Reflections on Week 2
It’s just dawned on me that I’m impatient. I want things to happen now not next week or next month. Does that mean I’m a spoilt brat. I dare say my siblings would say I am. I blame my parents. It seems to be taking so long to so sort so many things out.
I still can’t tell you if we have bought a house yet. We’ve entered the negotiation stage and put in our offer, but the vendors are playing mind games with us I think and haven’t got back to us yet. Going on the premise that no news is good news, perhaps I shouldn’t worry, but it is 3 days since we placed our offer.
The big step forward this week is that I obtained my employment contract from school. So what you might ask. Well this means that I can now open a bank account, then transfer my euros from the UK, and purchase a house and car. Still have to register with immigration, but now I have my employment contract, medical record book (everyone who teaches must have one of these and have it updated every year) and foreigners medical insurance I’ll be able to do this tomorrow.
I’ve been travelling to Latvia for nearly 6 years now and it is great to see the changes taking place. When I first visited, the recession was just happening and Latvia suffered a bigger crash than many. Property developments were left unfinished and there was a general sense of doom and gloom. However although they are still not out of the woods, there are signs everywhere that the worst is behind them. Unlike many European cities Riga has many traditional old wooden buildings right in its centre, and many of these buildings are now being restored. The property sector of the economy appears to be booming, new developments appearing everywhere. If the number of Porsche Cayennes on the road is anything to go by, life is very prosperous for some in Latvia.
One worry I had about moving to Latvia, was would I be able to find a supply of reasonably priced and reasonable quality wines. Worry over, Inta and myself spent a pleasurable half hour in Eurovins in Riga and walked away with 6 bottles having only spent 33 euros. Bargain!!!!
Wandering round markets is one of my favourite past-times. So I’m in my element here as there are so many. Yesterday we discovered two, a local farmers market not far from where we are living and an artisan market in Riga called “Kalnciema Kvartalas”. What was noticeable at both markets is that there was very little imported produce. The only imported produce we saw was fruit, so if it’s not in season you can’t buy it. Soured cream and cottage cheese are two popular dairy products. My Latvian step-daughter may have a fridge full of food, but if she has no soured cream then, there is nothing to eat. It’s soured cream with everything and the higher fat content the better. It really is delicious, nothing like Tesco’s own. If you want to try something near the real stuff buy the Polish variety. Tesco’s stock it and it is labelled “kwaśna śmietanav”. Latvians use it on virtually anything and everything and instead of mayonnaise. The creativity in the artisan market was a joy to behold, everything from home-made Vodka to smoked Ostrich sausages and lots more in between. Not cheap but great quality. The vodka was excellent.
Still trying to get in to a routine. I expect that won’t happen until August when the new school year happens and we have our own house. In the meantime there is lots to look forward to; the International Choir Olympics being one of them and June 21st (Midsummers day or Ligo Diena in Latvian), when the whole of Latvia tries to get into the countryside to party.
Kalnciema kvartāls is preaty much expensive place, but definitely nice and interesting. Thing that I love to live at my place, is that live organic life is so easy. We live 20 min form Riga, at the same time, we can buy milk, egs, sour cream, cheese, vegetables from local farmers. We have different kind berry’s and mushrooms in the woods next to our house. From neighbor we buy honey, from other game meat, sausage. From local fishers smoked fish, straight from the fire. Even if have awful roads hear – there is no better place to live. I am so thankful to God for that:D. Can”t wait to show You around 😀
Great to know that you have settled in well and are throwing yourself into the Latvian way of life. I’m sure that your siblings would have said I was spoilt one !! As for you being impatient … When did that happen ?? If this property doesn’t work out there will be others just don’t go paying over the odds !! Just make sure you have enough room for visitors !! Take care and give my love to Inta !!
Hi Andrew & Inta, glad to see you arrived well and are immersing yourself in the local culture 🙂 with regards to driving beyond 3 months for UK citizens I sent you an email, hope that find you safely. Take care and look forward to speaking soon, Nick
Hey Man! Glad you start to enjoy you stay! Have you ever tried to settle the real estate deal in the UK, especially in London? The process is way much more bureaucratic than anywhere else in EU, imho. Not talking about mind games with agents, sellers, other buyers etc. Solicitors/Conveyancer are lazy worth for nothing piece of wild life…