Meet the new Vice-President

1.    Name: Elena Tezhe

2.    Nationality / Nationalities: Russian, lives in Latvia

3.    What country did you move to Latvia from? My home country is Latvia, but during my life I lived in Russia and in The Kingdom of the Netherlands.

4.    What changed in Latvia while you were away?

  1. The streets are changing. In recent years, municipalities are increasingly using the experience of other countries (in particular the Netherlands and Denmark) to organize life in cities. Slowly these changes are encouraging residents to walk more and stay at home less.
  2. The tax law is now changing. In the past 2 years there have been big changes in tax legislation which will bring Latvia closer to EU legislation and tax reporting. Soon, Latvian accountants will be able to do most of the accounting for companies in other EU countries.
  3. I like the fact that there are more foreign people on the streets. I find it very useful for the locals, as they  see more people who are different from them visually and culturally. This makes local people more flexible and less conservative. The world consists of very different people.

5.    What did you do? For many years I worked as an HR manager and an accountant, but for the last 2 years decided to return to the thing what I liked the most – painting.

6. Why did you move to Latvia?Family / IVF – I wasn’t sure if I should write about it or not. Usually people don’t talk about these things, but this question should be discussed publicly in my opinion. A lot of families are afraid of this kind of discussion and thus are unaware of the real situation and statistics in the world. People often think that something is wrong with them and experience even more stress because the topic is not discussed and there is not much information. I have decided to be open about this because it was covered very well in the book by Michelle Obama “Becoming”. I totally agree with her.

7.   What do you in Latvia now?Being in the Netherlands I was able to see how people decorate their homes and offices. It is very different to what we are used to here in Riga. And I would like to help people to make their life more joyful and happier. I believe it is possible to achieve if they would be able to see the beauty around them. Also, in Latvia, when it comes to decoration, there is a tendency to use paintings which gravitate towards realism. There is nothing bad with that, but it would be great to show people the other options. In my opinion, in many cases something contemporary makes the interior brighter, more interesting and people in that interior happier.

For the last 2 years I have run my website

For some time, I have been very interested in AR (augmented reality). It is a very promising area for art presentations in museums. And I hope to prepare some small AR art projects by the autumn.

8.    What do you like about Latvia? I like that all people here know each other. If you meet a new person it is very easy to find common friends. Very often it helps to build better relationships with people around.

9.      Your favorite places in Latvia? Why?

My favorite place is the sea. Any place by the sea basically. It is amazing to live near big water and visit it at any time when you want. I like to walk with my dog and happy to see how she meets new friends and they play on the beach.

Also I like a lot to visit 2 restaurants “Biblioteka Nr.1” (Library N1, Because this place during USSR times was a library). and “3 pavaru restaurant” (the restaurant of 3 chefs). In these places you always have the excellent service and amazing food made of Latvian seasonal ingredients.

10. Do you have any tips for other expats?

  1. Join the IWCR club. Psychologically it’s very important to have a community, especially if you don’t know people around you.
  2. For a day or two go and live in the woods. Latvia is one of the greenest countries in the world. 52% of Latvia’s territory was covered with the forest in 2010. Almost every family has a tent so it’s quite a common thing.
  3. Don’t be afraid to travel to small cities of Latvia. There you can find a lot of cultural events and discover old traditions.
  4. During the summer season visit the Kalnciema quarter. Every Wednesday from 18.00 till 22.00 there is a street food event.
  5. Eat the gray peas and bacon buns. When it’s warm treat yourself with cold soup.
  6. Dance

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