Monday, November 15, 2010

Something I was hoping to avoid...

In my travels and time in Latvia, I was hoping to avoid a visit to the hospital...but alas, that did not happen.  Just so everyone knows, I'm all right.  When you hear that they may have to put you under anesthesia you worry a little, at least I did because of all that I've heard about Latvian medicine practices.  I was sick all weekend long, so first thing this morning, I went in to see the embassy nurse.  After taking a look and hearing my symptoms, she recommended that we go see a specialist.  Without going TOO much into detail, I had an abscess that got infected in an area that made it difficult to walk. 
The way that they do their medical here is definitely different than in the States.  You have to pay first, then go here, go there, get the medicine from the pharmacy then go to the's just bizarre!  Anyway, I had to get an ultrasound and man, did it HURT!  Ouch!  Any way, after getting the ultrasound, the specialist said that I'd have to go to the hospital and get it taken care of right away.  That's when they thought they were going to have to put me I was a little nervous so the nurse came with me which was really nice.  I went to the University Hospital where they have a whole bunch of buildings but everything is in Latvian which didn't help us.  We finally found where we needed to go and they got me registered in and then they took me back.  They wouldn't let the nurse come with me but one of the doctors spoke English so it was ok. 
It was interesting inside, you could tell it was an old building and instead of private or semi-private rooms like one would get in the States, patients lined the hallways on gurneys.  I felt so bad for the people, they were just laying there all by themselves (families could not come back).  It just made me thankful and appreciate the medical care in the States.  
They numbed me and then drained the area, band-aided me up, I paid and then we took a taxi back to my apartment.  Anna, the embassy nurse was great!  She went the whole way with me and went and got my antibiotics.  Wendy offered to bring me dinner and my bosses were great. 
I didn't get out of Latvia without seeing the inside of a hospital but I am grateful that it was a simple and easy thing.

Monday, November 8, 2010


So I figured I should take some pictures from and of my office since I'm leaving soon.  Above is the flag that flies above the embassy and right outside my office window.

Looking towards the Freedom Monument.

Me at my desk.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

White chocolate raspberry cheesecake

I made another cheesecake for break-the-fast and this time took pictures...

Then after it's cooked, you let it cool for an hour and then you put it in the fridge.  I then make a whip-cream frosting and edge the cake, then I shave a little bit of white chocolate on top.  Then I made a raspberry syrup that I put underneath when I serve.  I got SO many complements on it!  Everyone loved it!  
If you want the recipe, here it is:
Crust: 1 c toasted almonds 2/3 c graham cracker crumbs 3 tbsp sugar 3 tbsp melted butter  1 bar dark chocolate melted
Filling: 2 8 oz cream cheese room temperature 2 8 oz packages mascarpone cheese room temperature 1 1/4 c sugar 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice or vinegar 1 tsp vanilla 4 eggs room temperature 100 grams white chocolate melted 1/4 c raspberry puree
Preheat oven temp 350 degrees  Wrap a spring foam pan with triple layer aluminin foil.  Grind almonds, graham cracker and sugar.  Add melted butter and melted chocolate.  Press into bottom of pan and bake12-15 minutes.  Cool while mixing the filling.
Beat cream cheese, mascarpone and sugar until smooth.  Add lemon juice/vinegar and vanilla.  Add eggs one at a time until blended.  Add melted white chocolate and pour into pan and bake until cheesecake moves slightly when shaken about 1 hour 5 minutes.  Cool for one hour.  Refrigerate until cold at least 8 hours up to 2 days.  Edge with whip cream frosting and shavings of white chocolate.  Make a raspberry syrup (1/4 c raspberry and 2 tbsp sugar) and drizzle over each piece when serving.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Phoenix Coyotes vs Dinamo Riga

Yes, the Phoenix Coyotes visited Riga, Latvia!!  How ironic is that?!?!  AND I got to go to the game.
As you can see the various's interesting that they also have the Russian flag at the arena because Dinamo Riga plays mainly Russian hockey teams.
The US Marines with the color guard as they played the Star Spangled Banner (very moving to hear it in another country).
The final score: Coyotes 3 Dinamo 1!  We WON!!! WOO-HOO!!!
The teams shaking hands afterwards.  I love good sportsmanship!
Me by the flags, this was where I was sitting on the third tier by the goal, I must say, great seats! :)

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


I am in a baking mood...
On Sunday I made brownies...mmmm...SOOOO good!  I had a piece with icecream and whipcream and toasted almonds on top...Yum! :)
Then I made a raspberry cheese cake with a chocolate almond crust.  I haven't tried it yet but the crust smelled incredible and the batter was really tasty.  It is supposed to cool for at least 8 hours, so I'll let you know soon if it was yummy or not. :)  It was DELICIOUS!!!  YUMMY!
I'm gonna make another one this weekend and will take pictures...

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween 2010

I LOVE HALLOWEEN!!  I really do!  I love decorating the house...dressing up...making fun food...dressing up...did I mention I like dressing up? ;)  This year I decided to dress up as Betty Boop.  It's something that is fun and something that I'd never dress up as before.  I looked for a wig but I didn't want to spend $50 sp instead...I died it BLACK!  A little drastic but much cheaper.  I curled my hair like Betty and wore gold hoop earrings, a red dress and stole, and a garter.  It was a lot of fun and I got a lot of compliments on it.  I have to admit I was worried because the tan leotard that I ordered didn't arrive and I just couldn't bring myself to wear a white shirt under it so I showed a little more skin than I really wanted to but I wore the stole all evening to help preserve some of my modesty...Just made me realize that next time I won't dress up like that, even though it was fun, I'll find something modest.
I made Halloween cookies for the children's party and decorated them.  I love decorating cookies!  It's so fun!