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 – kasjauns.lv. 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 kasjauns.lv 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?
This entry was posted in Expat, Latvia and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

400 Responses to Breaking News! I do not hate Latvia!

  1. Jazeps2 says:

    http://www.apollo.lv/zinas/sievietei-no-latvijas-pamatigi-paveicas-loterija-irija/627323

    Karma is a bitch 😀 Latvian wins 500 000 EUR from Ireland lottery 😀

  2. I love forests,mushrooms, Riga….and not so many truths, its only yours opinion….and by the way we have independance not so long time… there was so many russians ….and demolish city and builded those ugly hauses in soviet time….sorry about english

  3. Xan says:

    Hi there,

    Just tried to see if you haven’t turned on the auto comment view. Now, considering you still approve each comment individually, I decided to comment. And this comment is NOT for making it public. I’m writing this here just because I could not find your email. Which is, again, a smart move considering the situation.

    Anyhow, just wanted to tell you some stuff. I’m not really a personality that is good with people or comforting and that is not really why I am here. The reason I came is that I saw some people getting awfully butthurt over your posts. Like you’ve just shown the finger to Milda. I’m not really a reader of your blog and (just as everyone else I guess, that is why everyone is so angry) just got to know it. Skipped through some posts and you seem fun. Usually Latvians themselves do not even notice how funny they are. Not in a bad way, but sometimes I myself feel like I live in a big comedy sketch “Latvia – Tale of a Grimm Snow Wizard”
    Now, the reason why I am writing this (and sorry for rambling, I tend to do that) is that I just want to tell you this thing – Do NOT give the fuck up. I would just hate it if you threw everything away just because some people are confused. And there is a second thing I want to tell I guess … It’ll pass. Just imagine the old motivator of the stupid cat hanging in the wire with “Just hold on there” tag line which was all the craze in every office in the 90’s. This will pass. You are just a phase to scream about now. There was this one case where a guy fed kitties to his dog. Everyone lost their shit and went all apelike. After about 3 months nobody even knew his name.
    Also, if you are still worried about how is this going to affect you , let me just tell you that we have been holding elections every four years for a while now. Every time we elect the same people and every time we are surprised that they are kind of assholes.
    Every winter we are surprised that it snows and the streets are wet.
    Every 10 years we get in some sort of unions, then try to get out, then try to get back in.
    We really are not the people who can boast with our long term memory.

    I myself have a website Miljons.com . I use humor to smile about everything that happens in Latvia. You can’t even imagine how many times I’ve gotten hate mails, threats, the whole works. It is easier for me because I’m a Latvian myself. If I were to close or change my style every time the shit has hit the fan, I could as well just leave it. You’ve made only one thing you could perceive as a mistake. You agreed to kasjauns. I mean, seriously, to them? Imagine a papparazzi who is too tired to go out of his home to get sensations so he just makes them up himself. That is basically what they are.
    Would I call it a mistake? Nah. Consider two things:
    1) As I already stated, this will have no long term problems. This is just a bump in the timeline, nothing more.
    2) This is a whole new experience for you. Now imagine how big of a story does this make? “Yeah I kind of blogged about this country once, then they translated what I said and told me to get out. I guess I’m a pretty mean motherfucker if I need to be sent out of a democratic country, you know?” This is a story you need to tell in a smoked bar over a bottle of whiskey, showing off your internet scars and everything.

    Now for some practical advice, just a little…
    *) Do not really talk to media. Use only this blog as a platform to communicate. Media will just try to make you some sort of a sensation and the only way they can do it is to paint an evil creature out of you. So, unless you tend to milk this situation to what it is worth, evade that.
    *) Make some neutral posts now. Something with pictures, Christmas greetings and things like that. Just to push this whole ordeal down the page. And when someone comes in to rage and scream, he were to be confronted with a Christmas tree and maybe find some joy in his bleak life.
    *) After Christmas take a break from blogging. You will still have your usual followers, but none of the people who come here just to find if you have called Mārtiņš as Jānis as a mistake. Go for a trip somewhere, check out some of those old castle ruins we are so proud of. Or even if you feel especially frisky, go see a whole damn castle. Those things are nice. Then, when you’ll return, you will see that this all has blown over like wind and you have some nice pictures to share in the blog.

    Well, I guess that is that. So, the main thing is just to chill now. Grab some popcorn and ride the waves. Hope that with this long post I have at least DISTRACTED YOU ENOUGH NOT TO NOTICE THE ANGRY HORDE OF TORCHES AT YOUR DOOR! Not that it was my intention, like, you know, totally seriously… So if you survive the horde, feel free to drop a line, as I leave my email here. It is open for final wills, stories about castles and a chat, so feel free.

    Ending the longest post I’ve ever left in a blog ever,
    Xan
    The Intoxicated Internet Warrior Without Borders!

    • Expat Eye says:

      Thanks for your comment – you’re right though, it distracted me for a very long time. I could have been hung, drawn and quartered in the time it took for me to read that 😉 Love miljons.com – keep up the good work and (maybe) I’ll do the same 😉 Linda

  4. Holy. Moly. What a drama! You go girl!!! Congratulations.

  5. Ilze says:

    Hi Linda
    i did send you an encouraging e-mail in Fb as well but just in case you don’t read it…
    It always amazes me how we, Latvians, laugh at everybody else and slag everybody else off yet can’t take any criticism at all. Besides, some comments here just prove my point – no sense of humour. was thinking of poor Bill Bryson (whose travel notes I just love) – wonder if all the Italians, Australians, Americans, Brits etc etc also vented their anger and sent death threats to him or did they simply had a sense of humour and they could laugh at themselves and say – hey, yes, that’s me! OK You are no Bill Bryson but pretty funny nevertheless (and becoming popular, too, I can see) Latvians living in UK slag off Britain and British (I always make jokes about 2-tap system – either scolding or freezing 🙂 the same as Latvians living in Ireland slag off Ireland.We have saying in Latvia ‘Cita aci skabargu redz, sava balki neredz’ which is something about pot and kettle…
    I think if you can’t laugh about yourself, you leave yourself open for others to laugh at your expense (if that makes sense)
    Don’t stop 🙂

    • Expat Eye says:

      I wish I was Bill Bryson – or Pete McCarthy 😉 He was an English guy with Irish roots who went on a tour of Ireland, stopping at every bar that was called McCarthy’s. It was so funny! 🙂 So many great anecdotes and people you could recognise because they were you or somebody you’d met! 🙂

  6. Alisa says:

    Don’t let the hate mail get you down, there will always be different opinions. I personally love the way you write about Riga, it makes me miss my lovely home on a whole new level 🙂

  7. Arturs says:

    I like your last question- this is essential for this very moment.
    Being Latvian I’m asking similar things every day and getting answer “You are traitor and KGB agent”. I know the answers yet while people won’t start to reply to themselves nothing will change.

    Keep going breaking news 😀 Good luck!

  8. 1WriteWay says:

    Sigh, I wish you could post without people taking offense at every (imagined) slight. Really, if you were writing in a way that offended, I would just move on, not leave (stupid and unhelpful) negative comments. You have a very entertaining blog which showcases your wicked wit but also your generosity of spirit. If you really hated Latvia, you wouldn’t still be there now (yes, I know you’re up for leaving, but you’ve still stuck it out longer than a Peace Corps volunteer). Give it time. The trolls will eventually find someone else to pick on.

  9. Piektdienis says:

    Hmm, I read your response first, then the original article, which was translated for kasjauns.

    Frankly, the only thing I found mildly irritating in a funny way, is what to me looks a sort of condescension. I don’t know, if I got the tone of those two of your posts right, but to me it was sort of “ooh, lookity, what how strange those aborigines live”. 🙂

    Anyway, a couple of points. I know the area you posted the majority of photos of in your post quite well. Avotu street, while being technically in the centre is definitely considered sort of ghetto neighborhood here. Anything towards and beyond railway from Čaka street is, getting more progressively so with every street. I should know, I live beyond railway (and enjoy the place quite a lot, btw), but more importantly, was raised in a flat on Avotu street (in a family of a scientist and medical doctor, lest you suspect me of being just a sentimental bomzis ;P).

    One point is that in Soviet times Avotu street was one of the areas where the state gave living space (a room in a communal flat, I suppose) to convicts after they served their sentence. I would bet that some of them and their children still live in the area. While I do not want to discriminate people just because they have been to jail, I do believe that _some_ of them and _some_ of their descendants might perpetuate a somewhat forbidding presence: generations of alcoholics and peddlers of substances.

    That, plus the general sloppiness of Soviet-time landlording, means that Avotu street area visually belongs much more to Soviet times than the rest of the centre.

    That said, the church, btw, is fine. I have been there in nineties, and since then it has been restored and its congregation appears to be active. In short, I doubt that in any church in Latvia you should feel unsafe, and this includes Paul’s (Pāvila) church on Avotu street.

    Safe, actually, should be all of the little shops on your photos as well; ELVI is, as you probably know, a mini chain store, quite popular outside Riga — not the best of products, but certainly not much worse than Julius Meinl or smaller chains in Vienna, for example. The butcher’s, while having aesthetically displeasing windows, should, I believe, in general sell decent meat — the very small general stores typically sell rubbish, specialist meat/bread stores usually do have decent products.

    I myself wouldn’t trust any of the bars and cafes though, and there I agree with you. They are just… generally foreboding 🙂

    Anyway, to cut short the rant about the environment, which brought up some memories, I would just like to mention something that, I believe, has bearing on the current discussion.

    I recently went to Moscow.

    For the first time both to Moscow and to Russia. As a good Latvian, my only source of information about that country is from newspapers. Which generally follow the kasjauns style of reporting, obviously.

    So I went there expecting corrupt policemen shaking me down as a tourist, thugs threatening me with knives in darker alleyways, and prices sky-high.

    Well, apart from prices I had what I could call a very pleasant disappointment.
    The people were polite and friendly, in that big-city-rush-friendly way, more helpful than in Riga, actually. The place had its bad points, but it was a very very nice surprise and a thoroughly enjoyable experience.

    And when I think about WHY I felt safe and comfortable there, I am quite certain it was very much so because I could UNDERSTAND everything. I grew up in Soviet times and thus learned quite good Russian. I can speak it almost like a local, I can read and understand it flawlessly. And it gives an enormous level of confidence, when in a strange country and strange place.

    While you say that you have written a score of “good” posts about Latvia, I believe you, however the couple of last posts I skimmed through, as I looked at your blog, all seem to indicate some sort of bewildered amusement/irrriation at the ways of the locals. I do believe that would change with fluent understanding and speaking Latvian (and, probably Russian too, of course).

    Peace.

  10. astrameklere says:

    Dear Linda, now I am ashamed again of being Latvian. Sorry for all of us. But you should realise that people (not all) who read kasjauns.lv are not the smartest, and, obviusly, without any sense of humor what does not surprise me. Keep writting and dont try to argue them – waste of energy.

  11. Vanessa says:

    You know I think you should carry on writing and carry on being yourself. It would be a shame for all those who love your blog not to be able to read it anymore! And the majority of people on here do really enjoy it. So don’t stop. For what it’s worth I think it’s great that you are honest and give both sides of the place you live in. Hasn’t put me off wanting to return and learn the language, too. So it really can’t have been that awful.

  12. Bite says:

    Vēl papildus: es varu iedomāties, kādas ir sajūtas prom no mājām , svešā zemē. Bet sēņošanas un meža pastaigu prieku mēs Tev labprāt ierādītu!!! :))) Gaišus svētkus, Linda!

  13. Bite says:

    Paskaties šo, Linda (tik daudz taču Tu latviski saproti pēc 3 gadu šeit būšanas???) ! Varbūt tā melnā bilde kļūs nedaudz gaišāka.

  14. DirtMaggot says:

    I like you, keep going! 🙂

  15. Nils says:

    And you said “why not?” to kasjauns after three and a half years of living here? Wow. 🙂
    Great blog!

  16. vtv says:

    Ages ago I was reading a blog of an expat living in Estonia and he was pointing out the funny behavior of locals towards each other with the help of animated GIFs. They moments were very much true, BTW, same as true your are. It looked something like this blog: http://estonianmoments.ee/ That time it was just starting to become popular and the guy was telling which kind of threats he was getting from locals. That was showing how intolerant people of Baltic region are and your story just proves that once again. You can see that for yourself: people a seriously writing you that you’ve crossed the line an so on – the kinds of crap which would be totally unacceptable if people would be truly tolerant.

    Having lived abroad for some time, I could say that this country needs people like you desperately. Someone needs to repeat over and over again that it’s not OK to turn away from the bad stuff and concentrate just on the good. Unfortunately for everyone, it’s a long lived tradition here – to cherish ignorance. People are living their lives hoping that problems will sort of miraculously solve themselves and one day people would wake up and all the problems will be gone. The “help” people are ready to contribute is the criticism. Loads of it.

  17. Āpsis says:

    Hi Linda,

    I read your whole blog in one evening after a friend linked an article on facebook. It is so incredibly well written, funny, and your observations are spot on.
    I see that you’re deleting some of the more recent posts from your blogs homepage and I just hope it doesn’t mean you’ll give up on blogging as I see you write in one of the comments.
    The internet is a place for Latvians to let loose our verbal diarrhea; never, ever take seriously what Latvians write in comments section of an article on the internet. I’m a Latvian and whenever I read comments to a Delfi article about politics/medicine/wellfare/Russians it just makes me feel ashamed that I’m of the same nationality those commentators are. Comment section is a place for a Latvian to let loose all the anger that has piled up from living in a grey soviet block building and eating peas with chunks of lard. In reality people aren’t that negative, mean and hateful. Some are, of course, but the majority of Latvians are actually decent people even with our weird habbits.
    What I’m trying to say is – this blog is such an amazing source of entertainment for Latvians who actually do have a sense of humor and it is a great chance for us to look at ourselves from a different perspective. So I really hope you will just ignore what sad and angry Latvians write in the comments section, put this whole thing behind you and just keep on blogging as you have been for almost a year.

    Cheers
    Janis (not really)

    • Āpsis says:

      Oh I see now you haven’t actually deleted anything, must have been a glitch with my bookmarks.

    • Expat Eye says:

      Are you sure? That’s just what a Janis would say 😉 Thanks a lot for your lovely words! Trying to keep my chin up through it all 😉 Will see what happens when it blows over. Right now I’m just tired

  18. N says:

    Hi Linda,
    Put a smile ON (sounds like you are on your low at the moment) and don’t bear in mind those haters.
    Keep going & writing your blog, you definitely have a talent and I think you have done much more positive things for Latvia than those who always complain.
    it is Friday outside and sun is shining (it is not every day combination in LV) un pāris alus kausi būs tieši laikā! 
    Priekā!
    LV patriot

  19. Daila Jaudzema says:

    Hi, sorry, did not even check your name, but will do that when I will be reading your other stories 🙂
    Do not worry about the bad comments from latvians. We live in Ireland for more than 10 years and still have something to bich about this country (mostly the weather 🙂 )
    Your are quite right about things and situation in Latvia. We haven’t lived there for a while and each time going on hols to Latvia, we find more and more to complain about our country. And each time returning to Ireland feels like returning home 🙂
    So, I see your point perfectly 🙂
    Keep writing and have a good luck in Latvia.

  20. re naars says:

    Well, people focus on different things, we see what author did here, and now we are aware of your mindset. It’s easier to see negative of course. I hope it will be okay with you staying here as this went viral. Now you could start grafiti cleaning campaign and mooving chairs from streets , hah 😉

  21. Zanda says:

    The answer to your last question is very simply…

    I read through your blog very carefully and find that nearly every post has a bad things in it. And I have feeling that you hate this place ( do not say one more time that you don’t ). About teethbrushing – it is not your business where, how and why we brush our teeth, as well as it is not my business how you are doiung it. It is not humor, and not sarcasm – it is fleering about as (including me). In previous post you told about Riga district you live- but who is guilty that you are not able to find better place to live ? or it is our duty to bring the better place to you on the golden plate ? No , it isn’t. You wonder why people write to you hate-letters? Answer is simply – you have stepped over the border. It is very harmfull to read such things about the heart of Latvia – Riga.
    That is only my opinion but I think that you or anybody else , who come to other country, must follow to elementary rules of politness and tollerance. And if you can’t , if it is so bad that somebody brush the teeeth in shower , if you remember only the using of loo from the “Līgo” fest ( this one was very harmfull for me personally because my father was Jānis and we allways celebrate this fest), if your flat is held together by duct tape and a few rusty nails, if you do not like our medical situation , if you want to say hello every time you see the people , if everything is most depressive in the world etc. etc. ( it is not possible to count everything from your blog, your experience in my country) , then rises the question – Why are you still here ? Why don’t you go to better place in the world where all this sh**t will not happen to you ? Is it the kind of Sado-mazo – want to suffer ?
    Yes, you do not hate Latvia, but you do not love it, too. You are not better than people from our big neighbour Russia. You come to my country and say to me that we are like cave people and we DON’T do things like in your country. That hurts… think about it

    By the way you have what you want – popularity .. hope it will help to you sleep in nights.

    • Expat Eye says:

      I find this comment far more depressing than anything I’ve ever written.

      • Zanda says:

        For you it could be. Because I really love the place where I live, because I love the traditions which we have, because I will allways stay for my country. You are wellcome to Latvia but.. please do not forget that you are guest and keep some manners. Nothing personal. I am very glad that you are there and really hope that some of your latvian friends will show you what is the everyday life of common people. Yes we live in small flats , have small sallary but we live and have a joy of life, too. Please, be a little bit tollerant and look ti my country through the optimism. Have a good luck.

      • Alice says:

        Don’t take this stupid reply seriously, it proves that everything they say about this place is totally true. Even living in a gigantic modern apartment for a ridiculously small amount of money is not enough to make me wanna stay here. I have traveled to countless places in the world, and not once was I condescendingly asked about the ‘purpose of my stay’ except in Latvia. Traveling on a passport from the arguably wealthiest country on earth. Ah well, I’ll take my money elsewhere, that’s for sure.
        To all those who go on spinning the tale of the ‘beautiful Latvian woman’, STFU.

      • Expat Eye says:

        Love your spirit 😉

    • bevchen says:

      I found the brushing teeth in the shower discussion really interesting! It would never even have occurred to me that anyone DOESN’T brush their teeth at the sink. Personally, I think NOT wanting to talk about how other people/cultures do things is a lot more ignorant than anything Linda has ever posted…

    • Latvian born Brit says:

      Speaking of coming to another country and following it’s rules, respect, and all that … Here in the UK we don’t slaughter swans, we don’t cook them- but incoming Latvians do! Every swan here belongs to HRH the Queen, it’s a criminal offence to touch those majestic birds, but do Latvians care? Like Hell they do!!!
      Also, we don’t brew dangerously combustible and poisonous vodka, but guess who here does???…
      Would you like me to continue ? My belt has plenty of bullets left! Linda has seen a duck, pointed at it, and said,”Oh, look, a duck!”, yet it hasn’t been done in a nasty way. Grow up !

      • Expat Eye says:

        Ha ha! Thanks for that! Those poor swans! 😉

      • Zvērs says:

        You know, it is against the law to kill a swan in Latvia too and no latvian would do that. Try addressing this to our big neighbour country 😉 Same goes to vodka drinking habbits.Do not mix latvians with the soviet occupant slush that we sadly have in our country.

      • Expat Eye says:

        Ah the pesky Russians again… Is there anything they don’t do?? 😉

      • Anna says:

        Oh, too bad the Nazis lost, right? Nobody remembers that Germany occupied Latvia first. That was cool, right? And then started the bloodiest war in modern history. But I understand, really. It is so much easier to blame Russia for everything, and then you can just take responsibility for…nothing!

      • Baiba says:

        I’d say, that every nation has to deal with it’s scum. Although I have never heard of a latvian killing swans, but I know some entertaining stories of a whole turtle family massacred by some heavy drinking latvians in beautiful rural atmosphere somewhere in Zemgale. But, as I said, I don’t actually think, that this is a specific latvian trait.

      • Jazeps2 says:

        Anna, first occupants were Russians FYI… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_occupation_of_Latvia_in_1940 when they in one year deported 1,8 % of Latvia’s population. And they deported the best ones – actors, scientists, managers etc

  22. reader2 says:

    As Latvian I think your observations are pretty accurate, yet in some parts perhaps slightly (?) exagerated but in a funny, entertaining way. Keep up the good writing! I really hope you won’t stop writing after all this fuss in the media. Perhaps, you could one day write and publish something like the Latvia version of A Year in the Merde (have year read that book?).

  23. Sage says:

    Oh me. I’ve been gone from Latvia for 3 months & you just made miss that place ALOT! I’m coming back in May and am planning on staying for at least six months, so if you don’t mind catching lunch with an American…. 🙂 haha I’ve been casually following your blog for awhile, and it makes me smile everytime! Also, don’t let everyone get you down about your posts; every Latvian I’ve talked to say the same things! Yet, I still love it there… 🙂

  24. I am an expat Latvian as well, and (and – you will not like it 🙂 ) yes – I happened to know your blog only because of the controversy created by kasjauns/delfi. I think that you understand, that only thing they want is – to troll their readers. Besides foolproof comment generation topics regarding russian-against-latvian themes, your post was good enough. Write about Alberta street architecture or post your cat pictures – they won’t re-post that. I found particularly interesting your post about “Hello” issues in Latvia. Well, yes… being here in Taiwan for more than 5 years already (I should be dead already, right :), i first felt a bit “latvianishly” lazy to answer “Hello” to a foreigners, who said that on a street for example in Taipei, or in department store. Fast Forward 1 year… and i was the one who looked into eyes (!) and told “Hello” first, and then now seeing someone who reacts same as me before, I could see a fellow from a regions, well… close to those I came from.
    What’s the lesson? WE, those, with “S” at the end of names, will change, and one day, I will no need explain any more here in Taiwan, why their travel impressions from Baltic states are “Hey, everyone so angry, and not smiling, why is so?”.

  25. Expat Eye says:

    Wow, thank you! That’s one of the nicest comments I’ve ever received! 🙂 Linda.

  26. Guntars Kauls says:

    Hello Linda! I discovered Your blog recently and I am having good time reading it. When I have read this post I got really upset and angry. Please don’t be so upset about people reaction to kasjauns piece (a daily mail kind for bored houswifes of site in which the main news usually are “who’s fucking who in latvian showbusiness”). I can imagine that getting that much hate mail is very unpleasant but You have to remember that normal people don’t go apeshit about one post. Latvians even have jokes about that kind of people who sit in delfi or tvnet and coment all the time. That’s all they do. That’s all they will ever do. Have You seen any real demonstration or protest aimed at government? NO. But You’ll see hundreds and thousands making hate comments. This is one particular social group who just whine for the sake of it. A miserable losers. I personally can sign under almost every word that You have written about Latvia and latvians (and You have done it hilariously). Don’t be scared or bothered, tomorrow trolls will have something else to do. Just keep on what You are doing. I love Your work and I think that in perspective it is unique and original material that in some time even could be published as a small book on latvian. You are giving latvians a fresh viewpoint of their lives and it is truly priceless. Just don’t let it get You down. I will leave some quality Latvian music to cheer You up. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DAH8GE88gis Your fan GuntarS 🙂

    • Expat Eye says:

      Hi Guntars! Thanks for your comment! You’ve really cheered me up 😉 Let’s hope someone else does something amazingly un-newsworthy tomorrow (starting a blog has been done so it will have to be something else…) and people start commenting on that instead 😉 The funny thing is, there are a couple of other expat blogs out there on Latvia that are really positive – nobody’s reading them… 😉 Linda.

      • Guntars Kauls says:

        visited kasjauns today. The scandalous news of unorthodox Irish woman are slowly mixing up with titles like “Dead bodies in Riga are being prepared for funeral on cafe tables” , “Nora Degold the owner of the fraudulent Durga temple now teaches non-contact surgery” and “Drunk latvian thinks he’s an ostrich, smashes forehead on pavement”.
        There are some really strange things going on with latvians. One moment they’ll tell you how they loathe Latvia, after a few minutes they will curse on someone who’s thinking the same way (while smoking bootleg cigarettes). Some serious studies must be done to understand the psyche of this nation. Don’t forget that You have considerable bunch of supporters. So keep on writing and don’t be afraid of trolls. Here is some nice tree porn with calm music from the tolerant part of comunity http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MBPFW3yxBeg

      • Expat Eye says:

        Ah tree porn – my favourite – how did you know! Might read that ostrich story later 😉

  27. hey girl, we are from lithuania, it would be fun to collaborate together:)
    visit and follow us back THEAGEOFCHARM.wordpress.com

  28. Kristaps says:

    Isn’t it ironic that they say that latvians aren’t grumpy but then they write long hate comments. They are just two-faced morons, if you would meet them in real life they would be disgustingly nice and on internet they can vent their anger and sad lives. Don’t you mind them, they are everywhere. And keep up the good writing.
    P.S. Mushrooms are evil.

  29. Livonian says:

    And by the way – 3 years should’ve been enough to pick up at least conversational Latvian.

  30. Livonian says:

    Linda, some of the stuff you’ve written is hilarious and super funny, and, as an expat Latvian myself, I feel kind of sympathetic to you – a tiny woman from the West, where women are so coddled, all by herself, in a cold North Eastern European country. I truly feel for you.
    However… it seems you have fallen into an expat trap to trash the local environment. I’ve seen a lot of Western people do it when they come to EE, as well as other expats in other countries. Hey, I’ve read sites of English and Americans trashing Sweden because they couldn’t find an “English speaking job” right away. Some of the things you say are accurate and funny, but I can’t help noticing you cherry pick. How about showing the nicer things of Riga, instead of just being condescending? Where are the pics from Elizabetes, Alberta street, the pics of gorgeous restaurants and spa interiors? Too bad you have to live on Avotu street, but that is your choice.
    Concerning women – not to be impolite, but, yes, Baltic women (and men too) are genetically more attractive than people from the isles, meaning there are more attractive people given the size of the population. This is a fact you notice right away when you leave Latvia to the West. And, yes, I agree, that Latvian women overdress, and for me as a woman it was very annoying while I lived there, but what about the normal looking ones? There are plenty of them too. (Btw, a lot of the overdressed ones are ethnically Russian.) A lot of my friends are beautiful, tall, blonde, but they dress quite modestly. Sure, they are not frumpy like Western women but they dress normally. But I do agree, many women overdo it, and for a Western woman it’ll be very hard to compete. It can be a shock. Maybe it’ll change in 10-15 years when demographically there will be fewer young women and the competition for them will get stronger, but I doubt our women will ever be like Western ones in terms of looks.

    • Expat Eye says:

      I don’t like spas, that’s why there are no pictures of them. I’m probably the least molly-coddled person you’ll ever meet. In a very frumpy way, of course. Probably due to the lack of spas in my life.

    • Incognito :) says:

      Men there are definitely NOT genetically more attractive, but the “good looking” local girls wear more makeup than is possible to stock in one department store. It’s fake, incredibly fake. The self centred and shallow outlook on life isn’t that much more attractive, look at the MESS there. Does nobody see the crippling buildings? In a capital city you can point out, name about ten decent looking buildings there at a push. That is sad. And also it seems that the locals have no concept of what a good wash / deodorant means? Try mingling outside the old town, let alone survive the public transport. So let’s not go all “eye for an eye” here, because, my dear, it really IS that bad in Latvia. Pretty poor performance for a small country.

      • Livonian says:

        I don’t know where you’re from but you’re probably not from a place that has experienced 50 years of Soviet communism and a whole bunch of transitions and shock therapy. Latvia should never be compared to Western countries that have had decades of peace, wealth creation, investment and freedom to develop, as well as strong colonial backgrounds (as in, having taken shit from other people to make yourself rich). Latvia should be compared to other countries that suffered a similar fate, such as Belarus, Russia, Lithuania, Georgia, Moldova, and it stands pretty well compared to those countries.

        Having lived in Latvia all my life and having had relationships with Latvian men, it is at least my personal observation that Latvian men ARE genetically more attractive than other European men, with the exception of Scandinavian and Russian. Latvian men and women come from the same genetic pool, after all. The number of attractive men, given the population size, is higher in the Baltics than in the West (esp. places like the UK). The only place that beats Latvia in male attractiveness is Scandinavia. I have also heard that Serbian (or Yugo) men in general are attractive, but I haven’t met that many of them. Not every Latvian man is attractive, ofc, I’d say only about 20% are good looking, but, let’s say, in the UK it is even less!! I’m in America now and you’d think it be full of studs but IT IS NOT! A lot of men are chunky. Latvian men are tall, slim, toned. Sure, there are a lot of entitled shlubs too, but there are plenty of hunks. They might lack in other compartments, such as money, status, family responsibility, they smoke and drink to much, but they don’t lack in looks. Some dress like crap, but a lot them dress much better than Anglos.

    • That’s a very good point about the overdressing. It would be pretty rare to find an ethnically Latvian girl who wears leopard prints and similar; I do wonder how you acquired that particular misconception about Latvian women.

      Also, Avotu street is basically next to my childhood neighbourhood, Asara street (which is lovely by the way) and is indeed on the seedy side. Too bad you can’t afford a slightly nicer area, of which there are plenty just a few blocks away in all directions of the photos you’ve taken. Maybe it’s time to hit the rental market. Just saying.

  31. TRex says:

    Latvians are nasty for the most part. They know it as well. It is said that a Latvians favourite dish is another Latvian served up on it. A Latvian told me that, more than one.

    I kinda figured you were going to attract some attention eventually. Ignore it. And don’t feel compelled to post every comment. Trolls are trolls in any country.

  32. Tanja says:

    if I may )
    I think what happened here is actually very simple – it’s the ‘don’t touch my family’ kind of thing. It’s very typical of Latvians (I’m not so sure of Latvian Russians) to protect their kids/ dogs/ region/ local beer/ country/ language fiercely when they’re being attacked in any way. Doesn’t even matter if the criticisms is to the point.
    Within our family/ our tiny region/ our country we can bitch about and whine and say how everything sucks, we scold our kids and distrust our government, but it’s our thing – it’s as if we have the right to do it only if we were born here.
    If god forbid a neighbour shouts at our kid or a foreigner pisses on Milda or Russians whisper that it wasn’t all so bad 40 years ago under the Soviet rule, the Latvian turns into a vicious and bitter ‘we-nee-to-defend-ourselves’ prick. It’s just the way it is 🙂
    As for the locals not speaking Latvian with foreigners, I dunno, but I find it kinda hard to understand foreigners even with very good Latvian, it’s simply a strain for me, so, yes, I often switch to English, unless the person insists on using Latvian. And then many of us look at it as a favour we’re doing our guests 🙂 (I mean, look – I could have written this piece in Latvian :))
    You are right in a way – most of Riga is ugly and, to be honest, I pretty much hated the years I had to spend there while studying, but that’s why the rest of the country is breathtakingly beautiful ))
    Good luck with your blog!

  33. Gypsy says:

    I felt incredibly sad on the day the roof collapsed in Riga. Why? Because I’d been there before thanks to you.
    Not physically, but you’d brought me on a virtual tour of Latvia. And I liked a lot of the things and the people I saw. But not because they were perfect.
    Simply because in some small way, you make them real, and I can always find something I can relate to. Not in the obvious; but in some subtle way you are able to give life and familiarity to the characters much like the Seinfeld show did.
    I am a Canadian living in the Middle East, yet when I read your blog I always find something that hits home.
    And you’ve actually made me think I might like to visit Latvia one day.
    Which is impressive; because before your blog I didn’t even know where Latvia was.
    Thanks for writing the way you do.
    Don’t let yourself be hurt or discouraged by a few who don’t understand that your blog is actually getting people interested in their homeland.
    No one likes to feel like they’re being laughed at; and that’s obviously the perception of some.
    Eventually, they may come around. Or not. It’s their prerogative.
    But for those of us who want to ENJOY reading about life in Latvia, please keep on writing.

  34. solaris says:

    The fact you are selectively moderating comments clearly shows your hypocrisy… You are not sarcastic. No. You Linda are a TIPICAL hater.
    You have found yourself in this dank, poor, afflicted country without clear understanding why you are here. You have not got good family relationships in your life. You are horny too long time. You are in the age when women usually think about their life gist, however you do not find your life to be in harmony. Hence, you unconsciously feel yourself like a looser. Consequantly, you have negative emotions. Because of your narrow thinking and hypocrisy you do not want to see the real reason of your confusion. Instead, you tend to look for anything around you as an excuse why your life has been standstilled. So, you are selectively looking for any rummy thing in your neighbourhood to excuse your inner hate and looser feeling. Thus far it is in some way normal behaviour of lost people. However, you Linda go rather different way. And this is a way to become a hater… You do not hesitate to describe Latvia and Latvians in the most unpleasant manner. You pretend to describe anything in Latvia, however you do it through the prism of your inner hate and looser feeling. That’s miserably. Your lies about Latvia are miserable.
    You horny Linda would rather go back to Ireland and try to make a normal family. And DO stop hurting and offencing Latvians. We really do not need haters like you.

    • Expat Eye says:

      I’m not selectively moderating anything. I’m working through the comments as and when I get a few minutes. I’ve done some from yesterday, some from today, some positive, some negative. I’ll get to them all eventually. The fact that I’m publishing this rubbish should show that I’m trying.

      • solaris says:

        That’s good you are not selectively moderating all comments now. Still, please, do not behave like a hater anymore. These comments of the offenced by you Latvians are NOT rubbish. Rather your blog is rubbish because YOU started the hate speaking by it.

    • bevchen says:

      Wow… seriously? Is this satire? You hate Latvia because you’re horny Linda… lack of sex is quite obviously your problem!
      *Backing away slowly shaking head in disbelief*

      • Expat Eye says:

        Yup, that’s it. My clock is ticking – which is making me bitter – so I’m taking it out on everyone and everything around me. He/She nailed it. Cos everyone knows all women want to have children, right? 😉

      • bevchen says:

        Yep… and those who don’t are just in denial!

      • Expat Eye says:

        You’ve got it! Crap, everyone else is doing it – I should too! Oh no, time is running out! GAH!

      • Solidarity says:

        The abundance of escort agencies are clearly keeping all the local studs away … Beer swilling, manbag wearing, greasy haired, 1m tall studs with massive BO and dirty fingernail issues… Poor Linda…
        Oh how will she ever live without tying down some jobs worth with a snotty little rugrat, just so she can say,”I have a man” (a national obsession; so let’s respect that maybe not everyone is tarting up and isnt on a quest to secure some spotty dude. Who has a 20 year old Audi)

      • Expat Eye says:

        Oh this gave me a much-needed laugh this morning! I sort of want to marry you right now – then I’d be a lesbian bride with no kids – wonder how that would go down?? 😉 Linda.

    • Lāsma says:

      I think I’m going to add this to my ”Broken English” folder thank you very much. 😀

    • doingthingsnow says:

      “You are horny too long time” – WOW. If you’re going to insult the woman, make sure you do it correctly (she is an English teacher, after all!). Your comment is pointless.

  35. Balozniks says:

    Say what you like about Latvia (and you do, of course), but in its defense I would like to point out that I’ve lived here for coming up for 14 years, and no one has ever told me to ‘cheer up!’ Being a reasonably miserable bloke, I can’t tell you how much cheer this has given me (cos I’m miserable ha ha). I’m being serious (miserable people usually are): I appreciate the space people give you here – it took me a while to get used to it, but now when I return back to Blighty I find the small talk between strangers a little odd and artificial.

    Couple of other things: regarding the language, you have just got to be obstinate – be rude back if you like. I refused to speak English when I was out (unless of course I was in an ex-pat crowd), explaining to locals that I was planning to live here and that if they didn’t like it, they could eff off and talk to someone else – it worked okay: I spoke only to my wife for two years until finally even she left me. Okay, that was a joke, too. I am a really funny guy. Actually, most people were great in this regard. Once they realised I was serious about learning, even those whose English was better than mine, happily switched to Latvian with me. I owe them a great deal for that. It is a shame that so many ex-pats don’t seem to have had this experience. The only thing I would say is that the majority of expats I know (especially those from the UK) speak …how can I put this: hmm, really fucking awful Latvian. I am talking about some people I love dearly and who have been here for a fair few years, but who can barely string two sentences together. I suspect (and I bet so do the locals) that they aren’t serious. And if they aren’t serious about learning, why should a poor local sit through a tortuous conversation with them (come on Linda, you are an English teacher – you must know what I am talking about)? Language is the key: the place comes progessively more and more alive to you as you learn – you get more amusing and positive incidents doing your day-to-day rounds, and locals become more more intelligible and more intelligent and nuanced.

    What else? I like your blog. You are pretty funny. But, I think you are stuck in this ex-pat thing (the ex-pat thing I am referring to was my experience of ex-pats congratulating themselves on their superiority to the locals – your ex-pat thing might be a little healthier). I knocked it on the head about 11 years ago, and I started to really enjoy living here as a result. You have wit and a neat turn of phrase: you could write about anything – maybe you do, I don’t know – maybe you have a separate blog for each genre :).

    Okay, peace – and no offence etcetera…

    • Expat Eye says:

      Absolutely no offence taken! Great comment and (probably) spot on 😉 I don’t think I’ve ever congratulated myself on my superiority to anyone! 🙂
      I do generally speak Latvian in shops and cafes etc. I find it usually works the opposite way to what you’d expect. I’m speaking in Latvian and they’re speaking in English 😉 I went to lunch with a friend last week and all gung-ho, I was like ‘Hey, next time we go out, we should speak Latvian the whole time!’ He replied, ‘yeah, but your Latvian is so fucking terrible’ 🙂 And it would be a pretty rubbish conversation I have to admit! I just need to decide if I want to stay here or not and if yes, then start taking it seriously. Maybe I need a Latvian wife – it worked for you. Well, until she left you – or not 😉 Thanks for the comment! Linda.

      • There is a law that states that a conversation between people will inevitable take place in the language that is best know to all participants. 😉 It applies to all places and all languages. So, if your Latvian is worse than her English, then you will be speaking in English whether you want it or not.

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  37. Ricards says:

    Come on – negative / hate comments is national sport of Latvia, made up by insecure losers, if you were a bit better in Latvian you should take a look at news portals’ comment section, then you could see, it is very usual. Only a fool would take any anonymous hate comment seriously. Anyway I wanted to say that I love your blog and you are great, keep it up!

    • Expat Eye says:

      Hi Ricard! Thanks very much! I’m trying not to take it too seriously. I really am getting a lot more positive messages than negative ones – there are a lot of seriously cool people out there 😉 Thanks for commenting! And now I REALLY need to get back to work – this is turning into a full-time job! 🙂 Linda.

      • Livonian says:

        Well, Latvians can trash themselves all they want, just like Jews can joke about themselves. But a foreigner doing it puts it in a completely different perspective. Foreigners living in a given country should be sensitive and courteous.

        When I was in Ireland I had only good things to say about it. You can find shitty stuff about any country. I recently moved to America and it is very hard and very different from Latvia, but I try not to shit on America.

        Irish people struck me as super friendly and humane, so in that way they are in a stark contrast with reserved and cold, and sometimes cruel, Latvians. But then again, Russians, Ukrainians and other EEs are even more brutal, while, for instance, Nordics are somewhere in the middle – not as a warm and open as Anglos, but not as heartless as E.Euros. In Latvia, we do not have a habit of greeting strangers on the street and starting up random convos, unless you’re in a bar. People greet random strangers only on the country side, not in the city. That’s just the culture, not everyone has to be like the English who always go around saying “How are you, dear?” to every stranger.

      • Expat Eye says:

        I know, I know! It would be a boring world if everyone were the same… 🙂 Thanks for your comment – but come on, seriously, something must have bugged you about Ireland! 😉 Linda.

      • Livonian says:

        I’ve been to Ireland twice, a week each time. And, frankly, no, there was nothing at all that bugged me. I’m not saying I’d move there to live, but generally the Irish struck me as very friendly, very down to earth. One thing that surprised me though was a traveller girl that walked up to me begging for money in the Temple bar – 16 years old and like 7 months pregnant. She was white. It’s also very green outside of Dublin, maybe not as green and tree-filled as Latvia, but still.

      • Expat Eye says:

        Irish travellers are white 😉 And well, it is the Emerald Isle! Tis green, to be sure, to be sure 😉

      • Livonian says:

        Well, to go even further, my American born husband is half Irish. His relatives are from Dingle. So there you go. 🙂

      • Expat Eye says:

        Is he a Mc or an O’?? 😉

      • Livonian says:

        He’s a Kennedy and Casey (as far as the Irish part goes). 🙂

      • Expat Eye says:

        I know several of both 😉

    • solaris says:

      Ricard, look at your own comment and think twice who actually makes negative / hate comments…

  38. Marina says:

    The problem with Latvia (not sure if the country or the people) is that they have a massive issue with critique. We are talking larger than life kind of issue. This country is like a troubled teenage girl, one moment they are big and strong with an “we-got” attitude, the next moment they will blame anyone (well we know whom mostly, dont we?) else for their problems. Their blue-blooded act has pissed me off for years, so I left. And the problem you (as a foreigner) will always be facing is that as soon as you throw a dash of critique their way, they will get together as a fucking wolf pack and bark at you to get the hell out of their country.
    I will be paying my taxes in another country thankyouverymuch.

    • Expat Eye says:

      Hi Marina, thank you very much for your comment! It’s sad that you had to leave your own country because of this attitude but I hope you’re happy wherever you decided to go! I guess the ‘wolves’ will be after you now so I wish you luck! 🙂 Linda.

  39. Edijs says:

    Nice backpedaling…
    You really thought that it was a wise idea to let one of the most popular internet gossip/news websites to publish your blog content which would be so unfavorable to the local peoples self-image? Somehow I don’t feel any sympathy.

    I have no problems to admit that the country in which I have been born probably could be considered a shithole and in fact I don’t intend to stay here that much longer myself, but that doesn’t mean I would feel right to bash it without knowing that there might be repercussions to that. The negative things are mostly completely true although it often lacks reasoning (your use of facetious humor). But it is inevitable that when derogating a country/city/local living conditions/stereotypical behavior you also derogate the people that make it all up in the first place. If I go deeper it also might lead to injured pride but I don’t think there is any use to discuss that.

    I advice to think about consequences of your actions from other parties regardless if they are justified or not.

    • Expat Eye says:

      Good luck with the move. I don’t recommend Ireland. Linda.

      • Edijs says:

        Wasn’t one of my options.
        Staying at the outskirts of Shanghai also had let me see the various flaws in the local social culture, beliefs and person to person interaction and I did complain about them from time to time, but now looking back, I realize that it would have been senseless if I would have generalized these bad traits and been straightforward with them because I simply cannot change any of that in larger scale, but rather come out as a disrespectful person regardless if its really true or not. Now, if you talk about this in a group of people or one on one then its a different story.

      • Expat Eye says:

        Latvia’s loss is Shanghai’s gain 😉

  40. Zane says:

    naaah, don´t take those complains seriously. think about it as a good way, how to give some Latvians a chance, finally not to complain about our capital and it´s everyday issues themselves, but to ´defend it´ instead from the ´mean foreigner´ for a change . we´re not that used to take critic , but mostly just to judge everything ourselves, that´s all 🙂 but I hope, you also have had a lot of good experience in our country 🙂

    • Expat Eye says:

      Ha thanks! I guess maybe a common enemy everyone can bitch about was what the country needed – a little pick-me-up 😉 Linda – the mean foreigner. 😉

  41. krisjanis says:

    I am Latvian and I love your blog. There are negative comments to nearly every article on kasjauns.lv portal. Hopefully these comments will not get you down. Good luck.

  42. brathahn says:

    It´s a sad day when you write a blog with your thoughts and you have to justify yourself for something which doesn´t even need justification. You get slammed by people who can´t even understand how it is to be a foreigner, a living and working here foreigner, in a foreign country.

    Being proud about your heritage is a thing which everyone understand. Being completly blind and defending even bad things of a place is just pure stupidity. As often you need someone from outside telling the bad things, because sometimes you are just too used to things around you and you can´t see these things as bad/weird/interesting anymore.

    As your blog is clearly explaining the live of a foreigner in Latvia in a sarcastic and ironic way i just simply can´t understand how you even have to consider to justify yourself.

    Don´t let the angry mob stop you!

    • Expat Eye says:

      Hey, thanks very much for this comment! As another foreigner living here, I know you ‘get’ it 🙂 But yes, I did feel like I had to justify that one as people are clearly just reading that ONE and not getting the overall tone of the blog at all. Which was also clearly lost in translation on kj… thanks for the support anyway! Linda.

  43. Reinis says:

    Sounds like someone’s got under somebodys skin. 🙂

    Well, don’t sweat – in every country 10 out of 100 “will not take shit from any stupid fraigners”, so is this reaction something special? No.

    Anyhow, remember South Park: “If you don’t like this country, you can just ghheaeeaaaat oooouuut”. :)))

  44. irita says:

    Honestly – I read the first post and now this one – and all I can say – I whish that those who complain and those who laugh would roll up their sleaves not for typing this time but for some real work to change things around.

  45. hey 🙂 you basically more or less described what I did in the past 🙂 that is just to like this place and decide to move here… the result of this act of mine ended up one day in march (1.5 years ago) that I could not take it any longer and ran away from here in a shape of “trauma” 🙂
    it’s true, things look different when you visit Latvia, Riga as a tourist comparing to when you’re living here 🙂
    but eventually I decided to give it a second try, and on August I came back here to Riga and moved my company to here, will see how things go… 🙂
    the main reason why I came back after all is that I simple like many things here and find them very unique and most of these things are not even noticed by latvian themselves who as you said, have mostly negative opinions about latvia
    things that I like about this place is mainly the people who live here, I find latvians as smart people (although most of them have a very low self esteme and will not agree with me)
    also I find people here very modest and good (that is something that I like very much)
    I have a will to contribute to this country and trying to do so, one thing that I am doing is to learn Latvian language, since I see that this subject is so important to Latvians, the language, and I feel that since I am here living in their home than I need to do what is important for them (although it’s probably more practical to go for Russian language here, or even English)

    but in any case, I like your Blog and glad that I found it 🙂 hope to see you here and stay here and continue to update things in your blog

    cheers

    Boaz

    • Expat Eye says:

      Hey Boaz! Cheers for the comment! Glad you came back to give it a second shot 😉 Seriously though, some people are so unrealistic!

      I might keep up the blog – I’ve kind of lost heart for now. It used to be fun. If I have to spend this much time answering comments and dealing with nonsense about my biological clock, I’ll never have time to actually write anything.

      Anyway, we’ll see! Best of luck with your company and your Latvian language studies!

      Linda.

  46. Perhaps it’s not how you intended for it to happen. But you are now officially blogging royalty Linda. Congratulations. I think.

    I read the previous post and totally see where you’re coming. But then again, I can understand why some of the locals aren’t too crazy about you. Especially after your words were translated into their own language!

    Hopefully the ‘fame’ won’t deter you and you’ll keep on blogging. Fingers crossed any negativity remains online only.

    • Expat Eye says:

      Yeah, I think the translation wasn’t exactly stellar! 🙂 But hey, what can you do. I wrote the stupid thing, I gave them permission to use it, now I deal with the fallout. If this is being blogging royalty, it kind of sucks 😉 Do I have a quick getaway in London if I need one?! 😉

  47. Keep up the great work! People are talking about your blog because like you said it’s something to complain about, in a few days you will go back to 300 hits a day and life will be about brushing teeth in the shower.

  48. The truth is never popular. Thanks for your blog and opinion! Keep your head up and stay cool! 🙂

  49. Janis says:

    Im a Big fan of you. Merry me?

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