Photos of My Frenemy: Riga, Latvia

Riga and I have a tumultuous relationship. The capital of Latvia welcomed me with a malicious staircase and a fountain of blood, the cramped hospital waiting room, and a merry-go-round of aptieka visits. As if that wasn’t enough of an introduction to the city, the skies chilled me with sullen rain, and the dirt, noise, and endless crush of people assaulted my senses after the breezy character of Tartu on summer holiday.

But after I slept off my frustration, patched up my legs, and blatantly ignored the stares of everyone around me at the sad state of my shins and knees, I set off into Riga’s streets, determined to like her mishmash of regal (slightly haughty) classical facades, modern storefronts, crisscrossing trams, lush pockets of green, and solemn medieval churches. Just when I thought I was too jaded to let any charms of sidewalk cafes or plucky street musicians into my heart, I caught the playful wink of an Art Nouveau building, like the forbidden rush of a secret kiss, tucked into the stone and mortar cacophony of centuries of human construction.

My photos of Riga reflect my ambivalence, the sweet moments of discovery and the melancholy of harsh lessons of reality, both past and now.

To view my photo slide show, click on the link below.

Riga, Latvia

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About chronictraveler

Chronic Traveler starts as a dream, one that I thought I had lost, but that has slowly changed into a mission to realize and live that dream every day. In December 2007 I became seriously ill and the doctors did not know what was causing my illness. I had to stop teaching as my life tumbled into a never-ending nightmare of doctors, hospitals and tests. Finally, in May 2008 I was diagnosed with a chronic condition - fibromyalgia. I was only 26 years old at the time. I have had to give up teaching, and now work part-time at a performing arts center as I learn how to manage my condition and improve my quality of life. What helped me through the months of uncertainty and sickness, and continues to inspire me, was a new focus on what truly mattered to me: family, friends, gardening, the arts, and especially travel. I have always fed my soul by traveling, ever since I first stepped off the plane at age 16 in Kathmandu, Nepal to help with an orphanage's building project. Meeting new people and experiencing how they live and how they view the world infuses my life with a richness I was so afraid I would lose when the doctor first said, "You have fibromyalgia". This blog is my story, as I begin to forge a new path. I am embracing my life as it is, with the fibromyalgia pain and fatigue, and learning to do what I love regardless. It may mean I have to go slower and take more naps or breaks! But I am determined to learn how to travel and experience the world, and hopefully what I learn will help others like me who believe their medical condition stands in the way of their travel dreams.
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