After coming and going for some months it was time to say farewell to Riga. Here’s a few other things that happened along the way.
A great tradition that Dasha and her closest friends have is the opening and closing of ‘the season’, meaning the summer, fun, outside entertainment, light nights and so forth. This ceremony is performed by buying some take away beers, sitting on a park bench outside one of their apartment blocks and drinking like bums. Brilliant. Let me now show off my Russian speaking abilities. Curly in Russian is Kucheryavui, which is what everyone calls me. A synonym is Kudravij. On this night, after a couple of drinks, we went to the shop to buy some more. While I was standing at the counter waiting to be served, another customer came up to me and started talking in Russian. Of course I stood there with a stupid look on my face not understanding a word, other than Kudravij. What the guy was actually saying was something along the lines of “Hey, you’re Kudravij! I love your work man. You lectured to me in art class and it was excellent. You’re so cool. You’re the best. I wish I had Curly hair. If I was a woman I would want to have your babies”. Maybe I’ve exaggerated a little, but he was pretty excited to see me, then utterly disappointed to find that I couldn’t paint my toenails.
One fine morning, about 6am if I remember correctly, I was awoken by Dasha’s Dad (Papa) who was ready and excited for our mission for the morning. We were staying at the summer house while Dasha was in the city taking care of business. It was time to go mushrooming. Along with one of Papa’s friends we headed to the woods and the hunting began. It really was cool to experience it exactly as the locals participate in it. The reason for getting up early is so that you beat all of the other people, and, sure enough, as the morning went on we would see more and more cars on the side of the road trying out their luck in their own patch of woods. The variety of mushrooms and the different levels of excitement that accompanies each is something that can’t be learnt in one morning. I was expecting to go for just an hour or two, but think it was closer to 6. We must have visited about 6 or 8 different areas, and I also got to see a snake (not the scariest looking), frog and caterpillar. The sun shining through the trees in the early morning was very nice, but I think the nicest thing was Mama’s cooking at lunch time!
One of Dasha’s close friends Nastya was getting married to her Spanish fella Sergei. Dasha was the photographer for the wedding, I was the drunken idiot. It was a private ceremony and small reception in the backyard at Nastya’s parents summer house, just around the corner from Dasha’s. It was a nice quiet wedding, with more food than necessary, especially shashliks (refer to Dasha’s birthday for description) and chorizo. I think I was the only one drinking beer, everyone else on the vodkas.
Our last night we went out for dinner to a nice Japanese restaurant with Dasha’s parents. The next day Mama drove us to the airport and it was of course a sad goodbye, for an undetermined length of time.And here’s the happy story to end tonights report. In the last couple of days before we left, we visited Lena for her birthday, and Dennis bought her…. a puppy!