Sunday, December 7, 2008

Living in a strange land

It was a beautiful day yesterday--well, overcast, but not cold. We went to Rimi's Hypermarket for groceries. We walked to the office (about 4 short blocks) and then to the bus stop, a long block away. Another couple of blocks from the bus stop to the market but only a block back to the bus stop home.

Anyway, we wanted to buy crackers and Sis. Harper knew where they were the last time she bought them, but they were not there this time. We walked all over the store but couldn't find them anywhere. Finally, I asked a young clerk if she spoke English and she said a little. I asked where we would find crackers. She thought I meant cookies and my explanation for crackers--with soup, salty, didn't help. We finally found some in the bread department, but they weren't the kind we were looking for.

Today at Church, we again had the young missionaries serve as translators for us. They are very good and I'm thankful for their language skills, but it seems to me that Latvians must say about 5 words for every English word. I can pick out certain words, but can't put them into a context.

As I have mentioned before, the people are quite dour. No smiles as you pass them--in fact, most of them don't acknowledge you are even there. On the bus yesterday, I had my first "friendly" experience with a Latvian (or was she Russian?) woman. It was standing room only, and then a woman got up from her seat and exited the bus. The woman she had been sitting next to, motioned for me to come and sit down. I did so, and said "paldies."

Then, this morning, as we neared the train stop, we could see our train coming and no one was at the stop to get on, but the train "driver" (he's not the conductor, I don't think, but don't know what you call the one who drives the train), stopped and waited for us to run to the stop.

Small things, but nice.

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