This morning I could not find an empty table in the lovely breakfast room. I asked a lone gentleman around my age if I could use a chair at the same table. Small talk is not part of Latvian culture (which is perfect for me) so I was expecting to eat quietly and quickly and leave.
The gentleman, however did speak to me. Finally asking if it was English that I spoke. When I said yes he asked which country and seemed intrigued when I said Canada. He commented that I was a long way from home. (If he only knew).
It turned out that he was a Norwegian whose English was pretty good, holidaying with some friends who were sleeping in. He was very polite and respectful so we had a brief conversation.
In discussing the exchange rate between Canadian dollars and Euros (which is not good, by the way) he told me that the Norwegian economy was suffering much like Alberta from loss of jobs in the oil industry. Small world.
What impresses me most about all the people I have met is the amount of languages they speak. At least three for the Latvians I have met:Latvian, Russian, and English. The Norwegian obviously spoke two for sure.
I think I would feel bad, compared to them, if I hadn’t been trying to learn at least one other language. I’m not fluent in anything other than English but it isn’t the only language I love.
Welsh, Cree, French, German, I even studied a little Latin. Maybe I could add a few more words that just Paldies (thank you) in the Latvian language.