Latvia in Winter 2016: Epilogue

Latvia in Winter 2016: Epilogue

The Epilogue

Lovely Bridge

In some cases, this might be called the “What did we learn?” segment. I think epilogue is appropriate. I wrote most of this on the plane as I flew home next to a hyperactive little kid and a father trying his best to be patient. Writing was therapeutic. Now I’m editing listening to jazz, drinking a Lucky Bucket Snowsuit beer, and chatting with Vitauts as he finds ways to keep busy on a lazy Saturday afternoon. I hope your day is just as nice.


On the trip to the airport on Friday morning, Bruno told me about a time that he and John Grinberg were walking in Washington D.C. at night, and the policeman told them they couldn’t walk at night. Bruno understood that the cop was just trying to protect them, but John felt like it was an invasion. I think I’m on John’s side, but I can see it both ways. He also asked, “So Clinton had more votes than Trump, yes?” Yes, I said. “But Trump wins? How is it so? Strange rules you have. It is hard for me to understand.” Yes, I said, me too.

Later, on the plane from Riga to Amsterdam, I met a really cool fashion designer from Chicago who had married a Latvian woman and was visiting her and his new daughter. Nigerian by birth, educated in Britain, he had a unique and wonderful perspective on life, and we talked the entire trip. We agreed that Latvia and Europe had a lot to teach America about culture and doing things right instead of just doing them fast for a quick profit. His final thought was that we are a young country, and we’ll just have to see how it all turns out, but we think it’s going in the right direction, in terms of culture and not politics.

Sunrise from plane

I told him how I had seen a wolf in Latvia after he told me about a hunting trip he went on with the hunting club in Rauna. I explained that the vilks (wolf) was my mother’s spirit animal, and I felt like she had something to say to me. He was flabbergasted, and said that he had a birthday recently, and that he was reborn as a wolf. I was confused, and then he pulled out this really nifty mask that one of his friends had made for him. It was, indeed, a wolf. Fate. Chance. Circumstances. Life is a never ending sequence of wow.

Sunrise in Amsterdam

Then, as fate would have it, while waiting for the flight to Chicago, I was in line for my boarding pass, and the woman in front of me was complaining about how she had to make a second stop for the boarding pass. I heard her say Air Baltic in her perfectly American accent, and so I asked her where she was coming from. Latvia! Another American in Latvia in winter? Actually, it turned out that although she was born in Chicago to immigrant parents, like me, she had married a Latvian after college and was living and working there. Gee, how cool. She also knew Uldis Cepure, my cousin who was a pastor at the Latvian Church in Chicago. She remembered him fondly as the kind of person you weren’t afraid to just go up and talk to because he was gentle and kind. That’s Uldis for you.

How do I get so lucky? Why do I keep meeting awesome people who have so much to offer me? Obi, the fashion designer put it to me this way, when I asked him the same question. It’s an energy you have inside of you. And if your energy is positive and open, it invites people to share and want to be around you. When you have a negative energy, then people don’t want to be around you, and you don’t have these experiences.


This is really something to remember as I get ready to go back to work, which I consider to have lots of negativity in terms of the system and some of the Debbie Downers (usually I can point that finger right at myself). But at my desk I have a sign that says, “Stay Positive,” and as long as I can keep Bruno, Ansis, Monta, Gita, Rita, Dace, Anita, Obi, Renata, Janis, Mara, Juris, and all of the rest of the wonderful people and places I experiences in my mind, I think that staying positive will be simple. Easy as torte. 

Signs in lights


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