Warding off Sleep & Canada Day in Latvia
It’s been a few weeks since my last post about my time in Europe, interning at the Canadian Embassy in Latvia.
Previously, I was conflicted about missing Europride to go away for a weekend. Well, I loved my trip down to the Curonian Spit and Liepaja. I enjoyed the beautiful sand beaches and untouched forestry in The Spit and took in a free concert and abundance of Soviet history in Liepaja! Back in Riga, Pride went off with barely a hitch. There were over 5,000 attendees and only three arrests for anti-pride protestors.
Sine then, time has flown. As soon as I got back from that weekend, the midsummer (Jani) festivities took place. On the shortest night of the year, Latvians get together with close family and friends in the countryside, and partake in all-night celebrations. A group of us interns rented some rooms in Jurmala, the seaside city 20 minutes away from Riga, to have our own festivities. Unfortunately, it rained most of the night, so we couldn’t participate in some of the community festivities happening on the beach. We did manage to stay up till dawn, which in Latvian tradition means you won’t get sleepy easily over the year. I really hope this is true, because that would be very helpful with writing my Masters research paper!
After Jani, I headed to Stockholm for a weekend. Stockholm is a beautiful city, but way out of my budget. Some restaurants charge $30 CAD for a salad and drink! I bought the Stockholm Card, which gives tourists access to several museums. I highly recommend the Vasa Museum, which houses a warship that capsized on its first trip in the 1700s and was rediscovered in the 1960s.
As soon as I returned to Riga, I helped finalize the Canadian Embassy’s preparations for Canada Day. We had to make sure that all of the invitations were accounted for, and had to create a folder with the attendees’ photos and brief biographies.
On the morning of Canada Day, I attended the opening of a museum exhibit on “Latvians in Canada” (pictured above), which had a lot of historical momentos from people who had immigrated to Canada. The exhibit was held at the National Library, which has mostly been closed to the public because it was headquarters for the Presidency of the EC. The museum held a reception on the normally closed top floor, so visiting it was an added bonus.
For the Embassy’s official Canada Day reception, we hosted a celebration at the National Theatre. Over 150 people attended, including many ambassadors and representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. I was in charge of taking official photos for the reception. There was live music, and the food was delicious. Getting to attend such a high-profile event was a fantastic learning experience for me, and a great networking opportunity!
After all of these celebrations, I headed down to Malta for a relaxing weekend with one of my oldest friends. Since she works in London, Malta was a good halfway meeting point. Furthermore, the weather in Riga is still sitting around 15-20 degrees, so Malta’s nice hot weather, beaches, and warm sea were a great treat.
Now I’m back in Riga, and excited to see what the last six weeks of my internship will bring!
*The views expressed in this blog post are the author’s own and do not reflect those of the Canadian Government.*