Paula Jansone



Vakars uz ezera (evening over the lake) is a Latvian idiom used similarly to the phrase “in a pickle” to describe facing a troublesome situation. When I was little, I never understood why an occasion as romantic as an evening over the lake should be associated with something so negative.


I grew up in the Soviet suburbs and my childhood was wrapped in asphalt and concrete. Hearing stories of my great grandparents and reading folk tales made me believe that the countryside is a place where people are happy, well-rested and always in awe of the beauty of nature. 


As I pictured the countryside as this magical place, I grew up dreaming of my own rural home. Now, I spend every free weekend visiting friends with houses in the country.

However, the more time I spend away from the high-rises and highways, the more reality kicks in. One can’t have both a full-time job and cope with all the duties that come with running a farm and tending to a garden. It’s hard to swap the convenience of inner city living with all its commodities to having an outdoor toilet and no running water. It’s expensive to have and look after your own car since rural Latvian roads are full of potholes. Besides, it’s only human to want to relax and not spend the whole evening on your knees in the garden.