This past weekend I was given a somewhat urgent assignment. The other intern and I had to watch a series of interviews (as if I hadn't gotten my fill of that yet) and write up transcripts for them AND translate the transcripts into Latvian--we were asked to finish it over the weekend if possible, and take some days off later in the week. The fun part was that the people in the interviews would switch around from Latvian to English to German. As soon as I picked up the DVDs from the city center I started working. I did about three hours, then went to "Baltu dienas", a three-hour Baltic folklore concert. I hung around for an hour and a half before heading back home to work some more (for about six or seven hours). The concert was good--one group from Lithuania, Gadula, was particularly good. I plan on finding a CD of theirs if they have one. One scene from the "Baltu dienas" concert, and a clip of Gadula, if it'll work:
Sunday I had plans to go spend some time with other family members, maybe a few hours, before hunkering down the rest of the day to finish work. I was more or less kidnapped, and seven hours later returned home, arms laden with fresh raspberries, pears, apples, REAL spring water, and smoked fish.
I paid sorely on Monday (10-6:30 of work, but I finished it all! Success!), but it was good to get out. We drove to Jurmala (literally "sea side"), which is along the coast, north of Riga. It was like driving through the suburbs, which was a much needed thing for my brain. Lots of trees, private homes, sidewalks... We walked through the woods a bit and along the beach; we even went for a "modest swim" (=roll up yer pants and wade out into the shallow part). For dinner we went to a restaurant bar that's supposedly quite famous. The food was good, and, even though fried, not really greasy. I had more than enough left over for lunch+dinner the next day. We found a few mushrooms (it's that time of year here), but I was no help, since I have no idea which ones are edible and which aren't. I did learn, however, that the Musmede ("fly hunter") IS poisonous. It's also very pretty :) So instead of mushroom picking, I stuck to blueberries. I carried them around for a while, then once I got tired of feeling self-important I ate them.
On the way back we stopped at a natural spring and filled 14 5L bottles...holy cow that took a while. There was a line when we got there, and a line formed after us, too. It's a totally normal thing to do and completely free. Apparently the drinking water isn't very good in some parts of Riga (I say this because our relatives in Imanta never drink their tap water, but the family I'm staying with does), so people stock up like there's no tomorrow. I got to take one of the bottles back with me.
As usual, whatever I bring home food-wise, someone else will get to it before me. Because I was home working all day Monday, I managed to eat the leftovers from the beach restaurant myself, but left the smoked fish (which, by the way, was one of the best smells at the road-side market we stopped at. I LOVE smoked fish...) for later. In the evening I went into the city for a bit to walk around and get some exercise (and buy some celebratory goodies) after sitting all day. By the time I got back had recouperated from the amount of food I had eaten at lunch and was ready for smoked fish--alas! It was no longer in the yellow bag it had been in. Someone had eaten some of the fish from one of the ends. I was heartbroken. My tasty smoked fish bought on my special daytrip! Nooooo!
So, in a semi-defensive move, I ate the rest of it. It wasn't a small amount, either; at the very least, it was more smoked fish than I would usually care to eat in one sitting. It was really good--I just wish it could have lasted longer. But I HAD to do it...I had to...
Today I went in to work, left work for a few minutes to register for the TestDaF (that's right, I'm gonna do it!), returned to work, and tried to help the other intern with her videos. There were a lot of technical issues (a.k.a. the interviewer doesn't seem to have completely known what they were doing), so some ten minutes of potentially good material were wasted because nothing could be heard.
Tomorrow I'm taking the day off to...wander, I guess. I haven't decided yet.
P.s.: Ah, last Monday I was able to attend my cousin's daughter's (also my Goddaughter) name day (if you don't know what this is...you're missing out. Name days are huge in Latvia. And Russia. And sometimes Poland. And probably in other eastern europian countries) party and hang out with family. It was a good time, and there were rice crispy treats--now they sell rice crispies here, too! CIVILISATION!! Kidding--but it's funny that something as trivial as rice crispies isn't normal here.