Fortnight of Culture

Fortnight of Culture

I was going to write a post last week about our cultural activities, but time is what it is and lo, here I am at the end of May pondering existence on a Monday afternoon. Enjoy! Tvīda brauciens: Tweed Ride Riga 12 May 2018 A few months ago, Rita and Anna brought up the idea …

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Labor Day Vacation

Labor Day Vacation

Labor Day: Latvian (and Lithuanian) Style In the United States, Labor Day is celebrated on the first Monday of September, and it is typically the end of summer. However, in most other countries, May 1 is the traditional day to recognize the importance of labor movements throughout history. In Latvia, Rita, Anna and I had …

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Trams 2017-2018

Trams 2017-2018

WARNING! This is likely to be the most boring thing I have ever written. DEDICATION: I dedicate this to my older brother, Paul, who loves data and odd collections of numbers and bits of information that others might not think twice about. I live a few blocks away from the Turgenev tram stop, and tram …

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Easter: Lieldienas

Easter: Lieldienas

Priecīgas Lieldienas! Happy Easter! I love that “lieldienas” literally translates to “Big Day!” I have spent the last few days soaking in some of the traditions of the Latvian version of this Christian holiday with lots of pagan influences. Let us just break down Holy Week from my perspective. I want to preface this, however, …

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March 16

March 16

16. Marts I just read a pretty good explanation of this holiday here… so I don’t need to completely rehash it. The basic idea is that this is a Veteran’s Day march for the specific group of Latvians who fought in World War II. The problem, of course, is that those men who were drafted …

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Latvian Dentist: Zobārsts

Latvian Dentist: Zobārsts

14 March 2018 The Dentist Before I left America, I went to all of my doctors to make sure everything was okay while I still had insurance. After seven months and some prodding, I decided it was time to visit a Latvian dentist. For some reason, getting back injections and having my ears cleaned here …

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Žetonvakars

Žetonvakars

What is “žetonvakars”? The closest translations seems to be “badge night.” Don’t worry if you haven’t heard of it. I will do my best to explain another new Latvian tradition I have learned about since moving here! I first heard about this celebration,  a month or so ago when my colleague and I were planning …

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Daugavpils: Part 2

Daugavpils: Part 2

11.2.18 We all got off the tram at the last stop in an empty part of the city after we had purchased breakfast items at a local supermarket. We followed our leader down a path and through a tunnel. The fortress was not immediately evident. Then we came to another tunnel that turned out to …

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Daugavpils: Part 1

Daugavpils: Part 1

10.2.18 For those of you who don’t know, Daugavpils is Latvia’s second largest city and is sometimes thought of as the most Russian city in Latvia. According to Wikipedia, it is over 50% Russian. As I look at the Wikipedia page, I am struck by the complete desertion of the city from 1920-1950 when the …

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Nameja Gredzens: The Pagan King

Nameja Gredzens: The Pagan King

The Pagan King I finally saw it! This is the Big Movie for Latvia’s 100th anniversary! It is named Nameja Gredzens in Latvian and for some reason, they translated it to “The Pagan King” in English. The Namejs ring is a common symbol for Latvians, and many of my Latvian American acquaintances. It was my …

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