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RightNation.US: Goodbye India and Hello Riga, Latvia! - RightNation.US

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Yes, you read that right! We're moving to Europe and are going to be calling Riga, Latvia our home for at least (that's the plan) the next 18 months. My husband's company has (yet again) restructured (hopefully last time for a long time) and my husband got "restructured" right out of a position here (not performance based--he was doing great). That meant that we had to leave and find a job somewhere else. In today's economy, it was a daunting task. We had a few areas of interest (both Nairobi, Kenya and Lagos, Nigeria were possibilities for a while) but when those fizzled out, Latvia showed up. What's funny is that I have researched most of the world (where the company is represented) and not once did I look at the Baltics! The closest I came was to Gdynia, Poland and the office there a couple years ago. Latvia is a pleasant surprise and I welcome calm and quiet for this next post.

The stress has begun as I've started the pre-packing/sorting/tossing out garbage papers etc.,. process and on Monday, the contract packers will be at the apartment. Of course there's (yet another) Indian holiday on Tuesday, so we have to do packing/moving on Mon, Wed and hope to end on Thursday. We will move back to the apartment hotel we stayed in when first arriving probably from next Wednesday night until we fly out early on the 25th. Fortunately, I've done this a few times now so it's not going to be too bad, but it's more the upheaval of going from hotel to Denmark (going for a 10 day visit) then to Riga and another few weeks in a hotel. Maybe if we're lucky, we can find a furnished house to stay in. The homes are very reasonably priced, but of course, we have to wait to see location, location, location.

There are 2 international schools in the Riga area. One in Jurmala (link has nice pictures) which is a 40 min drive out of the city center, but is a beautiful beach community. The 2nd school is located on Kipsala--an island in the river Daugava that flows through this beautiful city.

You can check out a lovely site here of general information/photos: Latvia Tourism




Winter will be quite a new experience after 4 years of living in the tropics! Neither of my kids has seen snow.

The history of Latvia is very interesting and I can continue my reading on Soviet-style Communism (currently reading The Gulag Archipelago Vol 1). Latvians are finally a majority in their country after Soviet occupation, and so learning some basic Latvian (versus Russian) will be necessary. Young people may speak English, but I read outside of Riga, don't expect much. Oh, well. It's still Europe and I can learn! Being 1hr and 15min from Copenhagen via airplane is great when we get to live as full expats (school, housing, car etc). Plus, my youngest will be 3 and I'll be sending him to the school come August so I will actually get some time alone! Oh, to be alone in my own house......*sigh*

All in all we are thrilled to be going. India has been a fascinating, but exhausting experience. While I don't regret coming, we are so.ready.to.leave. Mumbai is a barely inhabitable city with the horrific traffic, stunning filth, and insanely overpopulated. I get claustrophobic constantly being surrounded by 1000 people on my block sitting, standing, walking, spitting, peeing in my neighborhood alone. Then add oxen, dogs and crows and you want to start screaming. Quite frankly, it makes me edgy and if it weren't for Waterstones, the club we belong to and oasis in this concrete jungle, it would have been a very long year. Unfortunately, the mind-blowing ignorance/lack of common sense/lack of respect of their environment (throwing garbage everywhere) wears a person out. You can't necessarily fault people for not having any sort of education, but you can't even believe the lack of logic on display every day with people working in the shops who do have education. It's hard for the expats not to dwell on these major negatives of India because they're so in-your-face and being a tourist is nothing like being a resident.

Still, no matter what I say about how hard it is to live here, Indian food almost--almost outweighs the negatives. It's just too good. If I wanted to weigh 500lbs, I'd have eaten it all too. Yesterday I went and bought a huge amount of spices to take with me to Latvia. Somehow I doubt I'll find my favorite Bangalorian biryani spices or Kashmiri chili powder or black cardamom in Riga. Also, learning a lot about Indian history, the different communities, the different religions, and other cultural things has been very rewarding. This is a massive country with massive problems and even after experiencing the terror attack last November, I will still always have some softness for the beast called Mumbai / Bombay.

I'll try to do one more posting before we leave India, but if unable to get a hold of a computer at the hotel, I'll wait to write from Denmark. It'll be good to see the family again!

6 Comments On This Entry

Alice Kittredge, on Apr 9 2009, 05:34 PM, said:

The Gulag Archipelago confirmed what was so obvious and yet so ignored about the USSR: its utter inhumanity. Those who didn't want to see it would not listen to Solsenitzen (or anybody else) and disparaged him. And even those who saw it were shocked at the day-to-day reality as described in the Gulag. Must reading to understand the Cold War.

With all the disregard for their environment the Indians enjoy, somehow they survive from eon to eon. Populations which grow have something going for them. I say this not as a defense; more just an observation. I remember being aghast at the traffic in Cairo wondering how the populace manages to survive with such inefficiency surrounding every aspect of their lives. They can't do anything productive because they're chained in place.

You may find yourselves kind of bored in Latvia where I expect everything works and there are no suprises and you're snowed in half the year. R & R for the world travelers family Renwaa. Tnx for the fascinating update. Can't wait to hear the next chapter. Alice

edited by Renwaa for format and last name! (text was huge!) :P

Alice: I think it's going to be both the shock of clean streets not filled with garbage and people people people people--oh, was that an elephant?-people people-someone get that cow out of the way-people that will be the biggest differences. Denmark will be a short buffer of calm before calmer Riga! :sinister:
How did I miss this? Wow. My world traveling/living friend in whom I vicariously live in all parts of the world--I am thrilled for you and await more posts.

(Are you going to be politically involved in Latvia too?)
So glad your hubby found a new job. Hope the move goes well and you get settled quickly. What an adventure!

wag-a-muffin, on Apr 19 2009, 05:29 PM, said:

How did I miss this? Wow. My world traveling/living friend in whom I vicariously live in all parts of the world--I am thrilled for you and await more posts.

(Are you going to be politically involved in Latvia too?)

Hey! Sorry it took so long to come back to you. Couldn't logon to RN from the hotel for some crazy reason. Anyway, yes, I will be the new Repubs Abroad for Latvia, but didn't get someone to take over for me in India. Too many people affiliated with foreign companies where it's not a good idea to be political.

I'm in Denmark now and Mumbai seems like a dream--and we only left for the airport just over 24hrs ago. It's cold here---coming from a 95F heat, but will have to get used to the new spring weather of upper 50s instead of heat and humidity!
Exciting! I adore all those old buildings/architecture to be found in Europe. Wishing you all the best for a very smooth move and a lovely visit with your in-laws in Denmark. I'm looking forward to hearing of your Latvian adventures!
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