We are off to Latvia on 15 August to celebrate my nephew, Paul's marriage to his fiance...Miss Zanda Krumina.
So who is going.
DD....Rachel 15 (going on 25!!)
and a whole bunch of family and friends...around 40 in all
We are not taking DS as it is a long flight, with cobbled streets not suitable for a wheelchair.
As a bit of background Paul is the son of my lovely SIL who lost her fight to cancer last March. Paul met Zanda in London where he has working as a Catering Manager for one of the Universities. Zanda had come over to the UK to work for a short time to help her family back home. Paul was her boss, they fell in love and the rest is history.
Bless her she stayed in the UK much longer than she expected to due to SIL prolonged illness. Zanda then wanted to go home to her own elderly parents and it was crunch time for their relationship. Paul decided to sell up and make Latvia his home last summer. He has struggled learning the language but has set up a successful coffee shop in one of the Museums in Riga, the capital of Latvia.
So where is it...here's a history lesson. ( you may but don't say you don't learn anything non-Disney on here )
• Due to instability in the international political arena with the expansion of German military might and the growth of Soviet international ambitions, Latvia proclaimed international political neutrality during the late 1930’s.
• Latvia’s immediate future was decided by the signing of the non-aggression treaty between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union on August 23, 1939 when the secret protocol of the Ribentrop-Molotov Pact divided up Eastern Europe into spheres of influence between the two totalitarian regimes.
• On October 5, 1939 Moscow threatened Latvia with military aggression. Attempting to avoid war, Latvia accepted the illegal Soviet ultimatum to allow the Soviets to station army and naval forces, which at that time greatly exceeded the size of the Latvian National Army, in the western part of Latvia ( i.e. in Kurzeme).
• On June 17, 1940 Soviet military forces completely occupied Latvia.
• On June 14, 1941 Moscow began wide scale repression against inhabitants of Latvia who were considered disloyal to the Soviet occupational regime.
• From 1941 to 1945 Latvia was occupied by Nazi Germany’s forces.
• On May 8, 1945, with the defeat of Nazi Germany, the Soviet occupation of Latvia was re-established. To avoid communist terror, a large part of Latvia’s population fled into exile in the West.
• Between 1945-1956 Latvia experienced continued armed partisan resistance movement against the Soviet occupation.
• On March 25, 1949 the Soviet Union resumed wide scale repression against the population of Latvia. More than 44,000 people were forcibly deported to the "gulags" of Siberia, a large part of them were Latvia's most productive and prosperous farmers.
• From the 1950’s through the 1970’s Latvia was made into a strategically significant military, industrial and scientific centre in the Soviet Union. With the introduction of Soviet style planned economy and the development of labour intensive industries, a large number of industrial workers flooded in from other regions of the Soviet Union.
• June 14 and August 23, 1987 marked the first post-WWII mass demonstrations directed against the Soviet occupation.
• On August 21, 1991 Latvia re-established its pre-war independence, and reinstated its 1922 Constitution.
• On August 31, 1994 Russian (former Soviet) military occupation forces completely withdrew from Latvian territory.
• In 2004 Latvia became a member of NATO and the European Union.
Despite struggling with the language and huge cultural differences, Paul has settled there and the date was set for Saturday 16th August in a 500 year old church in the Old Town.
There are about 40 of us flying out the day before - 2 1/2 hour flight from Liverpool to Riga. We are all staying in a lovely new hotel called Reval Hotel Elizabete in Riga.
The wedding ceremony is going to take ages as it is been done in Latvian and English. They do not have a traditional reception like we do, do not have best men, bridesmaids etc. My niece is his witness and there is a flower girl. Only one member of Zanda's family speaks English so communicating is going to be fun
If anyone's interested I will tell you about it when we get back.
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