Tag: Lithuania

Christmas Letter 2015

Posted December 29th, 2015
Christmas Letter 2015

Dearest all, whoever and wherever you may be: Newscasts from Paris in November would cut to Brussels and all we could think was, “We were just there in April.” We recognized streets, buildings, monuments. We thought about our little apartment on rue Potagère (Warmoesstraat) in Saint-Josse not far from the Botanical Garden, our Halal butcher…

Šeima Means Family 8: The Constitution of the Republic of Užupis

Posted May 29th, 2015
Šeima Means Family 8: The Constitution of the Republic of Užupis

Everyone has the right to live by the River Vilnelė, and the River Vilnelė has the right to flow by everyone. Everyone has the right to hot water, heating in winter and a tiled roof. Everyone has the right to die, but this is not an obligation. Everyone has the right to make mistakes. Everyone…

Šeima Means Family 7: The Republic of Užupis

Posted May 29th, 2015
Šeima Means Family 7: The Republic of Užupis

We could not have imagined what a good choice the apartment at Užupio 26-11 would turn out to be. My Dear One found the listing online. We both loved the old-fashioned blue-upholstered furniture and the sunlight flooding in the window. The apartment claimed a view of Gediminas’ Tower, that famous ruin on a Vilnius hilltop….

Šeima Means Family 6: In the Loops

Posted May 24th, 2015
Šeima Means Family 6: In the Loops

You think you know what to expect but you really don’t. I had a vision of the Nemunas Loops Regional Park (Nemuno kilpų regioninis parkas) as a sprawling area, a place needing vigorous hiking skills or better yet a car. The park is 25,171 hectares—a quantity that meant nothing to me. That’s 61.8 acres, though,…

Šeima Means Family 5: In My Dreams

Posted May 17th, 2015
Šeima Means Family 5: In My Dreams

It was possibly the best day of the trip. Or maybe not best. Maybe it is the one most firmly nestled into my visual cortex, the collection of images most likely to reappear when I am asked about Lithuania, what I experienced, what I remember. In television programs like Who Do You Think You Are?…

Šeima Means Family 4: A Heart Left In Ashes

Posted May 4th, 2015
Šeima Means Family 4: A Heart Left In Ashes

The location is still marked on Google Maps: Balbieriškio Švč. Mergelės Marijos, Holy Mary of the Rosary in Balbieriškis on Vilniaus gatvė. On maps.lt, the church is outlined, a classical basilica, a rectangular nave with a semicircular apse at one end. Yet if you search the pictures that line the bottom of the Google map,…

Šeima Means Family 3: Tending to the Tree

Posted May 2nd, 2015
Šeima Means Family 3: Tending to the Tree

Researching my Dear One’s Family Tree has been, shall we say, a slow process. Facts and documentation, though, when found, bring a thrill, a surge of excitement that renews belief that the project isn’t fundamentally doomed. The problem is two-fold. Records pertaining to impoverished Lithuanians who immigrated to the United States from the 1880s to…

Šeima Means Family 2: The Determination of Memory

Posted April 30th, 2015
Šeima Means Family 2: The Determination of Memory

Most of us choose what to remember. We cherish feelings illuminated through rose-colored glasses and forget the uncomfortable; sometimes we nurse the grievances and grudges that give us our sense of self. In any case, the content and color of the past, the limning of our history is largely up to us. In Lithuania, memory…

Šeima Means Family 1: The Family We Choose

Posted April 25th, 2015
Šeima Means Family 1: The Family We Choose

We reached out to Audrius about fifteen years ago as we jumped into the quagmire that is the genealogy of Lithuanian immigrants to the United States. He shares a surname with my Dear One and a rather random Internet search turned him up in Kaunas. We grasped at that straw; it was an article of…

Making Danute’s Bread

Posted August 11th, 2013
Making Danute’s Bread

I did it. I baked a bread that was almost like the bread Danute served with breakfast at the Nemunas Tour guesthouse in Kaunas, Lithuania: dense, sweet, nutty with seeds and whole grains, crunchy of crust. I have pined for good Lithuanian bread from the day we got home in May, 2012. Okay, I have…