Once again feeling like my arm muscles are itching. It might be from carrying groceries plus a box of cat litter halfway across downtown.
It’s the day before Christmas Eve. I don’t think I’ve ever had to do anything constructive the day before Christmas Eve — this year is different, having a job and being at the office instead of messing around the kitchen in my pyjamas baking Christmas cookies with/for my mother. We have a small tree at the apartment and it’s decorated, I’ve bought some standard Christmas snacks and have done zero cleaning like I wanted to. So really, it’s nothing new from usual Christmas goings-on, except for having to be at the job.
I haven’t been really sleeping the past four days or so — basically since past Friday. Not entirely sure why, but it just hasn’t been happening. Probably work. Probably temperature changes. Probably nothing.
I did end up making it to Berlin two weekends ago and had a fantastic time seeing how far and how long I could make myself walk so it would hurt for days afterward (three, to be exact). A good friend of mine from college is working in Hanover teaching English and it was very ooh-la-la European adultish of us to meet up in Berlin over the weekend, do some shopping, traipse through every Christmas market we could find and eat delicious German junk foods: bratwurst, fries, chocolate-covered fruit, roasted nuts, mulled wine. Also got to talk to Andi a bit more about her wedding next year, which I hope to be able to attend. Our main motto of the weekend was “We’re living in Europe — and doing cool stuff!” So true.
And the past week… has just been one big lead-up to the on-off holiday breaks. The weather has been predominantly boo-hiss, with a culmination of interesting today. Before 2 P.M. we had seen rain, sleet, hail and finally some snow, which will once more turn to boo-hiss before it gets dark at 4 P.M.
My dad flies in Sunday, which will be exciting because I’ll be able to play “tour-guide”, in a sense. Not that my dad needs help getting around the city, but a lot of things have changed in a short time, and the tour-guiding will be more of a “this store left because of this” and “you can’t get coffee here anymore because of that”.
One thing I have wanted to write about but haven’t remembered to in the past is how to walk on sidewalks in Riga when snow or stuff, if you will, starts to melt. You can’t walk under awnings and right next to buildings to avoid street puddles because there are often cones or saw-horses set up to keep you from getting slammed with huge chunks of snow or ice sliding off of roofs. And you can’t walk close to the street to avoid building sludge because of the street puddles, the wonderful aspects of which I have already touched on. So your options are to a) become a part of the agonizingly slow pedestrian traffic concentrated directly in the middle of the side-walk, sporting a general umbrella-bumping rule of “no blood no foul”, or pull a Pelé and dodge everyone and everything like it’s 1:1 with 40 seconds left and you’ve got the ball and are going to make it to the goal, so help you God.
Or shout “Sewer rats!” and hope mob panic ensues.
Merry Christmas to everyone — eat, drink, and handle gift-wrap responsibly!