Rigas Diena #16: Au Revoir Riga!

And so it ends! After 9 months in Riga, my expat experience in the baltic region will have an end next June. That´s right, after arriving in Latvia October last year, me and A. are saying goodbye to this beautiful city. Now – I believe -, it is the right time to do an evaluation!

In one word, I would describe this experience as challenging: to start, a challenge for us to survive to the coldest climate we ever had, facing for more than 3 months negative temperatures but also those depressive days with just a few hours of daylight.

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It was the longest winter of our lives! And it was tough: trying to find a place to socialize with other people or just togetherness among latvians.

Latvians, or better saying, the locals were our second challenge. It would be easy to say that latvians are, in general, cold by nature. To be honest, I have met and talked with the nicest people all over the country.

However, I believe the cold weather has a direct effect in their way to socialize with strangers: thanks to the severe climate, there are not many foreigners in Latvia and so the locals are not familiarized with them.

In my opinion, Riga is a peripheric city that is still stuck in its soviet period. While I have noticed Tallin a very cosmopolitan capital, with many expats and backpackers stopping by, the latvian capital is more closed and uninteresting to live so many months: music shows and cinema festivals are rare throughout the year.

I believe, however, Riga was a decent city to use as base to discover the baltic region. Plus, I had the chance to work in Latvia and broaden my skills, discovering new ways to face and solve problems. In fact, in Latvia I learned how to become more pragmatic and self-centered.

So, I consider positive this expat experience in Riga. It made me realize that, even if I thought I was very open-minded, until then I still had not truly faced and lived in a culture so different from mine. I must admit, Riga became part of my life.

Me and A. will start soon a new experience, this time in France. Follow us there!

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7 responses to “Rigas Diena #16: Au Revoir Riga!

  1. I’m so impressed by your willingness to live in such a different climate and culture. I realize you’re well into your other adventures but this post popped up in my inbox and I wanted to comment. Cheers!

    • dear Tracy, thank you for your comment 🙂 I’m always ready for new experiences and, to be honest, Riga became (so far) the most ‘exotique’ experience 🙂 latvian way of living and local culture is trully different from mine and from everything I was used… but that’s perfect, if I was doing these experiences to live the same as in Portugal I would never leave my country right? eheh cheers PedroL

  2. I haven’t think about Latvian nature be cold, but you are right, even I’m Latvian, I have to admit that made me easier to settle in the UK because here people definitely more open and worker, even with their British character. Good luck with your new challenge and don’t tell Latvians that they are colder, but you are absolutely right.

    • dear Inese, thank you so much for your comment 🙂 I’m glad you read my impressions about living in Latvia! maybe I didn’t explain well but it wasn’t my intention to say that latvians are cold. what I think is that because Latvia is still an unfamiliar country to the most of the travellers and expats, I had the impressions that people in Latvia are not used to welcome foreigners. compared to Tallin, for example, where there is a bigger expat community and a lot of tourists, the convivence with locals seemed to me more natural and harmonious. but, as I wrote in my chronicle, I met amazing people and made a few good friends 🙂 Riga (and Latvia) will remain forever in my memory and I’m sure I’ll return there someday. I came with good memories and, the most important thing, I can say I’ve lived in a totally different culture from mine (Portugal). regards and thank you again Inese 🙂 PedroL

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