Monday, April 14, 2008

Back for Round Two!

For those of you who did not receive my succinct and detail-less e-mail, I've arrived back in Riga, ready for round two of "Can She Become a Temp. Resident?"

The flights were normal enough, save for the semi left-body-disabled Russian man sitting next to me from Chicago to Frankfurt. Because I was able to sleep more than usual on planes, I didn't have to ask him to let me out so I could use the toilets. And in a move not reciprocating my sensitivity to his physical situation, my bladder and I got to wait with him and the overly perky flight attendant until 95% of all people on board were off the aircraft and someone finally found his cane for him, which ended up being right next to his backpack where the flight attendant had placed and then forgotten about it.

I understand, I understand, the man was elderly and had physical difficulties. But I sat with my legs crossed for 8 hours respecting that; I guess I thought he'd at least shuffle over to the seat across the aisle and chill out there, letting me get past and on with my travels. No such luck.

Side note: between the evening I began to write this post and now, my computer crashed once more, and appears to be out of commission until i can find a trustworthy person on this side of the ocean to fix it. Sadness for me - but thanks to the goodness of my flatmate's heart, I can use her computer to take care of business.

My first half day in Riga I spent time running around the city looking for an LMT store, only to discover later that the mall 10 minutes from our apartment has a branch store located right in it. I didn't get a chance to meet up with my friends due partly to not having a working SIM chip for my phone, and partly because around 17:30 I was BEAT. I almost fell asleep on the bus ride back home. Then I got back in the evening and got my computer to work for at least two hours, during which time I was able to call my mother, my father, and my friends (to let them know I was done for the night and to ask what they were doing tomorrow - to which one of them answered, "Oh, you're coming to the ballet with us!" Many more ballets will be seen in the coming weeks, as it seems they bought tickets to all the shows running until May) via Skype. Skype - cheap telephony that works! Then I straightened up my room, actually put everything away, and went to bed.

Sunday I got up, made a dash for the mall, got a phone chip, let people know about it, and met my friends in the city centre for a late breakfast before the ballet. The ballet was a comedy, with elements of Shakespeare love triangles and concealed identities/dressing up as a member of the opposite sex to play tricks on people, and would have all probably made more sense if a) one of us had sprung for a programme or b) we could read the banner held up in the first scene of the ballet that had large white RUSSIAN words printed on it. At half-time we went to the refreshments room and half-jokingly I said we should get champagne (also as kind of a welcome-back-Kaija-celebratory-item) and they said "Why not, we've done it every other time we've come here!" WELL! So, 12 o'clock noon, let's say, and there we were, sipping champagne among other audience members doing the same and laughing like silly women.

I also learned that, while you can civilly sip your champagne during the intermission, when the bell dings for calling the audience back to the auditorium, it's time to CHUG. That was equally entertaining to the Trockadero-like part of the ballet - the bell goes 'ding' and the three of us stop sipping and stop chatting and just tip glasses back. The second half of the ballet was more amusing, and not just because of the champagne.

Today I got a hold of the person I was supposed to get a hold of and determined that today I'm going to spend some time trying to figure out a way to get my computer fixed, and that tomorrow I'll be going in to work. For the first. Time. Everrrrrrrrrr.

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