well, well, well. Here we are at the 100th post on Expat Eye. Who would have thought that the Latvians and Latvia could be so damn (unintentionally) entertaining? Not me, that’s for sure.

Anyway, I thought that for the 100th post, I would focus on an issue so controversial, so contentious, that it might even rival ‘The Great Egg Cup Debate’ of, well, May.

This issue first came to my attention during a lesson last week as I was expertly explaining the Future Continuous and Future Perfect tenses to a group of students. This, by the way, is the lesson where students gain a fascinating insight into the glamorous world of TEFL teaching.

“At 8.15 tonight, I will be eating beans on toast.”

“By 8.30, I will have eaten my beans on toast.”

What did I tell you? Glamorous…

The final task of the lesson was a speaking one – about the different things we can do to help save the planet. Taking showers instead of baths was one of the topics for discussion. I was ambling around the room, listening to various students talking when I happened to stop by two girls as they were debating if showers really were better as they took ages.

Out of curiosity, I asked them how long they spent in the shower. Thirty minutes was the answer. THIRTY MINUTES! Now these are both average-sized women. Sure, they have hair but it’s not exactly going to rival Rapunzel any time soon. Before my brain-mouth filter kicked into gear, the question was out. “But what are you doing in there for 30 minutes???”

Considering most Latvians think “How are you?” is a highly personal question, I clamped my hand over my mouth in horror, expecting a mass walkout. But no, they calmly answered, “Well first, you have to wash your body, then you have to wash your hair, then rinse it, then wash it again… (Christ, sharing a bathroom with a Latvian woman must be a nightmare), then you put in the conditioner, then you brush your teeth while the conditioner…”

Me: Wait, what? You brush your teeth in the shower?

Gunta: Sure!

Me: So you’re spitting into the shower while you’re standing in it?

Ginta: Well, yeah, but…

Me: And brushing your teeth with warm water??

Gunta: Well, of course.

Now call me crazy, but to me, this is crazy. I brush my teeth at the sink. I thought everyone did. In the past, I’ve made the mistake of not turning the tap all the way to cold and the sensation of warm water and toothpaste in my mouth was just horrible. You see, in Ireland we have TWO taps – one for hot and one for cold. In this way, we avoid these sorts of mishaps.






Thinking that maybe it was just these two girls, I put the question to the rest of the class (yes, I’m very easily side-tracked – grammar schmammar). Pretty much everyone said yes and looked surprised that I would even ask the question.

Me: But why??

Only guy in the room/country: Why not? (Yes, it’s him again.)

Me: Sigh. 

Now I don’t know if all Latvians brush their teeth in the shower. I haven’t joined them and I’m not planning to. I know some guys who do ‘questionable’ things in the shower – mainly because there’s less cleaning up involved afterwards. (I know one who does this on hotel room floors for the same reason but that’s another story.) But brushing your teeth in there? That’s one I hadn’t heard before.

So tell me – sink or shower? Hot or cold? Wrong or right? Black or white? Help me before this turns into a full-blown Katy Perry song…



About BerLinda

Adjusting to life in Germany, after living in Latvia for four years. Should be easy, right?
This entry was posted in Expat, Humor, Humour, Latvia, Latvian women, TEFL and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

146 Responses to A brush with a Latvian

  1. bmagpub says:

    Wow, 144 responses! Makes you think… At least teeth get brushed! How are the dentists? Almost afraid to ask after reading someof your more recent posts 😉

    • Expat Eye says:

      Ha ha, no any experiences I’ve had have been fine! There’s a lot of medical tourism here as it’s much cheaper to get dental work etc. done here than it is in the rest of Europe. But yes, 144 responses – funny what tickles people!! 🙂

  2. Pingback: Goodbye Mr ‘Why Not?’ | Expat Eye on Latvia

  3. julijag says:

    quite generalising article

  4. ritealaga says:

    i really hate 2 tap system why even u do that. u easy can open just cold if u like it 😀
    that was my worsted think on UK but also i have to say Latvians are honest and when we come to UK and meet your non personal -how are u we got mad too. be who you are and all done. i like your truth and vision about my country

  5. Remisets says:

    Mums viens ūdens sajaukšanas krāns ir tāpēc, ka mums pašiem ir tikai viens krāns un divi pauti, elementāri. :)))

    • Paul (Pizzajazz) says:

      Interesting analogy.. so does that mean, in the UK, they have 2 of both? 🙂

      I have to admit that when I moved from the UK to LV, I went from a couple of 4 inchers to a 12 incher! .. and it could rotate around its base! When having a bath, you had to position it carefully otherwise it could poke you in the eye 🙂

      However, what was more exciting to my lady friends was in the kitchen.. not only would it rotate, but with a firm pull it would extend and triple its size.. and more.. with a gentle press on the head would start to pulse and vibrate!!

  6. Loya says:

    I am Latvian, and don’t see any problems brushing my teeth in the shower…I wonder how are you going to take care of kids if you are so squeamish about your own spit? And kids – they pee and shit and mother has to clean all that all days long, and you’ll see tones of spit and snot and burps.. sorry if that’s too personal 🙂
    it takes me about 20-25 minutes to take the shower, and I often brush my teeth while waiting for conditioner to do its thing.. if I use the sink for that, I prefer warm water. I live in UK now and separate taps just irritate me, so irrational… I just don’t get it – boiling water from one tap, icy cold from another, and.. what should I do? How to get used to that? 🙂

    what is strange here in UK for me, how they enter the flat and leave their shoes on! Or it’s a normal thing to take something, say, from Subway or McDonald and eat it while leaning onto the street trash bin, or even using it’s top part as a table. (and I am not talking about hobos, I’ve seen pretty decent businessmen doing that). Also, a lot of people are wearing something very thin when it’s +5, like a sweater, and complain that’s it’s cold. Fuck yeah, it’s winter, after all 😀 Get a hat and gloves and a jacket, that’s what they were invented for )

    • Expat Eye says:

      I’ve heard that from a few people recently! Well, not the eating over the trash can thing (that’s just wrong) but English people wearing next to nothing in winter! WHY? I’m like a mummy every time I step outside the door at the moment – and it’s not even that cold! Every morning, this guy jogs past me wearing shorts and I shudder 😉 Maybe he’s English? 😉

      As for the taps – have you tried this?


  7. Martin says:

    Thanks for sharing your experience, it is an entertaining and refreshing read.

    Just some thoughts from my point of view.

    Well, if you knew exactly what kind of various weird chemicals are contained in the toothpaste and how exactly each of them affect every cell of your body, toothpaste would feel more disgusting to take in your mouth than warm water. Warm water is just tea without tea itself 😀
    The same about dill, bacon and potatoes – it is better and more natural than hamburgers and pizzas, but you have to get used to it and find out how to cook all this “natural Latvian food” to avoid getting fat. Everything depends on one’s cultural or personal habits. We do many weird things which are not good nor bad, nor healthy, nor harmful – they just are as they are.

    About that “How are you” thing. I prefer it to be a personal question asked by someone who really cares about how I feel emotionally and what I’ve been doing recently. I don’t appreciate the idea of smiley faces and “Thank you” and “How are you?”, when I know that this person might be pretending just by a cultural habit or even worse – because being polite is part of his job. Such expressions of politeness might feel comfortable from the first glimpse, but many Latvian people are deep-thinkers – they seek for hidden meanings. If you are smiling and being too polite, someone might think that you need something. It’s also one of the reasons why I hate targeted advertisements. When I read “We have a discount specially for you! You are our high valued customer!”, I immediately – and often subconsciously – think: well, and how many other persons did receive exactly this advertisement just because you need to sell your stuff? The same is with smiley faces. I like when my close friends and relatives are smiling while we are having fun. But I become suspicious when some stranger smiles at me and behaves overly sweet. That’s one of the reasons why Latvian people may seem impolite. And the other reason is that they really are sad because of the situation in their country.

    Regarding the bad face of Riga – yes, I agree, there are just a few places in Riga worth seeing. But there are some other places worth seeing, for example Ventspils – it is an evolving city because it has good financial income. Many of nice places are scattered all over Latvia, and roads are really not in a good shape, thus getting there might become a new adventure to blog about.

    By the way, I myself live in a city almost 200km from Riga. I have recently moved from deeper rural area to a city and I already don’t like it – so much noise, smell, strange people. And it’s not safe here to jog my daily 6km every evening at 9:00 as I used to in my previous rural residence. And again returning to the topic of polite people – actually, when you live in a small rural village you have many neighbors which really care about each other and when they ask “How are you?” they mean it and expect you to tell them a lot. Often a sincere “How are you?” turns to one hour long talk and some beers … or lots of beer, and that’s one of problems in rural areas…

    Well, enough ranting from me. Good luck to you, and waiting for more stories. It’s nice to read someone else’s point of view – it gives another perspective and makes me think – hm, maybe it’s indeed weird what I’m doing right now.

  8. Pagāns says:

    To begin with, yes, I’m a Latvian (living in UK).
    Quite recently started to read your blog, and it’s the first one I keep coming back to. Not much of a blogger type, but do enjoy reading, especially your blog :). After finishing all your articles, decided to finally comment on one too. I suppose my Latvian shyness stopped me to do it earlier.
    As a proper Latvian, I do enjoy having long showers(20-40min), not always though, and here’s what’s making them so long. At first I’m waiting for the water to get hot, then get in the shower, slowly trying to adjust to the temperature, simply standing and enjoying the hot water for few minutes. After that, I’m setting temperature a bit lower to wash my face, when it’s done, setting it back hotter(bear in mind, that all this water temperature change is no faster than internet connection speed in Libya). Then I start properly brushing(yes, brushing) my whole body,and to do so it involves me participating in gymnastic activities :D, so I could also get to my back and clean it. And by cleaning I mean cleaning, not just letting the brush to touch my back.
    If necessary, I shave my legs and armpits, which takes a bit of time, followed by few more minutes relaxing in the hot water. Now it’s the time to wash my hair, so I shampoo them twice and put on conditioner for 2-3min. After rinsing them, I stand there a little more, slowly starting to lower the temperature of the water until the hot water is off and only cold one is running. Enjoying the cold water for a little while, I get out of the shower. That’s pretty much it, no sexual activities or teeth brushing involved in it. 😀 Though, tried brushing there few times, saving time, but definitely NOT a habit. Actually, I never brushed my teeth in shower before I got to UK, it was HERE where I heard from others they sometimes do it, which lead me to this idea. It usually is over the sink, but with warm water, as my teeth are sensitive. And NO, I don’t drink warm water, prefer it chilled, like my rum. Still, I see no harm in brushing teeth in the shower, it’s just not my thing. But even when tried it, I didn’t spit on my feet, I just bent closer to to exit point of the water, and spit there, my feet and other parts being far from that. What i do think IS disgusting, is peeing in the shower, no excuse for that.
    If we’re talking about tap water, I thought you would’ve known better what the water is like in Latvia, knowing how crazy we are in protecting our nature, including maintaining unpolluted water. And to be fair, Latvian tap water is pretty, clean unlike UK’s one, which tends to irritate my eyes all the time. Latvian water might sometimes have a little color or taste to it, but that’s only iron, which is supposedly healthy. Anyway, I can actually drink it opposed to UK’s water, which I drink only filtered or boiled(and then chilled). But hey, not here to complain. If I would, then would start on irrational 2 tap fashion here 😀 .
    And good job with getting it to the100 !! 😉

    • Expat Eye says:

      Oh my god! I’m exhausted just reading that! And then you START the day? I’d need a nap after all of that 😉

      As to the water here, I can’t drink it but I guess it’s just what you’re used to! I get off lightly 😉 My Ukrainian student’s hair started falling out and my Scottish friend comes out in massive welts after showering!

      Thanks for reading the blog and I’m happy you like it! 🙂 Hopefully you’ll get used to the AWESOME 2-tap system 😉


      • Antuanete says:

        Skin problems after showering are often caused by so called “hard” water, i.e. with lot of calcium dissolved in it. Unfortunately in Latvia it’s very common to have “hard” tap water as it is pumped from underground watersheds in dolomite or lime. For drinking and cooking, I use filtered tap water – filter jug is not expensive and pots get calcified much slower, also water tastes better. For showering, only solution is to install filter for all apartment’s water supply, but rarely it is done because of expenses.

      • Expat Eye says:

        I guess our soft skin just isn’t used to it 😉

    • Latvian girl says:

      My morning shower ritual is pretty much the same 🙂 Usually I brush teeth over the sink, but a few times while waiting for conditioner have done it in shower. The same way as described by Pagāns.

  9. Allison says:

    Totally totally sink. How do you keep your toothbrush clean if you’re using it in the shower? Where do you put it afterward? Plus, Danish showers are WAY too small to brush your teeth in.

    As a side note, this is the reason why I love my language class here in Denmark. Yes, you learn Danish, but you also learn about all these little tiny cultural differences. So I definitely think it was worth it to halt the grammar lesson and talk about shower habits 🙂

    • Expat Eye says:

      Me too 😉 I LOVE this stuff! Most of the posts come from random tidbits that arise during the course of lessons 🙂 I probably should focus more… I’m already writing the blog post in my head before the 90 minutes are up!

      • Allison says:

        That’s awesome, though! I haven’t gotten to that point with my blog, so sometimes I’m struggling to think of topics for posts. I need to get in that mindset of “how could this be turned into a post?”

      • Expat Eye says:

        It’ll come 😉 People are funny and endless sources of entertainment!

  10. 1WriteWay says:

    Brush me teeth over the sink. Water can be tepid but not hot or warm enough to shower in. I really don’t see the point of brushing one’s teeth in the shower. It doesn’t save time or water or … whatever. And with my luck, I’d get shampoo on the brush 😉

  11. I really dont get it why only 30 minutes of showering has such a fuss?! 😀 Thats the time I need in the summer time, but in winter? I & most people i know would take a 1 – 1,5 hour shower (no, i own a 350 litre bathtub) 😀 how’s that for crazy? Usually – washing the hair, rinsing, conditioning, body wash/shave and rinsing + the face. And yes, brushing teeth while showering is not considered abnormal amongst us, it’s just more work done in less time, or 2 rabbits with one bullet, as we would say it 🙂 Personally, i wash by the sink, with warm water or sometimes even hot… Ahhh… its so fun to read stuff that one consideres utterly crazy, while others think “why not” and carry on 🙂 GREAT POSTS by the way 🙂 Cheers!

    • Expat Eye says:

      Ha, thanks Roxy! GREAT COMMENT 😉 Yeah, I love this silly stuff – like the egg cup thing. People from all over the world were sending messages about whether or not they used them – I find it really funny! 🙂 If I spent 1.5 hours in the shower I’d look like a prune – and the shock of my electricity bill might just kill me 😉 Hope you keep reading! Linda.

  12. Antuanete says:

    Congratulations with your 100th post! Thank you for entertaining, amusing and sometimes annoying us, Latvians 🙂

    Regarding the topic about showers – I didn’t even think about possibility to brush my teeth in shower until I met my boyfriend – he does it very often. I find it a bit weird (and annoying if toothpaste is brought to shower from sink and not put back), but not disturbing at all. Why are you so disgusted thinking about spitting toothpaste on your feet? This substance has just been in your own mouth, right? 🙂
    I brush my teeth at sink and with warm water, as cold water may hurt teeth. Fortunately, we have such option, not like in some countries (khem, khem) with their separate taps 🙂

    • Expat Eye says:

      I stand by the separate taps in my home country 😉 I guess it’s just what you’re used to! I didn’t have any problem adapting to the one tap system though – in fact, I didn’t even notice it until someone pointed it out to me 😉 I don’t know why the spitting thing is weird – it just is! I wouldn’t want to spit on any part of my body! 🙂

      And thanks for the congratulations! Nice to know you’re still reading it! 🙂 And sorry for being annoying sometimes – sort of 😉

  13. cantaloupe says:

    I brush my teeth in the shower sometimes, when I’m saving time. And even when I brush them in the sink, I use cold and warm water because I’m letting the water warm up for me to wash my face. And I totally pee in the shower all the time. And spit. I think it’s weird that your students wash their bodies, then their heads though. I always wash from top down. It just makes sense, gravitationally, y’know?

  14. Juune says:

    It’s simple for me — there is no sink in my bathroom, it had to go to make space for the washing machine. Because they had really weird standards for room sizes when planning apartments in soviet era [my grandma was an architect at that time, they had to stick to given maximum sizes …]. It’s likely your students live in apartments more or less similar to mine with the same “problem”. Would it be better in your opinion if they used the kitchen sink to brush their teeth? 😀

    • Juune says:

      I realized my first probably came out somewhat unclear. What I mean is that many apartment blocks built in soviet times have really tiny bathrooms. And kitchens, too, actually. Even if the rest of the rooms are reasonably sized.

      • Expat Eye says:

        It’s so true! I don’t get the way rooms are planned here – at all! My living room and bedroom are huge, I can rest my head against the door when on the loo (if I wanted to) 😉 It’s TINY!

  15. Pecora Nera says:

    Congratulations on your 100th post. Regarding brushing ones teeth with hot water, I find it is much easier just to take them out and leave them in a glass of bleach while I shower. 😉

  16. Anastasia says:

    Oh you crazy foreigners!

    What’s next after “we don’t spit in the bathroom” chorus? Maybe you don’t pee in it either?!

    🙂 ( a smile for those who don’t get sarcasm)

  17. Anna says:

    Just so you know, every time a comments update pops up in my inbox, I read it as ‘A Brunch with a Latvian.’ And that makes Latvia so much more attractive!

  18. Paul D says:

    Can I suggest that anyone in the UK does “NOT” drink from the hot water tap!

    The UK style plumbing system means that the household hot water is fed from a header tank located in the roof of the house. This is normally an open topped plastic tank and many do not have an adequate cover. This means that the tank accumulates fibreglass dust (from the loft insulation) as well as dead birds, rodents, insects etc etc

    This is maybe the reason why most people in the UK brush their teeth from a separate cold tap 🙂

    The plumbing style is different in Latvia and the hot water is fed directly from the same direct water supply as the cold.. albeit I have often seen this a muddy sandy brown colour that looks clean & white out of the shower but like black tea in the bath.. interesting taste when mixed with toothpaste 🙂

    • Expat Eye says:

      Ah, I’d forgotten about the tank! That would explain a lot! Although, I can’t drink the water here – it makes me ill. And when I see what it does to my saucepans etc, shudder. My friend breaks out in a rash and one of my students’ hair started falling out… I think I’ll take Irish/UK water! 🙂

  19. I brush my teeth at the sink, using cold water, because that’s the way I’ve always done it. It has never occurred to me that I could brush my teeth in the shower. I can’t see anything too wrong in doing that, I suppose, and the warm water would be good for people with sensitive teeth. Maybe the using of cold water for teeth brushing comes from the days of hot water being an expensive commodity – I know as a child that we were never allowed to waste the hot water.

  20. Annie says:

    100?! Congrats on the landmark and having the courage to ask the tough questions. One word: Ew. Mostly to that second to last paragraph and also to teeth brushing in the shower. Though, I’ve never considered water temperature when I’m brushing, so I’m sticking neutral on that one.

  21. I was bracing myself for a more personal (and uncomfortable) answer to what they do in there for 30 minutes (30 minutes? I feel horrible if I stay in there for ten)! Happy 100th Post–keep up the great work!

  22. First of all, thank you for giving me my laugh of the day.

    So, I’m an American that grew up in a household of NINE people (Two adults, seven children) with ONE bathroom that had well water which would run out if Mom did a load of laundry and someone flushed the toilet (OK, I may have exaggerated slightly.) The very idea of taking a shower for longer than 10 minutes would have been a luxury. Even now in my own household of two people (myself and Hubby) with all the water I could possibly want, I still limit my shower to 10 minutes tops. My husband thinks I’m crazy, but old habits die hard.

    However, to answer your question, they only things I do in the shower are:
    * wash myself
    * wash my hair
    * shave my legs and armpits when they need grooming

    Brushing my teeth is done over the sink after I’m wet the toothbrush with lukewarm water (my teeth are a bit sensitive). I usually gargle with mouthwash, but when I’m out of that, I rinse with cold water. The very thought of brushing my teeth in the shower makes me want to gag.

  23. Mr Kev says:

    I almost always brush at the sink with cold water but, back in the days when my hair was longer than the unabridged works of Tolstoy, I sometimes had to brush in the shower when conditioning my hair, if I was in a hurry.
    I’m sorry! 😛

  24. linnetmoss says:

    Congratulations on the 100th post! Speaking of fancy Western style taps, everyone here has these shower heads at the end of a long hose. For that essential shower “massage.” Maybe if the ladies in your class had that, they would take an hour in the shower;)

  25. astrameklere says:

    Sink and warm, but just because my teeth are very sensitive. Latvian, as you probably remember. Would not apreciate splitting the toothpaste on my feet. 😀

  26. barbedwords says:

    Never in the shower – that’s just wrong. Always at the sink. Always cold water. Although we do have these fancy, smancy mixed hot/cold taps in Rome, so maybe rinsing with lukewarm water could grow on me??

    Very impressed with 100 posts, well done!

    • Expat Eye says:

      Thanks! 🙂 I guess I have more bullshit in me than I thought 😉

      And yes, cold, cold, cold! 🙂 Don’t let the lukewarm idea grow on you!

  27. *Innocent blinking* Well, I spend like 20 minutes showering, but that’s probably because I’m not brushing my teeth while in the shower LOL. And brushing teeth with cold water, yikes *horror expression on my face and imagined toothache from cold*. Well, maybe if water coming the tap was closer to like lukewarm, then OK, I might even actually go with it, but at least in my apartment the cold water is coming like icy cold, and while its coldness help freshen up and wake up sometimes, I don’t think I’d be doing myself any service trying to brush my sensitive teeth this it.
    And since separate taps are seen as something stupid and inconvenient, fellow compatriots have some quite simple solutions to that while in UK http://www.lietuviai.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/du-vandens-ciaupai.jpg

    • Expat Eye says:

      Do you drink lukewarm water too?? For me, it has to be cold! I love the Lithuanian way around the two tap system though! Ingenious! 🙂

      • well, if there are options too choose from I go for room temperature water or just slightly cooler than that. Except for those few days in summer when it’s freaking hot. Though this room temp thing does not apply when ice creams and cold beers are the topic

      • Expat Eye says:

        Ah beer. If only we could brush our teeth with that! 🙂

  28. Lila says:

    bath habits and traditions of different countries are indeed facsinating. one thing that pissed me of in germany is that not all apartments have bathtubs some only have showers. the germans are so economical that they dont consider bathtubs a first priority necessity. in russia such apartments would never sell. while i was apartment hunting it really shocked me how many of them had teeny tiny bathrooms with no tubs. aparently a lot of my german friends live in such apartments even with fanilies and are quite happy to be wasting less water and thus helping the enviroment. how on earth do they bath their small kids who are still toddlers? do they take showers together? now that would be awkward.

    as for the latvian shower thing im really suprized that these girls used teeth brushing in the shower as an excuse for taking more time. me personallly i very rarely brush my teet in the shower – only if im extremely late for work and then i really have to do everything at the same time. i brush my teeth standing under the water while the water cleans my body. it all takes me no more then 1-2 minutes. however if i have the time i definetely wouldnt do that strange combination. brushing ur teeth in the shower is really unpleasant but it hepled me to save time. thats why i dont get the logic of these latvian girls. as for the men they not only combine shower and teeth brushing, but the toilet needs at the same time.

    • bevchen says:

      I presume Germans bath their babies in plastic baby baths… which, by the way, you can also get in the UK where almost everybody has a bath tub…

      • Anna says:

        Aww, I still remember mine!

      • Lila says:

        its true but its very hard to put a plastic tub in a walk in shower with glass doors. oh ill never stop complaining about germany=))

      • Expat Eye says:

        I don’t think you need to put the tub in the showering unit. Pretty much anywhere in the house will do! Although preferably somewhere without carpet I suppose 😉
        And isn’t it lucky for you that you’re moving to England soon – hurrah! 🙂 Shame it’s Birmingham but you can’t have everything 😉

      • Lila says:

        oh yeah definetely. no idea if that would be much better though. my company sends me there for one year. if at the end of the year i ll find local bathtubs showers and people tolerable i may stay for life (not neccessarily in birmingham). the brits i met so far have been lovely (including Mr Perfect) but u never know how they ll treat me in their natural enviroment=) if uk proves to be as bland as germany ill just head back home to russia. in this case too bad the Russian girl`s quest for a Non-drinking husband and my relationship with Mr Perfect will come to an end, but i figured out its better to be an single woman living at home surrounded by ur dear friends and family then be happily married and living in a foreighn country where the natives avoid u, all of ur friends are short term expats and water taps do not work the way they are supposed to=))) on the other hand growing up in russia we also used separate cold and warm water taps therefore i may actually find england not so bad

      • bevchen says:

        Wow… are you always this negative or only when it comes to every single nationality that isn’t Russian?! My grandad was Ukranian, spent most of the 2nd world war in a German labour camp and STILL didn’t have a bad word to say about the Germans.. you, on the other hand, seem to have it in for them for no good reason.

        (Sorry Linda, but it had to be said).

      • Lila says:

        my grandparents were driven into starvation by the german waffen ss but i do not hate germans or germany. i like the country its just that im ethnic german myself and i hoped to feel a little more related to my historical homeland but the experience wasnt bad alltogether just a little disapointing. it doesnt matter though. and no im not being negative im being sarcastic=)

      • bevchen says:

        Well, you sound negative. Maybe you should use more smilies? 🙂

      • Expat Eye says:

        Ha ha! 🙂 Yeah, I missed the ‘sarcasm’ too! And Bev, no need to apologise at all!

        Lila, I have to wonder, if you have a problem with every other nationality, maybe the problem isn’t every other nationality, maybe it’s … (insert appropriate word here) 😉

      • Lila says:

        i simply dislike certain thing about this country and being honest thats all. i would however recomend it to english speaking expats looking for a calm and unstressed life with good quality food , water, cheap rent ( in some areas of the country), but according to my personal experience its not the most friendly folk in the world. but then there s a good side to this – i learned to appreciate my own country so much more

      • Lila says:

        i dont have a problem with nationalities only with certain ppl=) maybe i was negative that day – had a weird day at work. well ur blog souns a little negative too sometimes. like i said being an expat isnt an easy deal but at least u learn about life

  29. bevchen says:

    Wait… they shampoo their hair twice?! How many bottles of the stuff do they go through?

    As for teeth brushing… always at the sink, always with cold water. Why would I want to spit toothpaste all over my own feet?!

  30. CONGRATS on 100 posts! Bravo!!

    Sink – don’t bother with the bottled water… after a decade in India if I can’t survive a little tap water then I can’t survive period! 🙂

    Showers – normally quick!

    However… I miss the occasional long luxurious bath though… used to have a clawfoot tub in Canada but its all ‘wet’ bathrooms here and nary a bath tub in sight! Except for hotels when traveling around Asia… best was an upgrade once with a personal Jacuzzi, separate rain shower… basically a bathroom as big as my entire apartment in Mumbai!!

    • Expat Eye says:

      I’m actually on a tour of a bathtub factory as we speak – more glamour 😉 That suite sounds amazing. I’m just at the dust and sneezing phase of the process 😉

  31. As a German in Finland, I can report that to my knowledge most Germans use cool – not ice cold – water and do the deed at the sink…. and so do the Finns I know. Additionally I asked my husband and he said sink/cool water is the only way to do it 😉

  32. A level of craziness worthy of your 100th post, congrats! As a fledgling Riga inhabitant, I’m gradually training myself to think “It’s probably just a Latvian thing, better not to ask.”. But I guess that when you do ask, you get great stories like this! 🙂

  33. Haha- Interesting post. I never thought it was bizarre to brush my teeth in the shower until my husband questioned it when we first started dating. If I’m in the shower, that’s where they get brushed. But I have a tooth brush at the sink in the second bathroom too. Either way, warm water- it just feels better. It’s funny to read everyone’s stance on the subject.

  34. Haha! My husband brushes his teeth most of the time in the shower. I was surprised when I first learned of it but now it’s normal to me. But I never have. It’s at the sink and cold water!

  35. TRex says:

    Wow. 30 minutes for a shower in a country where half the people can’t pay their heating bills! Only time I even approach 10 minutes is in Moscow where the hot water is endless. In Latvia it’s probably less than 5.

  36. I brush my teeth in the shower and the sink! Just depends on my mood, I guess. 🙂

  37. nancytex2013 says:

    Sink. Cold. Only. Ever.

  38. Anna says:

    Yup, nothing wrong with brushing in the shower. Though I try to take baths, bubbles and all, as often as I can. Especially after a riding lesson and with a bloody mary in my hand.

  39. freebutfun says:

    Cool, finally I know why in the world Ireland (and UK) insists on the two taps! Thanks! As for the toothbrushing in the sauna, never heard of that one before. Spitting in the shower doesn’t really sound overly tempting either… I think I’ll just stick to my one-tap-cold- water- on-the- right-spitting-in-the-sink tactic.

  40. Kaufman's Kavalkade says:

    Well, I sure wouldn’t have guessed that they were brushing their teeth in there to take that long…

  41. Luke says:

    Congratulations on the number of posts. Wow ! To my knowledge, I’ve never brushed my teeth in the shower … I’m far too prissy about these things. I mean, don’t you have to look in a mirror to make sure you’re flossing behind the back molars? Don’t you need to use pre-brush whitening Listerine and then germ-killing regular Listerine afterward? Good grief. I’ve heard that Latvian men are handsome rascals, but no Latvian boyfriend of mine who ever dare brush in the shower!

    • Expat Eye says:

      Oh Luke, I’m not sure Latvian man is for you! Some of my students seem to wear the same clothes every day of the week. And deodorant is a personal choice rather than a necessity 😉 I know one guy who has a ‘summer outfit’ and a ‘winter outfit’ 🙂

  42. cornishkylie says:

    I was always a sink girl… until I moved to Thailand and got my own little Thai home.

    No hot water + no sink = can pretty much brush anywhere there is a tap!

    So I have now converted to being a brush-while-conditioning gal but I don’t go spitting toothpaste froth all over my toes – it’s a wet room, you can spit anywhere! This seems pretty rank now I’m admitting it.

    At least I don’t pee in the shower. There are plenty that do!

    • Expat Eye says:

      Yeah, I DO NOT get the peeing in the shower thing! Ha ha, spitting anywhere – it does sound a bit wrong! 🙂 I think I’d die without hot water but I guess that’s the difference between Latvian and Thailand – in December 😉

  43. I totally brush in the shower, its just easier to do all the messy ablutions in one place rather than have separate ‘zones’. Granted, I use the cold water as the shower is heating up to make the brush wet, not warm water. I just realised what a weird conversation this is to be having….

  44. Laura says:

    I have heard of brushing in the shower, tried it although I wouldn’t call myself a convert just yet. Apparently Jennifer Aniston does it, perhaps while she’s waiting for her conditioner to work its magic? Congratulations on 100 posts! Here’s to the next 100!

    • Expat Eye says:

      Thanks! I thought there would be around 5 posts max when I started so it’s kind of hard to believe! 🙂

      Hmm, Jen has very nice hair and very nice teeth – maybe there’s something in this… 😉

  45. Love your photo of the toothbrush in the shower caddy. Nice. 🙂

    I’ve always brushed my teeth in the sink. Hmm… seems like you would waste more water brushing in the shower.

    • Expat Eye says:

      It went on a little walkabout for the photo op but is now safely back in its glass by the sink! 🙂

      It’s the spitting in the shower thing I can’t get my head around 😉

  46. I must confess… I do take ages in the shower… at least 20 mins… but I don’t brush my teeth in there. However, I don’t find it strange that some people might do it while they’re waiting for the conditioner to do its job.

    The two taps – it’s an ill-thought out concept that only exists in the UK and Ireland. I’ve ruminated over and over why the hell anyone ever thought this made sense… but I’ve no answer. So, having been victim of a perniciously persistent design flaw, you’ve become accustomed to brushing your teeth with cold water, and that seems ‘normal’ to you. Someone might just as well argue that it’s strange having to flush a toilet, because the only toilet they’ve ever known was a hole in the floor.

  47. mikemajor9 says:

    Congrats on 100 posts! And of course as soon as you started in on the two Latvian girls… in the shower… for thirty minutes… what were they doing in there… 😉 But really, who brushes their teeth in the shower? Beside Latvians… and other ker-azy people? — Don’t get me started on my sweetheart Katy — we had such a moment – let me tell you all about it again… okay, nah, I’ll spare ya 🙂

    • Expat Eye says:

      They weren’t in there together 😉 I probably should have specified that! And I’m glad it’s not just me with the ker-azy thing! Cripes 😉

      No, please, tell me all about Katy…again…yawn…eyes closing… 🙂 Don’t mind me, I’m just jealous 😉

      • mikemajor9 says:

        Oh I knew they weren’t in there together — but I made them be — because it was really fun 🙂 Remember – dude here, I can turn even the most innocent statement into something lewd with my magic dude powers of perversion 😉 — Brushing your teeth in the shower is what SERIAL KILLERS DO! It’s a fact.

      • Expat Eye says:

        Ha ha! You might not be welcome here for a little while after that statement! 😉 Well, you’re always welcome at my place – I’ll hide you. Keep you safe from the big, bad Latvians and their dodgy showering practices 😉

      • mikemajor9 says:

        Major Pickles reporting for shower duty 😉 — hahhaaaaaaa! Sorry, I’m an idiot. 🙂

      • Expat Eye says:

        🙂 I’ve run out of army speak but um, yes, get in that shower! 🙂

  48. Karolyn Cooper says:

    At the sink, with bottled water. I don’t even rinse my toothbrush with tap water. Ask me again when I leave India.

    But in London I have an electric toothbrush, so even if I took up your crazy shower-brushing habit , I would be carrying the brush back and forward to its charger.

    • Expat Eye says:

      What’s this ‘your’ business! I never said I did it! 🙂 The water here is pretty dire as well. I can’t drink it but I can spit it 😉

  49. alliblair says:

    I do both! Mostly at the sink, but if it’s early in the morning and I happen to shower first thing, then I bring in my toothpaste and toothbrush to save me from having to do it once I get out! 🙂

    • Expat Eye says:

      You’re back! Haven’t seen you in a while!
      And really??? I thought people would be either one or the other for life 😉 You’re a fickle brusher 😉

      • alliblair says:

        I suppose I have been a little MIA lately… 😛 Not for long! I’m busy planning travels through SE Asia 🙂 I never really thought about where I happen to brush my teeth… but it doesn’t just end at the sink and shower. I’m brushing my teeth on the toilet, on my bed while reading phone messages, in the kitchen getting a smoothie ready . . . basically all over to save time, haha!

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