Shared European identity? Being proud and embarrassed together

Recently in Amsterdam I was invited to join a small group at a local pub. I am not a fan of beer, so my choice was a glass of red wine. But the rest of my new acquaintances knew their local beers - Dutch, Belgian, German... You gather a few Europeans and they can have…Read more Shared European identity? Being proud and embarrassed together

Inspired by the World’s Most Liberal City

Arriving at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam can be exciting and also overwhelming for it is three-in-one. Airport, shopping mall and train station. Leaving the customs area, you enter a very busy arrival hall. Straight from the airplane to the shopping plaza and straight to the trains located underneath. I speak English and have traveled a…Read more Inspired by the World’s Most Liberal City

Looking at our compass to guide through the EU crisis

For sure I am no expert on the EU but I do know a thing or two. Firstly, most people, including myself, recognize that we are in a serious crisis. You hear it described as 'existential'. The question of 'to be or not to be'. Also, I know that any crisis and pressure - personal…Read more Looking at our compass to guide through the EU crisis

Searching for my Latvian antidote to our EU ignorance

I expect next few months our European headlines will be dominated by 'Brexit'. On June 23 the British voters will decide whether to stay in or leave the European Union. Even though the Brits are known for their stoicism and reserve, I imagine it will get quite emotive. Well, it is emotional for everyone else…Read more Searching for my Latvian antidote to our EU ignorance

Cambodia and its complicated beauty

Have you ever unintentionally eavesdropped on someone's conversation? I could not help it since this guys was talking on Skype very loudly. He was calling random people in China and always introduced himself as someone traveling in Asia. "I am in Cambodia right now", he said. "It is a country between Thailand and Vietnam." I…Read more Cambodia and its complicated beauty

Tale as old as time: My tribe against yours

So, I was thinking about our tribalism in Europe and elsewhere and suddenly remembered one of my favorite children's stories, "Ronia the Robber's Daughter" by Astrid Lindgren. It is truly one of my favorite books and I have read it many times. I can still experience the same emotions I had when I read it…Read more Tale as old as time: My tribe against yours

My husband digs through the rubbish

The nations of the world are meeting in Paris, France to discuss the climate change; the warming of our planet; the pledges that have been made and the reality that those pledges are not ambitious enough. We are negotiating how to cut carbon emissions and to limit global warming to 2C (3.6F) We are not…Read more My husband digs through the rubbish

Do you know who is serving your food?

I like food. Yes, Latvian food is wonderful and delicious but I enjoy diversity. Thai, Italian, Mexican, Lebanese, Vietnamese, Chinese, Indian... grateful for international cuisine. In Latvia this year I have noticed two popular trends - kebab and burger. This story is not about food though. It is about people who serve our food and…Read more Do you know who is serving your food?