This one is bit from the heart.
I spent a few weeks in Riga this July - I went back to visit family and city where I grew up. This has been a long time since I went for a visit all by myself. just a year ago we went as a family. But this one was different. This was a trip to visit my grandmothers - both of them still living. It was also a trip to to enjoy the city my way.
I am a city girl - I haven't lived in a big city in over 7 years now, but I miss it. I grew up in Riga, Latvia - the capital. While my early childhood was spent mostly in Ciekurkalns - older corner of the city with frequent visits to Mezaparks - large park and a Zoo near Kisezers Lake, my high-school years were spent in Imanta - newer apartment area, and frequent trips downtown Riga.
Every time I go back for a visit I fall in love with this beautiful city I used to call home. In everyday life I had walked countless times past stunning buildings and centuries old churches. Now I breath in and take a moment to admire the Art Noveau architecture that flourishes all over town. The cobblestone streets make me think of centuries old tradition that has been preserved.
And I enjoyed all the moments of city - filled with life and culture... and also tourists and traffic. I felt like a tourist admiring architecture and meeting friends in cafe's I no monger were familiar with. I was reminded of life with no air conditioning ( and this was unusually hot summer) and no refills, and delicious food, and unique salads.... and amazing deserts.
While I did quite a bit of wondering in the city, this trip was also to spend some very needed time with family. One of my grandmothers is in her nineties and the hardest part is feeling so helpless - being so far away when her health is deteriorating. My other grandmother is in her late eighties and I got to spend a bit more time with her - remembering most of my childhood summers spent in her country home.
This trip was bittersweet. Its this unexplained feeling when I have built my life so far away. While technology helps bring as closer with Skype calls and photos, the longing of all things familiar, unique cultural habits and people who know you inside and out never really fades.
There is a part of me that feels like a nomad - unsettled, looking for new places and enjoying the travel, but there are also deep roots in the place I come from. And this trip was a reminder of how deep they are.