All things come to an end, and on 5th January 2016 I arrived back in Edinburgh to have my second (or is it third?) attempt at retirement. This, therefore, is my penultimate post on latviabailey and is dedicated, with deep gratitude for their patience, to my Latvian friends and colleagues. For three years they have had to put up with my prefacing conversations with the words, ‘in the UK……’ as I have tried to process customs and practices in Latvia which are culturally unfamiliar with those that are more familiar to me. I do want to put on record that in no way have I intended to imply that things are done better in the UK than in Latvia. I’m truly sorry if that has seemed the case. It’s simply that ‘the way we do things around here’ has for me, been the way things are done in the UK which has been my reference point for most of my working life.
However, now that I’m back in Scotland my British compatriots will have to put up with my saying……yes, you’ve guessed…….’in Latvia…..’ This time, however, it will be said with a sense of nostalgia for the things I will miss about Latvia. Here are some of those things, not necessarily written in order of importance…
- …In Latvia my flat was warm all the time
- …In Latvia the shops stay open until sensible times in the evening
- …In Latvia people wear sensible clothes in the winter
- …In Latvia they eat healthy food
- …In Latvia you can tell the difference between summer and winter
- …In Latvia people make time to enjoy the summer months
- …In Latvia people enjoy strolling in parks and gardens in the evenings
- …In Latvia they give flowers to greet people
- …In Latvia men don’t feel silly giving and receiving flowers.
- …In Latvia most people can speak two and often three, languages fluently
- …In Latvia people just get on with things and don’t make a fuss
- …In Latvia people are not demanding, but just accept what life throws at them
- …In Latvia people still know how to live close to nature
- …In Latvia people are creative and innovative
- …In Latvia there is fantastic wifi connectivity
- …In Latvia people know how to celebrate in simple but effective ways
- …In Latvia The Salvation Army is an Army its founder, William Booth would be proud of with a real heart for the poor
These are some of the things I know I will miss – indeed, some of them I am missing already – doubtless there will be many, many more!