Yo. I'm unexpectedly free today. The lady who drives my butt out to my rural school is sick and, thankfully, they don't expect me to take the bus. (I could figure it out if I was properly motivated, but I haven't yet had to be that motivated.)
I thought I'd update you lovlies. Not a lot has been happening, though. I've mostly been teaching and making good on my New Year's resolution to hang out with my Rezekne friends rather than head to Riga all the time. It's been fun, but I think I'll head to Riga soon to see my friends there since I kinda miss them.
I was supposed to go to Valmiera a couple of weeks ago to visit David, the ETA who works there, but I came down with the flu. GAH. It wasn't as bad as I expected, honestly. I felt really, really crappy for three days or so and then it progressed to mildly crappy and exhausted for a couple of days. I'm now at the end of the "coughing my lungs up" phase.
Having the flu meant that I could cross one item off of my metaphorical "Experiences in Latvia" list: visit the clinic. My friend Marija, bless her, met me at the clinic to be my interpreter. I was afraid that she'd catch the plague during her baby-sitting duties, but she dodged that bullet. Besides having to wait a long time, the experience was good as far as being sick goes. I paid about $16 upfront to see the doctor. The doctor checked me out, asked me why I didn't call someone to come to my house since I had a fever (foreigners don't get that service, it seems), gave me a giant bottle of hot water to carry home as a way to keep me warm, and prescribed some Tamiflu and something for the symptoms. All in all, the trip (sans insurance, including medication) cost me about $50. I'm not even going to bother submitting it to my insurance company.
The doctor was quite worried about me living alone as a foreigner and a young woman. She saw Marija on the street a couple days later and ran over to her to ask how I was doing. That's dedication.
Tomorrow I head to Daugavpils for the first time. I won't get much time to look around, though, since I am judging some sort of regional English speech contest. None of my students are participating, so I thought it would be a good experience (and a good line on ye ol' resume). My friend Lewis, a volunteer from England, agreed to take my class. For some reason arranging a substitute made me feel like a legit teacher. I hope my students don't eat him alive. I forbade them from asking about his 1) love life, 2) religious beliefs, and 3) salary. I have been asked all of these questions by various students. Ah, cultural differences. I explained to the students that at home, we do not begin a conversation with, "Do you believe in god? Are you married?"
And since this is a wordy-ass post with little fun stuff, I shall gift you with a photograph. This is the happiest cat in Latgale. She lives at the ice-fishing office (where you pay for your fish). She gets a warm heater, all the fish she can eat, and lots of love from various fishermen. Ah, to be a kitty.
"I Don't Feel Like Dancing" by the Scissor Sister. I actually DO feel like dancing, but not in Latvia where they dance pretty well and expect me to dance well, too (I do not). I prefer the hipster version of dancing that celebrates bad dancing. Maybe when I visit Allison and Andrea in Berlin at the end of the month....