Thursday, January 3, 2008
I have been here in Latvia, a ex Soviet Union country...the feeling here is depressed but Madara and her family have no sign of depression. Some of the kindest people I have met. We have stayed in a small 2 bedroom apartment. Madara's mother sleeps on the couch in the living room and Ilza (one of Madara's sisters) let Nate and I sleep in her room while she shared a room with Anna (another sister) and Madara. Even though we are living in tight quarters there has been no complaints or arguments...like I said one of the nicest family's that I have meet.
Our short 5 days here has flown by as we have wandered the city, seeing a lot of very beautiful architecture. We spent our first big day going to a city about an hour away. We meet one of Mad's good friends Rodolf (we called him Ro). He took us through this old hospital that was being built by the Soviets when they controlled Latvia. The Soviets never finished the hospital so now it is just another abandoned building. We also went into an old watertower that is going to be torn down within the next couple of months.
The most fun time I have had here in Latvia was our New Years Eve. We went across town to Madara's friends house. There were about 10 of us, all of Mad's friends were so kind to us, not knowing a ton of English, speaking to us, hanging out with us and not just going off talking to there friends. We walked to the local park right before midnight and all had a great time watching the fireworks going off in every direction. Spending New Years with family across the globe, knowing that I was in 2008 and my family was in 2007 was a very interesting feeling. Well we walked back and spent the rest of the morning playing fun games (some of the guys worked at the local YMCA and were big climbers so they knew a lot of team building games and fun climber type games) which Nate and I enjoyed alot....
Yesterday was great to, we meet up with Maritzs (a guy from New Years Eve) and he took us through an old Soviet Bunker. It was really cool wandering underground, in the complete dark with my headlamp batteries dying. We wandered the underground maze for probably 30 mins and when we reached the surface again I was very happy that I was not living here during any wars.
I could ramble on and on but to sum this Christmas break up...IT WAS AMAZING, strange being away from family and friends but I could not have asked for anything else. I am headed back to Norway this evening to have several days of meetings, getting ready for Tibet and then on the 7th or 8th I am headed off to Tibet. Please continue to pray for not only me, but the team I will be going with along with the team going to Greenland. I will do my best to keep you updated but I am not sure how much computer access I will have.
HAPPY NEW YEARS!!!