Hi, I’m Deena. I live in Latvia.
I live in Latvia!
Saying that- even thinking it- is going to take a while to sink in. But after our first twenty-four hours in Riga, I’m pretty sure I’ll get used to it soon enough. We have found ourselves in a stunning city where centuries-old architecture and German-influenced facades stand tall along cobble-stoned streets and the edge of the Daugava River. A former Soviet Union republic, Latvia is a small country with great beauty, as evidenced by its capital city of around 700,000 people.
M., Frieda, and I arrived in beautiful Riga yesterday afternoon. We were greeted with sunny skies, cool temperatures, and our very kind and friendly social sponsor, K. Our journey was long, and although we were more than a little worried about how our Frieda would handle the flight, our travels were about as smooth as could be, and Frieda was well taken care of by Lufthansa’s excellent pet-friendly team. We were able to see her being loaded on to our connecting flight to Riga during our layover in Frankfurt, Germany. She arrived on the conveyor belt in Riga in her little house (our affectionate name for her crate) just as we arrived at baggage claim. All wiggles, she seemed to have tolerated the journey well.
Shortly after we checked in to the hotel where we will be staying for a few weeks until our permanent housing is ready, we went for a walk along the Daugava River to get some fresh air and stretch our legs.
Following our walk, we took a short nap and then met K. again for a walk around Old Riga and dinner. We meandered through Old Riga’s narrow, cobblestone streets as K. helped orient us to our new home city. Old Riga on our first Friday night in spring was a mix of artists selling their hand-made goods, a band of young men performing classic 80s rock music, people of all ages dining outside for the first time since last summer, and a group of Hare Krishnas dancing through the street… a little bit of everything.
We managed to stay awake until about 10:00 pm, and following a good night’s rest, were ready for our first run in Riga and a day of exploring. Our run took us along the west side of the river and through the quiet streets of the neighborhood where we will be living in a few weeks. Seeing our future home in person made us very excited!
After our run, we met K. and his wife, H. (who writes a wonderful travel blog with hundreds of gorgeous photos), for a walk through one of Riga’s markets. As we walked, we heard a fairly even mix of Latvian and Russian being spoken around us. So far, everyone whom we’ve encountered has been warm and friendly, and many people seem to know at least some English. Even Frieda came out with us and enjoyed sniffing around her new surroundings.
Our first full day in Riga has left us feeling full of wonder and gratitude to be here. I can’t wait to get to know this city and its people more each day as it begins to feel like more like home and less like a short-lived vacation, because now… I live in Latvia!
Thank you for reading!