Second thoughts

Upon arriving in Tartu, a university town of 100 000 people in central Latvia, both Gabrielle and I had moments of doubt about life in Karlskrona – a likely similar place.

Gabrielle especially, wondered aloud: ‘The parks and old town are lovely, but is it really big enough to be interesting? Big enough to provide employment?’

These thoughts only served to grow the seeds of doubt sown by a random Swede in a Riga hostel. He scoffed at my suggestions about Karlskrona’s size, and whether there were any real universities there…

Later, in Tallinn, we met up witn ‘Ritchie’. A builder from Perth, he’d been working in Oslo for 7 months. He emphasised how different the Scandanavian people were: reserved, unfunny, and he thought many were lazy (as it is hard to get fired). He assured us that the cost of living was sky high: quoting the prices of meat, cheese, alcohol and baked beans (though only the last one really concerned us). On the upside, Ritchie thought that both the people and the prices were more extreme in Norway than Sweden.

At the end of our time Ritchie, I can’t say we felt better, but at least we had someone to talk about it with. Heck, he probably thinks we will fit right in based on our reluctance to get drunk moments after we arrived.

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