Who’s your daddy?

A couple of weeks ago, I discovered a funny thing about Latvians. Yes, another one. But first, a little background…

I recently met a couple of really nice Latvian girls – it seems they do exist. While I was out for a couple of drinks with Gunta and Ginta on the Friday night, it emerged that Ginta has a country house (surprise, surprise) not far from Riga. As the weather was supposed to be good the following day, I was invited along for a little sunbathing soirée in the garden. As I’m not often out ‘in nature’, I decided it might be good for me.

I got off the bus after around 45 minutes at the stop I’d been told to. It seemed the only thing for miles around was the bus-stop so it was hard to miss. I called Gunta who told me to start off down a dirt track at the side of the road and she’d come and meet me on her bike. Bottles of wine a-clanking, I did just that. After around 5 minutes, a cheery sun-burnt Gunta came rattling along and led me to the house. The only rule, she informed me, was that we couldn’t go topless as Ginta’s dad was working in the garden. Fine by me.

Ginta met me with a mojito in hand (the best way to greet me), or maybe I should call it a Lohito (Latvian mojito) as it had a distinct Latvian twist, containing strawberries and rhubarb from the garden. I highly recommend Latvianising your mojitos – it was bloody good.

Yum

Yum

I said hello to Ginta’s dad (who was allowed to be topless) and started wandering around the garden, checking out the fruit and veg growing there.

Me: Wow, so fruit and vegetables actually grow IN THE GROUND? I always thought they came in plastic containers in the supermarket! 

Latvians like when you say stuff like this. Probably.

Her dad is quite the impressive man. He’d built the house with his own hands, and a sauna at the end of the garden. He didn’t stop all day, running around tending things, watering things, and doing whatever else it is people who grow stuff in gardens do.

2014-06-07 16.50.04

Where fruit and vegetables come from

We lounged around in our bikinis, listening to music and discussing the latest trend in Latvian nail fashion – painting one nail a different colour to the others. Every now and then, Gunta would converse with Ginta’s dad across the garden.

Me: Ha ha ha! It’s funny how you call him “Ginta’s dad”! 

Gunta: What’s funny?

Me: It’s just funny!

Gunta: What else should I call him?

Me: I don’t know – his name? Or Mr (Whatever)?

Gunta: Ha ha ha! No Latvian would ever do that! 

Me: Huh… (This blog post started taking shape at that point.)

After spending a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon in the garden, and amid dire warnings not to write anything bad about the garden, we headed back into town. The trip was blighted slightly by a total jackass on the bus who had a problem with girls laughing and talking on public transport. Needless to say, he got an earful in return. (And then a girl recognised me as Expat Eye, which I’m sure created a wonderful first impression. To that girl: I don’t normally shout at people on public transport but he was a complete asshole. And he was carrying two umbrellas. Who needs two umbrellas? Asshole.)

Anyway, the conversation during the afternoon got me thinking. If I met a friend’s dad for the first time, I’d call them by their first name, or Mr Whatever until they told me to call them by their first name. But seemingly, that would just be bizarre in Latvia. After quizzing another friend on this phenomenon, it emerged that it also extends to other family members; she’d even heard a woman introduce herself as Jānis’ wife before, instead of using her own name.

Now while this may seem appealing initially – after all, you wouldn’t really have to bother remembering people’s names – I’d imagine it could get confusing. Especially in a country where most men are called Jānis.

Me: Hi Jānis’ mum and Jānis’ dad. I’m Jānis’ girlfriend. Nice to meet you. Oh, you must be Jānis’ brother and Jānis’ sister – I’ve heard a lot about you! 

Jānis’ mum: Do you have a big family?

Me: Funnily enough, my dad and brother are also Jānis so I guess you could say I’m Jānis’ daughter and sister and girlfriend haha…

(Steely glare from Jānis’ mum) 

In conclusion, I think I’ll stick with my way of addressing other people’s parents – even if it does make me a social outcast.

 

 

 

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About BerLinda

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

178 Responses to Who’s your daddy?

  1. Mārtiņš says:

    Be careful using Lohito, Лох (in Russian) or lohs (Latvian) means sucker, considered to be rude,
    However I don’t think calling somebody by name would be considered inappropriate. Tu and jūs is more of this kind one should be careful with.

  2. Gunta says:

    Okay, I will assume from now on that you use the name Gunta to describe the most wonderful, funny and pretty of all Latvian women. There, I said it.

  3. So funny. I’m the wife of…! In some cultures the only way to describe people is as “this is the father or mother of…” I wonder what happens if you’re not. “This is…. Oh, who are you again!?!!$.”
    I love the Lohito (Latvian mojito) containing strawberries and rhubarb. A mojito makes evrything better you lucky girl!

  4. Anna says:

    Finally! Omg finally finally finally you experiences the joys of nature and the countryside!!!! This is how it’s done! It’s the best thing in the whole world! I can’t wait to have my own vegetable garden to tend to!

    • Expat Eye says:

      Ha haha! Well, it looks like summer is over so I wouldn’t get too excited about it happening again 😉 Looks more like November than June out there at the moment.

  5. I got stuck at rhubarb mojito…yum.

  6. I was raised to refer to adults as Mr./Mrs. {insert last name}, never by their first name (unless they insisted) and never ‘Mom and Dad’. That would be disrespectful.

    So this created somewhat of a problem when I met my (then boyfriend, now) husband and met his parents for the first time. I called them Mr. and Mrs. {insert last name} and a few weeks later, my husband corrected me and told me that his parent would be more comfortable with either their first names (ick! no!) or Mom and Dad. I wouldn’t call them anything after that for a very long time. It just didn’t feel right to me. Just looked at them when I talked to them. Finally when things were looking like they were becoming more serious between the two of us, I settled for Mom and Dad.

    • Expat Eye says:

      Ha ha! Oh, the staring must have gone on for some time! Lucky you figured out he was the one! I had an ex’s mum tell me to call her ‘mom’ at the first meeting. I was like ‘um, no’ 😉

  7. Kristīne says:

    OK, now I will try to shed some light on the name question 😀
    Situation: Anniņa and Lienīte are talking about Anniņa`s birthday and Anniņa says: My Mom will bake a cake. Lienīte comments: That`s really nice of your Mom. And since Anniņa keeps calling the lady in question ,,Her Mom”, Lienīte just plays along and gets used to it 🙂
    NB. You usually avoid personal names for older people out of respect, because it might be inappropriate to call some one`s Dad by their first name, especially if you yourself are just over 20 or something. And as mentioned before kungs/kundze are way too formal for suntanning in the garden 🙂 I must admit this is sometimes very frustrating… I still haven’t made my mind up when to use ,,Jūs” and ,,Tu”, because I am in the weird 25- year old group 😦

    • Expat Eye says:

      Oh lord, how confusing! I might just call everyone Janis from now on – men, women and children. Hopefully they’ll just think I’m an eccentric foreigner and I’ll get away with it 😉

      • Kristīne says:

        By the way, I have a question about the capitalization of the word You in written communication. Latvians do it (Tu, Jūs), but I think it`s not typical in English, is it? Have you (You?) ever received a letter or sms from a Latvian and wondered why the big Y? 😀
        However, the English speaking people capitalize ,,I”, so this could probably be a very interesting subject for analysis in context with the self-esteem of a nation 😀

      • Expat Eye says:

        Yeah, Latvian people write ‘You’ all the time! It just looks funny to me as the only time we use capital Y in English, is when talking about God 🙂 I take it as a compliment haha! Maybe English speakers think I is more important than you 😉

      • Anna says:

        In Russia the formalization is fairly simple – you use the first name and the patronymic. My father’s name is Igor, so young ones would address me as Anna Igorevna, and use a formal You (Vy).

      • Expat Eye says:

        That’s kind of cute! I’ll call you that from now on – or wait, am I a young one??

      • Anna says:

        It only applies if it’s like, a generation or more junior! So hell no!

      • Expat Eye says:

        Aww, just for me!?

  8. freebutfun says:

    Haha, and I find it difficult to remember to use mr or mrs, why not just use first names?! 🙂

    • Expat Eye says:

      Makes sense to me but this is Latvia 😉

      • Gunta says:

        Actually, the capital “Jus” should only be used in formal writting, such as letters. Also, you should not capitalize it if you are talking to a friend or someone you know really well. As usual, Latvians dont know their own grammar.

      • Expat Eye says:

        You tell them!

      • Mārtiņš says:

        Tu and Jūs capitalized is just style not grammar; a fashion of some last fourteen years which I personally don’t follow.
        Also why not to capitalize Mēs, Viņi? Inconsitency. And I do not know any linguist who says or teaches that some personal pronouns in Latvian are to be capitalized. If I’m mistaken, show me the sources I should get acquainted with.

  9. TheLastWord says:

    This isn’t exclusive to the Latvians. We would never dream of calling a friend’s parents by their name in India – highly disrespectful. Quite likely our parents would be called out as boors and the friend would stop interacting with us. (Why am I writing in the plural? Hell, I don’t know it just came out that way and I’m too lazy to go back and re-write it).

    Anyway many years ago (more than 40 I think) I read a book called The Dirk about a bunch of kids looking for this secret dirk in post revolutionary Russia. With war still on, there are all these characters being called different names by different people. Drove me nuts. In later years I figured out it was the same as us Indians. You refer to someone by their relative relationship to you.

    For example, my sister’s kids would refer to my mother as Nani. My brother’s kids (and mine) would refer to her as Dadi. Same person, though!

    I need that recipe for the Lojito. Please post that at once. Strawberry season is upon us…

    • Expat Eye says:

      I didn’t make it 😉 I just poured or spooned what was already there into a glass 🙂 Latvian trade secret!

      • Baiba says:

        I finally made the Lojito (ok, let’s call it like that, I give up :)), I even got rhum and some strawberries. Delicious, although I have to say, that my version looks a bit different than the one on your picture. And I don’t taste much rhubarb, it tastes more like the red lemonade Enjoy, that’s available in Latvia. Or more like an adult version.

      • Expat Eye says:

        The less fruit, and the more rum you taste, the better 🙂 The Linda Guide to Cocktails 😉 They taste like shit but do the trick 😉

      • Baiba says:

        🙂 Winnie the Pooh for drinkers:) Remember the scene, where Rabbit asked him, what he wanted with his bread – honey or condensed milk? And he said – both, but never mind the bread:) So the adult version would go something like – what would you like with your fruit – rum or vodka?:))

      • Expat Eye says:

        That sounds about right 🙂

  10. It’s like a whole nation of kindy parents! All the four-to-six-year-olds at school refer to the adults this way and so, consequently, do the adults. You’ll find me referring to any number of fellow school parents as “so-and-so’s Dad”. Now I know it’s a Latvian thing I’ll feel much less awkward about it.

    Also, I’m probably going to publish a post about a bus incident we had recently and I’m feeling bolstered about it now I’ve heard about yours.

  11. Ilze says:

    I wouldn’t say that what you describe is weird. It’s just different. Just as well we might say that the English language custom to address in-laws or parents of one’s friends as Mr. or Ms. is even weirder because Latvian equivalent for that would be ‘kungs’ and ‘kundze’ (a mix between lord/lady and Mr./Mrs.), and these words are used almost only in official communication here in Latvia. My two cents, in olden times it was _one of the ways_ to address somebody politely by calling him or her ‘Jāņa tēvs’ or ‘Jāņa māte’ (or whatever), because the words ‘kungs’ and ‘kundze’ were reserved for German aristocracy and gentry. And I think, it might have been around the 18th or 19th century when people started using ‘kungs’ and ‘kundze’ as a polite way to address other people that were not of upper class. But, definitely, this address has not moved to family circles. Of course, people were also called by their given names or surnames or whatever. And that is true about nowadays as well – ‘somebody’s father/mother’ is not an obligatory way to address people. I have never done so. No one in my family (immediate or extended) has. I’ve heard some people talk like that, but not very many.

    • Expat Eye says:

      I don’t think I said it was weird – just funny 🙂 Just because it’s different and it was the first time I’d come across it! Thanks for the explanation!

      • Ilze says:

        Several of your readers did, and I just didn’t want to reply to each of them separately.
        I just remembered one really weird thing – in soviet times ‘kungs’ and ‘kundze’ were almost banished (officially anyway) because lords and misters were remnants of bourgeoisie and in the country where proletariat is the ruling class everyone is brother and comrade. So ‘comrade this’ and ‘comrade that’ were used to address somebody or to refer to a third person. In more or less official circumstances, of course. Never in one’s family or friend circle.

  12. When I was a kid, we used to call our parents Tom’s Mom. But it stopped when we were 12. The girls also stopped the different color toenail thing at 12, too…

  13. Cindi says:

    “I always thought they came in plastic containers in the supermarket!”

    True story: My first husband is the son of a farmer. I’m a raised-just-outside-the-big-city girl. During one of my first visits to his family farm, I realized that the cans of corn my Mom would buy and serve actually came from the delicious corn-on-the-cob growing in the fields.

    Thankfully I kept that revelation to myself for a few years, until then knew me enough to not laugh me off the farm. Or maybe they were just being polite; I was the mother of their grandchildren, after all. 😉

    Also: I’m not a huge mojito fan … but I think I might just have to try one of those with a Latvian twist.

  14. linnetmoss says:

    Enchanted by the concept of the Lohito. Cocktail, by Vladimir Nabokov! Loved the post too–but where is the picture of shirtless Daddy?

  15. rigaenglish says:

    ps QBA at Oranien Strausse do great mojitos if you’re up that way…

  16. Diana says:

    Love that the father built the house and the sauna on his own! Gollie!

    The name thing is so funny! In Italy everyone just goes by their first name….easy enough. Which is strange in a country like Italy where everything is soooo complicated….

    • Expat Eye says:

      Ha, I guess they just complicate all the really important stuff! Yeah, I think I may have found my sauna! Seemingly it’s like autumn in Riga at the moment though so I’ll wait a while!!

  17. Love the Latvia Mohito – garden rhubarb and strawberries – yum!

    As for how to address folks, in India everyone is an ‘aunty’ or an ‘uncle’ if a mature adult (or ‘didi’ sister or ‘bhaya’ brother if younger)… so when it comes to your REAL aunty and uncle it is all linked to exactly where you are in the family hierarchy and whether on the father or mother’s side.

    Plus..um.. brother-in-law ‘salah’ is kinda sorta like a swear word too! Hmm…

    Enjoy all your Janis’s mother, father, brother, sister, girlfriend… akh!?! I’m getting too confused!

    • Expat Eye says:

      Ha, I got confused writing it! I couldn’t keep my Guntas, Gintas and Janises straight! And all the possessive apostrophes! Hope I didn’t miss any! 🙂

    • TheLastWord says:

      Oh yeah! We have many aunties and uncles….everyone is an aunty or an uncle! I’m not sure why “salah” is a cuss word, but of course, it is used almost as a term of endearment…. 🙂

  18. bevchen says:

    That is bizarre! And some of the comments are even more bizarre… so even when Latvians are married to someone they continue calling their parents-in-law “husband/wife’s mum and dad” to their actual faces? What?! And what happens if you meet a friend’s dad when you’re not with said friend (and therefore have no idea that it’s their dad)? Do you get introduced to them by name then have to revert to calling them “friend’s dad” if you then meet them again with your friend? So confusing! And if two Janises are friends (which must happen occasionally if everyone is called Janis) do they then each call the other’s dad “Janis’s dad”? SO CONFUSING!

    In Germany children are supposed to address adults as “Sie” (polite form of you). Some families even do this with friends of the parents, but the family friends call the children “Du”. Then when the child turns 18, the family friend might offer to let the child say “Du” now… or the family friend might have to switch to “Sie”, because now the child is an adult and therefore deserves the polite form. The same thing happens in school… once the class turns 18, the teacher suddenly switches to “Sie”, unless the class specifically offers permission to carry on calling them “Du”.

    • Expat Eye says:

      Ha ha ha! Love this comment! I got so delightfully confused reading the first part of it! And am now determined never to speak to a German person also 😉 Well, in German 🙂

    • Latvian has the same Grammar forms:
      Sie = Jūs
      Du = tu
      So, yes friend’s dad but in polite form. And with in-laws it depends. Sometimes Du, sometimes Sie. In the beginning mostly Sie and if in-laws insist using Du, then- Du. Or if accidentally once use Du and no negative reaction then smoothly move away from Sie.

      Regarding Janis-thing. Linda exaggerates the situation. It’s not worse than with Johns in U.S. or Andreas in Germany. I don’t have any Janis alive in my family (used to have grandfather and father’s uncle) though I have 14 cousins.

  19. sudrabalapsa says:

    Thanks for the post! Just a couple of days ago I met my boyfriend’s mum for the first time. When my boyfriend intruduced her to me, he said: “That’s my mum” (although I already knew her name), so I kind of unconsciously addressed her as “Jānis’ mum” when talking. But I must admit that it sounds bizarre to me as well, and I would like to change this form of address while it is not too late (until it has become natural) 😀 So I hope I will be brave enough to address her by her first name next time we see each other.

  20. June says:

    You’d be surprised how many people think that veg comes in plastic boxes from the supermarket! And meat comes on trays. Maybe not in Latvia, where lots of people still grow their own, though. Loving that Mohito – I’m working on a recipe for something similar at the moment with strawberries and cream – hope to share on Friday. As for the naming, that’s just bizarre. I checked with Arūnas and it’s not the same here, thankfully. I don’t think I could do it – I love using names. I can’t even reply to a blog comment without finding out the person’s name!

    • Expat Eye says:

      Hello Expat Eye on Latvia’s follower, I found you through Expat Eye on Latvia. I too am Expat Eye on Latvia’s follower 😉 Bah haha! 🙂

  21. LAMarcom says:

    “He’d built the house with his own hands, and a sauna at the end of the garden.”
    This kind of says it all for me.
    Cheers,
    –Lance
    Great post Friend.

  22. Sharn says:

    Well I guess it’s better than what the Turks do.

    We call everyone else that’s elder either aunt, uncle or granny/gramps (obviously in Turkish)

    Can make it all rather confusing to know who is actually related and not. But then I have so many adopted family that I guess it fits 😀

    • Expat Eye says:

      That sounds even more complicated! Who’s your daddy must be a minefield in Turkey!!

      • Sharn says:

        Oh yeah!

        Although you do have different terms you call and aunt/uncle from your mother’s side to that of your father’s.

        The general term you apply to everyone is the same for your mums sisters, brothers.

        Parents of your friends though you tend to call the by their first name and the aunt/uncle title after that. Otherwise no one would know who you are talking to in big groups.

      • Expat Eye says:

        I don’t know if I’ve ever been this confused before 😉 Remind me to never marry a Turkish guy (should the issue ever arise) 😉

      • Sharn says:

        Hahaha! I’m reminding myself never to marry one so you are safe there!

      • Expat Eye says:

        If I really do move to Berlin, it may be an issue!

      • Sharn says:

        Good point. High saturation there I hear! They might be different from the ones here. You could be safe.

        Just not safe from all the terminology 😉

      • Expat Eye says:

        I think I’ll have enough of a hard time wrapping my head around German 😉

    • NancyTex says:

      Macedonians do this too. All women near your mom’s age are aunt, near grandma’s age are grandma and so on for the male counterparts.

  23. NancyTex says:

    The Portuguese say “My mother-in-law” when addressing their mother-in-law. i.e. Not when describing her, rather when speaking to her. So I would theoretically address mine as “minha sogra” – when speaking to her. I don’t. Because that’s stupid. 🙂

  24. I want to know what Lohito means. Where’s Anna when you need her?!

  25. rigaenglish says:

    You go all the way to Berlin to sit on a sex swing in a flat in Prenzlaeur Berg writing blog posts about Latvia? Am I allowed to be Mr Grumpy? 😉

    Oddly enough, I noticed the nail thing, it looks ridiculous, like when my sister was 6 and got hold of some of my mum’s cosmetics and painted herself all kinds of weird colors. We laughed. Fast forward 12 years and it’s the height of ladies’ fashion!

    • Expat Eye says:

      Oh John darling – I wrote the post in Riga on a dull, dull night. I hit publish in fabulous Berlin – the wonders of the internet, eh? 😉
      And of course you’re allowed to be grumpy – you’re in Riga. It’s pretty much expected 😉
      And I agree on the nail thing.

      • rigaenglish says:

        Yeah yeah, that’s what they all say. When I do get you enrolled in bloggers’ anonymous the first step is admitting…. well you know the rest. I expect you to be pounding the pavements by day, stack of CVs in hand, then pounding the boozers by night, quality German beer in hand to find some great watering holes. Fail and there’s no Sarkandaugava for you 😉

      • Expat Eye says:

        Yeah, that’s kind of what happened… 😉

      • rigaenglish says:

        Well I’m waiting on a warts n all account of Berlin, hopefully complete with the high paying teaching gig you’ve landed. You can even have typed it in Riga if you want 😉 🙂 If you are up Prenzlauer way and fancy some different food, there is Massai, which does a great Antelope/Crocodile/zebra platter.

      • Expat Eye says:

        Sounds more like a Latvian’s wardrobe than dinner…

      • rigaenglish says:

        I always knew you were a pork n potatoes kinda girl!

      • Expat Eye says:

        Yep, give me a sausage and spuds any day. German-style, not Latvian 😉 Silberfisch was fantastic last night by the way 😉 Heading back there to watch the footie this evening!

  26. andrisbb says:

    “Me: Funnily enough, my dad and brother are also Jānis so I guess you could say I’m Jānis’ daughter and sister and girlfriend haha…” – No You would not say something like that to Janis mum and Dad, because most likely they don’t know your parents and brother 🙂 so it would not make any sense. Good enough is just to say “Hi I’m Linda – Janis girlfriend” 🙂
    I guess all this “somebodies dad” thing is because people very often knows each other and associate others with families, groups of friends etc. For example if my friend invite me to party where I don’t know anyone and I will introduce myself as Andris, then I will be just some stranger, but if I introduce myself as Janis friend, then automatically I become part of this group and other people associate me as Janis friend until they get know me. And this probably is reason of all this “Janis friend” thing.

    • Expat Eye says:

      I can understand that, but I’d always say – I’m LINDA, Janis’ friend – not just Janis’ friend! Or else when do people actually get to know your name!? It gets to that awkward stage where you’re ‘friends’ and then it’s too late to ask!? 🙂

    • andrisbb says:

      After saying “Hi I’m Linda – Janis girlfriend” everything clears, so people will know who you are 🙂 otherwise you just some random Linda. And to find out why U are in Janis party people would have to ask you. This could end up with small talk and that breaks another latvian rule – no small talks with strangers 😀

      • andrisbb says:

        I do call my friends parents as “friends dad or mum” because I often don’t know their names 🙂 and even if I know, then it would be strange to call my friends mum by name. Also we are not using all this Ms and Mr nonsense, so it is best to use “friends dad” approach.

      • Expat Eye says:

        I’d introduce my mum as ‘this is my mum, ….’ Not just, this is my mum 🙂 Then you know what her name is from the start!

      • Expat Eye says:

        Oh, I know that one! I break it every time 😉

  27. You are right- we aren’t calling friends parents Mr/Mrs… In Latvian it sounds to official. I realize that I call my friends parents as there dads or mums, too. Even my husbands mum I call Valdis mum. It is really strange, but it is our polite way how to call them, if they don’t ask different!:)
    Interesting post!:)

  28. Emmi says:

    the word lohito is wrong on so many levels…..

  29. Baiba says:

    That mojito looks just great, the picture just changed my plans for the rhubarb, I have saved for a dessert today:) I have no rhum though, but I guess a new coctail recipe will be born eventually:)

    And about those names – ha, well, I still call my mother in law just the way You described:) Maybe that is a pure latvian thing, i actually never thought of it as bizarre:)

    • Expat Eye says:

      Ha ha! How many years have you been married (if you don’t mind me asking)? And you still call her Janis’ mum?? My granny called my mam Macker haha! Shortened form of her maiden name 🙂 And my mam called her Mrs 🙂 Not really sure why!

      • Emmi says:

        totally shocked….. how exactly do you call her???????

      • Baiba says:

        Married – 8 years, but we are together 15 years already. And, yes, mostly it’s Janis’ mum (kind of, because his name is NOT Jānis). Well, as our daughter was like three years old, she gave special names to her both grandmothers, I guess, to be able to distinguish them, so now I sometimes call my mother in law by that name too:) And she calls me mana gudrā un smukā vedekliņa:) And by my name too, of course:) Well, I have a great mother in law, as you can see:)

      • Expat Eye says:

        Ha, lucky you!! 🙂
        Holy shit, there’s a man not called Janis?! Somebody call Delfi 😉

      • Baiba says:

        Imagine that:)
        Ha, I just now recalled my bosses strange reaction (he’s actually german), as he once heard my phone conversation with my mother in law. He was like :”Why the hell do You call her like THAT?!”:)

      • Expat Eye says:

        Ha ha ha! What did you say? It’s ‘normal’?? 🙂

      • Baiba says:

        Ha ha, something like that:) Well, them germans do have a problem with latvians expressing emotions, I once had a conversation with a german friend, he asked if I liked the concert, we have been attending and I said, that I liked it very much. And he meant – does not look like it. And I said, that this is the way, how we, latvians, express our excitement:) He then – well, if this is how you look being excited, then how do you look, beind sad? I thought a while and said, that pretty much the same:)

      • Expat Eye says:

        This is worth a post all by itself 😉

      • Baiba says:

        Aw, was I an inspiration? A muse? 🙂

  30. laugraeva says:

    Bizarre! What if you met her third cousin twice removed? (I don’t even know what that means)

    • Expat Eye says:

      Oh Jesus, me neither. I hate lessons on ‘family’ – people are always asking ‘so what would that be called?’ and I’m like, ummmmmmm 😉

  31. 1WriteWay says:

    Everything is fodder for your blog. Of course, the asshole on the bus was “begging” for a mention, but I love seeing how your mind works: “(This blog post started taking shape at that point.)” Very true of most of us bloggers. A passing comment, a peek through a cracked door, an asshole on a bus, even … learning where food really comes from 😉 Even Ginta and Gunta’s warnings to you to not say anything bad about the garden probably registered in your head as “well, I should say something then.” Fodder is good for the soul 🙂

    • Expat Eye says:

      Ha, yeah, I’m a dangerous lady to talk to – everything is being mentally stored for a future post! Sometimes it can take months but I’ll dredge it out of somewhere when I need it! 🙂

  32. What an interesting cultural difference.

  33. What was the music? Metallica? The Dubliners?

  34. wasd says:

    You got me thinking. It really is a thing here. To adress them with Mr. Whatever or by name from fellow latvian would sound wierd. Usualy people ask first if he/she is somehow releated to you, name does not get asked often in meetings like this.

    • Expat Eye says:

      So I made you think AND I went out in nature – iespaidigi, vai ne?! 😉

      • wasd says:

        haha, day full of achievements! And quite suprisingly good latvian text from you 🙂
        Talking about mojitos (Lohito – good one ^^ ), I’ll stick to my good old jagerbombs, they never fail.
        Did you managed to get tan?

      • Expat Eye says:

        A little! Topping it up in Berlin at the moment 🙂 About to hit Kreuzberg to compare and contrast with Miera iela 😉

      • wasd says:

        Sounds good! Well prepare to be dissapointed in Kreuzberg. Since Miera Iela won New York I am shure Kreuzberg does not stand any chance. 😀 That aside. Hope you will have good time there, and probably we will see post or two about it? 🙂

      • Expat Eye says:

        I think Expat Eye on Germany might be born this week 😉

    • Emmi says:

      no wait… how does that work???? imagine my dads name is janis and you just met me…. so I am janises daughter… how will you call me? in latvian?

      and how exactly did ginta call gunta`s dad?

      • Expat Eye says:

        Ginta’s Dad – in Latvian 🙂

      • wasd says:

        That depends actually. The one whom I am most fammiliar will be stated as name, like if I am friends with your father, then yes, other way around, he would be addressed as Emmis dad. If Janis is your friend, then he could be called Emmis Janis when he’s not around to address the Janis I am talking about more clearly. Same works for wife and husband and can be applyed to friends or other people around you.

      • Emmi says:

        oh jeez…. that is so complicated. I could easily talk about janises dad with other people but I would not call him janises dad in person.. ah well

  35. lizard100 says:

    Totally cool post! Firstly I’ve got rhubarb and strawberries (wonder if it was cooked rhubarb?)
    You were in the garden! You saw veg growing!
    Not sure about the dad thing sounds weird. Maybe his name is a secret.

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