This Global Home | Day 31: Latvia


Sveiki, everyone! It’s Melissa, whom you may know from Taking Route Podcast and it’s my turn to show you around my place here in Riga, Latvia. I just moved from Southeast Asia just five months ago and I am now basically living a polar opposite lifestyle to the one I had been living for the past 12 years. We were on a little, remote island in the tropics (hot!), Now we’re in the capitol city of one of the baltic countries (cold!). I ate rice there, I eat potatoes here. There I was a giant, white person there who stuck out like a sore thumb, now my white skin blends in and I am towered over by some of the tallest women in the world! Aaaaaanyway, you get the idea. I absolutely love it here and am happy to show you my new digs!

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Before we moved to Riga, we were asked by our friends, who were apartment shopping for us, what area we would like to live in. My answer was, “I want to live in the center of it all!” And that’s exactly where we are. I love, love, love city life. I love going downstairs and coming out to a bustling street filled with trolleybuses and people, cafes, cafes, and more cafes. Our apartment is tucked in a little and our windows don’t face the busy street so it's nice and quiet in our third floor apartment.

Most apartment buildings only have five floors but ours has six and there are only two apartments on each floor. I thought I’d have these rock-hard legs from all the stair climbing I now do but I guess it’s just not meant to be. We actually now have a key to a small elevator that can fit about two people but I only use it if I have a lot of groceries to haul upstairs.

In Southeast Asia everything was covered in tile. So having real, wood floors is especially exciting. The building is very old and the floors creak in spots, but we’ve gotten used to it. Pretty much all the furniture belongs to my landlord. When we left Southeast Asia, we got rid of everything. So, we are basically starting all over and we have very little to work with. I’m learning how to “accessorize” our, shall we say, less than attractive items.

I looooove my little kitchen. It was recently updated and it’s very functional. I was a little concerned when I saw how small the refrigerator and pantry were but I quickly learned that when you don’t own a car, then daily shopping is a part of this kind of life. No bulk shopping here, people! It’s only what I can carry back from the store, which is about a ten minute walk away. We had guests over three days ago and my arms are STILL hurting from trying to carry home enough to cook for all 11 people. I keep telling myself all this exercise is cheaper than a gym membership.

This apartment has one toilet, which I was kinda like, "uh oh." But the great thing they did here was to separate the toilet from the shower so it’s really not that bad. If someone needs to shower, then someone else can still use the toilet. And I don’t mind telling you, since we moved from Southeast Asia, we don’t have as many, ahem, stomach issues -- so fighting over one toilet is not a problem.

You guys, I am so brilliant. Or at least I think so. We don’t have a dryer and we can’t dry our clothes outside so I placed our drying rack next to a portable heater with a fan blowing on it. So on a good day, our clothes can dry in only 10 hours. Psht. Who needs a fancy dryer??

I have two boys and their shared room is right off the family room. It’s constantly a disaster in there so I try not to go in because a) I’ll just get super irritable, and nobody wants that. b) I don’t want to break my neck stepping on all the legos strewn about. And c) it smells like boys. Not pictured is my other son’s bed which is just behind me.

My daughter’s room is not technically a room but an alcove. It’s sectioned off by a heavy curtain from a little hallway where I dry the clothes.

And here it is! The place where I lay my head every night and think about all the bajillion new words I gotta learn in language class everyday—my bedroom. I really like our bedroom. We actually just got a new bed two days ago so the one you are looking at is about to go bye-bye and not a moment too soon. The bed pictured is a "soviet style” bed, as they call it here, because it's actually two twin mattresses pushed together. It wasn’t so comfortable and has lot of mystery stains all over it -- most being vodka. My landlord tells me the previous tenants liked to drink in bed.

Well, thanks for stopping by! Come to Riga if you’re ever in the area. They say its Europe’s best-kept secret and I completely agree!