About me

My name is Linda and I’m an Irish expat in Latvia. I’ve been living in Riga for just over 3 years now.

As you may know, around 20,000 Latvian people currently live in Ireland but you might be wondering what brought an Irish girl here. After working in an advertising agency in Ireland for several years, I fancied a change and did a certificate in teaching English as a foreign language. I had a vision of my glamorous life in Paris, Madrid or Prague but unfortunately, none of those places wanted a teacher with no experience! I ended up being offered a job in Radom, Poland which I accepted – a girl’s got to start somewhere right? Of course, all of my friends and family thought I was crazy – why would I leave a great job in Dublin where I was earning €50,000 a year, to live in Eastern Europe and earn about a fifth of that? The answer was that I wasn’t happy and I believe that if you’re not happy, you have to do something about it. So I did. Of course, my friends and family were right. I hated every minute of it! I just about managed to survive in the middle of nowhere for 9 months and after that, I just wanted to go to a capital city, ANY capital city.

I saw an ad looking for a teacher in Riga and applied. I had seen Riga on a couple of travel programmes a few years before that and it had been in the back of my mind to visit someday – although I never imagined I would end up living here! Anyway, the interview went really well and I was offered the job, which I accepted. I still remember arriving in Riga, tired and cranky after an early morning Ryanair flight. Half asleep, I somehow opened my eyes just as we drove over Vanšu Tilts and was stunned by how beautiful Riga looked with the sun rising over Old Town. The whole city looked just like a postcard! I knew, there and then, that I had made the right decision to come here.

I quickly settled in, making foreign and local friends quite easily. Riga felt like home in no time at all. However, over the months and years, I started to realise that the big surface similarities between the two countries – we’re both small, green and have troubled histories with our neighbours – weren’t nearly as interesting as the hundreds of little differences. Why don’t Latvian people smile? Why do women wear evening dresses and 6-inch heels just to go to Rimi? How is it possible that one country can have so many stunning-looking women? Why don’t Latvians ever think it’s cold – even when it’s -25? Why does everyone like walking in the forest? Why does anyone like lard and grey peas? How is being hit with sticks after coming out of a sauna enjoyable? Why can’t Latvians see me when they’re walking? Why don’t Latvians use egg cups??

Feeling that perhaps I was going mad and that I was the only one who noticed any of this, I started writing this blog about some of my observations. Never really thinking that anyone outside of my immediate family and circle of friends would read it, I’ve been amazed by the response. The comments I’ve got have been overwhelmingly positive. It turns out that a lot of other expats living here had been thinking the same things and were relieved that somebody had finally put their thoughts into words. The Latvians, living in Latvia and abroad, saw some truth in what I was writing and thankfully found it amusing rather than offensive – apart from one or two people of course! Some of them have suggested that I go back to where I came from. One guy was helpful enough to give me step by step instructions on how to kill myself… Thank you but no – it looks like I’ll be here for a while yet!

Anyway, I’m really happy I started writing expateye as it has opened up conversations with people I never would have had the chance to get to know otherwise, it has given me more of an insight into the country I’m living in and it’s brought new opportunities my way.

So that’s my story – in brief anyway! I hope you enjoy the blog!

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380 Responses to About me

  1. Laura says:

    Hi Linda,
    I really enjoy reading your blog. I worked as a language assistant in Germany a few years back and there are definitely elements of your story that resonate with me! Good on you for biting the bullet and heading off to pastures new. Looking forward to reading about the rest of you Latvian adventures here soon!
    All the best,
    Laura

  2. jgousseva says:

    I’m glad I found your blog. We spent a few months in Cesis and Daugavpils some years ago. And, of course, visited Riga. Great blog!

  3. Alex says:

    Hey Linda,

    Been aware of your blog for a wee while now – enjoy reading about your experiences in Latvia (and nearby) – thought i’d say hello and briefly mention a blog that myself (an ex-pat Scot, living in Riga) and a couple of native Latvians have started – http://lifeinriga.com – Fingers crossed it can become something of a useful resource! 🙂

    Anyway, keep up the good work.
    Alex.

    • Expat Eye says:

      Hi Alex, thanks for letting me know! I’ve just had a quick look at your site – very useful and practical. All the little, day-to-day things that somebody might want to know! People are always asking me questions about relocating here (either through the blog or the expat sites) so it’s good to have somewhere to direct them! Keep up the good work! Linda.

      • Alex says:

        Ah, grand – yeah I’ve noticed much the same questions keep arising on the ex-pat forum, so I think it’ll be handy to try and address them as comprehensively (and simply) as possible to give people a solid resource. Thanks! 🙂

      • Expat Eye says:

        I’ll give you a plug wherever I can! 🙂

  4. Hi Linda, I’m so glad that we connected through LOTC’s blog! I’ve been intrigued by the Baltics after a co-worker went to Riga (and other locations) on vacation. I can’t wait to learn more through your posts. Keep up the great posts!

  5. Prasad says:

    Just happened to run into your blog. You have got a beautiful blog running here. Loved some of your write-ups. Its very subtle . I guess I will be hanging around here a lot. 🙂 Great work. Keep blogging.

  6. Kaufman's Kavalkade says:

    We are awarding you the Daily Good Cheer Award for your snarky blog. And because your mom looks like Cher. And yes, we know Janus is everyman, or a spider in your apartment.;)

    And we aren’t that good at awarding the Daily Good Cheer Award on a daily basis.

    Yours is for 9/28/2013. It’s an International Dateline Snafu. That’s our story, anyway.;)

    http://wp.me/P3NHOl-Kw

  7. the Flashing Blade says:

    I discovered your blog through Mr Kev, who I worked with last year, and I enjoyed reading about Latvia here. I did my CELTA at IH in Riga in 2008 so I have fond memories of the city, and the beaches north and south of it.

    • Expat Eye says:

      Hi there! Thanks for the comment! I worked with Kev at a summer school this year. He was the highpoint of the 5 weeks! I’ve never been so glad to get back to Riga! I’ve just met some of the new CELTA crowd from IH – you must have had fun here! 🙂 Linda.

  8. Georgina says:

    Hi Linda! I love your blog – found it through a tweet by @essexgirldiary – your poetry is hilarious! I have visited Riga once and you are making me want to return! I look forward to continuing to read about your adventures over there – thanks for sharing!

    Georgina

    • Expat Eye says:

      Hi Georgina! Ha ha, funny you should say that – I was told yesterday that Vladimir Putin has more chance getting a job with the Tourist Board here than I do! Now I’m not so sure 😉 Glad you enjoyed it! Linda.

  9. Hi there! Found you through another blogger on My Sardinian Life…looking forward to following!

  10. Hey there! Was just thinking… should we set up a new “AWARD” for the best newly invented blogging vocabulary? I love ‘blouting!’ And am sure there are some more amusing words to come! 🙂

    And just to show my appreciation, am saddling you with yet another ‘blog award’….

    “SHINE ON!” http://everydayadventuresasia.wordpress.com/2013/09/16/shine-on-award/

    • Expat Eye says:

      Aww, thank you so much! I don’t think I’ve had that one yet 😉 I have a bit of a backlog with these things – there’s always more to write about Latvia 😉 Glad you liked blouting – some people think it sounds more like an illness 😉

  11. I just stumbled on your blog, and I LOVE this story of yours already. II’ll be back!!

  12. lafemmet says:

    This is fascinating. I mean the comments as much as your About Me! Oh my how I try to make people smile here. In the U.S. Some grannies are intent on having sour faces. I always did my best to cheer them and I did bang up job of making some happier ladies. Here in Serbia, I am working on a PHD program in making people smile. I am working at less than 50/50 unless I have the munchkin… Percentages go up with her in tow as people love children here.

    • Expat Eye says:

      I’m on about 90/10 as I don’t have any kids – cute or otherwise! I have seen the effect that they can have on those serious faces though and they can usually crack even the most hardened grimace! 😉

  13. Pingback: Oh Jānis, my Jānis! | Expat Eye on Latvia

  14. archecotech says:

    Thank you, my friend! Your blog came to my mind for the Liester Award. I just wanted to thank you for being a support and to encourage others to visit your blog. I always find great pleasure in reading your blog. Thanks again, here’s the link to the nominee post, http://hague6185.wordpress.com/2013/09/02/the-liebster-award/

  15. 1WriteWay says:

    Hi, Linda! I’ve nominated you for the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award. Details are at http://wp.me/peiX1-kN. Of course, you don’t have to participate. Nominating you is just my way of saying thanks for being part of my blogging world 🙂

  16. Rebecca Kurland says:

    Hi Linda,

    I am casting producer for an American television show about people buying homes abroad. I came across your blog and wanted to reach out to see if you might be interested in participating in an episode of our show.

    House Hunters International tells the story of people who have picked up and moved to an exotic foreign location to pursue a new life abroad. Being on our show is a lot of fun for our participants and is a great way for them to document their search for a new home.

    We are casting people who have already bought/rented a home or are currently looking for a home in a new country. If you or anyone you know meets these qualifications please don’t hesitate to contact me.

    I look forward to hearing from you!

    Best,

    Rebecca Kurland
    rebeccakurland@leopardfilms.com

    • Expat Eye says:

      Hi Rebecca, wow, thanks for getting in touch! I’m not sure I really fit the bill though – I’ve been living here for 3 years now. And besides, I don’t know if you’d really class Latvia as exotic!! A lot of people who read this though are moving or have just moved to some exotic locations – they might be more suitable? If anyone springs to mind, I’ll let you know. Thanks again for thinking of me! Linda.

  17. 1WriteWay says:

    Hi, Linda! I’ve nominated you for both the 5 in 1 Award and the WordPress Family Award. If you want to participate, you can see how I mangled, I mean, managed the rules here: http://1writeway.com/2013/08/17/its-awards-time-again/. Participation is not required. I’m just sharing the love 🙂

  18. janis says:

    Hey, miss! Somehow today I remembered about you and your blog! I am back to Latvia and if you are still interested I could offer you the excursion I promised on March. As I am here already two months and hopefully I will still be able to communicate in English normally. 😀
    Please give me a note to my email if you’re still up to it! 🙂

    • Expat Eye says:

      Hi, I’m in England at the moment but will be back towards the end of the month! I’ll drop you a line then. A girl can never have too many Janises in her life 😉

  19. archecotech says:

    Hello Linda, Got to say I enjoyed your thoughts about Latvians. I’m living in Kazan, Russia. People here are similar to Latvians in many ways. At heart I know that they are good people but at times their ways are hard to understand. Anyway I linked at post to your site. Hope you don’t mind. I’ll be back to read more of your blog. Think I might learn a bit more about how to develop my own blog. Thanks. Steve

  20. Carlo says:

    In my three years and counting living in Riga, I thought many times about opening a blog on being here as an expat.
    Thanks for writing it for me, so I can just sit down and read. 🙂
    I’m sure many “adopted Latvians” find themselves in your posts. Terrific blog!

  21. jakegable says:

    Hi Linda,
    Hoping you have the time to read this.

    I should probably start by introducing myself. My name is Jake Gable, born in Oxford, lived in Oxford, studied in Winchester, and now I have recently moved to Riga.
    I can’t even remember how I came across your blog now. But what do I know is that for the past hour or so it has had me absolutely captivated! As a journalist myself, I really must commend you on your writing style. The elements of wit and satire you have blended in to what are observations I thought only I had noticed of Latvia, have had me in stitches as I have promised myself “ok, I will only read one more post and then I really must be getting on with my day.”

    That’s been going on for some time now, and I’ve been reading one more, and one more, and one more. your blog is addictive to the reader to say the least! I also feel like I should message you as your reasons for moving to Latvia seems highly similiar to mine – leaving a well paid UK job in order to find something greater than that; happiness.

    I feel like I can completely connect with your thoughts and experiences. And though I’ve only been here in Latvia for just over a week so far, I can’t tell you how great it is to find somebody else who has noticed the Shaun of the Dead style brutality involved in boarding a bus, or the 6 inch heels during a trip to Rimi!

    Since I’ve arrived, I’ve been keeping my own blog. http://www.ladvia.blogspot.com – would be grateful if you could check it out at some point, though right now I am only really adding my initial findings for friends back in the UK to see how I’m doing. The wittier stuff is to follow in due course Emoji

    I would also be interested in speaking with you on a professional front, as I myself am obviously involved within the English/writing sector an am looking into a “teaching English to Latvians” career here – your experiences in this field would be great to chat about Emoji
    I took the liberty of adding you to my LinkedIn network because of this, hope you don’t mind (probably seems like some pretty extreme stalking, in reality it was just your name into google) – and wasn’t sure whether the best place to get a reply from you would your email or your blog. So I tried both.

    But would be really great to have a chat with a fellow UK’er (it’s not a word, I know.) and just get some general opinions on all aspects of the country given your few years experience here. From writer to writer, expat to expat, let me know.

    All the best, Jake! xx

    • Expat Eye says:

      Hi Jake! Thanks for getting in touch and for all the lovely compliments – it’s nice to be appreciated by a real writer! Can I ask why you chose Latvia?!

      Glad you can identify with the blog – I thought I was the only person who noticed all this stuff before I started writing it too! I’d be happy to meet up with you but I’m in England until the end of August (summer school) – think you’ll last until then!?

      Linda.

      • jakegable says:

        Latvia seemed an ideal choice as I already knew of it’s beauty but had good things from friends in the UK who had grown up in Riga.

        It’s proving the right choice so far – Well, perhaps apart from the mad rush onto buses etc.

        But I should be able to last until the end of August. What’s that they say about good things coming to those who wait? And besides, you seem like a busy woman! 🙂

        Jake x

      • Expat Eye says:

        Ha ha, I am! Hoping to be a little less busy soon though! We’ll definitely meet up when I get back – enjoy the rest of the summer there. You don’t even want to imagine the winters 😉

  22. Well that explains it 🙂 this is cool! I admire you being able to pack up and leave home. Most people find that absolutely terrifying.

  23. brathahn says:

    Hi Linda, just stumbled across your awesome and funny blog! As an Austrian Expat in Riga i highly appreciate that someone is able to put in words what i am often thinking while walking the streets of latvia!

    Maybe i will once run into that witty irish girl!
    Keep the good work up

    • Expat Eye says:

      Thanks! I’ll do my best! I’m in England at the moment but if you want to meet up for a drink or something in August/September, let me know! What are you doing in LV? Linda.

  24. KC says:

    Hi Linda,

    My name is KC Owens; I’m a college student who loves to travel! While cruising the Internet, I found Expat Eye on Latvia and really enjoyed reading your posts. Personally, I think traveling is a necessary part of life as you’re exposed to all sorts of new cultures and experiences. While enjoying time abroad, I’ve found it’s crucial to fully understand the dangers that you might encounter along the way. These mishaps are part of life and certainly part of travel but it’s always a great idea to take preventive measures to help ensure your safety while abroad.

    I was hoping that you would allow me to write a post for your site to share my travel safety tips with your readers? I put a lot of time and passion into my traveling and I would love to help others by offering safety advice as a result of the mistakes and triumphs I’ve had. I look forward to hearing from you!

    Best,

    KC Owens

  25. Sage says:

    Bahaha! I am an American girl living here for the summer and I just found your blog (I googled “how cold does latvia get” & your blog was the first link. ha.) It puts everything that I have thought into words! I do love it here though, regardless of the fact that no one smiles 🙂

    • Expat Eye says:

      Just saw that search term now haha! VERY is the answer! Love how my blog is the first thing that pops up! How come you’re living there? (I’m in England at the mo!) Linda.

  26. doncharisma says:

    Goes to show the rat-race doesn’t make people happy … I’m out in Thailand and happier here living on less and enjoying my life more 🙂

    Good work on the blog, I’ve added you to my links->friends …

    Keep in touch …

    Cheers

    Don Charisma
    http://doncharisma.wordpress.com

  27. I’ve really enjoyed getting to explore your blog and hear your expat adventures, so I nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blogger award! 🙂

    http://afkotecki.wordpress.com/2013/07/14/lifes-rewards-and-awards/

  28. Nat Curiel says:

    Hey Linda! I’m an American guy who’s just moved to Jurmala 3 weeks ago. I’ll be studying in Riga come the fall. Your blog is really funny and spot on; I too fell victim to the local mosquitoes in a big way, within a week of arriving. I was curious about what the TEFL scene here is like (as I’m not sure how else I’d be able to earn an income bereft of Latvian or Russian or IT skills). Let me know if you’d have time to get coffee or some such at some point! Thanks! (I’ve also got a little nascent Life in Latvia blog going if you’d like to take a look)

    Regards,
    Nat

    • Expat Eye says:

      Hi Nat, just had a look at your blog – glad you’re enjoying life in Jurmala so far! It’s lovely there in summer alright, if a little bleak in winter! Are you planning on staying with your in-laws or moving into your own place? Your timing is a little off unfortunately as I’m going to England on Wednesday for 5 weeks so I doubt I’ll have time to meet up before I go! I’d be happy to meet up with you when I get back though. If you send me your email address, I can send you a couple of contacts at the schools here and a bit more info! Linda.

      • Nat Curiel says:

        Hey Linda, thanks for the response! I’m not sure if what you saw was my wordpress blog (which failed to take off) or this, my active blog: http://jurmalablog.blogspot.com/ I keep hearing that about the wintry bleakness. I’m from a pretty sunny part of the US, so I think right now I’m unable to really fathom it. Course that’ll be corrected for before long I know.

        It would be great to meet when you get back. I’l be here & school still won’t have started. My email is natcuriel@gmail.com. Have a nice stay back in the anglophone world 🙂

  29. Zieds says:

    Hi there, You have wonderful blog. 🙂 Pleas don`t stop sharing your experience. I`m Latvian and if You are interested to find out something new about Latvia, places to visit and etc., You can contact me. I would be happy to help You. My e-mail: zieds2525@inbox.lv

    • Expat Eye says:

      Hi, thanks for that! Glad you’re enjoying the blog! I’ll be posting about the Song and Dance festival today or tomorrow! Did you go to any concerts?

  30. Rajiv says:

    Good to know that you too generously supported our booze industries. Here, I dedicate this to you: (You don’t have to approve or post it. Just a silly joke) 😉

    Linda’s been a Wild Rover for many’s the Yeers,
    She spent all her money in Whiskey and Beer.
    And ended up in Latvia we don’t know why
    She’s frozen her Irish arse in -30 degreees….
    *
    One day she’ll go home and confess what she’s done.
    Her parents will forgive their Frozen one……

    • Expat Eye says:

      Ha ha ha, I love it! You’ve made me laugh on a pretty miserable looking day! Thanks for that! My parents think I’m nuts for living here anyway so they’d be delighted to have me back! 😉

  31. Rajiv says:

    It is very rare indeed to hear about an “expat” living in Eastern Europe (unless of course they’re evangelical Christian missionaries!).

    I love the mystery, intrigue and even gloom of Eatern Europe and Baltics. Maybe some day I will get there myself.

    But well, I look forward to reading your posts. Cheers.

    • Expat Eye says:

      Hi Rajiv, thanks for following! You might change your mind about the mystery and intrigue after spending a winter here – but then I see you’re in NZ so I guess you’re used to it! (I know this because I had a ‘sneaky’ look at your blog 😉 ) Linda.

      • Rajiv says:

        I believe the winter IS the part of the mystery and intrigue!

        This weekend is near freezing in New Zealand. But New Zealand is “temperate”.. Winters aren’t that cold. Irish winters maybe a tad colder than New Zealnd.

        By the way, lots of Irish expats and working-holidayers come here. With teetotallers like me in this country, we desperately need more Irish people. They keep the booze industry in good business. 😉

      • Expat Eye says:

        Ha ha, I did my bit around 10 years ago! Was there for a year on a working holiday visa myself! Had a great time – considered staying but left it a bit too late – I was probably too busy drinking 😉 It gets to -30 here sometimes in winter. Brrrr.

  32. Interesting blog!

    From one expat to another.

    • Expat Eye says:

      Thank you! Well, I guess that depends on if you meant interesting good or interesting bad!? Linda.

      • After soon six years as expat here, I stand by interesting. No need to interpret “interesting” 🙂

        Would be fun if you wrote how you see the expat community here.

        I wish you a great Jani/Ligo!

      • Expat Eye says:

        Thank you very much! You too – if they celebrate it there? Think I’m going on a road trip this year – possibly to see some more of the Kurzeme region after being so impressed last week! Have never been to Norway – do you like it there? Is it very different from Latvia?

  33. Just wanted to say thank you for stopping by my blog! I really like your style of writing, it is very entertaining =) I’ll be heading up to Latvia in a couple of months, so hopefully will pick up some tips from here…

    • Expat Eye says:

      Thanks! I look forward to seeing what you think of it! Feel free to get in touch when you get here – maybe I can give you a guided tour 😉 Happy travels! Linda.

  34. 1WriteWay says:

    Hi, Linda, I’ve nominated you for The Loyal Reader Award! The info is on my blog (ha ha, made you go over there!)

  35. Pingback: Liebster Award | PolyglotFun

  36. polyglotfun says:

    I know pretty much nothing about Latvia, but I’m glad this blog exists. I can’t wait to become more enlightened by you. 🙂

  37. alliblair says:

    Hi there! Your blog is most lovely and so, I have nominated you for the Lovely Blog Award! Click the link to see how to accept the award:

    http://thevintagepostcard.wordpress.com/2013/05/17/lovely-blog-award/

  38. noveerotaaja says:

    Just checked, many thanks 🙂 not so much fun as yours, but lets give it some time… Good to know that we also migrate the opposite way 🙂

  39. noveerotaaja says:

    Ha, it’s as much East as North :)) And we just don’t like to be associated with North, you know…

    If my Irish colleague comments, I will let ya know 😉

    P.S. Living in Amsterdam, working in an international company – and learning about other cultures in daily basis.

    • Expat Eye says:

      Good for you! Amsterdam is a fun place to be! If you happen to be in Riga on the 25th, you should pop in to Galerija Riga and say hello 😉

      You might also be interested in reading this – http://dutchtimesinriga.wordpress.com/ – it’s written by a Dutchman (the one in my rollerblading post!) who lives in Riga and his take on Latvia!

  40. Anita says:

    Hahha, just sent this link to my boyfriend and my Mum, we had so much fun. I also forwarded some links to an Irish colleague of mine :)) Thanks for writing!

    And just a quick note – despite loving your blog, we are in *Northern* Europe (or Northeast if you insist), but definitely not Eastern Europe…

    • Expat Eye says:

      East of Ireland 😉 Glad you, your boyfriend and your mum got a laugh out of the blog! Working on my next one now… Let me know what your Irish colleague thinks! Are you living there?

  41. 1WriteWay says:

    Hello, I’ve nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award (http://versatilebloggeraward.wordpress.com/vba-rules/). Congratulations!

  42. cilliandervan says:

    Hi Linda, I work with a lot of lovely people from Latvia so it will be so interesting to read your posts see what it’s like for an Irish person working over there! Baldeas (Probably spelled it wrong)

    • Expat Eye says:

      Ha ha, paldies! Thanks for the likes and the follow! And keep going with the poems – things could be worse – you could be on a Latvian minimum wage 😉

  43. Gypsy says:

    Love your blog! Hilarious and captivating. I will be back! PS am rather new to blogging etiquette … Is it ok if I post a link to your blog on my site?

    • Expat Eye says:

      Absolutely! I take it as a massive compliment! Just checked out your site – disconnected in the ME made me snort-laugh wine through my nose 🙂 I know exactly how you feel!

      • Gypsy says:

        Done! We are linked. Snort-laugh … I like it. One of those things I’ve experienced many a time first-hand without actually putting words to. Now I know!

      • Expat Eye says:

        Sometimes wine helps my creativity with the English language! Thanks for the link – I really must figure out how to do it – I clicked on the links section but it looked horribly intimidating – maybe after a glass of wine I’ll try again 😉

      • Gypsy says:

        BTW, in many respects Latvia and your experiences are not unlike Qatar, minus the camels and 50C heat.

      • Expat Eye says:

        Ha, we have -30 in winter and in summer we have mosquitoes that can make you blind – yes, I see the similarities 😉

      • Gypsy says:

        Hi Again, still loving and laughing at your tales … I want to send you a link to a blog I think you might like; the (Irish) blogger’s style is witty like yours, but she is an expat in the UAE. But I’m not sure if it’s proper netiquette to post a link here ???? If you’re interested, what’s the best way for me to send you the link?

      • Expat Eye says:

        Hey! You can send it to linda_ogrady@hotmail.com although I don’t think it would be against blog etiquette to post it here! 😉 Thanks!

      • Gypsy says:

        I think I promised you this link a long time back … but not sure I ever sent it. This is an expat lady now living in Indonesia, previously in Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Qatar … and eons ago … Ireland. I haven’t read her blog in a while, was catching up tonight. There are a few quirky pieces. http://thereluctantemigrant.wordpress.com

      • Expat Eye says:

        Thanks for the link – I’ll get around to it when everyone leaves me alone 😉

    • Gypsy says:

      Haha! In your dreams! You’ve left the Kardashians, Hiltons and Lohans in your wake!

      You, my dear, have become an overnight sensation, celebrity mode.

      Not that it’s really overnight … you were great from the moment you started.

      Chin UP!

      • Expat Eye says:

        Thanks again! Trying 😉 I REALLY do not want to be a celebrity, if that’s what this is – it’s horrible. Knowing that everyone knows what you look like but you have no idea who’s going to turn out to be ‘stabby’ Latvian… What started out as a bit of fun and a way to pass the winter has gone downhill rather dramatically. Sorry for being negative! Putting chin UP now 😉

      • Gypsy says:

        All jokes aside (and this is my last post, because I know you’ve got tons to answer), you really are an amazing, engaging writer, and you don’t need me to tell you that.

        I don’t think you’re negative; you’re probably just about right where I’d be in the same situation. Overwhelmed and close to pooping my pants.

        Kudos to you for taking the time to acknowledge everyone (you don’t need to acknowledge this post … I’ll get it; you’re busy answering the other 13,000!

        This too shall pass. Another tragedy or controversy will come along and people will move on. Except those who really like to read what you have to write.

        Those 12,500 will still be around 😉

  44. Hi, Linda! The blog is very entertaining and I love reading it. I forwarded it to my husband who has his own “latvian” experiances- he is South African, imagine him surviving Latvian winters!!!:D

    • Expat Eye says:

      Oh my god, the poor guy! I was in South Africa and the weather was amazing! At least, as an Irish person, I’m used to terrible weather – just not quite this cold! We had another snow shower today – I’ve given up on Spring! Thanks for your comment!

  45. Wow! You seem very brave! I read that you are teaching EFL; is that what brought you to Latvia?

  46. Laura says:

    Hi, I was reading and smiling 🙂
    Very nice blog!

    How can I contact you!?

  47. Kārlis says:

    Hey, Linda!
    I’ve enjoyed reading your blog. You know what, I have a suggestion for you.
    1. Find the local “DEPO” store
    2. buy a stool and a rope
    3. learn how to tie a noose (if you already don’t)
    4. kill yourself
    5. ???
    6. PROFIT!!

    • Expat Eye says:

      Hi Karlis, thanks for the suggestion but I’m far more likely to buy beer in Depo than rope and a stool so it looks like you’re stuck with me for a while yet! Sorry to disappoint!

    • Janis says:

      Don’t worry- such guys as Kārlis are everywhere. They are hiding behind the computer screen and writing a lot of foolishly disrespectful comments about everything- just to get some kind of satisfaction that they can do it! 😀 Usually they are harmless because when they see the daylight they start to act like normal people.

      • Expat Eye says:

        My first virtual hater – kind of exciting 🙂 Let’s hope he is harmless! Hopefully he won’t be able to find me in the snow anyway…

      • Kārlis says:

        Oooh, I doubt I’m your first. (pun intended)
        Anyhow, if you hate it so much, why are you still here?
        Is it because they don’t want you in Ireland? :p

      • Expat Eye says:

        Ha ha, yeah, Ireland threw me out 😉 Believe or not, I actually like living in Riga! I have lovely students, a nice flat, good friends and a (perhaps too) good social life. And the cakes are great 😉 I also have my own business which is something I never would have dreamed of doing in Ireland so I’ve had opportunities here that I don’t think I would have had somewhere else. Sure, it’s a harder life than it is in Ireland (or probably most European countries) – most months I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to make my rent – but hey, I like a challenge! (Also, I didn’t get the pun – having a blond moment maybe!)

  48. Lita says:

    You make me want to become one of your students 🙂

  49. Janis says:

    Hey, Linda!

    If I were your student I’d probably be one of those who claim Linda to be a Latvian name. 😛 However, i really enjoyed reading your blog despite that my name is Yanis(with “J”) and I seem to know why don’t Irish people like to go to the woods. (Do you have any? 😀 )

    Now- for about 8 month I am living in London, but I was curious if I could offer you an excursion in Old Riga. I could tell you a lot more about Latvians and why we do not smile as much as we should.. (When I was a student, one of my course works was to lead an excursion for kids in Old Riga.)

    And you should really try this juice from a tree.. It’s great! 😀

    • Expat Eye says:

      Hi Janis with a J! I have tried it and I did like it – very tasty! I just wouldn’t be bothered going into the forest to get it myself 🙂 I buy it from the little old ladies on street corners – doing my bit for the economy…

      And yeah, we have woods in Ireland but I don’t think they’re as popular as they are in Latvia! Maybe in the old days… before my time!

      Next time you’re in Riga let me know and you can take me on a Latvian tour of Old Town 🙂 Oh, and I’m curious – do you think English people are fake or friendly? I say friendly but Latvians say fake! You live there – what do you think?!

      • Janis says:

        It’s very hard to call them friendly especially if you are speaking(or making “chit-chat”) with someone who is as much bored(uninterested) with you as you are with him. And in most of the cases- this is cultural thing- the same as being suspicious for Latvians(if you will read more about Soviet history- than this used to be a very useful “ability” how to “survive” and not get unwanted curiosity from Soviet police or some secret forces which used to be everywhere. Unfortunately- it has left some indelible marks on our behavior still- 20 years after getting independence. And quite often those who hadn’t live under such pressure are translating this as displeasure.
        So- I will say that it is a nice gesture but in most cases- fake.

      • Expat Eye says:

        Have you read the new post? Hoping to make a few Latvians smile – despite the horrors of their history…

      • Janis says:

        Yes! Yeah! Do it! Do it more! I like it! 🙂 🙂

      • Expat Eye says:

        I’ve never met an over-excited Latvian before! This is great 🙂

      • Janis says:

        That’s true- I started to believe that all the overwhelmed Latvians are gone. To Ireland. To England. USA and Canada. 😀

        But I tend to believe that I know some of them back there- in Latvia! 😛

  50. Katherine says:

    Hi Linda! I recently discovered your blog and have since read almost all of your fascinating and funny entries. Thanks for sharing your experiences in Latvia with the rest of the world!

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