Breaking News! I do not hate Latvia!

As some of you know, last week I wrote a post about moving to Riga. The reason behind it was that I get a lot of emails from people thinking of moving to Riga because they’ve seen a pretty picture or like snow. They have no plan, no job lined up and totally unrealistic expectations of what life here is actually like. So I wrote this post. Did I go a bit overboard on the negativity? Maybe, but quite frankly, some of these people just need a good kick up the arse.

On an average day, this blog gets around 300 hits. Between Friday and Sunday last week, it got 7,500. On Monday, I was contacted by a journalist from a Latvian online news portal – She wanted to know if she could translate this post and put it on the site. In the words of my good friend, I said ‘why not?’ It went live this morning and so far, I’ve had over 13,000 hits.

It’s been a good day for my stats but a bad day for me personally. Having to wade through message after message of hate mail can really get a girl down. A few people have said nice things – that they love it, that they agree with most of it, that it’s nice to see Latvia from a foreigner’s perspective – but the vast majority have been negative. And I mean REALLY negative.

If you’re wondering why you can’t see your comments at the moment, it’s because I have an option to moderate all comments before I publish them and that’s what I’m doing. I will publish/reply to them eventually but right now, it’s all a bit overwhelming so I thought I’d write a blanket response in the meantime.

First of all, just to reiterate, I do not hate Latvia. I’ve been here for nearly three and a half years which is the longest I’ve lived in any country apart from Ireland. Nobody is forcing me to stay against my will. Most of the time I like it, some days I even love it – but are there things that I dislike, that I find amusing, entertaining, bizarre or downright irritating? Sure. Show me a person living in a country, any country – be it their own or another country – that is absolutely 100% happy with everything all the time and I’ll show you an idiot.

I’m sure there are plenty of Latvians living in Ireland who think we’re a strange bunch. (We are.) It’s pretty much part of any expat’s existence to pick up on the unusual or the different. Just because we talk about it (or write about it) doesn’t mean that we hate the country we live in.

So back to the post in question. What people don’t seem to realise is that this is ONE post out of ONE HUNDRED AND ONE posts. The post before that one was about a trip to the doctor’s and the one after it was about brushing your teeth in the shower – fascinating stuff, I know. I’ve been writing this blog since the end of January. Yes, the overall tone of the blog is sarcastic and tongue-in-cheek (and I thought funny) – but it was never meant to be hurtful or offensive, though clearly some people are taking it that way.

I’ve written perfectly pleasant posts about my trips around Latvia, my lovely students, about going rollerblading, about baking, about great nights out, friends coming to visit – all accompanied by plenty of pretty pictures. So why do you think wanted to publish this one in particular? Quite simply, because it is a bit negative and because they knew it would upset people and cause controversy – and bring people to their website.

The fact of the matter is people love to complain. I’m no exception, and among Latvians it’s practically a national pastime. The economy, the politicians, the police, the Russians, the roads, the healthcare and education systems, the EU, the wages, the weather (but only when it’s too hot)… the only thing is, and you have to be careful here, you’re not allowed to actually agree with them. (It’s kind of like having a crazy family but you’re the only one who’s allowed to say it. If anyone else does, you have to punch them in the mouth to keep face.) God forbid you should actually start a blog about it. But I did.

And last week, I published a few less than flattering pictures of Riga. So what? I mean, really, so freaking what? This area exists. I live in it. Why shouldn’t I post pictures of it if I want to? Am I bringing shame to Latvia and every Latvian? Am I disrespecting Latvian culture? Am I a stupid, narrow-minded piece of shit in serious need of psychological care because of it? Seemingly so, if you believe the hype.

The majority of negative messages are along the lines of ‘If you hate it so much, why don’t you get the F*** out of our country and go back to your F****** Ireland?’ (One guy even offered to start fundraising.) Well, OK, let’s think about that for a second. If every foreigner who lives here who has ever said a negative thing about Latvia was forced to leave, where would that leave the country? Likewise, if every Latvian who ever said anything negative was kicked out –

Jānis 1: Oh man, my heating bills this month are out of control!

Jānis 2: Get out.

Well, there’d be very few people left.

Which brings us to my beloved Jāņi. Is every man in the country called Jānis? Of course not. Does every woman wear leopard print? No. But both have become a bit of a running joke and a blog theme so I keep them. If a Latvian started a blog on Ireland where every Irish person was called Paddy or Bridget, wore green, drank Guinness and danced around pots of gold, would it bother me? Not in the slightest.

If they went to Sheriff Street or Dolphin’s Barn, took some pictures and posted them, would I mind? Again no, because these places are every bit as much of a part of Dublin as O’Connell Street, Grafton Street and Temple Bar (actually more so than Temple Bar because Irish people don’t really go there). I’d just congratulate them on making it out alive without wearing a bullet-proof vest or having a SWAT team handy.

There are sketchy areas in every city – NOT JUST RIGA. I know this and thought that most people would have the intelligence to realise that without me spelling it out. It turns out I was wrong.

Another group of people wanted to know what I’m doing about the situation in Latvia apart from bitching and whining. I don’t know. I’m doing what anyone else is doing. I’m working, paying taxes, spending my money in the country, teaching people English so they have better opportunities, helping my friends when they need it so they get better jobs, sending representatives of Latvia to international conferences with correct presentations and speeches. I’ve recently joined an expat networking group that aims to help young Latvian entrepreneurs get their business ideas off the ground. Is that enough? Who knows?

Oh, and I also write this blog which, like it or hate it, gets people here and abroad talking about Latvia. Today alone, it’s been read by thousands of people, including politicians and journalists – and probably other people who do matter and can actually change things.

But at the end of the day, it’s just a blog – about Latvia, written by an Irish girl. So I ask you, seriously, in a country where a supermarket has just collapsed killing dozens of innocent people, the prime minister has resigned, the government has been dissolved and a good proportion of the population are hovering around the poverty mark, why is everyone talking about me and my blog?

About BerLinda

Adjusting to life in Germany, after living in Latvia for four years. Should be easy, right?
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400 Responses to Breaking News! I do not hate Latvia!

  1. I. says:

    Linda, I guess maybe we are not that good with sarcasm 🙂 I am sorry for the hate mail, I do not know you, but I never thought you had any evil intentions (apart for maybe increasing your blog hits, but that is not really evil). I think it is just difficult for you to understand the Latvian psychology.Let me explain it to you: my theory is that during the Soviet times when Latvian culture was denied and our nation belittled in order for us to blend in with other culturally unrelated nations (all nations are good, but Latvians really have little cultrually in common with Kazakhs,, for example), many people were traumatised. To get a better idea what people had to go through maybe buy Juris Pavlovičs book “Padomju Latvijas ikdiena” and read how the lives of the people of the Baltic nation changed. I am sure it would be a good way to practice Latvian and it has many photos in it as well :). The bottom line is that because of this traumatising experience our nation is overly sensitive to sarcasm and harsh critique (related to our culture and so on). What Latvians need is to hear the good (but of course the realistic) stuff, as we have had enough of the bad stuff. I think it may be difficult for you to understand it in a way as Irish troubles are more distal in the past than this and you may even accuse me that I am living in the past too much. But please do not, as our past has had undeniable consequences on the confidence of Latvians as a nation: it has traumatised our national pride. So please try to understand us and treat us like you would treat a chubby shy girl, who has suffered from bullies at school: tell us about the good stuff more and not the bad stuff (especially, if you exaggerate it) 🙂 Of course, the decision is up to you, it was just my suggestion. I hope you enjoy the book, I really liked this particular one. 😉

    • Expat Eye says:

      Hi again! Thanks for your comment – I think I will try to find this book. I like your analogy of the chubby shy girl 😉 I do think though, that if I wrote a blog about how amazing everything is I’d be ridiculed as a stupid foreigner who doesn’t live in the real world! I’m not sure it’s possible to win this one or find a happy medium! There are expat blogs out there that are far more positive and educational than mine – the problem is, nobody is reading them. 🙂 Linda.

  2. Davis Daksa says:

    Hey, I wanted to make a comment yesterday, what was exactly about what you posted right here – most of Latvians are taking everything really hard, and from Latvian, myself – we are pretty damn narrow-sighted. Most of us, not everyone. Everything that is negative is offensive, untrue, and lies to them. I knew that you will be “attacked” after that post on, right after I read it. After it, I came right here and read some of your posts, and most of them were exactly what I was trying to tell my fellow mates when we were talking about Riga, that Riga isn’t perfect, it’s far from good, some places outside Old Riga.
    You have a real talent in writing, and those blind optimists should open their eyes and be real, because we won’t know what we must improve to get better, unless someone like you, with a view of “tourist” will write it down.
    Goodluck, and I wish you to meet more positive than negative things, because, despite how open-minded I am, is there anything more comforting than hearing some foreigner tell positive things about your country, which you, yourself don’t see as perfect as Latvians like to say? ::)

    • Expat Eye says:

      Ha ha, point taken 😉 Yeah, of course I was expecting a few new visitors and a few people who wouldn’t like it – goes with the territory. I wasn’t expecting almost 30,000 views in two days though – and to spend every spare minute dealing with comments! Still, on a positive note, at least for once, a lot of Latvians are in agreement on something 😉

      Thanks again for your well thought out and intelligent comment! Linda.

  3. Guntis says:

    Today I read article in about your blog. Well, yes it wasn’t flattering, but I saw the sarcasm and irony in it. Only thing that I personaly haven’t experienced on streets is that people doesn’t move out of your way, when there’s no way to go around them. 🙂 Maybe I just automaticly come close to them and stand until they realise that they’re kinda douchebags. 😀 Agree that lot of people in Latvia are testy, however part of them just look like that because (unfortunately) smiling all the time in public places isn’t part of our mentality. But the anwser, why lot of people are really testy, is that the wages are very small. You said that you earn 7-10 Ls per hour? Well in Latvia that’s pretty good, because the avarege wage is ~500 Ls in month. There are lot of people who work for minimal wage – almost 200 Ls. Fantastic! Well those people really live in big stress.
    Please try to ignore the negative and rude messages. You know what statistics say – 90% of earths population are idiots. Don’t start to think that all of latvians can’t hande the critics. Only most of us can’t 😀
    Keep your head up!

    P.S. Sorry for my grammar misstakes.

    • Expat Eye says:

      Don’t worry about it! Thanks for your comment. I know that a lot of people here live on around 180 lats a month. I wrote a post about pensioners here but I don’t think anyone is reading that one.

      P.S. Where did you find that statistic – now that’s a website I want to visit 😉 Linda.

  4. Linda, have you noticed how “translated” your 7th question.
    -Are you quick enough on your feet to avoid snot rockets and unscooped poop?
    -Vai esiet pietiekami ātrs, lai izvairītos no kabatas zagļiem?
    What kind of made up, spin-doctored translation is this?
    Linda, sue them for defamation! You haven’t said anything about the Latvian pickpocketers (“kabatas zagļiem”) – … Let those bastards know how to mess with an Irish Girl!

  5. JMC says:

    Hi Linda ahahahahahahahhaha you’re great 😀

    Oh ……….. poor little Latvians 😀 ………….. they are hilarious 😀 ………. do they really think that they need you to bring SHAME on them or their country ? ahahahahahahahahah

    They do it properly themselves 😀 and needs no help at all 😀

    Here AN EXEMPLE. On a website, probably on of the most serious ( is something can be serious in Latvia) of the country 😀 yestesday was an article still talking about this unfortunate chain of supermarkets that has made ​​the news of which you speak (the collapse that killed 54 people) and which is the result of the rise (especially of their pockets) and fall of professionnals architects, builders, security comissions, politics, etc … of the country, and believe it or not, I did not believe my ears when it has been translated to me, as it was specified that cashiers in the shops, work equipped with diapers (yes !!!!!!! like babies) simply because they do not have the right to leave their jobs to go relieve a natural need.

    And even more funny 😀 …………… one of the head (if we can call that a head :D) manager found nothing better than to add, they should even be grateful to work even in these conditions, otherwise they would be all ”working” in the streets (understand it as you want :D).

    What humor, isn’t? Needless to say, it is also clear that this great humorist was also thank : D

    It is not a good example that there is no need to bring shame on this country and its people ???? 😀

    To the one who was very polite to you :D, F….K etc…… as it is the only word they probably knows in english, maybe because they hear it often :D, I would say that and as you said it, we foreigners are in your country bringing and spending our money (as our time) in your country, paying taxes in your country (what about only very few locals citizens can boast), and just that, gives us a bit the right to criticize, etc, etc …..

    Did Latvians who did go to Ireland can say the same? 😀 As the only thing I do remember reading about it (maybe on an another website as well as serious as the other) was that Latvians were complaining to be hire only for surbordinate jobs in Ireland ……………………………. as they were probably thinking that they would be receive as KINGS and QUEENS in the kingdom 😀

    So you see my dear Linda …………. they really but really do not need you or me or any foreigners to bring the shame on them …………… 😀

    And for those who have doubts

    So Linda keep going 😀 as we foreigners are really enjoying your blog not so far from reality ahahahahahahahah even when this reality IS JUST A SHAME AT ALL 😀

    • Expat Eye says:

      Thank you for your fabulous comment and for putting things into perspective! Diapers? Seriously? How does anyone stand for this??

      I think I’ll let your comment speak for itself – as another expat here, you’re entitled to share your opinion too and where better than right here! 🙂

      • I. says:

        Well Linda, the upper comment of the JMC, is the kind of thing that is very offensive and ignorant. 🙂 I would never say this thing about you.

      • Expat Eye says:

        Thank you very much! He’s a very nice man in real life, tici man 😉

      • Antuanete says:

        Actually, rumors about Maxima cashiers working in diapers come from Lithuania; it has started as half joke, half rumor, but now many people take this seriously. Knowing other aspects about their working conditions, which are being told recently, it seems at least credible that such practice may be applied in some Maxima shops…

    • Solvita says:

      Dear JMC,
      let me express my pity for your self-pity, seemingly induced by your overextended stay in Latvia (15 years, eh? Must be bad karma…). Seems that these 5458 days wasted in our country have molded you in a typical “Latvian person” judging by your cynical and arrogant attitude – what an accomplishment from such a small, pathetic nation which still lives in trees and eats mushrooms…:)

      Dear Linda, thanks to KJ I spent yesterday night reading your blog – and I find it awesome, indeed! It is funny, witty and allows every open-minded person to have a better insight from “outsider” point of view – thank you so much for this pleasure! Please keep writing it and don’t let a handful of internet trolls or people with no sense of humor spoil your beer and skittles!

      • Expat Eye says:

        Hi Solvita! Thanks for your comment! I guess I owe KJ 😉 Glad you’re enjoying the blog and taking it in the spirit it was intended! I suppose there’ll always be trolls 😉 Sláinte! Linda.

      • JMC says:

        Dear Solvita ;D

        I am very glad to really not need your pity as much as you would need mine and other foreigners one 😀 and if they are arrogant and cynical persons in this world , Latvians are in the TOP 3 I guess 😀
        Regarding my 15 years in your country , may I ask you if you did spend as much as me in your own country ? 😀 which is not certain 😀
        Regarding your ”pathetic” nation as you wrote it 😀 I would nt say that it leaves in trees and eat mushrooms …………….. I would rather prefer saying ‘ still leaves in the stones age” 😀
        Signed by a person that probably have more sens of humour than a Latvian 😀

  6. Ieva Abele says:

    Your blog is superb!! Hilarious! Browsing it right now and chuckling uncontrollably. Don’t take those complaining individuals too hard. As you already mentioned, “among Latvians it’s practically a national pastime”. It’s something like national sport. We like complaining soooo much! We like to sit in a puddle of cold water and complain that our arse is freezing. But god forbid someone tells us that we are sitting in a puddle! We take offense! We feel hurt and misunderstood! And – we complain! Oh – and we HATE!! So stupid. So – keep writing and let that “latvianism” get to you.

    • Expat Eye says:

      Hi Ieva, your puddle comment almost had me making a little puddle of my own!! 🙂 Love it! Thanks for taking the blog in the spirit it was intended! What started out as a bit of harmless fun and a way of spending the long winter evenings has somehow ended up with me being Public Enemy Number 1 – funny how things work out! 🙂 Thanks again and I hope you keep reading! Linda.

      • Ieva Abele says:

        I definitely will :). I don’t have problems with my sense of humor.Or I hope so 🙂 It’s really interesting and quite funny to see ourselves through eyes of another person. At least for me. But as for “haters” – there will always be people, who blame the mirror for their skewed faces.

  7. Ilze says:

    Hi Linda!

    I read your post (the one in Latvian on yesterday and i thought that girl has a great courage to publish this (now that i read it in English i`m thinking more like – she has great sense of humor 🙂 Why do i think you did something courageous? Because i`ve noticed that Latvians are confusing patriotism with something else. Especially those who are commenting type of sites..Some times when i read comments about foreigners in Latvia the most of them say -if you don’t like it here just go or worse. And i am sure they don`t even have a clue of being rude or racist , they think they are doing right thing for Latvia. I wish our society would be more open in all senses of word – for criticism, for other people and for ourselves. Anyway there are many good comments about what you wrote as well, don`t concentrate on those negative. Have a nice day and don`t be afraid, nobody will eat you now after all! 🙂

    • Expat Eye says:

      I hope not! Yeah, one of my students showed me some of the comments today – the nice ones! – so that was a pleasant surprise! I’ve heard from a few people that the Latvian version is much harsher than the English one so I can understand the upset – some people are highly offended by the English one too of course, but it’s easier to defend my own words! 🙂 Kas Jauns is now publishing the second post as well… I think I’m going to go into hiding 😉 Thanks for commenting! Linda.

      • Ilze says:

        Hi again! I just wanted to add that I am married to Italian man and we live and work here in Latvia, not Riga though…So i understand you very well. Basically he would criticize the same things especially people who rather ignore you than say “hallo” , “sorry” or “please” . I hate myself people in supermarkets who just cant` say simple “sorry” when they have to pass you..Anyway I give you bonus because I like your humorous way of describing the things instead i have to hear things like “i can`t take it anymore and I will take the next plane to Italy 🙂 once he really did 😀 (he returned after few months). I can see also that foreigners socialize in easier way with other foreigners then other Latvians, but I think the best way is to mix. So you learn more about each other and get to enjoy new experiences. Best wishes again, Ilze

      • Expat Eye says:

        Ha ha, I’m glad your husband came back!! I do try to mix it up with locals and foreigners as much as I can – it makes life more interesting 😉 And usually gives good blog fodder! Linda. 🙂

  8. E. says:

    just to make your lovers vs. hatters statistics to look a bit better- I loved your blog. And honestly every Latvian who have had his/her nose out of the country for more than a week will admit that it is very, very true.
    I have a non-Latvian boyfriend and looking to my country through his eyes also helps me to understand it better.
    Degunu augšā 
    P.S. I am still confused about brushing teeth in the shower – I thought everybody does that.

  9. Robert says:

    As an American living here I found the article in question pretty darn funny. Especially #5 on the list. Keep it up.

  10. barbedwords says:

    I agree with all the nice comments people have already said! Your blog is funny, well written and informative. I’ve never thought you’ve said anything mean about Latvia, just poked gentle fun at some of its idiosyncrasies – the same as any ex-pat blog does. 13,000 hits??? I’m happy with 13 hits on a good day…;)

    • Expat Eye says:

      I’d be happy with 13 hits at the moment – the whole thing has got way out of control! But at least I’m getting some love today – yesterday, I just wanted to curl up in a ball and have a little weep 😉 Thanks for the nice comment!

  11. Zvērs says:

    That leopard print is not a latvian thing so many latvians might find that offensive. 😉 If you see a woman in Latvia wearing something like that then I can give you 99,7% that she is russian. And you know…latvians are not so happy about russians in our country.
    Have a nice day and try to look for positive and beautiful things around you. 🙂

  12. Evar says:

    Thanks for your opinion, your opinion it’s you. Come to the place where you like. But to think that you are not liked anywhere. Thanks for your inner pig.

  13. Niks says:

    Hey, don’t take this stuff serious, girl. You live here more than a year so you should know that hobby No. 1 in Latvia is hating. 😀 We hate Russians, we hate Americans, we hate our government, but most of all we hate another Latvians. So don’t worry – you ain’t No.1 in our hate top-list. 😀 No nation can destroy Latvians because the only ones who can destroy us are another Latvians. 😀 And what about favorite Latvian meal? Right – baked Latvian. 😀 We truly are nation of haters and we also joke a lot about it. So just take it as a joke. Haters gonna hate, you know. 🙂

    • Expat Eye says:

      Oh, I love this comment! I don’t suppose you work in PR, do you? I could do with you by my side right now 😉 Linda.

      • Niks says:

        Nah, I’m just a construction designer. 🙂
        By the way, I’ve read your post about my hometown – Jelgava. It was so funny – streets are occupied by old G’s. 😀 You made my day! 😀
        P.S. I am also one of many brought here by and fallen in love with your blog. 😀 So there is a bright side also – number of your fans is growing faster than haters. 😉

      • Expat Eye says:

        Yes, I’m actually a bit overwhelmed by the amount of positive comments! Trying to keep those in mind instead of the negative ones 😉 So glad you liked the post on Jelgava 😉 It was kind of spooky walking around there – like a Hitchcock movie but with old ladies instead of birds 😉

      • Niks says:

        That’s nice. 🙂
        Can’t stop reading now, too excited. 😀
        If you don’t mind I will find you on facebook later. Who knows, maybe some day after visiting my relatives in Riga I will find a chance to call a drink to my newly gained idol. 😀

      • Expat Eye says:

        Ooh I like that! Do it! 😉

  14. Kalnina says:

    Oh, my, what have You gotten Yourself into..!
    I don´t think You should be afraid for your life, Linda. Latvians love to bitch and express hate and even death threats behind the screens of their computers, but I don´t think they can ever muster the courage or will to actually DO something, I mean – they think saying Hello more than once per day is too much..
    The funny thing is – most comments on article that Riga was voted the prettiest city in Europe were negative too. Trust it on annonymous Latvians to find a negative spin on ANYTHING.
    Don´t worry, it will blow over soon.

    • Expat Eye says:

      Here’s hoping! Thanks for the comment! (And seriously, what have I gotten myself into! Every time I reply to and publish a message another one pops up!) If you don’t hear anything from me for a few days, some Latvian came out from behind the computer screen 😉 Linda.

  15. Ritenbraucejs says:

    There is one more reason to move to Latvia. Expecially if you’re a bicyclist. Council of Riga have done everything so you could get in an accident and die in the same day you bought a bike. 😀 So if you like riding bike and get a lot of adrenaline – it’s a perfect place here.

  16. I got your point. And you are right, most of people read max additional 2 posts, I am sure you can see it from statistics, too.
    I loved the part where you say that Latvians complains about everything, but you have to disagree and can`t complain along. It is so true!
    Sending you f** out of country as well is kinda cultural thing, you know we have history of occupants, and our grandparent generation still keeps calling them same, who came to Latvia, destroyed what is important for us, disrespected (complained) and didn’t go back to their country. But that`s something you can tolerate only if you have grandma who has told you stories, how her family was suffering/deported/killed or how unfair situations they experienced because of occupation. Nobody can expect it from you.
    However it is just a `normal` reaction of a Latvian, to protect our small country, language and culture,which we love. If we were 10 times bigger population, might be we would not care so much and be more open for sarcasm.

    • Expat Eye says:

      Yeah, you’re right. And I think it’s probably the first time anything like this has been written about Latvia on a regular basis – by a foreigner anyway. So I can understand where people are coming from. I just hope the whole damn thing blows over soon! Thanks for your well-thought out comment. Linda.

  17. Antuanete says:

    I guess allowing “Kas Jauns” (we jokingly call this magazine/website either “Kas Ļauns” or “Kas Dauns”) was fatal error (especially without reading and accepting translation – many of your Latvian readers would do that for you). These yellow newspapers will take anything and turn it into “sensation” in most disgusting way, and what’s most horrifying, they have lots of readers and comment posters. Think about why we have such politicians – all these people who express their hatespeech and lack of critical thinking in internet comments, are actually voting in elections.
    Heads up, Linda, you are seeing dark side of Latvian people now, but you definitely have seen lots of other side too, and will in the future (memory of “Kas Jauns” readers is not that long, tomorrow they will have another object of hate :))

    • Expat Eye says:

      It’s certainly opened my eyes! To be fair to KJ, I had an email from the journalist this morning saying that she hadn’t meant the article to come across so negatively. So they’re also going to publish the follow-up one – things can’t get any worse, right? And I’m getting a lot of nice comments today! 🙂 Kas Ļauns – wish someone had told me that before I agreed 😉

  18. ozo says:

    One of the problems for this country and a most likely a few others is that too many people read shit like …

  19. bevchen says:

    Haters gonna hate, as they say. And people do tend to get very defensive if they think an outsider might even be THINKING about insulting something of theirs… even if they do it themselves all the time. Not everybody is able to laugh at themselves.

    But back to the important stuff… Paddy? Bridget? I thought everyone in Ireland had names that nobody else in the world could either spell or pronounce, like Aiofe and Darragh! Admit it, you’re not really a simple “Linda” are you? (But seriously, how does one pronounce Darragh?!)

    • Expat Eye says:

      Like Dara 😉 And it’s Aoife 😉 Some Siobhans, Sineads, Niamhs, Aoibheanns… 🙂 Great fun for foreigners! When you tell them Niamh is pronounced Neev, they don’t believe you!

      • bevchen says:

        Aaah, I can spell Aoife… honest. It WAS 8:30 a.m. though 😉
        Sinead should be easy these days thanks to Sinead O’Connor.

        Germans have real trouble with the name Sean… and the difference in pronunciation between Sean and John. When I told them about the femal name Sian I almost had a riot on my hands 😉

      • And girls name Aoife is simply Ifa 🙂 I like irish names 🙂

      • Expat Eye says:

        Ha ha, yeah, sometimes I do that with students – ‘how do you think you say this name?’ 🙂

    • Anna says:

      Oh yeah, I wanted to comment on that: Paddy? What kind of name is Paddy? I have NEVER heard it. Is it short for something? Bridget just seems an anglification of the French Brigitte.

      • Expat Eye says:

        Excuse me, there’s a St. Bridget 😉 And Paddy is short for Patrick, of course. The other saint! Have you never heard of Irish people being called Paddies? Thought that was pretty global! Same as yanks, poms, limeys… 🙂

      • Anna says:

        AHHH ok. Patrick – yes, Paddy – never. In the US it’s Saint Patty’s day.

      • bevchen says:

        Paddy is short for Patrick (or the Irish version of Patrick which I can’t spell!). St. Patrick’s Day is sometimes called St. Paddy’s Day…. and English people sometimes refer to the Irish as “Paddies”. (The Scottish are Jocks and the Welsh are Taffs).

  20. Andris says:

    Good morning , Linda !
    With your blog entries , I came across your article due for publication in the magazine’s “Kas jauns” virtual version. Thank you very much for this great description!!! 🙂 6 months ago I finally moved away from Riga and do not regret a moment. Although Riga as a city is really beautiful (of course, with a few exceptions ) , but the biggest Riga’s (Latvia’s) minus is – the the people living here. Rather – their ( our , as well as Im latvian too ) attitude towards yourself and others. We still live in a Soviet human thinking. We rarely dignity of another person’s work. We rarely smile , we arguin and mostly only see the bad . Even with your blog, most readers took note of thanks just for this , one entry . And nobody is interested in that before you have been well commented on Latvia , Riga. It’s a shame , but those we are. In any case – I wish you strength and keep the sarcasm that makes everyone sit up a little and smile . Thank you! 🙂 P.S. Sorry for my bad english (Its not my native language 🙂 ) Andris.

    • Expat Eye says:

      Hi Andris, don’t worry about your English! Thanks for taking the time to comment – I appreciate it. And I hope you’re happy in your new home! 🙂 Linda.

  21. Anna says:

    Oh, the dark side of being a celebrity! Now we know how the other half lives 😉
    Clearly you’ve touched a nerve, and honestly, I think it’s a good thing it’s getting some attention from people that matter. The Baltics are going thru a demographic crisis and high emigration, it wouldnt hurt to listed to a few foreigners who come TO the country, start a business, spend the money and can look at the situation without rose-colored glasses.
    But as you said, it’s just like family – my sister is a total bitch, but dont YOU dare say a word about that little angel! 😉
    Much love (and beers) as always!

    • Expat Eye says:

      Thank you, as always! And thanks for holding down the fort in my absence 😉 I’ve got 100+ comments or so waiting for moderation so that will take a bit of time! But I feel that I said it all in this post really. And I hope your sister doesn’t read this 😉

  22. rigaenglish says:

    Blimey, Linda at this rate, dart boards with your mugshot on them will be all the rage soon. Maybe you can start a merchandise range? In all honesty, I’m not surprised at all this, not because what you’re saying isn’t true, but that the people here can be very prickly. Make a joke about Ireland and a lot of people there will agree with you, make a joke here and you’re public enemy number one. Yeah, what are you doing here other than injecting a bit of humour into cold dark winters, helping people improve their language skills to make the country more competitive and paying more tax in a month than the average Latvian pays in a year?

    • Expat Eye says:

      Yeah, I feel like I’m walking around with a target on my forehead! Still, 15 minutes and all that 😉 Still a bit bemused at how I’m the villain in this country but hey – what can you do! Thanks for commenting, bluddy! 🙂

  23. Karolyn Cooper says:

    1. Your blog is funny. 2. Your blog is warm-hearted and self-deprecating. 3. You don’t deserve those critical comments.

    • Expat Eye says:

      Thank you! 🙂 And sorry I’m only approving your comment now – I’m working through them! Thought I was done and then it said I still had 49 pending… 🙂 Hope you’re settling back into the UK OK! 🙂

  24. Nameisis says:

    Most of the things you’ve said here on this blog are true. I definitely enjoyed reading it. I think I even smiled at one point. And you should know how huge that is, considering I’m a Latvian.

    Just a couple of additions/notes/tips:

    You did exaggerate a bit in that controversial ‘Moving to Riga’ post. So even though there was no ill-intent and it was done in jest (more or less), you had it coming. It was provocative and a lot of people took the bait. A lot of people read it out of context as well, so they already had their minds made up when they got here.

    I just wanted to clear things up a little. You live in a rough neighbourhood, which is close to the center of the city. You live very close to an informal ‘red light’ area (which is a fancy way of saying that you live close to a hub of ghetto street whores) and one of the most ‘ghetto’ parts of Riga (or Latvia for that matter). You kind of implied that this is how most of the city looks like, which is probably what upset most people.

    Most of Riga outside of the center, old town, the ‘quiet center’ (in which you *don’t* currently reside in) and the posh suburban areas (Mārupe, Berģi, Ķīpsala, Lucavsala) is indeed bleak and a little to genuinely run-down. Most suburban areas are gray and riddled with depressing Socialist architecture, which is only gradually being ‘phased out’. But even though these parts of the city might look gray, bleak and depressing at first, they’re actually safe and quite cosy, as you settle in.

    The part of the city where you currently reside in, is neither safe, nor cosy. And it definitely doesn’t look nice.

    I don’t think you made that distinction in your original post. (Or maybe you just weren’t aware of it, which would probably make sense).

    Also. There’s this one thing that really pissed me off. The leopard print. I hate it with passion. You have no idea. And it is a cultural thing! A distinct majority of the women wearing them are Russian. And this isn’t one of those ‘DEM BLOODY RUSSIANS’ arguments, it’s just true. I’ve lived my entire life in Rīga and, believe it or not, very often you can tell if a person is Latvian or Russian just by looking at how he/she’s dressed. Ever noticed old ladies with purple hair? DING, DING, DING. Russians. Jeans with that worn-out look? Shiny, black coats? Russians. Track suits? Russians. Won’t even mention the babushka ladies. All Russian.

    Obviously, all generalizations are dangerous and only true to an extent, BUT the fact that you failed to make a distinction between the two groups, which is a big deal over here, is probably another thing that upset a lot of Latvians. Like it or not, but attributing some typical Russian traits/characteristics to Latvians is not the way to go. If you want the people to like you, that is. It’s sort of like waving an English flag in Republican-dominated areas of Belfast. Not cool.

    Another thing. Latvians rarely use Latvian when you start talking in Latvian, because they probably think you’re a tourist/here for a few months. We think you’re saying ‘Labdien’ just to be polite. Keep talking in Latvian and we’ll switch to Latvian. If your Latvian is bad and it’s hard to understand you, don’t be upset if people are switching to English.

    • Expat Eye says:

      Ah the leopard print. I’m so sorry I ever bloody mentioned the leopard print! 🙂 Who knew what a can of worms that would open!
      Thanks very much for your comment – it does actually make sense 😉

      And seriously, what is it with the purple hair?? And matching scarf – that’s essential 😉

    • Nameisis, Linda mentioned all those things to let potentional tourist (not only) know, that Latvia or Riga is not all about those beautiful photos and girls on web or magazines but there’s a lot of ugliness in all of it. Does not matter they are latvians or russians, does not matter when and where the buildings were built etc., everything is about Latvia. Do you like it or not, but Linda perfectly formed situation, society, people etc in Latvia (ok, a few things were exaggerated). That is the real Latvia, without the polished face.

  25. allnamesweretaken says:

    Because it’s awsome I guess.

  26. Pingback: Thinking of moving to Riga? | Expat Eye on Latvia

  27. Your loyal fan club LOVES your irreverence and sense of the absurd!

    I bet most of the folks who stumble upon your blog via the link fall in love with your blog and become loyal fans too! They’ll reserve their comments for upcoming posts that – you’ll see!

    It will become a movement yourself walking down the street spotting Yani doubled over in laughter and the leopard leotard ladies sporting fashionable mirthful grins.

    Why? Because they read your blog and have become converts!

  28. Santa says:

    I enjoyed reading your post! I know many foreigners who live in Latvia and they would agree with you about all those things:)!! They make fun of the dill all the time:):) and how so many latvians don’t know the word”sorry”. I could go on…but all I want to say is that you are right on and we need to learn some things from other cultures…like: smiling, being polite, better costumer service etc.
    But I also hope that you can experience some nice things in Latvia!!!!!

  29. Example says:

    Bad that you received such amount of negative and unfair criticism. Good is that thanks to that I learned about this blog. It’s nice to read your observations. Hope this little chaos will not affect your attitude in either way; the scariest thing would be to start writing over optimistic stories lacking any irony in it. Actually what I have understood (and few times that was a literally painful school) is that relatively many Latvians do not understand irony, sarcasm, not worth to mention that laughing at yourself is treated as a sign of weakness. That’s probably why some people are angry when facing humour, because of the conflict in their mind, because of being unable to distinguish an obvious joke from facts. It requires some intellect to be able. Then there is that money thing, being tired from that daily surviving mission people simply overreact. The social anthropology of society is an interesting subject, perhaps worth a study. And there are some studies which do explain the reasons behind such attitude. Would like to share that one short reading is Roosh’s “Don’t Bang Latvia” where the author points to some (actually scary) findings about people here – lack of small talk, impoliteness or staged, cold politeness, low or no appreciation of intelligent, subtle way of talking. That book also got very offensive reaction from Latvians, although I personally found it a fair description of the reality. (Actually did read it not because of interest for that “Bang” part, came to it thanks to an article in the same Same way…:) )

    • Expat Eye says:

      I’d rather quit than write painfully optimistic stuff. Mary Poppins I ain’t. 😉
      I’ve come across that Roosh’s thing before – wow is all I can say. I guess if he’s still alive, I’ve got a chance of surviving this thing! 🙂
      Thanks for your comment!

  30. Wow, I have a break from reading blogs for a few days and this happens!? Tops stuff Linda, 100 points from me. Any publicity is good publicity and your work is exceptional, even if mundane at times like brushing teeth (at least they a clean…ish). Without your blog I would have never have bothered to look up Latvian dishes. Actually trying them though is a step too far me thinks. Keep up the good work!! 😛

  31. nancytex2013 says:

    Classic don’t-call-my-baby-ugly syndrome. It’s fine for me to say I have a funny looking kid, but god forbid you do. Or even agree for that matter.

    Haters gonna hate. Chin up.

    On the bright side you have mad traffic on your blog! 🙂

  32. Aussa Lorens says:

    Gah, people are haters. Sorry you’re having to deal with all of this, Linda. You’re an expat, oh my gosh– this is how you deal with that fact! I’m just lucky that no one bothered to translate my online thoughts about China while I was there… Take heart and keep your head up.

  33. Laura says:

    Hey Linda,
    Try not to be too downhearted. The journalist who translated your article is the problem here not you. I translate and can’t stress how important tone is in translating a piece. A translator’s job isn’t simply to translate the words of the text but to convey the tone and humour. This journalist clearly hasn’t translated your humour or made any attempt to translate your post accurately and should stick to their own job before trying to do someone else’s. For what it’s worth, reading your blog didn’t make me want to move to Latvia but it’s sparked my interest in wanting to make a visit there someday. See – you are doing good things for their tourism industry! Chin up!xx

    • Expat Eye says:

      Yeah, actually the Tourist Board has been calling me all evening 😉 I’ve heard that the translation wasn’t accurate and made it sound like I despise everything. The fact that they picked that headline was kind of enough! 🙂

      Hopefully I’ll keep sparking people’s interest anyway! 🙂 Thanks for the comment! Linda.

      • Brigita says:

        I agree with Laura. The translation is poor because it is flat and therefore sounds as a hate language directed against Latvians. We really are traumatised and hypersensitive, and can’t stay cool and balanced . Regarding the mushrooms and dills – well, a bit funny, I do like mushrooms and also dills but I would never dare to make any foreigner like the same!!! In your blog (the translated version) it appears as if an obligatory demand for surviving in Riga. However, it is not true. Anyway, I wish Linda to draw some lesson from this sudden popularity and the role of “false friends”. For us, Latvians, it is also a healthy experience, this is a snapshot of us.Quite unexpected for our self-perception.

      • Expat Eye says:

        Tell me about it! This has been an eye-opening experience, for sure! They’re also going to publish the response I wrote as I don’t think they meant it to come off so negative.

        Ha, it would be kind of funny if you forced all foreigners into the forest to forage for their own food. I definitely wouldn’t survive 🙂 Thanks for the comment, Brigita!

  34. collinscool says:

    Hi! Don’t let the negativity put you down! You’ve said NOTHING wrong! I’m from Latvia, Liepaja, but I’ve lived in UK more than 3 years now and I love it here. Obviously I have my ups and downs, but that’s just normal. See, Latvians have mentality of being arrogant and most of them (us) think that they’re the VIP kinda people, that’s why very rarely you’ll find someone who’s gonna ask you how your day was for no reason. But as soon as there’s a chance to say something bad or put someone down, Latvian people won’t hesitate, they’ll eat you alive! I think it’s because we live in a very small country and there’s some competition going on with each other, people think that there’s not enough space/jobs/money etc. for everyone, that’s why they’re trying to push everyone outside. I’d even say that Latvians think that kindness is weakness, it’s better to be rude, careless and mean.
    Anyways, I hope you enjoy your staying in Riga! Wish you all the best with your life over there 🙂

    • Expat Eye says:

      Thanks Simona! I think I need luck at the moment 😉 Glad you’re enjoying life in the UK! I honestly never meant to offend people with this thing – I really never thought that many people would read it! Especially not 13,000 in one day – the funny thing is, some people think I wrote it to be popular 😉 I feel like THE MOST UNPOPULAR PERSON IN LATVIA right now! I’m afraid to go outside tomorrow. Irish people on ice and snow are not good in general – Irish people on ice and snow running from Latvians with weapons?? Let’s just say I don’t like my chances 😉

  35. Rasa says:

    Hi, Linda

    In my opinion the article title was provocative.

    I would say even very provocative. It could offend many Latvians.

    Many even not read the article, but only the title of the article.

    It is so much negative and hostile comments.

    When I read the title, I thought it Irishwoman has finally become insane. But then I read the whole article and blog, then I laughed and laughed.

    PS: These portals we have such as the horrible headline, the more readers.

    • Expat Eye says:

      It’s true – sensationalism at its finest! I thought it would be professionally translated and published pretty much as is – but then it’s my first experience with the press 😉 Lesson learnt! 🙂 Thanks for your comment! Linda.

  36. I’ve got here trough and couldn’t get away for long time. This blog just made my day 🙂 Even if I’m latvian, I still agree with you about most of it 😀 and I’m still laughing 😀 and all the problems is mostly because we don’t know how to have a little fun about ourselves…
    Good luck!

    • Expat Eye says:

      Ha, this comment just made me laugh for the first time in a while! 🙂 Really glad you like the blog! ESPECIALLY because you’re Latvian! Thanks a lot! Linda.

  37. Panagiotis says:

    Bah! You didn’t have to explain yourself, though I can see why you did. Latvia has, like probably every small country, a small country complex. I’m from Greece and the first thing any Greek will ask anyone non Greek is, “Have you been to Greece?”. If the answer is “no”, a 45 minute presentation/guilt trip about why they must visit ensues. If the answer is ‘yes’ then a 10 minute interrogating confirming that Greece was the best place that person has ever been to and that actually every other country just seems like shit after that life changing experience.

    If you were blogging about living in New York and wrote about some things you don’t like about New York, you would be hitting the refresh button for three days in a row waiting to get one hit on your site.

    So I think that any offended Latvians should sit back and think about how there is an Irish woman in Riga blogging about Latvia and getting thousands of people to read what she says (both good and bad!) and then think about how cool that is and how far Latvia has come

    • Expat Eye says:

      Wow, what a nice comment! 🙂 To be honest, when I started writing this I thought maybe some friends and family would read it. Maybe. I had around 4 or 5 posts in mind – food, fashion, language, weather… So I wrote a few, people read them, people commented, people talked to me, I listened, stuff happened around me, I wrote about it… 100+ posts later here we are! Hell, if I get any more unpopular, I might just run for government – there are a few vacancies I believe 😉 Thanks again for the comment! Linda.

    • Anna says:

      This is a hilarious comment. I love all that stuff about Greece – probably because I have never been interrogated by a Greek person! And you’re totally right about New York etc – I wrote about how I don’t care for the holiday of Thanksgiving and people were like YAWN (but everyone got defensive about their flip-flops!). Somehow though, Latvians dont seem to be keen on making a Greek-like pitch for their country.

    • Lāsma says:

      Haha, very true! I’m Latvian but I’ve met a few Greeks while living in the UK and they really are convinced that Greece has the best food, the best weather… you name it! One was even trying to convince me that every single word comes from Greek, even the Latvian ones! I did find it quite funny, though. My Big Fat Greek Wedding has some true bits! 🙂

  38. Martins says:

    Well, in some point i do agree with you but there is also other ones i don’t. For example i do agree on kicking out someone just because he or she did said some unpleasant things about country he/she lives in is stupid, in this case the country would be almost abandoned in a week or even less. I also do agree that people out here are not so warm as the may be in other countries, but i definitely dont understand why you have to drink yourself to death, by spanding the first year in every possible bar. Of course we do have a lot of bars, pubs and stuff like that, as you allready know the quality also varies, and the ones you did post, yehh, thoes are the scary ones, i would not go there if even i would have been paid for that. But it dosent mean they dont exsist. There is alot of terrible places in Riga where i would never ever consider of possibility to live in, meanwhile there is also a lot of great places outside city center which are really beautiful and not so expencive as city center. I know that just because i do live in such place, and my opinion is based on things i choose and prefer.

    P.s. But one thing is for sure, you do have to know the hockey game rules

    • Expat Eye says:

      I do! Well, sort of. I haven’t been to a game in a while – I know the chants though 😉

      I haven’t been to any of the bars in those pictures (I said that in the post) – I tend to go to old town or drink around the quieter central areas. And I didn’t drink myself to death – although I might after all this crap publicity 😉

      As to the drinking overall, I don’t know – I was excited to be out of Poland and in a new place, so yeah, I went to bars, I met people – it’s how I know pretty much all of the people I do know! I joined a gym and met no-one; it took a long time for me to socialise with any of my students – some of whom I now consider good friends but that took time.

      So I did what I do best – I went to bars and talked 😉

      Thanks for the comment!

  39. I am not Latvian, I am Mexican and had the luck to live there for four years. I lived in Riga and learned the culture, something that most of the foreigners dont get and are not interested in learning. They just see the facades of buildings and drink the beer and go home…but if you have the will to be more curious, and once you learn about the culture, once you get the whys and hows of all you see…you love it. I had to leave the country for reasons beyond my will… Yes: you can number all kinds of problems living there, poverty, political problems, whatever…and you’ll be right, but the truth is, a real Latvian will LOVE that country forever. Even the ones that have never set foot on that land…If you do not adapt, no problem: you can go home. I am not Latvian but I had the luck to have a Latvian wife that taught me her culture and that love her land so much, so much…Tevzeme. Today, all I can say about is that I miss living there so much. Es tevi milu Latvija!

    • Expat Eye says:

      Hi Vicente – I’m plenty curious, trust me! I’m always asking questions – it’s how most of the blog posts happen 😉 Maybe you’ll come back some day! Linda.

    • Brigita says:

      Thank you, Vincent! You have a warm and loving heart. Good to know that there are such people all around the world. Paldies!

  40. mikemajor9 says:

    Look at you – totally kicking ass here with your brilliant blog! And of course – it is YOUR blog, about your experiences, thoughts and feelings…. so fuck the “sensitive” haters I say. Keep on just writing from the heart and you’ll keep on taking over the whole blogging world – go get ’em Linda 🙂

    • Expat Eye says:

      Yeah, kind of feeling like the most hated woman in Latvia at the moment but maybe it will get better?? Every time a chunk of snow falls off the roof I think it’s a mob with pitchforks trying to get in 😉 Any time you fancy jumping on that white horse is fine by me!

  41. Elvis says:

    I won’t lie – the KasJauns article brought me here in the first place, because I wanted to check it myself (KasJauns is one of the worst yellow press examples in Latvia). And I wasn’t surprised at all how they changed the meaning and message of your post and whole blog just to get more traffic on their website.
    Just wanted to let you know that your posts are awesome! And I am glad that I came across this blog. Keep blogging and don’t take into account those grumpy comments 🙂

    • Expat Eye says:

      Hey Elvis! Thanks for your comment! A couple of friends had said to me that the translation was not true to the original – I’m glad you came to check the blog out for yourself. I haven’t even looked at the kasjauns comment page – one of the schools I work at said I might need a bodyguard so I don’t really want to know! 🙂 Thanks again for being nice – I need it today! 🙂 Linda.

  42. Laura says:

    Dear Linda,
    Latvians themselves are being incredibly negative about Latvia itself and everything that is happening around here. If you could read all of the hateful comments coming from Latvians on the internet, you would be shocked. The things you write in this blog is sugar and sweets compared to that.
    But as soon as a foreigner starts to complain about this country (and not even near as close as bad as they insult it), suddenly everyone change their minds just so they could.. blame someone for something.
    If this blog was just all about you loving Latvia and your posts would be about how this country is wonderful and everything, everyone would critisize you for being dumb and living in some kind of a dream world for saying that, because well, honestly, Latvia is a piece of trash in like 90% of latvians opinion.
    There is no way of avoiding it – if you are popular in latvia, if you are talked about around here, then the talk will always be negative. I guess you just have to.. grow thicker skin (I don’t know how you say this, but in Latvia we say it when somebody is very sensitive to something and he needs to learn caring less in order not to go crazy or depressive).
    I hope that this won’t ruin anything and you will continue writing this blog and it will stay exactly as it is. I am a big fan of yours. Thank you!

    • Expat Eye says:

      Thanks for the comment Laura! I was thinking of taking a little break soon anyway but not because of this 😉 It is like I described it – I hear Latvians complaining about loads of things every day. The fact that I’m a foreigner writing about it is the main problem. And clearly I’m not entitled to an opinion after living here for 3.5 years.

      And grow a thicker skin is exactly right! I wonder if I can grow a bullet-proof one 😉 I think that cinema shooting guy is still in prison though, right?? 😉


      • And here we got the center of the issue: You are foreigner with opinions of Latvia. This would be a problem if you would be Latvian living in Norway being funny on the locals expense, Swede living in Norway doing the same thing, German living in Spain joking about the lifestyle etc etc etc..

        A “guest” is normally only entitled to carry positive opinions regarding the host..

      • Livonian says:

        You are entitled to an opinion, but if you’re gonna express that opinion publicly, be ready to hear counter arguments. And it is just a natural and normal for any ethnicity or society to be ok with criticizing themselves but when an outsider does that it becomes different, this happens to everyone, including the Irish. No nation is going to just nod and say “yea, that’s right, we are crap” when some foreigner decides to cherry pick the worst things and criticize.

  43. I love your blog 🙂 But you know that. And I don’t count, coz I’ve never even been to Latvia. Anyway, for what it’s worth …
    13,000???? You’re in Perez Hilton’s league now!

  44. Līga says:

    You shouldn’t delete the negative coments. Let people from other countries see how we handle criticism. I have actually noticed how hateful latvians are. You can tell by the coments on articles about something difrent than they are. Different sexualities, minorities, even things that look a bit weird are getting judged. I guess latvians hate things that they don’t understand or they hate them because someone told them that these things are bad. They are afraid to stand out from the crowd. Generally, latvians have old principles, that are no longer suitable for modern-day society. But not all of course.

    • Expat Eye says:

      No, of course not! I know some lovely Latvians – maybe I don’t talk about that enough 😉 And I’m not going to delete the negative comments – it will just take me a while to work through them all! Honestly, I can’t believe how out of hand this thing has got… it’s just a stupid blog! Thanks for your comment! Linda.

  45. glic an ear says:

    Latvians are very hard on saying nice things… better think about how many people could have said something nice, but didn’t 😉
    And everything depends on perspective – most latvians who wrote something negative haven’t realized potential(!) 😀 of your posts as a great job to keep off Latvia all the immigrants(it’s sarcasm, but also true reality) – most latvians don’t really want MORE immigrants in Latvia – they already have 40% of foreign immigrants, who don’t want to adapt – western nations have maybe max 10% and that is the problem, that they can’t grasp.

    You’ll be fine 🙂

  46. I do not belieave that You have gotten negative responses… maybe from people who are having a really rough time, that is one of the ways, Latvians make them feel better, by making other people hurt.. I would Like to apologise in case any of my fellow citizens have hurt you, once again, it was not the real goal, seriously, many people are having a rough year. But for people, who aren`t sinking in bills, obviously they have objective view, and people with objective view will love your blog, so do I. Infact, so do my parents. So do my friends. And that is like 9 people 😀 😀 😀 , which is like what? 0,1 % of the population? that is a good number 😀 . Once again, I am sorry, that you have gotten some of the tired Latvian opinions, but just remember , I am your fan :), and was laughing histerically, and i am happy that I discovered your blog today, tnx to kasjauns 🙂 … And yes, i do brush my teeth in shower 😀 😀 . And the leopard print… and the heels 😀 😀 <— classics 😀 ..

    We will definately go for a motorcycle ride… when it will get warmer 🙂 .o.h. p.s. The winter is coming :).

    The nice Latvian,

    yet kinda typical,


    • Expat Eye says:

      Oh Arvis, if you’ve got a picture of you in leopard print and heels, I would pay to see it! 🙂 I guess kasjauns did me a favour in introducing you to the blog anyway! 🙂 You and your 9 friends/family members 😉 Tell your mum and dad I said hi 😉 And I will take you up on that motorcycle ride – you just can’t go too fast and you have to be prepared for me squeezing the life out of you 😉 Linda.

      • You would be surprised, but i have given few rides to guys as well and they hug and squeeze me waay more than girls 😀 😀 😀 , you know, where are the true weak gender :D. Sure we can stay in the range till 200 :),or maybe 130 for beginning,i do warn you, it is addictive . I could put on some leopard print leggings or something, but a) i need crazy amounts of courage, for me,as a guy, to go in a shop and buy them… b) I will need a new passport/plastic surgery… Latvia is very small 😀 😀 ,we know each other 😀

      • Expat Eye says:

        I could buy them for you – I can’t really do my reputation any more damage at this stage! I can see the headlines now – ‘EXPAT EYE SPOTTED BUYING LEOPARD PRINT!’ 🙂 130 to start? Vai tu joko?! I was thinking more like 10?

      • 10 ?!? No, es nejokoju! 🙂 I think You are extreme enough to handle the above 10 km/h 😀 . a) you came to Latvia (Northerneuropean country), b) you allow your name to be published on yellow page, knowing, that Latvians, fear the unknown, the different and,that we are pretty , you know, sometimes hurtful people. Oh, btw, my brother is gay (which is kinda big secret), because, it is not accepted in Latvia… So if my father saw, me with leggings… he would be kinda shocked,that both his sons are homosexuals 😀 😀 .Oh, btw, love my brother, will protect him with my life. He is my brother 🙂 .

        If You want to avoid stupid comments from kinda… miserable people, avoid topics as:

        a) homosexuality,
        b) Latvia vs Russia,
        c) Latvia vs any country :D,
        d) latvians,
        e) russians,
        f) obviously politics,
        g) economics..

        so basically you are left with the trees 🙂 ..

        But I hope, that you won`t lose your caurage and keep writing about these topics, love them 🙂 . But then again I love many things.

        Sorry for my spelling, it is kinda late, spent many hours clicking trough your posts. So far, the toobrushing/shower , i really had no idea, that it is something special, it just feels so natural, that while you are wating for your conditioner to take effect, you brush your teeth 😀 .

        Most success,

        Three more months for me, till I return home from Amsterdam 🙂 ..

        oh, btw, love the fact that You are interested in business, so am I, I actually own a LLC since I was 18. and now I am also teaching financials,accounting and risk capital management. By teaching i mean, I have youtube channel where I trade with stocks, and i do give private lessons to some of my viewers – gas ain`t cheap 😀



      • Expat Eye says:

        The image of your dad’s face with two sons running around in leopard print leggings made me laugh out loud! I have tears streaming down my face right now! 🙂 We definitely have to meet up when you get back from Amsterdam! That’s a pretty comprehensive list of topics I have to avoid… 😉

      • yes, we probably will meet up, that is if: You survive the mobbing :), the harsh winter, the EURo, and the natural causes of accidents. Me and my friends have joke here about Latvians being so few. Well, basically it goes like this: We find a topic or picture about Latvia/latvians, and there are like fishermen on the first ice fishing, and then I say: “and that is why we are so few.” Winters – 30, and that is why we are so few. And so, on… i know, it is not that funny, now, but I shall demonstrate eye to eye 🙂 .

        And yes, my father will also be tearing, not because of laughter 😀 …

        I wish you all the luck for tomorrow 😀 … but for your better sleep, all i can say, those people that are barking in the internet comments and hate mails and all that stuff.. We Latvians say that: “Dog who barks, doesn`t bite.” No one will even confront you :), maybe some fans, but that is about it 🙂 . I should start my own blog (and should post a meme with a cat in a business suit ) 😀

      • Expat Eye says:

        Ha ha ha! I’m so glad you’re coming back! Latvia needs more people like you! 🙂 We have the same expression – his bark is worse than his bite 😉

        Hopefully it’s true! If not, I hope I survive the mobbing 😉

      • Lol, just realised: “Dog who barks doesnt bite” — >>> and that is why, we are so few 😀

      • Expat Eye says:

        Crap, I have 4 hours sleep… 😦

      • That is common businespeople problem.. we think too much and the best thinking happens at night…


      • Anna says:

        What I gleaned from this is exchange is what I have been telling you all along, Linda – EMBRACE THE TREES! And mushrooms of course! Bonus for berry-picking.

      • Expat Eye says:

        OK, OK! Trees, mushrooms, berries – consider it my New Year’s resolution 😉

  47. Jazeps2 says:

    Why is everyone talking about me and my blog?

    Because you are the only one that’s on the newspapers front pages and you are criticizing Latvians. Don’t ever criticize Latvians. 😀

  48. Jazeps2 says:

    If you were in Grizinkalns, then you could also take pictures of Art Noveau, and all wooden architecture that exists there. It’s one of the best “apkaime” in Riga, lively, etc…

    And thing about not-smiling etc – that doesn’t mean, that Latvians(or russian-speaking minority) are mean or negative. That’s our culture and that’s it. Maby before WW1 and WW2 and 50 years of soviet occupation it was different, but now it is like it.

  49. Kaufman's Kavalkade says:

    I always read your blog as sarcastic humor, not hate.

    Have I been misreading it? LoL… 😉

  50. Lāsma says:

    ”Most of the time I like it, some days I even love it – but are there things that I dislike, that I find amusing, entertaining, bizarre or downright irritating? Sure. Show me a person living in a country, any country – be it their own or another country – that is absolutely 100% happy with everything all the time and I’ll show you an idiot.”

    Spot on! I couldn’t have said it better. 🙂

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