Archive for July, 2009

America the Something Else

Tuesday, July 21st, 2009

I have nothing much to say about it, I guess. The clothing is relatively cheaper (most things I’ve chosen to buy have been prefaced by saying “Holy! Look at this! $7! That’s only LVL 3.50 for a shirt! Crazy cheap!”), the food is the same, I suppose, though I certainly have more new places to choose from than I would in Riga. Mostly because we’ve already eaten almost everywhere in Riga and, as a result, are always at a loss for where to go out to eat.

The weather has also been decent. Driving has been weird. Every evening at 5 p.m. I get a headache, something I believe is a subconscious cry from my body indicating that, even though I’ve only been awake 9 – 10 hours, it’s more like I’ve been awake 14 hours and really really want to sleep. I have cleverly avoided much interaction with United States money, as it is strange. I have fairly successfully had Caribou Coffee (or a rough equivalent) at least once daily. I have inhaled the equivalent of an entire cat while at my mother’s house, but don’t mind too much because the house pet coma is glorious. I have bought two new, better fitting pairs of jeans with the delicious knowledge that I’m not sure if I entirely like them, but that it is TOTALLY ACCEPTABLE if I decide to return them to the store. It gives me chills thinking about this.

I guess I have more to say than I had initially thought. I’m just trying to take it all in while I can, at the same time taking care of everything I want to take care of, see everyone I want to see, eat all I want to eat, work on what I need to for work and still have time to just kick back and relax.

*big sigh*

Less Days to America

Wednesday, July 8th, 2009

Hoo-ee! It is whacked weather week in Riga. Saturday we had sun and relatively warm weather perfect for sitting on the beach and watching people face-plant from their blow-up water floaties into the sand. Hey, call me mean, but had you been sitting on your inflatable banana in the water like you’re supposed to, maybe you wouldn’t be nursing plastic burn and spitting rock dust.

Of course, after the wonderful weather we had Saturday, Sunday through Tuesday was straight up dumb. Monday Riga sat under a swirl of blue and black clouds, while I sat at work with a building pressure headache. It’s now Wednesday and it never did rain. However, I did get a nap in yesterday before going to a farewell get-together at Captain Enrico’s Watch for yet another friend going back home to North America, so I feel better. In case you were concerned.

6 a.m. tomorrow will mark exactly one week before I am able to eat delicious Chinese food and roll around tipped-over shelves of Barnes & Noble merchandise. And by that I mean hug my parents, cuddle the pets and spend time with family. I’ve been meaning to make a list of the things I need to take with me (mostly presents – obviously. I’m a gifting maniac), as well as a list of things I absolutely need to bring BACK with me. One of the top things on the list is my violin.

Interestingly enough, I recently realised that not having my violin around has made my sense of “musical hearing” pretty average. Before it was genius, like the hearing of every other person who has spent their lives from 4th grade to senior year of college in orchestras or bands. In high school we would sit in the orchestra rehearsal room during breaks and play with the tuners:

“A! Do A!”
“Ayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy! Hahaha okay okay, now you! Do G, do G!”
“Geeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee! Hahaha!”
“Ooh ooh, watch this! Beeeeeeeeee!”

Etc., etc. We would call out notes, have one person sing it and watch as the indicator light glowed a happy green because we were always spot on. I tried playing with the tuner on the Apple programme Garage Band a few days ago and was dismayed to see that my As and Gs were all over the place. I’m exaggerating, yes, but fact is, my musical whatevers has gone from highly skilled to plain average. This worries me. So the violin must must must be brought back with me.

Since KLM stopped flying to Riga, I get to take a bit of a backwards trip to Warsaw before continuing to the States. On the plus side, I’ll fly in at an earlier time than had I booked through my beloved Germany. This Saturday a group of us is planning on going to the ropes course in Sigulda. I’m excited to climb on things and not be yelled at for not acting my age!

Broken Flatmates and Summer Sun

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

First off, as usual, HAPPY JULY, EVERYONE!

Today is another beautiful day in Riga, though the past few have been a bit melancholy mood wise. I’ve been having some issues with a sort of half-assed stomach virus that I finally decided to beat up with some over-the-counter medicine. I got tired of waiting for my body+all those bananas+peppermint tea to do their stuff. Also, my flatmate, Julija, tore several ligaments under and around her left kneecap, rendering her handicap-gimpy for the next month. On the plus side I’m feeling better since medicine and Julija’s knee seems to be beginning the normal healing process. As her knee is now undergoing the rainbow-effect (she is on R of the ROYG BIV spectrum).

Also sad is that our friend and temporary third flatmate, Imanta, is heading back to the States today. The apartment will be quieter and less cluttered with her gone and it will be missed. She, however, gets to go to the Latvian Song and Dance Festival in Hamilton. So the sad feeling is accompanied by a little jealousy. Also the cat will miss her.

I have also hopped on the www.twitter.com bandwagon and can have my tweets viewed online here. I don’t know why I did this, but I’ve done it anyway.

At the end of this week I’m planning on dropping off three to four bags of clothes at either the Latvian branch of the Salvation Army or a recently opened place called Otra elpa (Second Breath or Second Wind). Otra elpa provides the advantages of being closer in distance to my apartment and being open on Saturdays, which means that I don’t have to drag bags of used clothing and shoes to work and THEN off to somewhere else.

A good motivator for cleaning out my closet was to a) get rid of clothes that are now too big for me, b) take inventory so I know what I need to buy (if anything) and what I should be kept far away from and c) if I need to buy something, to know what will be bought when I’m back in the States for two weeks at the end of July.

Oh yes, that’s right. In two weeks I’ll be back in the states, strolling through target with a Caribou Coffee to-go cup in hand, wondering why everyone around me isn’t dressed like Euro-trash.

I’ve already got a list of items I definitely want to bring back to Latvia — or ship if my suitcases will be too full — as well as a list of things I really want to do or see when I’ve got time off from work (yep, these two weeks will not be vacation weeks, which means I get to practise nutso sleeping regimes and keep tabs on the European part of my life):

-eat at China Tiger, probably the best Chinese restaurant I have ever, ever been to. If I ever go to China, I don’t know if this would change.
-eat at Chipotle. I miss “Mexican” food. The most “Mexican” we get here are the nachos at Tequila Boom.
-drink Caribou Coffee beverages+soy milk until I piss myself (pissing optional).
-eat a Wendy’s Frosty with Wendy’s french fries.
-eat a salad at any of the following: Appleby’s, Chilli’s, Olive Garden, etc. Repeat.
-two words: Outlet mall.
-maybe make it up to Duluth/Two Harbours. Sit for a few hours collecting pebbles and glass.
-go to book stores and have heated arguments with myself about why I should/shouldn’t buy 20lbs of reading material.
-eat a Texas doughnut from Cub Foods or Rainbow.
-drink a Vanilla Coke.
-drink anything Canada Dry.
-tip over racks of merchandise at Target, Barnes & Noble, Best Buy. Roll around said merchandise in rapture until I am pulled out of the store in a euphoric state of dead-weight.
-one word: Uptown.
-one word: Dinkytown.
-etc., etc., etc.

I haven’t mentioned all of the family-related things because, duh, those are at the top of my list. Even before China Tiger. I don’t care if you believe me or not. I honestly can’t WAIT to stack firewood for my grandparents. Sweet, sweet, physical labour!