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.
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!