Eighty Days and Trying Not to Count

IMG_6925With spring finally upon us (though not without a snow shower here and there) and nearly four months since my last post, our remaining days in Latvia are numbered. Eighty days remain, to be exact… enough time, in the eyes of Jules Verne, to circumnavigate the world, but not nearly enough time for me to reach the point of feeling ready to leave this beautiful place that has come to feel like home. Having never truly had a place I’d consider home, at least in the sense of a hometown or a simple answer to the question “Where are you from?”, it holds great meaning that Riga – which I knew almost nothing about before M. was assigned to work here – has become such a place of comfort. Indeed, I will miss it. We’ll be heading back to the U.S. for about a year, and following that, on to Yekaterinburg, Russia, where many new and exciting adventures surely await.  Continue reading →

Last Latvian Summer

img_4098As the sun rises later and sets earlier with each passing day, Mother Nature announces that fall has arrived, with her crisp breezes and turning leaves. Even though autumn is my favorite season, its arrival this year is a cruel reminder that our remaining days in beautiful Latvia are quickly slipping away. With only about nine months left in our tour here in Riga, our last Baltic summer has officially come to an end. We spent a good chunk of it with family and friends who came to visit us, and proudly showed them the city and country that have become our home over the last eighteen months. We snapped countless photos along the way so that we could forever cherish the true wonder that is summer in Latvia. Here are 50 of my favorites.  Continue reading →

A Run through the Woods: Cesis ECO Trail 81K

IMG_4613If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.

This quote, from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., became my mantra yesterday as I navigated my way through Latvia’s beautiful Gauja National Park at the Cēsis ECO Trail 81K race. And though I could never fly, I ran as fast I could when I could and walked when I needed to. And, at times, I even crawled, just to keep moving forward to the finish line.  Continue reading →

Baskets, Wool, and Wood: Latvia’s Biggest Folk Art Fair

IMG_3648Every year on the first weekend of June, Riga’s Ethnographic Open Air Museum hosts its applied arts fair, the largest of its kind in the country. Visitors can stroll through a forest dense with tall trees in search of just about any type of handmade craft. From paintings and hand-knit woolen socks to wrought iron hooks and amber jewelry, there is something for just about everyone. Goods made of wood, ranging from children’s toys to furniture, abound, as do hand-woven baskets of all shapes and sizes.  Continue reading →

Autumn Sunrise Over Riga

IMG_2056There is nothing quite like lacing up my shoes and zipping up my wind jacket in the dark, early hours of an October morning to head out for a crisp run on empty streets, hearing only the rhythm of my footsteps and breathing as the sun rises in bright shades of pink, orange and yellow. Indeed, runs like this are one of my favorite things about autumn. Having a vacation from work this week has allowed me to have several runs alongside the sunrise in the last few days, and the views have been absolutely spectacular.  Continue reading →