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!

380 Responses to About me

  1. linnetmoss says:

    I have nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award! This is a pay it forward thing where winners write about other blogs they enjoy. The award is intended to be an honor, not a burden, so if you do not have time, no worries! Just bask in the knowledge that you’re pretty cool in my eyes. To see the nice stuff I wrote about you, go to http://linnetmoss.com/2014/03/24/linnets-nominees-for-the-versatile-blogger-award/

  2. VanBerry says:

    “Why don’t Latvian people smile?” – I’ve only been in the country for a day but I also noticed that and even though Riga is absolutely amazing, I couldn’t live in a country where people just never smile…..But I’ve heard of a Russian proverb that says that you should only smile when there is a reason for it because it’s dumb to do otherwise…..something like that. I don’t know if that’s the reason or not but anyway good job in dealing with that! Like your blog!
    Greetings from Sweden!

  3. Eduards says:

    Just wanted to say – great blog. Spent some good hours reading it 🙂

  4. Craig Riley says:

    Hi Linda, wondered if you could answer a question:

    I’m English, but learning Russian. Is Latvia a good place to travel to in order to practice with native speakers, and if so, which areas? I know Russia would obviously be the best place to go, but travelling within the EU is far easier.

    • Expat Eye says:

      Hi Craig, there are plenty of Russian speakers here. I don’t know how different Baltic Russian is from Russian Russian but I’d say it’s as good a place as any. You might meet some resistance from the Latvians though! Linda.

    • Hi Craig! I am from Latvia. Usually Russians from Russia laugh about Latvian Russians and their “accent”, but still it is a good place to practice it in every day communication. If you want a proper Russian experience go to city Daugavpils (almost nobody speaks Latvian there, only Russian).

  5. Sveika, Linda 🙂 Just found your blog while reading Alli Blair’s post http://thevintagepostcard.com/2013/12/23/cubicle-dweller-travels-the-world/ and of course because I am Latvian and she mentioned that you live there I had to come visit. Just reading some of your posts and finding so many things that you describe that I would love to change about my country – very refreshing and reassuring – thank you and keep up your great writing! As an experienced expat myself (Paris, Oxford, Brussels, Tunis) I really admire you for still sticking around, because I just left Riga again. Best of wishes and a very happy new year! And will keep on reading you 🙂

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  7. Hi Linda! My name is Cameron and I had a quick question about your blog and was hoping you could email me when you have a moment. Thank you! 🙂

  8. alexraphael says:

    What a cool sounding adventurous blog. I look forward to reading more.

  9. I’m entertained. Can’t wait to read more!

  10. I read this and wouldn’t stop thinking about you http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2402596/Hospitalis-Inside-hospital-themed-restaurant-patients-pay-wear-straitjackets.html
    Is this restaurant still open? It sounds like one of the most amazing ideas…EVER 😮

    • Expat Eye says:

      Ha ha, I think it shut down actually! It was probably good as a novelty but a bit grim for most people I’d imagine! 🙂

      • Hi Linda, what a great surprise to locate your blog by accident. The tipoff was that unkind comment about Latvia being part of Eastern Europe. Oh the blarney which has touched your lips, twisted your tongue, contorted your brain! This is Rex from the USA. I met you at Jack’s Muffin and More with my Swiss wife Michele a few nights ago. I am sitting here in our hotel in France remembering this beautiful city of Riga. After driving into Geneva, Switzerland yesterday and comparing the two cities, and Geneva I love so much, I’ll pour some Rigas Melnais Balzams, upenu, place a 20 Euro Cent Latvija under my pillow tonight and hope for a wee fairy to transport the two of us to the banks of Daugava by morning. Cau, Rekss/Rex/Rx

      • Expat Eye says:

        Hey Rex, nice to hear from you! Glad you found the blog – you can live vicariously through me until you make it back! I take it you’ve made your decision then? Berries and beer?? 😉 Linda.

  11. Hi Linda, we wanted to stop by to wish you a very Happy New Year. We have so enjoyed getting to know you this year and look forward to more of your wonderful posts. 🙂 ~ Terri & James

  12. Hey there!

    While you are off enjoying a break at the moment and know you’ve received these kind of blogger awards already, but I’m bestowing upon you yet another!

    Especially as you have been a ‘regular’ and I always get a kick both out of your blog and your comments on mine. 🙂

    Here you go – you’ve been nominated for the Dragon’s Loyalty Award http://everydayadventuresasia.wordpress.com/2013/12/28/dragons-loyalty-award/

    Happy new year!!!

  13. BritVic says:

    Absolutely with Renate on this! I would definitely buy your book, mate.

  14. renatev says:

    Hey Linda,

    I loved your blog, you have an amazing sense of humor, (and a great writing talent)! Ever think of maybe creating this blog into a book? I can totally relate with everything you’re saying and I wish I had written this myself. Honest, insightful, based on facts, and humorous – your posts are so gripping I am writing this at 5am on a Christmas night! Anyway, bullshit aside (hah!) I would love to hang out with you, so if you ever fancy a beer with a positive stranger, hit me up!

    Keep up the good work!


    • Expat Eye says:

      I’m always up for a beer with a positive stranger 😉 Keep in touch! Glad you like the blog – I would love to somehow turn it into a book but would have no idea how to go about it! Will keep blogging for now anyway 😉 And Happy Christmas to you!

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  16. LigaFromRiga says:

    So you are one of the soap eaters, that explains a lot 😉

  17. Hey Look! I nominated you for “The Dragon’s Loyalty Award”. I was nominated and I guess the rules say I have to nominate people too. Isn’t it bizarre that you need to do work for an award? Anyway, if you would like to accept the award you can see my latest post which has the rules I was given.

  18. Anda says:

    Hi, Linda!
    I’m one of those who came to Your blog, after reading the post in “Kas Jauns”, and at that moment I was like, “Hey, girl, what are You doing here? Stop talking bad about my city/country, go away!”
    Then I started to read Your blog, today I got to the original post, that was translated, and You know what, it really didn’t sound as bad as it was in Latvian. It had more irony and less hate.
    And at that moment I knew from Your previous posts, that You have a soft spot for Latvia, and will miss it, while being away. 🙂

    Good luck on becoming a Latvian! 😀

    • Expat Eye says:

      Hi Anda! Ha ha, well spotted 😉 I did miss it while I was in England over the summer! Not going for so long this time though 😉
      Thanks for taking the time to read my actual words!

  19. Well, I’m a Latvian, living in Riga and I can share my thoughs on your questions:
    1) Why don’t Latvian people smile? – I don’t know either, maybe Latvians have greater sense of the impending doom than the rest of the world.
    2) Why do women wear evening dresses and 6-inch heels just to go to Rimi? – Women are illogical and impractical
    3) How is it possible that one country can have so many stunning-looking women? – Maybe it’s connected to the statement stated in the previous question
    4) Why don’t Latvians ever think it’s cold – even when it’s -25? – What makes you think that? Just because people don’t sit at home during cold days, does not mean they don’t think it’s cold outside
    5) Why does everyone like walking in the forest? – I’ll just pose a counterquestion – What’s better and more relaxing – taking a walk through a busy city street with all the noises, (non-smiling) people, pollution and so on; or – a nice walk through soothing and relaxing forest atmosphere with chirping birds and fresh air?
    6) Why does anyone like lard and grey peas? It’s just a part of our cuisine, nothing weird about that. Why do Irish eat so much shellfish?
    7) How is being hit with sticks after coming out of a sauna enjoyable? It’s not just “being hit with sticks”, it’s a tradition and it is good for health and enjoyable if done properly http://www.latvia.travel/en/article/steam-bath-accessories-and-rituals
    8) Why can’t Latvians see me when they’re walking? – People bump into each other all around the world, it’s nothing local
    9) Why don’t Latvians use egg cups?? – Why the hell anybody would use them? What is the practical purpose of an egg cup?
    I take the eggs from the fridge and put them straight in a pot in which i’m gonna boil them – no need for an egg cup
    After I’ve boiled them, I just change water to cold in that pot and leave the eggs there – no need for an egg cup
    After that, I just take one egg out, start peeling it in my hands – no need for an egg cup
    After peeling, I eat the egg, holding it with my fingers – no need for an egg cup

  20. LigaFromRiga says:

    Hi Linda,
    Discovered your blog yesterday, someone had shared the Moving to Riga post on FB. The more I read it, the more I love it. Not just that one, all of them. And you are totally right, the Latvian translation, or I would say interpretation (or trashlation as full of grammar mistakes), was not even close to being as good. Although sarcasm is told to be the lowest form of wit, love your style.
    So please don’t stop blogging, even if you move and have to change it to expateyeonelsewhere.

    I’ve survived for more than 5 years in Wales and don’t believe Latvian is a hard or weird language anymore. Cannot pronounce or even make sense of any Welsh. Have mastered a couple of nursery rhymes so far which luckily involve counting to ten. Will hopefully go back one day, although hope not to be living in Riga, more of a gardening type.
    Things did seem totally wrong here at first. I don’t mean just the traffic on the left, sockets, taps and “Microwaves are not suitable for drying cats” type of notices on things. There is one major thing I will never understand, ok, apart from deep fried everything. Maybe you can help me with it. Why on earth don’t British (not sure about Irish) rinse after washing up? How is eating soap ok?

    Hope to go through all the previous posts one day.
    p.s. Named my son Patrick as all Patrick’s I’d met had been nice people. Then again, haven’t been to Ireland.. 🙂

    • Expat Eye says:

      All Patricks are fabulous – it’s a fact 😉 Just like all Janises 😉 People are eating soap there now? This is new 😉 When I was in England this summer, I felt like people were speaking a whole other language sometimes – but soap eating?! 🙂 (Need to go and rinse some dishes – you’ve made me paranoid now…) 😉

    • BritVic says:

      I’m with LigaFromRiga and Elmi on this. I mean, Fairy Liquid is great stuff, but I don’t want it mixed in with my beans on toast, like some weird Halloween-themed treat! Clearly us British rinsers are a dying breed.

      • Expat Eye says:

        I just had a cup of tea and then noticed afterwards that there was a bit of Fairy on the rim 😉 Didn’t taste any different – maybe I’ve been doing it all the time and just not noticing! 🙂

  21. Jens skytte hansen says:

    Super blog. You are fully right in your blog from 11 dec…

  22. solaris says:

    How sweet! You are unfair throwing mud at Latvians and by selective moderation of comments you are still only getting applaused in your blog. Cool.

  23. aleksis says:

    As I understand You are living in area around Avotu street. That isn’t better oppertunity where to live. Maybe just needed to talk with some Latvian about place where to live, there are better options. If there is a big desire to live with alkoholics, drug addicted, prostitutes and like that, o.k, Riga has that like places. In every city we can find that like area.

    About clinic “ARS” where you was, again that isn’t better possibility where to go… The prices there is a space and attitude is below any reasonable critical. In every country we have that kind attitude (but in Riga more).

    But in basics if anyone is living in Avotu street area, or in “Maskavas forštate” area, yes there will be just like that. And Latvians do not go to the nearest pub, they will go to oldtown. We aren’t Irish who needs pub close to house.
    And YES in healthcare system we have dissatisfied employees.

    And why all is going crazy, because there isn’t anythig good about Riga (for know needed to read what they want to public).

    Now i’m in Lithuania, in Vilnus. Yes I have some things what I don’t like here. But need to see the all picture together. And in overall it’s quit O.k. But I love Riga and I can’t live here long, because my home is Latvia.

    • Expat Eye says:

      Yeah, I spoke to some Latvians before moving here – some said don’t do it, some said it would be fine. I trusted my gut and went for it and it’s been fine – so far anyway! 🙂 As for ARS, it’s right across the street from my doctor’s surgery so very convenient! And I wouldn’t dream of going to any of those pubs. I don’t need a pub close to my house that badly. But I do miss my old local (Latvian one), it’s true!

  24. Ellie says:

    I’m about to move back to Latvia after spending some 8 years in London and elsewhere – I think I am going to giggle in disbelief over how things are back in the Homeland. Kind of like scrolling through miljons.com – without being able to have a good laugh, Latvia is quite a good place to go insane! Love your blog!

  25. Kaspars says:

    7 months of snow???? no way girl

    • Expat Eye says:

      The first year, it was pretty close to that as I remember. Or maybe it just felt that way 😉 Last year was 5, this year, I’m hoping two weeks but then, I’m an optimist like that 😉

  26. Kristine says:

    I am Latvian expat living in Limerick, Ireland. And I wonder what part of Ireland are you from? Well definately not from Dublin or even Cork or Limerick? Because if you would be from any of these cities you wouldn’t be so suprised of people who can’t see you, graffiti on the walls outside of city centre or irish self made toilets in every corner outside of every bar in the city. Please feel free to corect me if I am wrong. I really would love to see your answer…
    To compare Latvian capital with any town or city suburbs in Ireland is, exuse my french, idiocy.
    And your thougts of rest of the Latvia being just a woodland just shows your level of intelect.
    Good luck to teaching Latvians after “kas jauns” publicity ;).

    • Expat Eye says:

      I am from Dublin actually. And I’ve never said Ireland was perfect – EVER. I, however, have no problem admitting it. As for my students, they’re absolutely fine with it because they’re smart people with a sense of humour.

    • Steve says:

      You must feel right at home then Kristine….

    • wasd says:

      No sane person reads “kas jauns”, you can check up on it only if you want to get a good chuckle not serious articles about stuff that is happening around. Cute how you think that “kas jauns” can change ones state of mind.

  27. Elmi says:

    Hello Linda! 🙂 Just stumbled upon your blog and it absolutely made my day. I happen to be a Latvian (well nearly – long story) expat in UK, I have been living in Brighton for over 2 years now. I just read your post about Jelgava, my hometown, and I thought it was efin (excuse my French) hilarious. When I moved to UK I found that all these little things that used to annoy me when I was living in Latvia, suddenly became endearing as they were a part of my childhood/teenage years experience. I miss them. I miss my many Jānises and others.

    On the matter of Kasjauns. F**k them. It is healthy to laugh at ourselves, and I am quite sure that many Latvians say the same things about their own country, so why shouldn’t a foreigner say them? Every nation has their own little, quirky habits. If I was as good a writer as you are I would have definitely written a couple of words about Brightonians. It doesn’t mean I hate them though, I love them to bits actually. But the differences between us is what makes a life in another country so much fun. Brighton’s tourist information centre (which thank god is not as elusive as Jelgava’s) has a number of hilarious post cards on the matter – the constant politeness, the seagulls, the damned two taps, the weather inappropriate dress style etc. The things that we grow up with stay in our mind as the “only way to live” until we see other cultures and countries. For example, when I first went to Finland as a kid (most of my family are Finnish), I realised for the first time that a stairway of a house does not necessarily have to be filthy and in fact can look exactly like a normal room. 😀 I guess my point is, thank you for this blog, it is awesome and such a fun read especially if the reader is from Latvia. Don’t mind the haters, it’s in some Latvians’ nature to sit in news portals and express their nasty opinions about everybody else. go on doing what you do, it is excellent.

    P.S. I really hope we meet one day when I go home on holiday, Latvia is a small place, everybody knows everybody.

    P.P.S. I actually do not own anything in leopard print, I might have to sort this issue otherwise I will not fit in when I go back home.

    • Expat Eye says:

      It’s OK – the shops are full of the stuff 😉 Maybe we can go shopping together! So glad you like the blog! Especially the post on Jelgava – I thought I was going mad following the sign and ending up nowhere 😉

      Oh man, the stairways here – that could be a post all to itself – but not for a while. I’m taking a break. It’s taking all my free time just responding to comments at the moment! I think I need ‘people’ – I’m a molly-coddled Westerner godammit. I should have ‘people’ to do this sort of thing 🙂

      Drop me a line when you get back – we probably already know some mutual people! 🙂


  28. Linda says:

    I understand that many people may like your blog, because they thinks that you are so “true”, but honestly when I started to read some parts of your blog, I was shocked. How can you say so many badly high-colored things about Riga, if here you are just a newcomer? Sorry, but I think it is just polite that you need to respect the place, where you are a newcomer. Of course, you have your own opinion, but then you just don`t know how to write it, because some parts of your blog reminds me about dignity harassment, and I am pretty sure that maybe you could write about Riga, but you don`t know anything about laws here. If you have so small salary, you don`t like latvian people, because you can see only those people, who isn`t smiling and you live in the one of the worst district of Riga, so thats why you can`t see so bad view and meet that type of people, then it is your problem and you just need to understand that Riga isn`t only your little district and unlucky people around you. Riga is something more about some ordinary city. Maybe it is small, but Riga has their own charm. And yes, I can honestly say that I knew something more about Riga than you, because I have lived here all my life, and I have seen so many other European cities. So maybe don`t search problems around you, if maybe these problems are inside of you.

    • Linda says:

      Correction: …and you live in the one of the worst district of Riga, so thats why you can see so bad view and meet that type of people

    • Steve says:

      I have been in and out of Latvia for the past 15 years – I agree with everything Linda has said and so does my Wife and she is LATVIAN. Shame so many people are taking this blog to heart and cannot any critical comment. If you have lived in Latvia all your life then I suggest you go and see other countries and you will see what Linda is trying to get across.

  29. Rasa says:

    Hi, Linda

    Today, I read your blog. I never laughed so long.

    I’m glad you like Latvia.

    I will read with the greatest interest in all future articles that you write.

    Sincerely, Rasa

  30. Kaspars says:

    Linda…Linda…LInda! I don’t even know where to start! 🙂 First let me point out that for an Irish person to call a different country depressing is kinda ironic! Trust me – I’ve lived in Ireland for 3 years…grey was the sky, grey were the streets and grey were the people around me- Except maybe for all the pale ginger guys 🙂 First time I went to Ireland I didn’t know what to expect, but as depressing it was fortunately I had some nice Irish friends who made my time there worth staying. I think you have not had the privilege to meet the right people here in Riga, otherwise I can’t explain the negativity and tendentious thoughts. It’s always easy to loose yourself in stereotypes, but I think a person who has (as I understand in free will) chosen to stay in a country for 3 years would see past that.

  31. maris says:

    I am Latvian and I really like your blog! Your blog made Latvians see us from the side (even worse things) what is really great- it even can change for someone an attitude to others!
    Wish you good luck! 😉 (and sorry for my bad english-its not my native language:))

    • Expat Eye says:

      Hi Maris, don’t worry about your English! Thanks for the positive comment – I appreciate it! Linda.

      • maris says:

        About other places except Riga-trust me, there is plenty interesting places around Riga. I was born and principally live in center of Riga, but i love all Latvia. I think Latvia’s countryside is in every Latvian heart. Yield to this feeling and you will understand how soulfully it is. Try to catch this feeling in some summer evening, and you also will love it 😉 its some kind of symbiosis and relaxation
        For example some good clips about what i am talking about:

        for example this municipality what i discovered recently (cause i work there), but in Latvia there is plenty that kind of charming places:

        take care 😉

  32. Kristīne says:

    Linda, I love your blog… love it! Keep it comming! I will read every bit of it!
    Have lived in Ireland for eight years and have seen the difference between latvians and irish… Just wondering – how you can live in Rīga, don’t you miss the irish kindness and warmth of heart?

  33. Good blog. Especialy the parts about finanses. I will repost some parts in homepage of this organisation http://www.bestriga.com/en/page/expanded/article/617 [only article in english about us].

    Well, i would argue about thing or two, but in overal its good. I suggest to write more about finances and depresion and less about some dirty place – we can find one like that in any town.

    See, the thing in here is not that we have small salaries, just our regime is much more diferent. From payroll of 800 Latvian lats you got 442 lats on hand. In Ireland from 800 lats (recounted to lats) you would get 780 lats, in England 738, in U.S 736. And in here the regime is much diferent from Ireland democracy, in adition most of people are ready to live in this conditions and the ones who fight against are in lack of finances [if not, then they strike your financial situation]. And the groups who have money to fight, got them from confederates who work in Western Europe –

    so there is first point where we can say thanks to west. And the other is to you – that you talk about these things – so more of … not so smart people can understand that this all is not normal.

  34. Alise says:

    Looks, you don`t know where is direction to airport. Your favorite Ryanair helps you get home from this nasty place back to flip flops, T-shorts and neglected looking women.

  35. Egon says:

    Hey Linda! Welcome! I like your style! Blog is good, keep it coming! Latvia is on everyones lips today! Doesn’t matter what it is! Depression? You’ll get over it. I was in Ireland – got depressed too. Of what is your question? Being away from home is the answer! I got very good new idea – should be a globaly rated! MAKE A LATVIAN TO SMILE! If you made it here, you’ll make it anywhere, girl! Best wishes, lots of love, have a nice day!

    • Expat Eye says:

      Thanks for your sunny message! Sorry you were depressed in Ireland 😉 I’m actually not depressed here at all – just the way people are taking this thing! Linda.

  36. Single G says:

    Hi, Linda.
    Just had a quick look through Your blog as i read the article in kasjauns.lv.
    Beig little shocked by all those bad things You wrote about Latvia. I guess thats the Irish humor- laugh about shit. Surely there are many problems in this country, but not sure whats You goal to write this crap? Do You feel like helping somebody?
    Ive lived in Scotland for some time. Got back here, thanks God! Like it so much more! 😉

    • Expat Eye says:

      Glad you’re happy to be back! I don’t really have a goal – it’s more to note some observations and keep myself entertained! You should read the English version – or a couple of other posts and maybe the response – the blog really isn’t that negative 😉 Linda.

  37. LIga says:

    Im from Latvia..
    But i dont like Riga too

  38. Mārcis says:

    I like your blog and find it good to look at ourselves from aside. But lard, common, where have you seen that used? And green peas are also rather marginal, well maybe they were not 10 years ago. If you meet just Latvians who like lard and green peas, then I’m sorry for you 🙂 I would rather say that more Latvians are going to vietnamese cantine on Avotu street or to Nepalese family restaurant on Brivības than eat lard. See you on the streets!

    • Expat Eye says:

      Hey Mārcis! I think I pass that Vietnamese place most days! Haven’t been in there yet though! See you around I guess – although I won’t recognise you! Say hello if you see me – I don’t bite, I promise 😉

      • Steve says:

        I have just discovered your blog and I love it. I have been travelling to Riga now for the best part of 15 years having been married to a Latvian Chick for the same period. I agree with everything you say except I’m not sure where you get the figures from for salary when working for an international country. I have tried and failed to get any interview (or response from that matter from most job agencies). First of all they are not keen on any westerner coming into their business because we may arrange an uprising among the rest of the staff because we are used to being treated with dignity at work. Secondly, they do not want to pay anymore than the local salary. But even when I asked for a modest local salary I was told I was over qualified! So Linda spill the beans……..where are such companies willing to pay more than a pittance? I would love to join my family over there but until the country gets to grips with treating the employee with some dignity and pays a decent salary it will be a no go for me. Maybe I should start my own business? Perhaps a courses in Customer Service? I think I should be made for life…….but who will sign up for it? Great blog though – I will now be following you from now on. Maybe see you around from the 19th onwards : )))

      • Expat Eye says:

        Definitely! Get in touch when you get here! Send me an email – linda_ogrady@hotmail.com – and I’ll tell you about this international company 😉
        Oh man, courses in Customer Service – believe me, I’ve thought about it! 🙂

  39. zaneverdina says:

    Linda, your blog is excellent. I am Latvian living in Antwerp. Let’s be honest – complaining about a life abroad is partially an expat routine / hobby / sports. If not complaining than finding a lot of weird / strange / shocking / “we don’t do this…!!!” things. Often referring to hometown as a “it is different (read: better) at home”. But your home to somebody is equally strange, weird and difficult. Couple days ago I was wondering how expats see Riga. And in your blog I found an answer. It made me laugh and agree – yes it is so!

    • Expat Eye says:

      Hi Zane, thanks so much for your comment! And yes, I agree that it is a peculiar expat trait! Even when we actually really like where we are, we always find something that’s odd/different and find other people to talk to about it!! And I’m sure a lot of Latvian people in Ireland/the UK/all over the world are experiencing the same thing! I would love to read about what a Latvian person thinks of Ireland! 🙂 Hope you’re enjoying life in Antwerp! Linda.

  40. Kalnina says:

    Hi Linda, you have ruined my week! I discovered your blog yesterday and read it until 2 am, so now I start monday with serious sleep defficiency:)
    I am a Latvian who I guess wasn´t Latvian enough and decided to move to a happier/the happiest place – Denmark.
    Reading your blog, however, really made me miss those crazy sad Latvians so much that now I want to hug every miserable and mean-looking Latvian and even Russian Latvian I meet next time I´m in Riga:)

    • Expat Eye says:

      Now that would give some people a shock! I think you should do it! 🙂 Maybe I’ll hug a few Latvians in the meantime – keep them warm for you! Sorry for getting your week off to such a bad start 😉 Hope you’re having a fabulous time in Denmark – the least corrupt country on earth according to a recent survey! Linda.

    • Steve says:

      I think if you did that you are liable to receive a black eye!

  41. Hi Linda,

    I have nominated you for the Blog of The Year 2013 Award. If you wish to accept, you can find out more at this link:

    Well done,


  42. Kaufman's Kavalkade says:

    Nominated you for the Flexible Blogg… Oops mean Versatile Blogger Award. Cheers. 😉


  43. Mike B. says:

    I am an American I.T. teacher working in Costa Rica and I think you are a great writer!!! This has been one of the best expat blogs that I have read in a while. I also tried a local dating site here due to boredom with similar results. Your smoking sea captian photo beats all of my responses. Now that you are buttered up (you deserve it) I have a question. What is a good salary in Rega? I am applying at an International School there and it will be a decent amount of work. (190 day contract) They are offering 30,000 Euros a year and 800 Euro housing with once a year flight bonus. Your input would be appreciated!!!

    • Expat Eye says:

      Hi Mike, consider me buttered – flattery will get you everywhere! That is really a great salary for Riga. My American friend worked for them a couple of years ago and she saved A FORTUNE while she was here. I’m on way less than that, and paying my own rent and bills, and am still able to live quite comfortably. With that money, you’ll be able to live like a king 😉 Is it really that boring in Costa Rica that you’d want to move here??? 😉


  44. Pingback: NaNo WIP: Attack of the Giant Penis | 1WriteWay

  45. 1WriteWay says:

    My dear Linda, I have an idea for a blog post that involves … well … online dating and giant penises … anyway, I would like to show you a draft of the post (and hopefully get your blessing). Would you mind emailing me at marieannbailey [at] gmail.com and I’ll send you the draft? Thanks 🙂

  46. nancytex2013 says:

    Found you by way of Aussa/Hacker, Ninja, Hooker, Spy and Mike /Toronto@Home. 🙂 Looking forward to reading about your expat adventures!

  47. Hi Linda,

    I found your details after looking for expats living in Latvia and wondered if you may be interested in getting involved in the television show I produce, ‘House Hunters International’.

    House Hunters International is a half-hour TV show currently airing on the Home and Garden Television Network (HGTV) in America. The series is designed to de-mystify the international home-buying / renting process, by going behind the scenes of a house hunt where expats and their real estate agents tour 3 homes. At its core, House Hunters International is a travel show concentrating on the idiosyncrasies of the locales and what makes them special and different.

    Here are some examples of the show that you can watch on Youtube:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reYI3L3lC-c – Barcelona from LA

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOiump3__Mo – Vienna from California

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tblIVLw0coE – Panama from Pennsylvania

    We would love to film a show in Latvia as we don’t often come across expats living there(!) – so please do get in touch if you may be interested in the show.

    Best wishes,


    Michelle James
    1-3 St Peter’s Street, London N1 8JD – +44 20 7704 3300

    • Expat Eye says:

      Hi Michelle! Thanks for the offer. I’ve already had an email from one of your colleagues. Unfortunately, I’m not interested myself but I’ll publish your comment on the blog in case somebody else wants to take you up on it. I’ll also create a thread on InterNations – if there is anyone moving to or thinking of moving to Latvia, they usually visit this site first. Thanks again! Linda.

  48. oliviasydow says:

    What a journey you’ve been on! Love to spend some time reading some interesting expat adventures like yours.

    Greeting from a New Yorker in Washington hoping to become an expat in Sweden in the near future..whew that was a long one!


    • Expat Eye says:

      Hi Olivia, thanks very much! From an Irish person who ended up in Latvia via France, Oz, NZ and Poland 🙂 Hope Sweden is all you want it to be! I’m going to Stockholm for the first time next month so really looking forward to that! Linda.

      • oliviasydow says:

        I myself am half Irish, how fun to share that aspect of ourselves in common : ) Enjoy Stockholm!! Not too sure about Latvia’s climate at the moment, but Stockholm will be quite chilly by the time you get there! Be prepared girl!

        Best wishes & Sláinte to travel adventures & blogging!


      • Expat Eye says:

        Thanks! My best friend lives there so it will be a great weekend whatever the weather! It’s actually strangely warm in LV at the moment!

  49. Ieva says:

    Linda, your blog, although encouraging various stereotypes and exaggerating the bad stuff, is quite hilarious and you have an obvious talent in writing. However, I would like to point out that it was more proper to refer to Latvia as a country in the Baltics or North of Europe (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latvia). Unless you wish to refer to the Cold War long after it is over =)

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