Since I moved to Riga, Latvia in September 2019, I have met many new people. Something I have noticed is that when people learn I am a Latvian-American, the conversation can shift to questions about my fluency in the Latvian language.
Some questions include, but are not limited to:
“Can we speak Latvian?”
“How come you don’t you speak Latvian?”
“Why didn’t your parents didn’t teach you?”
“You don’t speak Latvian, but weren’t you born here?”
1. Ne. Piedod.
2. It wasn’t a language spoken at home and I never attended Latvian Saturday school or camp.
3. My father moved to the States as a child, so assimilated to life in America during his youth.
4. No, I was not born in Latvia. My father and grandparents emigrated to the U.S in 1949.
Now, I will state that I do know a little Latvian, but I am in no way fluent. Therefore, I currently study with a private tutor twice a week. Here are samples of images and words that I play with each week in effort to enjoy processing the Latvian language through a creative lens.
blue = zils
hello = sveiks
clothes = apģērbs
happy = preiks
to draw = zimēt