Kylie, Paul (serving), William (10) and Orla (6)

How long have you been an army family?

Paul and I met in 2008 and we got married at Larkhill’s Garrison Church in 2011.

Time in Latvia?

We are coming to the end of our two-year posting. As we moved during lockdown in March 2021, the first year was isolating. Since the COVID-19 rules have lifted, we have travelled all around Latvia and its neighbouring Baltic states; it has been an adventure!

How many other military families live there?

There are only a handful of British military families, so we lean on each other for support. Our wider friendship group includes Canadian military families from the NATO headquarters.

What’s your quarter like?

There is no army housing, so we live in privately rented accommodation. We have a lovely spacious apartment in Riga. We miss having a garden, but there are plenty of local parks.

Are there any employment/ training opportunities?

There are no employment opportunities, although you can volunteer with local charities. I have taken this time to study with the Open University. Remote learning has worked well as it’s given me the flexibility to work around childcare.

What about schools/ childcare?

The international schools are outside the city. Our children attend King’s College, which follows the British curriculum. The children have Latvian language lessons as part of their weekly timetable.

Where do army families get together and who supports you?

Our welfare unit is based in Belgium, so we organise our own social gatherings. There is an international women’s group and we have also attended events hosted by the British Embassy such as the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations.

How do you find the cost of living there?

The cost of food in supermarkets is expensive and limited, so you must shop wisely. Local Overseas Allowance helps, and seasonal fruit and vegetables can be cheaper at the central market. Art galleries, museums and public transport are reasonably priced, plus Latvia has some wonderful beaches.

What are the best and worst things about living there?

The driving is a bit unpredictable, especially during the winter and the language barrier can be hard. The best thing about living here is the travel as Riga airport is only 20 minutes outside of the city.

Would you recommend it as a family posting?

If you can adapt to colder climates and have a sense of adventure, then absolutely! The winters are long, but the snow is a highlight. The kids enjoy sledging and building ice forts on the beach! 

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