Time is Different in Latvia

Time is Different in Latvia


I think I have mentioned this before, but one big difference that I have felt but been unable to express is that Time is different here. I was talking with a colleague this morning, trying to explain what I meant, but it is so hard to describe in rational terms because we all know that time is relative. Time for you is different than time for me. Time here or there, however, should be constant, shouldn’t it?

But I continually find myself in time warps. Right now, for example, I am sitting at my desk in the classroom during our lunch break. The lunch break is only forty minutes long. I went downstairs, bought a piece of pizza bread and juice, came back upstairs, ate it in another room. Then I walked back to my classroom expecting the bell to ring soon. NO! I still have 15 minutes left, and this is after sitting at my desk preparing my lessons for the next two classes. It is like there are these bubbles of time in Latvia, and you find yourself floating, like Glinda, in your own magical bubble as the world goes on around you.

This is not the first time I have felt this way. I remember now, writing about how time is different. Mornings seem to last forever, and this is also true. Maybe there is some compression theory when you go from a country that is so large and has so many people to a much smaller place, there is some kind of actual mental compression that happens to you. You idea of time and social structures is out of balance because you are not bombarded by 350 million thoughts in the same general space. Okay, so this idea is going to get a bit wacky, but what if that is true? What if we are affected and impacted by our collective thoughts. I am no longer in the hive of the United States of America, but in a new hive with far fewer bees. So what if this allows me to slow down, reform my thoughts, to process less and to feel like there is more time to do everything?

Maybe it is like Superman. He came from a planet with a red sun, and now the yellow sun gives him these super powers. It could be true, couldn’t it? I am not saying I have super powers or anything, but it does feel like everything is different. Rice cooks faster. My tomato sauce is ready almost instantly. I can ride my bike from one end of Riga to the other in no time at all. It takes me five minutes to commute by bike from my flat to school. The same commute in Omaha left me sweaty, breathless, and took at least 30 minutes. I am not making this up.

Time is so strange, that I started writing this post a few days ago, and it feels like it has only been a few minutes. So much happens, and yet, the compression effect can seem to work both ways. Did it take me three hours to make coffee this morning? I think it did. But it is all relative, I think.

Today, I rode my bike home from the Depo. I found this shortcut under the bridge and followed this punk rock dude. I caught up to him and asked if he liked punk rock. He replied, “I don’t like it, I am it.” He didn’t like any of the bands I like, but faster, more thrasher/metal punk. We talked for about six seconds, and suddenly I looked around and asked, “Where am I?” I swear, I some how rode about 10 blocks out of my way in the time it took to ask him two questions. I looked at my map and had no idea which way I was going. Distortion. Time. Distance. All of it loses meaning when you are here.

I think I have said all I need to say, and I do not have any photos to show time other than a screenshot of a map and some other photos I took today as the rain pelted me.

Be free in your thinking. Allow yourself to wander and wonder. Consider all possibilities.

Side note: The same word is used in Latvia for time and weather… “Laiks.” Go figure. What does it mean? I don’t know. I just know I got rained on today.


Random photos!




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