Sunday, October 14, 2012

Into the Swing of Things

I'm getting used to life here. The grocery store still makes me happy, but it is becoming less of an adventure. Using my stove still incites copious amounts of swearing, but I suspect that will always be the case. My classes at School 6 are becoming fairly routine and I've visited the two other schools at which I'll be helping.

So far, I haven't been super homesick. I get to talk to my parents and friends through Skype and Facebook, so that helps. I can't honestly imagine doing this without the internet connecting me to people at home. I did get homesick on Friday. Classes were kind of overwhelming and the heat in my apartment hadn't been turned on yet, so I came home to a cold room. That made me miss the warmth of Texas and therefore my family. But, I went out with friends and felt better after some wine, interesting salads, and a gin and tonic. :)

I went to several celebrations in the past week or so. First, I went to Rikava to celebrate Teachers' Day. The party was fun, if overpoweringly scented like flowers. Latvians love their flowers. I thought I received a lot of flowers my first day at Rogovka, but that was nothing compared to what people were receiving at Teachers' Day. During the award portion of the day, each award-winning teacher was given at least five bouquets. Some were given upwards of twelve. The flowers were gorgeous, but multiply 12 by 30-35 teachers receiving awards and add in 150 different kinds of perfume in 1 room, and I was very close to pulling out my inhaler. Oy.

The second party was hosted by Rezekne University as a celebration for Teachers' Day and to celebrate the end of a project. It was held at a log-cabin-type place near the city. There were fewer flowers, thankfully, but more dancing. The food was great. The wine was plenty. The dancing.... I like to dance, but usually I dance with friends in dark bars where nobody can really see me dance and where nobody else can dance either. I joined in a bit, but tried to avoid dancing as much as possible. The others were quite good dancers, so I felt like I had two left feet when I did participate.

The last party I went to was to celebrate Rezekne's Business Fair. There was a lot of food, more dancing, and a performance by a group of local brothers who won a Latvian reality family singing competition. They sang the song "Angels." I'm so used to hearing Lativan that it took me to the verse to realize that they were singing in English. :)

I also went to the Rezekne Business Fair. I bought some cheese and a present for my mom.

Exciting stuff, eh? The next few weeks should be more adventurous. I'm going to Riga next weekend. I'll be in Vilnius, Lithuania for a few days during the last week of October, and will spend a week in Kyiv to attend a Fulbright workshop and to see Laura and Matt. I'm pretty stoked about the travel! I promise to take photographs.

Maybe I'll even wrestle a bear so I have something fun to put on my blog.

This post is brought to you by my new favorite ginger kid, Mr. Ed Sheeran. Yes, I know I'm a bit late to the "Woo! Ed Sheeran!" party, but whatevs. I apologize to my former favorite gingers: Ron Weasley and Prince Harry. We can still hang out.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Cats of Latvia

By request :) I'll do a real post tomorrow. Maybe.

What're YOU lookin' at? Move along. Move along.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Michael's Day Market and Rogovka

It has been a busy week or so! I completed my first week of leading conversation classes at School 6, graded some essays for the university translation class, and went to the Michael's Day market in Rezekne.

This band was playing at the market. They were fantastic! I wasn't the only one stopping to video them. Below are some pics of the market.

This is the market before it got really busy. 

This was the stand selling all sorts of smoked meat. The smoked fish stand was next door. 
Here is one of the looms (I think that is the right word) that an artisan was displaying.

It was a good market and a good day. I bought a couple of presents to send home for Christmas and some local honey comb.

Today I went to the town of Rogovka. It is 20 minutes away from Rezekne. I will be going each Monday to help with English classes. They gave me a lot of flowers: 6 bouquets! I felt like Miss America. Or one of those ice skaters who get flowers thrown at them after a performance. I also received a bag of apples, two peppers, and some chocolate. I think the apples came from the school orchard.

Here are my flowers. They make my apartment very cheerful. I put them in my windows. Latvians seem to really enjoy flowers.

That is all. This post is brought to you by Matisyahu's Sunshine. This song makes me happy. :) The sun has been making short appearances here. I am soaking it up while I can!