Sunday, March 06, 2011
[please excuse any typos or sentences going to nowhere... I'm still a little jet-lagged]
After a long but fortunately smooth trip, we arrived in Riga Latvia around lunch time yesterday (Latvian time). The first person we met was Janis, the pastor of the church that we were to be staying in. He took us immediately to a Latvian restaurant in the airport. I can't say that I cared for the food that much, although it could have just been because I ate quite a bit at the Frankfurt airport where we had been just a couple hours before.
I hadn't slept in more than 24 hours at this point and was feeling pretty crumby. Fortunately I was able to get my first sleep on the trip in the van on the way to Limbaži. Thus, I don't remember how long of a trip it was, but it didn't seem that far.
I woke up as we were pulling up the street toward the church, and after unpacking felt like going right back to sleep. Janis, however, had a very different idea. After eating some soup, which I still wasn't really hungry for (although it was significantly better than what I ate at the airport) we unpacked and headed off for our next destination: the house of a Latvian family, and more specifically the traditional Latvian sauna belonging to this family.
By the time we arrived it was dark––and quite cold and windy. There was more than two feet of snow on the ground, and it was starting to drift over the roads. Thus, you can imagine my surprise when I learned that part the sauna experience was going to involve jumping in the snow and possibly jumping in the river.
When we arrived at the house we met the Latvian couple, who were really cool and ended up being fed yet again. After pizza we went to the sauna... which was a very interesting experience, and definitely made me feel like I was in Latvia. It was bigger than I expected, with an entire building dedicated to it.
Sitting inside the hardwood room with steam emanating off of the brazier full of red hot stones in a room with five other guys––several speaking in strong Baltic accents––I realized "Yes, I'm in Latvia."
Just this evening we met the kids we will be working with, and tomorrow we will go to the schools to do ESL in some of the classes. I have know idea what that's going to be like, but am letting