Why do people move to Latvia?

Should you take the leap and decide to move to Latvia, the first question you will probably be asked is “Why did you move to Latvia?”. Closely followed by, “But why? Why Latvia?”. Now I know why I moved here, as do the rest of you at this stage, but maybe you’re curious about what brings other foreigners here. Maybe not, but that’s what this post is about so… tough.

As people love lists and categories, and I love sweeping generalisations, I’ve compiled the ultimate list of what makes people move to Latvia. This in-depth research is based on four years of going out and talking to people – very scientific, I know. Of course, there are some people who don’t fit into any category (cough – on the run – cough), and some people who fit into several, but hey, people are pesky like that. Here goes:

The Scandinavian Super-Humans

Seriously, what is it with Scandinavian people? Are they all smart, friendly, open, funny, pragmatic and positive, or just the ones who go abroad? Certainly, the ones I’ve met in Riga have been intimidatingly perfect – but in the nicest possible way. They work for international companies, they open their own businesses, they invest in other people’s businesses, they set up support networks, they provide opportunities, they give free advice – and still manage to find time to keep themselves in shape and be nice to everyone. Is it any wonder people sometimes think I’m Scandinavian? (OK, that never happens.)

The English Teachers

Latvia doesn’t really attract the fresh-out-of-uni Tristans and Quentins wondering what to do with their lives and still unable to use a washing machine. I guess the lure of ping-pong shows in Thailand wins out over the prospect of six months of snow in Latvia. No, the English teachers here tend to be of a more mature breed. They come from all walks of life and, of the ones I know, I’m probably the youngest (and the only woman). Most of them are in relationships with locals and are generally quite a sedate lot. Present company excluded.

The Femme Followers

These are the men (not being sexist, but I don’t know a woman who’s done it) who meet a Latvian abroad, get into a serious relationship and decide to give living in Latvia a go. This is usually done at the suggestion of the Latvian missus, who misses home and promises a family-friendly, inexpensive, quieter, nature-filled way of life. I can see the appeal. And for some, it works out.

Your palace awaits

Your palace awaits

However, BEFORE you decide to sell everything you own in the UK, or wherever, live here for a year first. Don’t base your decision on a few weeks of beer and shashliks in summer, when the country is at its best, and there’s music on every corner. Investing everything you have in setting up a life here (and it will be more expensive than you think) is all well and good, BUT if you change your mind in a few years, selling everything you own here won’t afford you the same luxuries at “home”. Think on.

The Russian Romanticists

These are people who are fascinated by Russia and the Russian language, but not quite fascinated enough to move to Russia. They move here to improve their Russian skills, while still being in the comfort zone of the EU. Not sure how the Latvians feel about this…

The Latvia Lovers

An interesting bunch. These people feel some connection to Latvia, despite having no actual connection to Latvia. Despite having got off the plane around 10 minutes ago, they will pooh-pooh your advice on living here because they already know it all. After a couple of Latvian lessons, they’ll be correcting foreigners’ pronunciation and Latvians’ grammar. They do weird things like staying in all day baking piparkūkas (gingerbread cookies) and posting pictures of them on Facebook. Then, presumably, sitting down and eating them all by themselves because both the locals and the foreigners think they’re total loonies.

The Opportunistic Optimists

The people who think that Latvia really is brīnumzeme (land of miracles) when it comes to untapped resources and opportunities. Then they realise that they are in LATVIA, dealing with LATVIANS, and that half-assed is considered “normal”.

Really?? You couldn't have just filled in both sides?

Really?? You couldn’t have just filled in both sides?

The Management Mutineers also fall under this heading. They are generally sent here to manage the “Northern” European branch of an international company. You’ll find them wondering why, despite assurances from head office that everyone speaks three languages, nobody is speaking to each other, let alone them, in any of them. The rest of the time, they’re browsing recruitment websites.

 The Pervy Posse

I’ve talked about this before, but if you don’t like links, these men (I use the term loosely) can be found in and around various bars in old town, leering at women young enough to be their daughters, and (laughably) thinking they’re in with a shot. But just because I’m feeling kind tonight, I’ll give them a glimpse of what they’ll probably never see again in real life.

There. Don't say I never give you anything.

There. Don’t say I never give you anything.

The Latvia Lifers

This group can be split into two. On one hand, you’ve got the people that have made a real life for themselves here and are perfectly happy. On the other, you’ve got the people who didn’t much like Latvia when they arrived, yet are inexplicably, and very vocally, still here decades later. Having realised that I will probably never be in the first camp, I’ve made a firm decision never to find myself in the second.

So, what do you think? Have I missed anyone? Is this Latvia-specific or could it be applied to any country? 


About BerLinda

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

133 Responses to Why do people move to Latvia?

  1. Nina says:

    Needed to check your old blog too, even if it was several months ago you wrote here! I am not sure if I am the Scandinavian or the Latvia Lover… I do stay alone alot because both foreigners and Latvians think I am out of my mind for being so extreme about my Latvia-obsession… But if I’m in the first group then of course it’s a more positive existence:)
    I usually think I am not special, just trying to survive the best I can in LV, so it was quite a confidence boost to read such a thing about us Nordics honestly! Thank you!

  2. Heather says:

    This weekend, I had an encounter with an Estonian woman who thought I was Finnish. I guess that qualifies me for the first category! 😉

  3. Linda, Latvia doesn’t know what a gem they had in you. You’re hilarious, and witty, and you not covered by skin and fur! What more can anyone one want? I think your observations are spot on for pretty much any country, and for most expats. Myself included. Ahem!
    Right. Where did I put my padded bra?

  4. Evie says:

    There’s one category that amuses even those who fit in the same category (title wise). It’s the Latvian Expat visiting (showing off in) Latvia.
    They’ll tell you all about the horrible country they’ve escaped, how bad everything is even upon their return and that without their input this economy would be in even worse state than it is (sending money back to relatives). Then they go prancing about in their posh clothes and shoes that are considerably cheaper than those in Latvia (there are corners of the land that haven’t heard of Primark yet), splashing out on dzīvais alus (type of beer), rye bread, herring and Laima chocolates (which are rare delicacies in the countries of their residence) frequenting Lido at any opportunity (expensive, but so worth it (NOT))….Basically, they’ve come to show they’re now better off than anyone else.
    It’s sad and at the same time funny to look at them, and the fact they’re acting unaware of anyone else that is the same (expat meeting expat on the street, airport, on a night out), just to avoid bursting the bubble (e.g. mushroom pickers, factory line workers and benefit claimer splendid life).
    I wish these expats would tell and show more of the real life abroad (manners, political correctness and equal rights and racial awareness; how to make a Yorkshire pudding, Italian panettone, Christmas cake etc.). The fact is, they’re standing out like a sore thumb irrespective of their whereabouts and they’re bloody proud of it. Some (like me) are just bloody embarrassed. And it’s not because I think incredibly low of myself. It’s just that if there’s one thing I’ve learnt from being an expat is to respect and embrace the country you’re in LIKE NOW. So that next time someone asks you about your nationality or country of residence you wouldn’t have to blush and stammer. Because we Latvians are proud. I just wish that next time there’s a reason to be so.

    • Expat Eye says:

      Wow, Evie, thanks for the comprehensive comment! It’s clearly something you feel very strongly about and I can imagine how annoying it must be! I can’t imagine ever going back to Ireland and trying to lord it over everyone I know – weird people 😉

      • Evie says:

        I tend to lord only in Irish pubs when in Latvia. Not. I simply find I mix better with a bunch of people that can laugh about themselves not about everyone else. (Well, maybe that too, but in nicest possible way). I know, I’m a weirdo. But give me a Paddy to talk to instead Jānis every day. Oddly, my Latvian (remaining) friends seem to dislike this so much that most of the time I’ve been left singing karaoke at Paddy Whelans on my own lol. We make it up joining forces for Pelmeņi though 😀

      • Expat Eye says:

        Ha ha! Oh, I remember doing ‘The Proclaimers – 500 Miles’ there once! I got mobbed cos everyone wanted to join in – I ended up just handing over the mic and crawling out of the melée! 🙂

  5. bevchen says:

    The femme followers category is interesting… in 99% of couples I know, it’s the woman who ended up living in the man’s home country. Myself included! I know two coupl’s in which the man moved to America for their significant other (one is British, one is German and in the American/German couples’ case she lived in Germany for about 4 years first then they lived in the Netherlands together).

    • Expat Eye says:

      I guess once a Latvian woman makes up her mind, the man has little say in the matter 😉 I don’t know one foreign woman married to a Latvian man – that’s not to say that they don’t exist though! – but it IS interesting!

  6. heatherinde says:

    I’m sure you could make a list like that applies in any number of countries (and c’mon, who doesn’t love sweeping generalizations?!), but this does sound fairly similar to my time in the Czech Republic. Prague is absolutely chock-a-bock full of all of these, and that’s also without counting those who are “on the run.” Cough cough. 🙂 Love it.

  7. This is amazing, I certainly saw some of these types during my recent travels! You’ve earned yourself another follower 🙂

  8. Kristine says:

    Lol, that was funny! I met a Russian Romanticist couple of years ago – he was raging about how he’s going to learn Russian here and i was like ‘oh, erm, okay…?’
    Also, you forgot one category: the i’m-american/canadian/swedish/australian-but-my-granny/great-uncle-is-latvian-so-i’m-like-super-connected-to-this-place

    • Expat Eye says:

      Those people annoy me too much to write about 😉 They have this fairy tale image in their heads and that’s it. They don’t listen to logic or see what’s actually around them. We have the same in Ireland with all the Yanks ‘root-searching’ 😉

  9. Great post! But I think that you forgot one category: Leopard-print Lovers. These are people who move to Latvia to stock up on animal print merchandise and decide to stay on for the sheer abundance of options at their disposal.

  10. Pecora Nera says:

    Can you please explain what the Ping Pong thing is

  11. Latvian says:

    Oh, those Russian Romanticists. I knew one. I guess it was in late 90’s when a Brazilian (!) girl came to study as an exchange student in our little, tiny town. (Can you imagine the hype in those days when probably majority of local people had seen a foreigner only on TV? but there she was! and from the exotic Brazil!). She came to Latvia pursing her dream of learning Russian language. She’d looked in a map and thought that Russia was too big for her, so Latvia would do just fine and it must be Russian-speaking. Oh, how wrong she was, especially that she was sent to our small town where we barely had any Russian language speakers at all. I don’t know if she learnt any Russian, but she picked up Latvian language amazing quickly (well, I suppose he had no other choice because back then most people around her probably could not speak much English, and she had to follow the courses at school after all, including Latvian and Latvian literature, lol). So, it was a story with a happy end…. for Latvians at least 😀

    • Expat Eye says:

      Ha ha! That’s so funny! So there’s a fluent Latvian-speaker roaming around Brazil somewhere 🙂 Must be a surprise for any Latvians who end up in her hometown!

    • Emmi says:

      dude there really is nothing unusual about it. tons of students worldwide incl from china, korea, france and so on come as erasmus students to vienna university to learn english, french, chinese and what not. they pick up some german on the way (many resent it) but its a long time practice really. in fact there are english speaking camps for children in lithuania, bulgaira ive heard…. you dont have to go to a certain country to learn its language. if I want to learn spanish; i can go to brazil and pick up some portugese along the way.

  12. Love that scandinavian category. It was a pleasure meeting you too.. 😀

  13. hahaahaha loved it! I didnt know the Scandinavian were such perfect people ahaha pretty cool!! 😀

  14. Cindi says:

    Since I’m surrounded by Scandinavian Super-Humans, I can say that most that I’ve met are smart, friendly, open, funny, pragmatic and positive — not just the ones who go abroad. 🙂

  15. Janis says:

    I have heard that people from Asia (China) have started to trickle in (very slowly) looking for better life, economically. Haven’t you?

    Personally I think it’s a good thing, there is blog post of mine about it.

  16. NancyTex says:

    One of your best posts ever, my dear! And I am SO glad you go the F out of Dodge before you fell into the Lifer category. Even if you will be homeless in 12 days…

  17. Owen Barker says:

    I think I fall into the Russian Romanticites category, but in Prague…lol I didn’t even know such a category existed until you coined it. Now I feel less unique… 😦


  18. Great list. Very spot on. But you forced me to dwell on a rather heavy thought of whether all of this could be right away applied to ‘Why do people move to Lithuania?’ or whether there’s more/less. Anyway, if I can come up with something to add to this already great list, I’ll leave another comment.
    Talking of Scandinavian super-humans, I sure wish I had it in my genes too. Multitasking, living a healthy life, working AND still having time for leisure activities (say staying fit) would be great, but somehow I often find myself trying to find just the right balance of these things yet always overdoing some and neglecting the others. Good thing I’ve have some dessert to console myslef while thinking this through 😉

  19. Gerbil With Jetpack says:

    Fish seeks for deepest waters. Man seeks for biggest trouble. Makes sense to me.

  20. Karolyn Cooper says:

    Excellent list. Your categories would fit India too, in my experience. Only difference is that India has women who follow men, instead of Femme Followers.
    But my maiin comment is- washing machines?! Is it really fair of you, with your exploding knickers, to criticize people who can’t use them?

    • Expat Eye says:

      Ha ha! Maybe I should have picked a household appliance I didn’t explode 😉
      I guess there must be a few women here who have followed men – if there are, they’re staying very quiet 😉

  21. SilvyRiga says:

    I think you forgot some categories… The Exchange student – who quickly becomes a LL, because he/she spends the nights drinking and partying, thinking that’s all thanks Latvia (but it’s not, the patterns of the Exchange Student are the same, all around the globe)

    The Wealthy person, in need of a EU passport – Latvia is an off-shore country, if compared to the others within the EU borders and if you buy a house for 60 000€ the Latvian citizenship comes with it – and that’s a Latvia specific thing. Lots of Russians and now Asian people move out to Latvia for that.

    • Expat Eye says:

      True! Do they actually live here or just buy property though? I don’t mix in those kind of circles so I don’t know too much about them! 😉
      I did think about you – you were one of those who defied categories 😉 Thanks for commenting – sometimes I feel like I’m the only foreigner living here 😉

    • Nerdator says:

      Not exactly. You get a residence permit if you buy property costing at least this much. If you want to get citizenship, normal rules otherwise apply (proof of >5 years of residence, proof of employment, and all the exams and formalities).

      But I translate stuff for local real estate agencies/banks/developers and I can confirm seeing some people from the post-Soviet ‘stans trickling in. Which I personally see no problem with – if someone is prepared to spend hundreds of thousands of euros here (and it is often these kinds of sums), why should anyone object? At least some of this money will stay in the country, and such demand certainly spurs development, jobs, etc. etc.

      • Expat Eye says:

        Thanks for clarifying! 🙂

      • Emmi says:

        here is a question to you as a latvian. Ive read about that new law that allows foreigners get the citizenship for buying or investing and stay and there were protests initiated by local nationalists who were fiercely against it. I have mixed feelings about it and Im trying to understand the latvian logic here. Like they do not like asians Russians and other foreigners. but do they even realize that most of those guys will not settle in latvia? they are rich and will most likely move somewhere else keeping an expensive house in riga for summer trips only. plus there s money to be made on them. and even if they do stay in latvia – arent those rich people the best kind of immigrants you can get? they will open businesses and create jobs and certainly willl not take away jobs from students who are dishwashers or smth like that. so whats the big deal? because not every rich person wants to go to latvia, the number of foreigners will be growing very slowly and if the goverment sees that those people are making trouble they will be able to cancel the law immediately. its not like with UK or US who have uncontrollable immigration. am I right? just trying to figure out (maybe it could be a good idea for my country as well).

      • SilvyRiga says:

        I didn’t say I don’t agree with that. I see it as a great possibility for Latvia and I see it as a plus point that Latvia has, compared to Estonia and Lithuania.

      • Nerdator says:

        Not citizenship, residence.

        And are you asking me why nationalists are racists and xenophobes? Ignorance, lack of intellectual flexibility, lack of ability for introspection, toxic (i.e. traditional, patriarchal) upbringing? I’m really not the right person to ask this, but the acceptance of racism and xenophobia are at the core of these beliefs.

        FFS, these same people will call the Latvian Russians ‘foreigners’ and ‘occupants’, even though we have been the second largest ethnic group here for the last two centuries, and have been an integral part of Latvian society in both the periods of its independence.

        As to US/UK, even though the rate of immigration is higher there, it doesn’t validate the racist attitudes towards it, or any ethnic minorities. Actually, good choice – the hate for immigrants in these two countries is hypocritical and HUGELY ironic.

      • Emmi says:

        my question was not about that but simply about the economic advantages of the laws vs possible problems in the future. racism exists everywhere. to me it seems as if the nationlists were afraid too much of their land will be sold (like it was when the chinese were trying to buy lots of precious fertile land in ukraine and people protested). Im thinking we have a demographic crisis in europe maybe we should start giving citizen status to wealthy and prosperous foreigners… but Im not sure if that ll work.

      • Nerdator says:

        to me it seems as if the nationlists were afraid too much of their land will be sold (like it was when the chinese were trying to buy lots of precious fertile land in ukraine and people protested).

        I’m sure there might be legitimate concerns about foreigners buying/leasing property – like tax evasion, or the use of natural resources on exploitative terms. But it’s not the ‘foreigners’ that are the evil in this picture, and locals are just as capable of accumulating property and running corrupt schemes.

        I know nothing about the Chinese buying land in Ukraine. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were real issues with corruption, but it doesn’t mean it was the only – or the main – reason the people protested.

        Im thinking we have a demographic crisis in europe maybe we should start giving citizen status to wealthy and prosperous foreigners… but Im not sure if that ll work.

        I am personally against handing out citizenships to fat cats just because they’re fat cats. Democracy isn’t a club you buy your way into. Residence permit for money is more acceptable – if you want to live here so much – why not? Want to become a citizen? Well, spend some time here – and find out at least something about the laws and customs first. (For example, getting a citizenship in Latvia is super-easy and cheap, provided you’ve been a resident here for 5 years, you have a job, and you’re not a criminal.)

        And no, attracting wealthy people isn’t gonna help solve whatever demographic problems that the EU has. There could just never be enough of them for that.

  22. Anna says:

    Wow. One of my top-5 posts of yours ever. Funny AND informative!
    I am looking forward to seeing some Scandinavian Superhumans next week 😉 Can we bake some piparkukas too? I swear that is the cutest word ever!

  23. Good plan. Much as complaining can be a wonderfully enjoyable pastime, you need to think carefully about whether it will turn you into someone you not only don’t want to be, but who nobody else wants, at all, either. In fact question how much you really enjoy complaining. Maybe you just enjoy the social connection and haven’t thought of moving on to find friends who can connect without complaining all the time, who would be properly enjoyable. Food for thought.

    September is soon!

  24. Re: The Russian Romanticists–Why??? Just why?? This sounds bizarre!

    Variations on “The Latvia Lovers” can be found in any country, I’m afraid! In Spain, instead of gingerbread they’d be the kiddos who have Spanish ham at EVERY meal–even breakfast–and posting photos of it on instagram 😉

    • Expat Eye says:

      Ha ha! So they’re everywhere!
      Yeah, I guess there are visa issues with Russia and it has a ‘scary’ reputation – sweet little Latvia is in the EU and NATO protected, with a lot of Russian speakers… 😉

    • Anna says:

      That’s so weird… it’s not even that good!

  25. lizard100 says:

    Is there anyone there running away from where they came from?

  26. Curlydaz says:

    I like the bra photo (who wouldn’t?) I suppose it’s easier than trying to photograph these bloke’s self – respect or their youth.

    (And by ‘youth’ I don’t mean the blow up teen they have tucked away in their wardrobes.)

  27. I don’t know a damn thing about Latvia, Latvians or ex-pats who are in Latvia except for what I read here. This should make for an amusing visit if I ever should find myself there… I’ll be sure to categorize any ex-pat into your categories if I ever stumble across one. 😛

  28. Daina says:

    Very interesting list. (I wouldn’t expect any less, of course! 🙂 ) The Russian Romanticists crack me up! How many of these have you met? I mean really – if one likes all things Russian so much, then it seems Russia itself would be the place for that person. And – yeah – I cannot imagine too many Latvians being thrilled about such folks. Also, who exactly is in the Latvia Lovers category?

    I definitely think a similar list could be constructed for all countries. I work with a very international group of people here in the U.S.; these folks have come for a variety of reasons – many will say it’s to further their education or careers, but of course often that isn’t the main reason. 🙂

    • Expat Eye says:

      Ha, yeah, you have to talk to people a bit to find out the real reasons! The RRs, I’ve met a few but have had emails from quite a few people asking if it’s a good idea to come here to practise their Russian. I say that quite a lot of people speak it but they might not be overly happy about it. Also, I’m not sure how different ‘Baltic Russian’ is from ‘Russian Russian’. I know Russians can tell instantly.

      As for the LLs, again, I’ve met a few! One in particular is a total tool 😉 Also met a nice American-Swiss couple thinking of retiring here. Again, I get lots of emails from people who are tempted by a slower pace of life. I recently heard of a young Chinese couple who bought a house and plot of land just outside Jelgava and are delighted with themselves 🙂

      • Emmi says:

        there is no such thing as “baltic russian”. its a joke latvian politicians have made up. Im not an expert on the russian language but mine is quite fluent and I heard no difference when I was in latvia. some slang terms must be different thats all. there is no acent unless you count people from mixed families who speak predominantly latvian but also know russian very well yet speak it with a slight baltic accent). all russians worlwide speak the same kind of language=)

        why would a russia lover come to latvia? because its safer, no risk of terrorism, robbing and such like. plus you dont need to deal with the visa hassle. I had done englsh courses in malta and cyprus when I was a kid because my parents could not afford sending me to uk plus the weather was nicer. nobody seemed offended because of my presence there and my purpose to learn english rather than local language)

        in latvia apparently people make money as they can. if they cant lure enugh people with english courses they try the same with russian. language schools actually adevrtize it as a safer and better way to learn russian than in russia itself. like ” now that you ve occupied us we may as well use the language you had forced us to learn and make some money on it”=)))))))

      • Expat Eye says:

        Yep, the quick buck approach 😉
        I had some dealings with Russians over the summer and they said they could tell ‘Baltic Russian’ a mile off – don’t know if it’s accent, or slang, or whatever but there must be some difference. Maybe it’s like the difference between learning English in Australia or the UK or America, etc? I know I could tell the difference…

      • Emmi says:

        like I said the only russian speakers I met in latvia whos language had a trace of an accent were those who had at list one latvian parent, went to latvian schools and were basically “latvianised”. they sounded a bit like non native speakers to me. those who were the actual russians spoke perfect russian and if there was a teeny tiny difference its definetely not as big as difference between british and america english. I sence no difference at all except for a few political related words. plus I ve watched the programs of a russian speaking channel in latvia for a while (i think it was closed later) and all of the hosts spoke exactly the same russian I had heard in moscow in samara. not a single word was different. the russians you met probably got to hang out with some actual latvians and those certailny had an accent. I mean french people speak english with a very distinctive (and annoying) acent but they ve never claimed to have any special “french english”. btw in austria we speak a special type of german that foreighners who had learned german not always understand. in latvia I understood everything russian people said to me. but in any case you ll have anna come visit you very soom and you can ask her if she noticed any difference)

      • Expat Eye says:

        I’m hoping she speaks English to me but I’ll practise my few words of Russian on her 😉 And see what she makes of the locals!

      • Actually there is Baltic accent and there is Latvian slang also. I’ve heard it from many Russians from Russia and also Baltic Russians who moved to Russia. Locals spot them in a second. I’ve even collected examples of Latvian-Russian slang. 4 pages of different words so far. I’ve even spoken with Russians from Russia who moved to Latvia. All whom I’ve been speaking to told me that it is easier for them to understand what local Latvians with their awful pronunciation say than local Russians with their Latvian slang. Worst of all is special Russian. Half of terms have been latvianised and this is real pain in the ass for Russians trying to start business here with local Russians. They claim having feeling like if they were speaking to some New Guinea aborigine who has learned Russian from some tourists. I think that very soon we’ll have our own Russian dialect like folks in Odessa do. 🙂

      • Expat Eye says:

        Thanks Nik! 🙂 See you soon!

      • Emmi says:

        thanks for the opinion Nik. as a true russian (but are you? or a baltic russian…) you know better. Ive spent 3 days in latvia and even though Im a non native speaker I had zero trouble understanding. a few words sounded a bit weird but I could get even those. still its NOTHING compared with the difference of different german dialects (swiss plattdeutsch vs austrian and hochdeutsch). just come to bavaria and if you are a german speaker you wont understand a word and you ll be confused as hell) even english is not that bad seriously.

      • Emmi says:

        btw Linda is wise to choose Berlin from the language point of view. even germans confess its the only place so full of foreigners and germans from different regions – that every single person attempts to speak proper german to understand each other. otherwise she would have been baffled by the crazy accents and dialects in munich, cologne or dresden. in berlin she has a higher chance to survive

      • Expat Eye says:

        Ha ha! I guess you get used to the dialect wherever you are, but good to know that Berlin German is more ‘standard’ German! It will be fun when I go to Bavaria on trips 😉 Probably like that weekend I spent in Glasgow when I spent the whole time going “What??” 🙂

      • Half Latvian, half Jewish actually. 😀 I just wrote what I’ve heard from others. Personally I also hear no difference. Actually right now I am in company of a couple from St. Petersburg and I can’t hear any difference from local Russian. They are ones who claim that we speak differently. 🙂
        Yeah, Linda, looking forward to it! 🙂

      • Daina says:

        I can definitely see people being interested in the slower pace of life and the bucolic Latvian countryside with its fresh air. 🙂 Especially someone from China! And anyone from Switzerland with its insane cost of living would probably appreciate Latvia’s more reasonable prices.

        Oh, and regarding the FFs…unsurprisingly, here in the U.S. I know of *many* Latvian women who came to the US as au pairs, to study or whatever, and ended up marrying a local and staying. (But I’m not sure that I know of any such Latvian men!) I know of at least one case – although I’m sure there are many more – of a Latvian woman meeting an American guy online, getting married and moving here. Her particular case was rather depressing, as the two of them didn’t seem to have a particularly great relationship, and when I met her she did not yet have permission to work. Her “hobby” at the time: collecting Beanie Babies (little stuffed animals that were very popular in the 1990s). What a sad, sad existence for an adult!

      • Expat Eye says:

        God, how depressing! I’d say it’s probably more common than we know. Do you think it’s that Latvian men don’t want to marry foreign women or the other way round?!

  29. Emmi says:

    man thats just crazy. clothing and ligerie shops in the underpasses. classic. Russia is full of them. when I lived there I once went to an important meeting and my nylons snapped on the way. I bought some in the underpass shop and the shopkeeper even let me put them on inside the shop behind the clothing racks so I came to my meeting fully prepared 🙂 do they also have shabby little kiosks in latvia that sell literally everything – on every corner?

    • Expat Eye says:

      They have kiosks but they’re not shabby. Not sure if they sell tights but are more like little newsagents! The places in the underpass are funny – bags, knickers, bras, shoes, books, accessories, even a ‘casino’ – I guess people must actually buy stuff there or why would they be there!

  30. Diana says:

    I love that the leopard once again made an appearance…..I guess you should find a way to include the leopard print all they way up to your last post….fabulous.

    • Expat Eye says:

      Ha ha! I saw it in the underpass near the central train station. I had a quick look around, couldn’t see anyone running the shop so whipped out my camera. Then, as I was putting it back into my bag, I noticed the rather large Russian lady standing behind me having a fag – and giving me a murderous scowl 😉 Totally worth it though 😉

      • Diana says:

        Whhhoooohooooo! snapping up pics of undies in the underpass! love it! (Do y’all use the word undies???)…maybe knickers??? But I guess undies is much more appropriate in this case 🙂 I am feeling quite certain y’all don’t say y’all – – – that’s why I didn’t ask. 🙂

      • Expat Eye says:

        Weeeeeeeeeeelllll, no, we don’t say ‘y’all’ 🙂 But undies is fine, or knickers. We also say pants but I know that means trousers in the US! Or ‘a bit rubbish’ in the UK 😉 English is complicated 😉 Fanny also means different things haha!

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