I was visiting my parents for a weekend and was looking at the environment with different eyes. I looked at the architecture of the houses we lived in and realized how striking is the difference between the house I live in now and my childhood place.
Nothing surprising to me at the time I lived in Riga (having seen nothing else) but now after all these years living in Belgium, I can see the difference and why someone who has not gone through communism (pardon, socialism, as it was taught to us) would be startled by the difference.
The story also goes that all this was built in a way that around now or upcoming years all these houses would become unusable as the purpose was not to build them “forever”. Who knows, maybe there is no future for matchbox houses in Riga…
p.s. You are never friendly to your neighbors in the matchbox houses. Or smile at them. Or talk to them. (a friendly advice from me:)
p.p.s. people from all of the ex-soviet union countries will agree on this though: despite the colorless and soulless attitude of these houses, we have had a happy childhood :))