Archive for the ‘Latvia’ Category

A special kind of humor

September 7, 2007

I just spotted a hilarious entry in the world’s freest encyclopedia. It gave me a very sentimental feeling, but I couldn’t stop laughing for quite a while.  They do have a very special kind of humor. Even in Latvia they know it, although there are some arguments between Latvians and Russians…

It’s time to go

June 28, 2007

Finally, my time in Latvia is over. Tomorrow at 2 o’ clock the airplane goes to Berlin over Frankfurt and I won’t ever be able to come back …. okay, just a joke … so be prepared, I will be back!

It’s ice cold now

January 24, 2007

Of course it’s not that cold – usually it should be a helluva lot colder at this time of the year in Latvia. Still, it is cold enough for snow (unfortunately there isn’t any yet) and in my opinion it doesn’t need to get any colder.

Still, I wonder whether this could be called a real latvian winter. Probably not.

Today I had to do a bit of leg work and I was glad I had my ocassionally working iPod with me – music is very usefull to distract from the cold.

NATO in Riga

November 23, 2006

This weekend takes the NATO meeting place in Riga. I’m very interested, for several reasons, altough I have never been a person very interested in politics, but I have never been that near and an active observer to a political event in this size.

First, one of the topics will probably be the Afganisthan mission.  And of course the German part in it. Likely, other countries as Canada, Britain or Danmark will request a more active participation of the German troops. This would include combat operations which would be, if approved,  a truning point in history of the Federal German Republic, because our troops haven’t ever been induldged in offical combat operations since WWII. Even most Germans see the army more as a kind of better police than as actual fighters.

Besides these politics, large parts of Rīga won’t be accesible at all, just for pedestrians or only partly for traffic. I’m not sure, wether puplic transport from the west side of the Daugava to the east side (and Oldtown/Vēcrīga) is allowed or not. If not, it would be very difficult for me to get there … not to mention that I have no idea if there is anything to go there. I think the cinema is accesible by feet, but I can’t say it for sure.

So I’ll see what will happen the weekend and the following three holidays. Hope I won’t have to sit all the time at home…

Patriotism and Independent Day

November 19, 2006

Yesterday was the Independent Day of Latvia. I knew in the back of my mind, that this day was somehow special,  of course it was written everywhere the days ago.

I was going to help painting the walls in my hostdad’s office. Still I got some hints all the time, but they weren’t hints to me that time, only now when I think back. First, the radio broadcasted some a service and it was the first time I could understand anything in the radio. At bridges, the lanterns were decorated with national flags. It even crossed my mind that this was a sign of patriotism you wouldn’t ever see in Germany, but I still didn’t got what it was all about.

A bit later, we were tough working, someone called me and asked wether I would watch the parade. Which parade? Hey, dude, it’s the Independent Day and that’s why there is a big parade! It finally dawned on me. Unfortunately I couldn’t watch anything, but the flying helicopters holding large national flags.

Later I still managed to pay a visit to Old Riga. Can’t remember to see it so crowded. At some place (how is it called again?) there were screens showing pictueres during a speech resounding from large speakers. People handed out national flags made from paper, I managed to get one!

A lot of Russians were present to, a lot of drunk people too (not only Russians) varying from dizzy to dead drunk. The latest mostly Russians as far as I could see, I have to admit. And, of course a lot of police too. I didn’t read the papers (or better: read the headlines, because that’s usually all I am able to understand) yet, bet as long as we have been there, nothing bad happened.

At around 9 p.m. people wandered to the river to see the firework and there it was really crowded now. The firework was the 2nd best firework I ever saw and the other one had been the one for the LNT (Latvian TV channel) birthday. Actually, I think both firework were pretty much the same, just yesterday there were speakers playing music and it was more foggy and wind blewing all the smoke in the wrong direction, towards the audience.

To draw the balance, it was very interesting. I have never sawn such a patriotic event in Germany and even the atmosphere during and shortly after the World Cup this year didn’t reached the patriotism yesterday at all. And I’m pretty sure Germans won’t ever be able to develope this kind of patriotism.

Still alive in Latvia and some random side notes

November 4, 2006

First, I think I should say something about my residence in Latvia. Hey, I’m here, I’m glad (also I kinda injured my knee and can’t walk for a while – time to blog), I’m fine. I’m very happy that I happen to be in Latvia.

More maybe, later first I wanted to complain.

I wanted to create a blog like this. WTF? Another blog? Yeah, a blog like this. So what could I mean? A blog like this, where the main point is not what I write, or for whom I write, or about what I write, but the language I write in. I mainly started this blog to train my English and to improve my language skills. I think I achieved that goal. At least I had fun.

Now I’m going to start a blog in Latvian. Okay, most of you won’t be able to understand anything (or is any Latvian reader out there? That would be so fucking forš (Latvians will understand)), the problem I had and I wanted to complain about are the names. First, I wanted a short and easy to memorize domain name (yeah, some marketing ideas stuck in my mind, Michael). Second a name that rocks. Third it should fit to the topic (which topic?) – at least fit somehow. Conclusion: Something short in Latvian that makes sense. Didn’t found anything.

Okay, so something else. I thought how I figured out the name of this blog (while I’m writing this, I got a new idea … hey, not bad!). Nickname. I’ve got some kind of nick name in Latvia. It’s Jons, because Latvian male names always and with ‘s’ (when they checked the names of all the exchange students here in Latva, the first comment I got was: “Oh, it’s a guy!”).

This blog name was already in use. I tried other combinations. And more. And more. In the end there were like 3 to 5 brilliant, genious domain names, didn’t worth a centims (smallest Latvian coin). Why? Because the domain names were already in use. My problem, why I’m furious is not, that the domain names were in use. I have no problem with that. They claimed the blog names first. The problem I have, is that the blogs belonging to the domain names aren’t in use!!! Not at all. Not a single post.

Hey people, I encourage you to blog. All of you. But you should decide wether you continue blogging before you register your domain name!!

Okay, that’s actually all. Fuck, I forget the idea I had.

Oh, and two more comments to wordpress and the wordpress people: Fuck, I love you! All of you! Can you read my mind? First, you have now the possibility (only condition is you have a domain) to select your domain for your wordpress blog! In combination with the option to buy a customizable CSS layout, wordpress.com offers now a really cheap alternative to hosting your own blog! Second, this is actually the first post, that is auto saved by wordpress! Great. Saved at 0:52:38. Uh, it’s getting late!

A few more things to Latvia. For those of you, who didn’t knew, I live in Riga, the capital of Latvia. Riga is great city, I loved it from the first moment. Although I was a little shocked at the beginning: Riga displays a huge contrast to the viewers eyes. Old, fucked up houses and in between a few new, modern buildings, nearly like villas, endless high skyscrapers. Same for the people: Old people in worn clothes waiting for the bus together with the young businessman in a new stylish suit.

The Oldtown of Riga is fantastic. Of course it’s aimed at tourists, but all the clubs, pubs, cafes and restaurants are great.

School is different, but I like it. And little by little, I’m getting used to all these crying small children, the terrible noise and that you need to shout if you want to have a conversation.

My host family is great too, the only problems I have to encounter are my host dad’s dislikes of many things I so damn enjoy. Like going out to Vecriga … But still I’m having a helluva life here!!!

Edit: Until, now the new Latvian blog has a domain! Maybe I’ll change it and move the content to another domain, if I happen to find a better one. Of course I appreciate  suggestions!

I’m leaving

August 18, 2006

This night I’ll be leaving for Latvia. I fly from Düsseldorf to Frankfurt and then to Riga. My hostfamily will wait there. Huh! I’m kinda nervous now.

Btw: WordPress.com has some new awesome features. Example? My current post got just auto saved. Try the pages around the dashboard. A comment and tag tracker. Hilarious!

Peace, I’m out. See or read or write you soon (hopefully, at least).

News from Latvia

June 21, 2006

I finally got my hostfamily!!!

They live in the middle of Riga. That's exactly what I hope for. It's unbelievable. My hostdad is independet, my hostmom works in the pharmacy sector. I've got three brothers at the age of sixteen, thirteen and six. 

I don't no any more yet, but I'll surely contact them the next days.  

Type it easy

May 10, 2006

English is, as far as I know, the most used language to communicate in the internet. Due to the fact that English is also often used by scientists, the internet was from sratch on in English. I would suggest that other languages came later, with the increasing number of normal users.

And I think for this reason, the Internet talking English, English will be the most spoken language instead of Chinese by the time global access to the web has increased.

But back to typing: I had recently a few chat conversations in French and I wrote mails in French. And it was much more difficult than writing something in English (not to mention German). Of course, my French is ways worser than my English. But this is just one reason.

Unlike English French has a variety of special characters, like à, é, è, â, ô or c with a cedilla (I would need the windows charmap to show it – I think with a German keyboard configuration it's not possible to insert it). And I think most other languages have those special characters with Macrons, Carons, Cedillas or however you call these little additions to a regualer character. Scandinavian languages have it (I learned Finish for a while and it was very annoying to learn it due to these characters), Latvian has quite a huge number and you could long this list as long as you want.

German, has some special characters too, for example ä, ö, or ü. Although, I can type these characters as easy as any other. But of course only because I'm used to it. I don't know, how difficult are these characters for non native speakers (writers)? Maybe with another keyboard language? I don't know if similiar conventions exist in other languages, but in German you can alternatively use ae instead of ä, oe for ö and so on which solves the problem. 

English is an easy language. And the lack of special characters makes it even more easier. Any keyboard in the world should be usable to type English without having to change the keyboard language. (Don't they? I don't know how Chinese keyboards look like ;-) ) I didn't tried it yet, but I am very excited how easy/difficult it'll be to type Latvian. 

I’m going to Latvia

February 13, 2006

Yes, from summer on I am going to be one year abroad: In Latvia. It still don’t know where it will be exactly nor do I speak any word Latvian. If I had the possibility to learn some Latvian I would do so, but I think it would be interesting too to get into a country and understand noone. But I’m not the only one: A lot of my friends and classmates will be abroad too, one in Canada, on in Swiss, one in the United States, Ecuador, Israel … all around the world.