A Day in the Life of a Valmierite

This post is really no big deal. There's no tale of the Big City, journey to a farm, etc. It is simply Allie and her average life. The fact that this post seems dull is, in fact, a milestone: I have been here for almost a month, and my "Latvian life" is now normal. It's no longer my "Latvian life" - it's just my life. I have my routines, I know my way around; everything I see is no longer exciting and new - it's just the way things are.

Actually, that's not true. This post contains a wonderfully stereotypical Eastern European image: the sketchy electronics store.
iDeal. We investigated... Yeah, definitely not legal. The best part?
It's in the middle of Riga. Has no Apple employee and/or lawyer
stumbled across this? Oh, Latvia...

And now for the rest... here's a Day in the Life of Allie:

7:00 - Wake up to my alarm, which is still "We Are the People" and needs to change.
7:10 - I finally get out of bed and get dressed. Open my giant window and put on my makeup. Note: In California I wear no foundation other than a sheer powder, but here I wear a tinted pressed powder every day. Otherwise, I feel completely underdressed, and very, very pale. For a country that gets no sun, the tans here rival that of CA. And there are also many Snookies.
7:30 - I tiptoe into the kitchen, trying (and usually failing) to be quiet as to not disturb Gatis and Artis, who are sprawled on their beds in their underwear. For breakfast, I have two pieces of wheat bread with biezpiens and jam or krejums (sour cream, but different) and jam, often with sliced cucumber on top. Depending on how fast I got dressed, I may or may not make tea.
7:40 - I go back to my room and load the notebooks I need in my purse. I have a cute normal sized backback, but in a Latvian school it would be considered huge and bulky. So I use my little purse. It's a tiny purse by my standards, but it fits every single thing I need for school. The notebooks and textbooks are so small and lightweight - it is quite adorable, and convenient. Anyway, in order to see which books I need, I check my schedule, which I have glued (glued! like I'm in kindergarten again!) into the back of my planner, just like all Latvian girls.
7:45 - I brush my teeth, run around doing anything I've forgotten, put on my coat, and leave the house.
7:50 - I arrive at school as the bell rings, and head straight to the basement. The basement is like a wine cellar, with low vaulted brick ceilings. Every class has its own mud room with cubbies, a mirror, and hooks for coats. I put my jacket there, usually run into my classmates, and we walk to first period.
8:00 - Russian. For the past few lessons, we've been going over verbs I've known for a year. It's good to have a class in which I actually follow everything, though. Russian is my only class that's not only students from 12C - all the students in the 12th grade who learn Russian are in this period (except for 12B, because they're strange like that.)
8:50 - English. We go over workbook exercises the whole time, and the teacher often stares into space and starts confusing herself, and asks me for my opinion. On every. Single. Question.
9:40 - Music. Our teacher is a typical nerdy music teacher, combover and all. We sit in a giant (and cold) choir room, take notes on vocal range, and then sing some popular Latvian song. The chorus is "I love you / Do you love me?" and with the Latvian "o", the song is quite entertaining. We actually sound wonderful singing... but I can't even hit the high notes. That's when my lipsyncing skills come into play. Oh, and our teacher told us this story: "There once was a very talented Latvian tenor who moved to Italy to sing in the opera and got very rich. Then he lost all his money and got syphilis." (That was the word for word translation.)
10:30 - We're supposed to have Philosophy, but our History/Philosophy/Politics teacher has been sick/absent since last Thursday (or was it Wednesday?) Instead, Science was moved to this period. We went over the differences between plants and animals (Dogs eat flowers. Flowers do not eat dogs.) and filled out worksheets. It's actually a fun class; we're allowed to talk. Or more like I'm allowed to talk with my "translator," and when we have communication difficulties (smoking fish), it's quite entertaining.
11:20 - Free period! We use our free periods as lunch, because there's no designated lunch hour. We went down to the cafeteria and ate. I had potatoes and rice, which was a huge shock to everyone, including the lady serving the food. Everyone was looking at my plate - "Potatoes and rice? Together?!" "Wow, I never knew Americans ate such strange food..." You get the picture. Who knew? After we finished eating, we went back up to the second floor and sat in the main hall until the next period. (Note on sitting in the halls: The smaller halls are tiny and cramped, but the main hall has giant windows, high ceilings, and is extremely wide. On one side are classrooms, and on the other there are the windows and large tables. Around each table are four giant armchairs. They're old and torn in some places, but it still reminds me of Harry Potter.
12:10 - We had geography, which we spent copying a list of inventions and advancements in technology from the 17th century to the present day. Did you know that the zipper was invented because a fat man had difficulty tying his shoes? Neither did I.
12:50 - Finished with school! I went home and ate lunch (the same as breakfast, but with yogurt).
1:30 - Gatis and I walked to Depo (the Latvian version of Home Depot, with some Target thrown in there, and chinchillas and parrots...), as I was searching for a particular unnamed object that I wish to purchase for my mother's birthday. (They didn't have the one I wanted.) We returned, and Laura was home. We looked through Facebook and Draugiem.lv (Latvian Facebook) profiles of hot guys (sisterly bonding). Then Gatis decided to take out my ukulele. I went to the kitchen to make my specialty drink (Nesquick, instant coffee, and sugar) and when I returned, my ukulele was horribly out of tune and being mauled by Gatis's clumsy fingers. I probably spent three hours giving instructions and demonstrations, and now he knows three chords (gasp!) and is learning (key word: learning) a basic strumming pattern.

I stop checking the time after school is out, so now I have no idea where we are. At one point I went to Maxima to buy more Nesquick; at one point Mama Zane came home and we talked in the kitchen for a bit over tea; at one point I read more of the book from the Occupation Museum (over halfway done now); at one point I got on the computer and wrote this. Now Artis is going to go on and talk to girls on Skype... And that's a day in my life. Fascinating, no?

And because everyone hates a giant block of text with only one picture, here's Jordan and I in our matching yellow shirts on the plane to Copenhagen, almost a month ago...

2 Response to "A Day in the Life of a Valmierite"

  1. ourbatteredsuitcases Says:

    love the yellow shirts. ;D
    anyway, this is awesome. even when it gets boring, everyday life is one of the coolest parts of exchange. or maybe because it gets boring.

  2. Mama Kangaroo Says:

    Hail to the smoking fish.

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