Women are taught to fear

Feminicidio-Mara-Castilla-


ENG para versión en español leer más abajo

I read from more than 10 thousand kilometers away what is happening in my country around the feminicide of Mara Castilla. It is not something new, but every new feminicide removes all the accumulated pain, deepens the wound, and makes much more urgent to react from all areas. Today there is no peace in Mexico, and the voices are rising, the ideas are colliding and the reality is that things must change. We need to talk about this.

I have not been in Mexican territory for the last 8 months, and I am often asked: how is life over there, or how is the experience of living in Latvia in comparison?, today I want to answer from this self analysis: how is the life of a Mexican woman, being away from Mexico?

I live in Riga, the capital of Latvia, a city of around 700,000 inhabitants. The places where I spend most of my time are my flat (that I share with two guys) and my office, which are also very close to each other. My main conveyance is my bicycle. I often go home late from the office, or very late after a party night, or I travel “alone”.

My main concerns during these journeys are:

– How early I have to get up tomorrow;

– If I drank a little more than I should have and should not ride the bicycle, in which cases I take a taxi or I walk, especially the second, because the concern about the taxi is that it might be too expensive.

– If my phone battery will run out soon, so I won’t have music to listen to on the way

– If it’s very cold and I will have a sore throat tomorrow

Still, I always have a certain red light caution alarm in the back of my head, of course. I guess that it is because I am used to be afraid when on the streets, because I’ve lived a very long time in that culture that taught me to fear due to the fact that I have a vagina and a pair of breasts. I distrust the men I encounter on my way, and I trust my intuition when says: cross the street, go faster, take a different route or something else. However, during this past 8 months these decisions and occasions have been minimal.

Instead, in Mexico, those decisions and occasions take part of my everyday life. And that is the biggest difference that I find from this life to the one ten thousand kilometers away, at home. Here, I don’t have my close people, my roots, my close to the heart memories; but I also don’t live under the constant fear that anywhere I go, there is a potential aggressor who can hurt me, rape me, or kill me.

I know that you have heard from the terror of the narco violence, and how people are dying in my country because of it; probably even without questioning yourself much, you have taught of men who die in this war. It is a terrible situation, but it is certainly not the main reason why we live in fear. It is more the story that the media told you, a story that does not include the reality of millions of women.

So if you are reading me from this other side of the world, I want to tell you that yes, my country is a wonderful land, with great people of big hearts; that for me its places, stories, people and experiences are pure magic, and the most beautiful. But there also is an unspoken reality, and I have to tell you: we are being murdered for being women. There is a deep systemic violence, that takes the lives of 6 women everyday in Mexico, because it can do so in the hands of anyone.

It is not a relief to be far, on the contrary it is difficult not to be there to raise the voice and the forehead along other women during the protests that are taking place in the cities. I am far away, but I am not absent, because this fight is also mine, because everyday millions of women are risking their lives, just by being, and not to mention the danger and fear that experience those who are part of less integrated and respected communities, like the LGBT+. Stop to the feminicides in Mexico. Stop to the violence. This is and should be treated as a National emergency.

It gives me great pride to read the words of those who are questioning themselves today, women and men. There is a lot to be re learned, a lot to be changed, and specially, there is a lot to be done, and this reality is something we need to talk about.

ESP for english version read above

Leo a más de 10 mil kilometros de distancia todo lo que pasa en mi país alrededor del feminicidio de Mara Castilla. No es algo nuevo, pero a cada nuevo feminicidio, se remueve todo el dolor acumulado, se hace más profunda la herida, se hace más urgente reaccionar desde todos los ámbitos. Hoy no hay tranquilidad en México y las voces se van levantando, las ideas se van contraponiendo, y la realidad es que las cosas tienen que cambiar. Tenemos que hablar de esto.

Hace 8 meses que no estoy en tierras mexicanas, frecuentemente se me pregunta: ¿cómo es la vida allá, o cómo es la experiencia comparativa de vivir en Letonia?, hoy quiero responder desde este análisis propio: ¿cómo es la vida de una mujer mexicana, lejos de México?

Vivo en Riga, la capital de Letonia, una ciudad de unos 700,000 habitantes. Los lugares donde paso más tiempo son mi casa (que comparto con dos hombres) y mi oficina, que además están muy cerca la una de la otra. Mi principal medio de transporte es la bicicleta. Frecuentemente regreso a casa tarde desde la oficina, o muy tarde de una noche de fiesta, o viajo “sola”.

Mis principales preocupaciones en estos trayectos son: lo temprano que debo levantarme al dia siguiente, si bebí un poco más de la cuenta y no debería usar la bicicleta, casos en los cuáles, tomo un taxi o camino, sobre todo la segunda; si hace mucho frío y mañana me dolerá la garganta, o si mi celular está por descargarse y voy a quedarme sin música para acompañar el camino.

Tengo una cierta alerta de precaución siempre al fondo de mi pensamiento, claro. Supongo que porque estoy acostumbrada a tener miedo, porque he vivido mucho tiempo en esa cultura que me enseña a tener miedo, porque tengo una vagina y un par de tetas. Desconfío de los hombres que me topo por el camino, y confío en mi intuición, que me dice: cruza la calle, ve más rápido, toma otra ruta o lo que sea. Sin embargo, en 8 meses estas decisiones y ocasiones han sido mínimas.

En México, son decisiones y ocasiones de todos los días. Y ésa es la gran diferencia que encuentro en esta vida a 10 mil kilometros de casa, donde no está mi gente cercana, ni mis raíces, ni mis memorias del corazón; pero donde tampoco vivo con miedo constante, de que ahí a donde vaya, hay un potencial agresor que puede lastimarme, violarme, o matarme.

Sé que has escuchado del terror de la narco violencia, y cómo es que muere gente a manos de ello en mi país, probablemente sin cuestionartelo mucho, has pensado en hombres que mueren en esta guerra. Es una situación lamentable, pero ciertamente no es la principal razón por la que vivimos con miedo. Es sólo la historia sensacionalista que te cuentan los medios, una historia que no incluye la realidad de millones de mujeres.

Y si tú me estas leyendo desde este lado del mundo, quiero decirte que sí, que mi país es maravilloso y en esa tierra se encuentran grandes personas y grandes corazones; que para mi sus lugares, sus historias, su gente y sus experiencias son magia pura y lo más lindo. Pero también hay una realidad de la que no se habla, y te lo tengo que decir, que nos estan matando por ser mujeres. Que hay una violencia sistémica arraigada, que le quita la vida a 6 mujeres cada día, porque puede hacerlo en manos de quien sea.

No es un alivio estar lejos, por el contrario es difícil no estar ahí para levantar la voz y la mirada en las protestas que estan tomando lugar en las ciudades. Estoy lejos pero no estoy ausente, porque esta lucha tambien es mía, porque cada día arriesgan su vida millones de mujeres, simplemente por serlo, y no se diga el riesgo y el miedo que viven quienes forman parte de comunidades aún menos integradas como la LGBT+. Basta de feminicidios en México. Basta de violencia. Esto es y deberá ser tratado como una emergencia nacional.

Me da mucho orgullo leer a quienes se cuestionan sobre lo que pasa, mujeres y hombres. Hay mucho que re aprender, hay mucho que cambiar, y sobre todo, hay mucho que hacer, y esta realidad es algo de lo que tenemos que hablar.


 

Donde duela, nunca dudes.

 

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Percussion; limit, decision

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I don’t know if it is because of the colorful paintings and shapes on the background;

the overlapped triangles, that match the ones that used to be around my ankle;

or the energy that the piece brings along, and just bursts within me.

I don’t know exactly. But I thought about you.

And even though lately, you have been a prevalent thought. This one was different.

I don’t know if it is because it is coming from a different place,

one in which I stand still, without the inertia to reach out,

one in which you are not standing at all, for sure.

Or if it is a different place, with so many common features with a place I used to be at.

– – –

The whole point is that, I have many things in my heart right now;

that go and take shape over words and lines, perfectly paced by this.

A) I feel like smashing my soles into the ground, strongly, rhythmically, purposely.

Without really caring how far this sound reaches, or if it reaches you.

B) I feel like clapping loud to follow up, to keep myself busy. Claps that burn the hands.

It is some sort of reminder, that every day, every morning that we do get to wake up,

becomes, indeed a new begging. A reset of the mind, of the heart, of the future ahead.

C) I am aware of prefixed ideas, schemes and formulas that prevent understanding.

It is ironic, and curious, even funny we could add, that in such a short time and notice,

which are even shorter than the gaps among those claps, one gets to feel fondly.

D) I feel fondly, the echo of the peaks aka happy moments, full of secret smiles.

E) I also feel fondly the reverberation of the lows, full of silence, as in a distant dream,

as in a rainy morning, a windy sunset and a full moon night.

F) I live my life based upon decisions. I believe we all do, somehow you came my way

and proof differently.

G) This entire list, has no power over compelling how I feel in a reliable way. You see?,

I believe that is one of the hardest decisions we come across in our paths, accepting it.

That we are not able to communicate exactly what is here. Maybe we get barely close.

And it is one of the most beautiful experiences, of course. But in the end,

there are these reminders, that outside our little limited bubbled hearts,

there are other hearts, also framed, enclosed and decided upon a different approach.

 

It is time to begin, based on my own rhythm, on my own pace, on my own limits.

It is always time to begin, for everyone, based on their own rhythm, pace and limits.

The beginning of every taken step, aka decision making in life.

Great reminder.

 

Note for readers: Smashing the soles and clapping loudly indeed helps

 

It's time to begin, isn't it?
I get a little bit bigger but then I'll admit
I'm just the same as I was

Otras 35.8 formas de querernos si no vamos a querernos: carta abierta

masamor


¿Y si no vamos a querernos?

Ya sea porque tú o porque yo. Porque el tiempo, porque la vida… porque yo qué sé.

Parece que hay un amor de catálogo que buscamos e intentamos adaptar a lo que se cruza en nuestras vidas. Hablo en plural, pero creo que es más valioso especificar que: yo he buscado ese amor de catálogo, lleno de chispas, instantáneo y eterno, apasionado y racional, entregado y respetuoso, un amor que cura el alma y re significa la vida, un amor perfecto, etiquetado, que venden por internet, pero que sucede por azares del destino a primera vista. Un amor que inventó un sistema de porquería.

Lo he buscado, lo he intentado adecuar a mi ser y a mi vivir, pero hoy más que nunca sé que no sé nada sobre otro amor, sobre qué, dónde o cómo re significarlo, o vivirlo, o buscarlo; ni siquiera sé si hay que buscarlo.

Lo único que sé es que debe haber otras 35.8 formas en que tú y yo podemos querernos que no responden a esa idea pre concebida, pre empacada; que no responden a una necesidad, ni a una obligación, ni a un ideal, ni a un plan.

35.8 maneras que a continuación intento describirte:

 

  1. Al escuchar historias repetidas, y volver a sorprendernos, y volver a disfrutarlas como si fuera la primera vez que las escuchamos.
  2. Al no esperar nada más de lo que podamos ofrecernos a cada momento, teniendo siempre esperanzas, pero nunca expectativas.
  3. Al hablar con honestidad, siempre y en toda ocasión.
  4. Al mirarnos a los ojos y descubrir universos enteros y absolutamente incomprensibles y distantes.
  5. Al pedirnos disculpas, no importa si fue un error cometido en el momento o de hace meses, o años, pero pedirnos disculpas, desde el corazón.
  6. Al disculparnos, también desde el corazón, porque todos cometemos errores.
  7. Al sorprendernos, no importa si es una llamada, una fotografía, una pequeña dosis matutina de inesperado dulce de leche, una canción, un viaje en helicóptero, o una pizza y una película de animación.
  8. Al ser pacientes y entender que todos vamos a ritmos diferentes.
  9. Al decirnos lo evidente y lo no tan evidente para que no perdamos el piso.
  10. Al escucharnos con respeto, aún cuando lo que escuchamos no sea exactamente lo que quisieramos escuchar.
  11. Al jugar: en la lluvia, o en la arena, o entre las olas del mar, o cuesta abajo en las bicicletas, o con un fresbee, o con un perro que conocimos en el parque, o con cartas, o con palabras, o con los pulgares. Jugar, con complicidad y alegría.
  12. Al caminar lado a lado, sin tomarnos de la mano, ni abrazarnos por la cintura. Sólo lado a lado, en la misma dirección durante cierto trayecto.
  13. Al recordarnos en qué somos buenos y por qué deberíamos seguirlo intentando.
  14. Al respaldarnos cuando las cosas no van bien, cuando los resultados no se acercan al esfuerzo que pusimos en ellos; ser soporte y timón mutuo cuando haga falta.
  15. Al trabajar en nosotros mismos, desarrollarnos, entendernos mejor, ser mejores versiones de nosotros, para nosotros y para los demás.
  16. Al contarnos malos chistes, buenas historias y nuevos cuentos para ir a dormir.
  17. Al aceptarnos imperfectos, cambiantes y dubitativos.
  18. Al contarnos nuestros sueños; los que recordamos claramente y los que se sienten como imágenes en medio de la niebla.
  19. Al pensar los unos en los otros, porque con la memoria nos mantenemos vivos.
  20. Al permitirnos estar ausentes de todo, estar sólo con nosotros y para nosotros mismos, sin tener que estar ahí siempre para los demás.
  21. Al permitirnos el silencio, individual, mutuo, compartido, lleno de amor pero falto de palabras suficientes para expresarlo.
  22. Al dejarnos dormir, tanto como sea necesario para despertar con una sonrisa.
  23. Al pasarnos noches en vela, porque tuvimos que hacerlo, porque quisimos hacerlo o porque simplemente sucedió y nos vamos a morir de sueño todo el día, pero valió la pena.
  24. Al tomarnos fotografías para capturar esos instantes de maravilla que vemos en nuestro hacer cotidiano.
  25. Al recomendarnos libros, películas, música; porque todas esas expresiones contienen algo que nos hace pensar que encantará a la otra persona, y pensarla feliz, nos hace felices.
  26. Al reír fuerte, mucho; tanto que nos duela la panza y nos den ataques de tos.
  27. Al cocinar, preparar café, tomar una cerveza o una copa de vino, comer tanto postre que no podamos movernos de la silla y reír porque es absolutamente ridículo y doloroso.
  28. Al ir solos, llevándonos en el corazón y en la esencia, pero sin dejar de hacer nuestro propio camino y tomar nuestros propios pasos y decisiones.
  29. Al bailar, no importa si es con o sin ritmo, pero bailar y dejar que el cuerpo hable por nosotros a través de la música.
  30. Al leernos en voz alta las partes favoritas de nuestros libros favoritos.
  31. Al preguntarnos ¿qué aprendimos hoy?, y ¿cuál fue nuestro deseo o fantasía de determinado día de nuestras vidas?, para que no se nos olvide que cada día cuenta, pero que hoy es el día más importante.
  32. Al ponernos apodos, re significar nuestros nombres cuando son dichos en otras voces, con otros acentos.
  33. Al sentarnos alrededor del fuego, mirar las estrellas, nadar en un lago, enterrarnos en la arena, resbalarnos por la nieve y el hielo, saltar en los charcos, o correr casi sin aliento para alcanzar el último tren de la noche.
  34. Al vivir y compartir un día absolutamente normal y promedio. Sin aventuras epicas; sin grandes cambios o revelaciones, sin magia. Vivir lo cotidiano, las esperas, los entre tiempos, aceptarlos como parte del camino, estar ahí en conjunto.
  35.  Al sabernos libres, absolutamente libres, humanos y efímeros. Procurar no temerle a esa libertad, y mejor celebrarla y dejarla que nos inspire. Permitirnos aprender cómo hacerlo, e intentarlo.

35.8  Al dejar la última forma de querernos como una forma incompleta, casi terminada, pero incompleta, para que nunca se cierren las puertas de las posibilidades que aún no se han incluído en esta lista, porque tal vez, todavía ni siquiera conocemos o imaginamos muchas otras formas de querernos  que la vida podría permitirnos.

 

Más amor, por favor.

 


 

 

From words to silence: a journey of self discovery through others

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It all started with words.

“I want to tell you a story”, I said standing in front of a semi circle with 26 pairs of eyes staring at me. These 52 eyes belonged to people from ten different countries: Bulgaria, Denmark, Estonia,Greece, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Rumania, Slovenia and Spain.

There was a circunstancial curiosity aura floating in the room, and I was equally nervous and excited to continue with my narration. I knew that what I was about to do was a coin flipping on the air. Not just for the purpose of the shared momentum and activity, but also for my own purpose. Yes, the one I lost on the way years ago and I came here to re discover (or so I expected).

But before going into the detail of how my trembling voice was about to start breaking the edges of silence around the room, I will explain to you how I got there.

From the 11th to the 17th of June I put up on my calendar: “Me, myself and I”. Refering to a training course organized by the Baltic Regional Fund in Riga, Latvia (organization in which I am currently doing a year of European Voluntary Service) and funded by Erasmus+. The main objective of this Project was to adress personal evaluation and self growth approach tools and techniques to raise the quality of youth work and the professionalism of youth workers.

So it turns out that all these people coming from ten different points of Europe were appealed by the idea of improving themselves in order to be better role models, trainers, facilitators, mentors and more for others, specially for youngsters. Amazing.

When I heard about it from my boss, Ginta Salmina, and received the invitation to come along I was absolutely convinced that it would be far more than interesting, and a perfect opportunity to also explore myself, develop my own tools, narrow my plans and objectives. I was very motivated to work hard with me, myself and I.

But things took a slightly different direction after that “I want to tell you a story” moment, during the second morning of the training.

You see, since I have memory I have been writting,  nothing special, just random thoughts, journal entries, short stories, essays, articles, whatever my heart would feel the urge to put in words at the time.  It has always been an inner call, but never a crystallized action in my path search. Why? Mainly because I am shy, I have scenic panic and because I think that these stories have no particular importance in a world full of information, happenings, ideas, and probably everything already written and said.

Some years ago, nevertheless, I started blogging  as a mere act of technological journaling. In a way this sent some of my stories to the public gaze, and little by little I started thinking: oh maybe I do want to do this: write. But never before took it very sereously, until this happened:

“I want to tell you a story”, I said in that semi circle setting, my voice felt absolutely shaky inside my head, but I was able to not show it much. And for around ten minutes, I shared with all of them one of my stories, one that talks about a little girl from México, her community and the connection they have with forest preservation and the water that supplies a big city everyday. When I finished reading it, I felt absolutely thankful for them to have listened to me, and I felt a little fire was turned on again inside the middle of my chest. A little flame that had been almost extinct for several years.

So even when I expected this experience to be an individual pursuit of self understanding and improvement, it was not until I opened myself to the others, than my self was actually transformed; and for the next 6 days around these fantastic people, I completely forgot about the first squared plan that my mind had prepared to be much more productive, advocated and goal oriented. And I found myself marveled by the work the others are doing, by their ideas, their fears, their own stories, their traditions, their hopes, their smiles.

We huged, we danced, we shared three meals a day sitting by a big table, we cried, we laughed, a lot, we really laughed a lot. We opened to each other, we recognized the beauty, the weakness and the strenghts in others and in ourselves. In summary, the Project was a week of wonders, an understandment of how there is a gap between the expected and the unexpected; because beauty is in both, but magic is mostly in the second.

And then, it all ended in silence when the 27 of us, sitting in a circle, completely ran out of words for the final comments, and found ourselves immersed in a wave of gratitude, appreciation and love. It was one of the longest silences I have shared with people, and certainly the most beautiful one until now.

And you know? today; after this experience, I believe these stories I write will lead me somewhere.

Somewhere I am starting to walk towards.




 

Me, myself and I.

flores


Sometimes life seems and feels so beautiful that I notice a hole in the middle of my chest;

It is around the size of an orange, but it feels heavier than any thing that you could possibly imagine.

I don’t exactly remember the first time I noticed it. But certainly every time before, until today I thought it was made of mistakes, of sadness, of brokeness, of emptiness.

Today, instead, I thought that maybe, just maybe it exists to let the beauty of life pass through me.

To fill it up from time to time with the unexpected: the movement of the tree branches and its leaves due to the strong wind, the warm sunshine over my skin, the laughter and smiles of others, the new days and the new chances, the old familiar jokes and the improvised dances in foreing countries with new friends.

A hole in the middle of the chest, to, from time to time, fill it up with life and then, let it empty itself again. Always on its own time, on its own rythm, and only, on its own rythm. As part of its own wise process and its own cycle.

A hole in the middle of the chest, hard to remember how it began to be there. And perhaps, posible to forget about it when it becomes full filled of self forgiveness and self love.

A hole in the middle of the chest that serves the purpose of letting in and letting out. But never, ever, serves the purpose of keeping in anything or anyone, nor the purpose of closing and isolating itself.

It is only around the size of an orange, but you wouldn’t believe how important it is for me, myself and I.


 

 

– Time will tell, we always knew.


 

Tu esi tas, ko tu dari

identidad


Last week I had the chance to attend the “European and national identity”conferences hosted by the Ķekavas Jaunatnes iniciatīvu centrs in the town under the same name.

I must say that it was a really interesting and well organized event, with very different speakers, from different ages, backgrounds, and working fields, but with a common feature among all of them, passion and commitment towards what they do.

But apart from being a nice and interesting venue, after leaving I brought with me many questions around the notion of identity, and I think this is the most valuable part of anything we attend to, when it goes on beyond its time and space limits and makes us question ourselves. So here I am, sharing thoughts ad ideas that are revolving in my mind, wondering if you have also thought about these things lately or at some point of your life.

Identity as an opposition

So the first and strongest idea I found in these event has been the fact that sometimes it is way easier to define our own identity by stating what we are not. And at first it sounds strange, is true, but the more you think about it, you realize that societies over the years have found more common ground in shared disagreements and oppositions, for bad, but also and more and more I think, for good.

So, somehow, we might not really know who we are, but we know who we are not.

Words, terms and labels

Is identity a self defined feature or is it defined by others?

Of course this is a complex idea and question; if we talk about the external definition it is very likely that we will end up facing stereotypes and even judgments, I certainly don’t think that is or should be part of the identity equation. But also from the external side, it is true that the closer one looks to another person, the more rich, diverse and complex her or his life appears. There’s no simple people, simple stories, or easier lives; we all have struggled and we all have something valuable to tell and share from our own experience.

In terms of self definition, another really great idea I heard at the conferences was “if there is not a word to define you, create one”; and yes, I think this relates to the importance of celebrating diversity, understanding complexity and also telling the world about us, our points of view, taking part into the bigger discussion, being part of the so wanted change.

The ideal existence of real dialogue

Another wise quote I heard in the event was “In order to really listen, set yourself aside”

Every day it is harder to establish a collective dialogue towards something we don’t feel offended, threatened, misunderstood or completely pissed off at. Information it is much more accessible now somehow, but it also creates a “know it all state of mind” that in my opinion generates more intolerance, more labeling, less real dialogue.

Even if we certainly know who we are not and somehow know who we are, there is still many valuable, rich and amazing other perspectives that we can learn from. I believe identity is evolving and so we are, so we can not reach a final point of our identity and enclose ourselves to any other opinion. Come the fuck on.

Final rummaging. What is around the corner for our identity?

So continuing with the thought that identity is transitory and evolving, self awareness becomes a necessity for all of us into the distinction of ourselves and others. Not in terms of superiority, inferiority or any sort of comparison, but to have a better notion of interdependence and responsibility in a social world. As Brigita Stroda said, we need to talk to ourselves, whatever it is, we need to have a real conversation with ourselves at least once.

One of the speakers in the conference said that we could think about 3 features that we would like to have in 3 years. This notion empowers, because not only we can be much more self conscious but also, direct the evolving process through the features and habits we want to develop in ourselves.

In the end, it is all connected somehow, it is impressive; who are we?, Who am I? Are probably the most asked questions in the human history, and still here we are, but as Eduardo Galeano points it “we are what we do to change what we are”.

I stay with that final thought, stressing the idea that there’s improvement ahead if we are willing to commit and be passionate towards it.

Tu esi tas, ko tu dari.


 

 

Riga in two wheels

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I’ve never considered myself a cyclist.

Of course, as a child I loved biking, I learned how to bike before turning 5 years old, and I was stealing the bike of my brother even if it was way too big for me, just because it didn’t have back support wheels as my tiny red bike.

I loved to bike with my friends in the park, I loved the speed, the mobility, the endless fuel.

But then, for many years, I stopped biking.

Why? Well, I guess one, because it is dangerous. Two, because the infrastructure is not adequate, so that makes it even more dangerous. Or at least that is what we keep telling ourselves no? that’s the kind of reasons we give ourselves when we stop doing things we enjoy.

So apart from a short period of 3 months of summer in Canada, when I had the chance to bike all over Halifax, I didn’t do it more. Many times I tried to re start, to make it part of my daily routine, I bought new and used bikes, but then ended up getting rid of them; it was always too cold, or too hot, or too rainy, or too far, or I would be too sweaty in the end. Many excuses kept me from turning a bike into my main transport.

Now I live in Riga, and despite the fact that the infrastructure is not adequate (roads are bumpy, not enough bike lanes around the city, narrow bridges shared with pedestrians), the fact that is quite cold quite often (feels like winter is never ending), and also the fact that I’m not the best biker (already had an unlucky episode related to tram tracks and front wheel), I’ve been biking for over two months.

So my old second hand purple bike has been taking me to work every day, and has been my ride to the places I need to get and also the places I want to get, some of them closer, some of them further. And also, I’ve come to discover and started joining a very active biking community in the city.

Two weeks ago, during a beautiful weekend I experienced three events related to bikes that stressed the importance and shared interest around bikes in Riga: the repair café, the competence “biking for culture” and the Critical Mass. All of them showed me a united, joyful and motivated community, and allow me to deeply enjoy Riga in two wheels.

Is not about going at full speed, ringing the bell to everyone to get out of your way, it’s about being more conscious of urban mobility, share spaces, share with your friends, and specially enjoy the ride.

I think EVS is learning from the new, but also re connecting with what we once knew and did, but then forgot. Here we are in our four month already, learning, experiencing and living Latvia.

Lu


 

Some images from the cool biking weekend on this video
made by Aaron, Irish friend, also doing EVS in Riga for a year.