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My home is Latvia, and yours?

Autors: Madara Puķīte
Lasīšanas laiks: 7min

They said ”pack your bags and go” the world has way more to offer now. And so, I did, 19 years old, right out of high school, excited to get away from parents and explore all the new and exciting horizons the world could show off, so I went.

I moved away from Latvia with the idea to study bachelor’s degree abroad, not knowing I will tie the next 8 years of my life away from home. Actually, after a couple of the first years it started to feel like home there, and when visiting Latvia, I merely felt like a tourist whenever I came back. And so, life took a toll for me in Denmark, bachelors’ degree, masters’, job offers, relationships and many great friendships. My life really felt like home there. For a while at least.

However, there came a time, somewhere around last year, when I started to feel, that something was missing, I couldn’t really point to it, but I could feel it in my body and in my mind, there was a part of me that started to wander and question what it really was. Everything went good on paper – a great, motivating and interesting job with trips around the world and possibilities to grow, with promotions coming my way, a highly active social life, full of events, great company and lots and lots of laughter. I even had some time to pursue my own hobbies and other interests, like I said, it was perfect on paper. But that wasn’t how I felt inside. Something was missing, and it started to disrupt my piece.

So, I had a change of heart, and I understood that I had to change something for myself, even if I could fool everyone else, I couldn’t fool myself, the feeling only got stronger and I knew it wouldn’t go away, unless I acted on it. There, I quit my job in front of a promotion and decided I needed to take some time out, to figure things out for what I really wanted for myself, let’s face it, work takes up the most of our waken hours of our lives and it can be a great distraction from following whatever is really in our hearts.

When I was unemployed, I was, of course, looking for lots of other opportunities out there, but nothing really fit, or came close to light me up with excitement. I received a call from my brother, who said, you might as well come figure these things out in Latvia; it will be cheaper anyway. And then it kind of clicked, the thought of actually moving back after 8 years felt strongly appealing. But leaving everything behind there that I built, worked for, the closest and most wonderful people I met, but then again, the spark was in me, even just thinking about it. Couple of months of thoughtful process going over it, I decided I had to do it, otherwise I will never know how it could be and I knew I wanted to start something new, move some place new. When telling friends about my new plan, they laughed about me and started to put bets on me on when will I get back to my mind and whether it is going to take 3, 6 or 9 months to drive me back to Denmark. I knew myself and I knew they were wrong. Now being in Latvia for over a year, I still know I was right, because form the moment I took my first steps back, it felt complete, it felt like home. And for me it has been home ever since.

 

But the story isn’t about my path home, it’s about encouraging, motivating, and hopefully inspiring YOUR path home. You, that have been away from Latvia for a longer time, perhaps it is time to come back home? There are a lot of practical points on that, to which I will get to shortly as well, but most importantly, we never really get to appreciate the meaning and magnitude of something before it has been lost, and that is why seeing Latvia with new eyes, might just be the fit that makes you as hooked on it, as I have become. Let me try to convince you!

Have you ever heard about the guys ”Ar Pasaules pieredzi Latvijā” (AppLV)? Not to say that they are the coolest kids on the block, and by block I still mean our beautiful country; they are the kids with a lot of passion, collaboration, professionalism and not to mention the greatest party spirit, creating a community and organization for bringing together people just like us, a little bit lost abroad (of course, I mean the solemn knowledge, education and hardly replaceable insights), but still finding our way home to put these marvelous insights and ideas to work right here. They bring people together, tell inspiring stories and create beautiful gatherings and events, but more seriously, they focus on re-emigration, inclusion and diaspora discussions within the society. Not to say less, they got me totally hooked, so much that I am already one of them, and I am more than happy to be.

But don’t get me wrong, the same people that encouraged me to leave my country, have also told me that there was nothing to come back here for, and I should have been far better off staying in Denmark. To which I think, it is so wrong on so many fronts. I came back because I love our nature, our culture, our possibilities here are endless and our open-minded people sharing new and innovative ideas (if you don’t recognize these people, I’m encouraging you to change your circles, visit AppLV). We are so creative and passionate about giving and helping each other, that even the bigger projects get done with more fun. To texts like ”you won’t find a good job here, or at least not a well-paid one anyway” I say, watch me. Finding a job in Latvia has not been a problem at all, the moment you start looking, opportunities open up to you wherever you go, interviews start filling in very fast, and finding the fit for you and your wallet is definitely out there, you just got to dig a little bit deeper (AppLV knows how to help you with that too, just ask us). Getting your life back on track here, has been the most pleasurable thing of them all. After that many years away, you may have to reinvent your life a little bit, meet new people, born new friendships and put yourself into new activities, but that can be as a frightening as exciting thing to do. After such a long time away from your familiar environment you really learn to know yourself and open up to so much more of the other, and in such a setting as this, it becomes the easiest and most enjoyable part of it all.

So, no, it is not a hard thing to come back, you just have to want it in your heart enough and know where to reach out for a helping hand and it will all fall into place, I can promise you that, if you don’t believe me, I love to take you up on the challenge and help you move back myself. I came home from many years abroad, and I have never felt more happy and confident about my choice to do it, and I know many people around me who did exactly the same and we formed beautiful friendships together, found jobs for our passion and mind and spend great time enjoying life and work and a little bit of everything that Latvia has to offer. We are for those who love our country, care for it and want to make it better. Are you just like us? Then join me in the journey!

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