Volumn 1 - Issue 6
Editor : Bernard Tiva
Layout/Design: Rick Gostautas

1. A Pilgrim's Tale
2. In Lithuania You have the Freedom to Choose
3. The Man From Red October (final part)
4. Followup on the Grodis Kidnapping
5. President Adamkus' First 100 Days in Office
6. Days to Remember
7. MAMA- MA & MOM!!!
8. Book Review
9. Note of Remembrance
10. A Letter From a Young Lithuanian
11. Production and Sales of Beer in Lithuania
12. Smithsonian Folklife Festival
13. Lithuanian Days Celebration Bits and Pieces

1. A Pilgrim's Tale

My name is Paolo and I am a seminarian at Conception Seminary College in Missouri. last fall all I returned to America and back to the seminary. I was happy about returning. However, a part of me was and is still quite sad.

This sadness is based on a loss, an ending, a small death in the story of my life. But of course from death comes new life, at least for those of us who are Easter people. The loss of which I speak is of my leaving Lithuania, where I had been since the 29th of August, the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul. From the feast of these two great Saints to just camp near the village of Berciunai, which is located in central Lithuania. I am also coming to terms with the experience of World Youth Day in Paris, which is where and how my summer of pilgrimage ended.

Before I go any further, I must apologize to all who read this story . . . no words will ever do justice to the incredible spiritual journey that I have had this summer. No words can adequately describe the beauty of the Lithuanian people and the love which they showered upon me. No words can express what it was like to see our Holy Father with many of my Lithuanian friends, as well as, one million other Catholics from all over the world.

That said. . . my experience truly started with my arrival in the capital city of Vilnius. I and eight of my seminarian brothers arrived to meet Rev. Samuel Russell, O.S.B., the man who conceived of this adventure. Though we were exhausted and ready for sleep, Fr. Samuel had other ideas. He took us all over to the capital, showing us the Cathedral, the many beautiful churches and other sites in Vilnius only to stop at the chapel of Our Lady of the Dawn Gate.

Ausra Vartai, the Dawn Gate, is a famous icon and place of pilgrimage in Lithuania. We celebrated Mass there and in the homily Fr. Samuel spoke of this as being the start of a pilgrimage to the Father through the Son, in the Spirit. In a pilgrimage one sees the goal and sees the way but in the going along the way other pilgrims are met and the experience of "the way" itself happens; this is where one encounters the Spirit.

We traveled to the Father through the Son in the Spirit. There are crosses along the way and there are Veronicas and Simons along the way. There is falling and there is rising; there are ends and there are beginnings. My summer started with a long walk through Vilnius and ended with an even longer walk through Paris. There was also a great deal of walking in between. I am not just talking about the physical walking, but moreover the walk one takes on the inside. A pilgrim walks, he walks with other pilgrims and he looks for Jesus who is there on the path all the time.

Many people might be saying right about now - is this guy ever going to tell us what he did in Lithuania or what? Well. . . here goes. Summer camps are very popular in Lithuania and that is what I experienced. I worked at a camp in Berciunai, a small village outside of Panevezys. I was with 2 other seminarians, while the other six were in two other locations, Klaipeda and Vilnius.

The camp in which I worked is situated in the woods and a river that runs through it. (I took the kids swimming there every day, it was fantastic). The camp sessions were 12 days long and I was at two sessions.

A typical day began at 8:30 with morning prayer and exercises, followed by breakfast and classes. Classes run from 10 AM until lunch, 2PM. After lunch was swimming and crafts. I also had the chance, to the joy of a few kids and the dread of all who listened to us practice, to teach some kids to play the harmonica. The children really seemed to love playing (though some of the leaders might never want to hear "When the Saints Go Marching In" again!) In the evening we had talent shows, dances or skits that the kids would put on. Participation and involvement was overwhelming.

The night usually ended at midnight (officially) but there were many nights that went into the early hours. Those young people sure loved to dance.

Anyone who doubts the existence of God need only look into the faces of young people when they are happy. They will see the Ancient of Days reflected in young eyes. Each night I encountered Christ in the eyes of Lithuanian children.

We had Mass everyday and each camp had an evening of reflection and prayer. At the first camp, we had a reflective prayer service in which the children sat quietly for two hours of silent meditation, followed by a talk from one of my brother seminarians. (The next day some of the kids said they really enjoyed the reflection, they only wished we could have prayed longer).

The youths of Lithuania have really inspired me by their great witness of faith. One talk was about the location of the camp and what the forest had been a witness to. The camp had at one time been a resort for wealthy Jews, but they were not there any more. They had traveled to places with strange names like Dachau and Auschwitz. A train track that still runs through Berciunai. It was used, so I was told, to take Jews to their deaths. The trees I saw stood witness. They had watched boxcars, crammed with human beings, pass by day after day.

The "Land of the Camp" was next occupied by Soviet communist leaders as a resort. All sorts of unsavory things happened. The church that was originally there was blown up by the Soviets in an attempt to crush the faith of the people. Today, "Station of the Cross" leads to the sight of that church, now called the Altar of Resurrection. The train tracks still pass behind this sight; the same tracks which took Jews to their deaths took Lithuanians to exile in Siberia. Many Lithuanians suffered and died in coal mines in Siberia. I met a survivor who told me his story.

Today, children swim in a river, a river crossed by a bridge over which many people traversed only to suffer and die. And now, children laugh and play in its shadow and fear no more. The forest of Berciunai saw death and now sees life.

I saw the tracks, the trees. Perhaps the trees saw me, perhaps they saw the children at play and smiled. It is my dream and it is my wish that the young people of Lithuania may continue to only taste peace and joy. They deserve it.

There were six Lithuanian leaders at the first camp and 10 at the second. We also had two Americans teaching with us at the first camp. They taught English in Lithuania before and were true lifesavers for me and my two seminarian brothers (we seminarians had never taught English before . . . and some might say we still haven't).

The first camp had 53 campers from ages 11 to 1I; the second 43 in the same age group. The camp leaders were truly amazing! With hardly any material or resources, they would whip up an evening program filled with costumes, music, songs, and dance. I never really figured out how they did what they did and words are inadequate. Let it be said that I have seen miracles and anybody who wants to see one too, just spend a summer in Berciunai!

The summer camp experience started with the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul and ended with the Transfiguration. I tried to walk in the footsteps of these great Saints, to see where Christ was in my daily life and I was changed. The children were changed and they had changed me. We grew together in faith and love. Just as the Apostles saw the brilliance of Christ, I saw the light in the eyes of young people. They were filled with the light of Christ's love because of this special place that we had experienced together. I count myself as a very fortunate man.

That is the overall nuts and bolts of the camp experience, but it is not possible to share the magic, the love, the tears, the hugs, and the laughter. Two stories come to mind.

One night at dinner we had ice cream for dessert. Everybody got one cone but one was left over. There was no greedy voice saying, "Me, me, " just the hand of a child who reached out, grabbed the cone and took a bite. The cone was passed from person to person until the 68th person took the last bite. Everyone cheered! These are children who share, children who reach out, children who look with hope toward the future. They taught me so much.

During my last day in Lithuania, I had a chance to meet with a young lady from the first camp. What she told me, I in turn told to some Lithuanian friends on my bus ride to Paris. A young man who heard the story began to cry and all he could say was, "I went to Berciunai when I was 15, I understand." That is the best way to understand the Lithuanian people . . . experience them, yes, experience them and their beautiful land, and their even more beautiful language, and then you might understand.

The young lady from the camp said she had talked to her friends from the camp about Berciuna, but neither she nor the others would tell anyone else about the camp. I asked her why. She said the experience was so profound and full of love nobody would ever understand. She also indicated it was too special to talk about. As she said this, tears welled up in her eyes and in mine (my eyes mist as I type).

We all experienced love at camp, but love is more than a feeling. Love is best described in the words of a Lithuanian song based on 1 Cor. 13:4-8a. "Meile kantri, maloniga, ji nepavydi." "Love is patient, it is kind, it is not jealous." These words only begin to describe the love that blossomed at our small camp in the woods. Though I find it hard to express this experience in words, I found the experience has given a deeper meaning to Biblical passages.

In John 13:34, Jesus says, "Love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another." I have always tried to find an experience of love that did justice to giving an adequate understanding to our Lord's words. I never really knew what this love was until this summer. Perhaps this is the best I can do to express my summer experience in Lithuania.

My pilgrim summer was more than just camp. I also traveled to Kryziu Kalnas, the Hill of Crosses. This is, in my opinion, the best representation of the love and faith of the Lithuanian people. Like millions of other pilgrims before me, I too placed a cross on that hill.

Someday I will return. Crosses are placed on this hill in memory of those who were tortured and killed by Soviets. During the day, the Soviets would bulldoze the many crosses. At night, the people would silently return and put them back up, plus more. From 1961 until 1985, Soviets bulldozed and blocked roads to the Hill, but still the crosses came. They still come. There are millions of crosses. It is a place of faith, hope; a place, I wish, every person would have an opportunity to see. Someday, God willing, I will return to that special and Holy place.

My summer of pilgrimage ended in a bus ride with Lithuanian youths across Europe to Paris. We went through Poland, the Czech Republic, Germany and into France. Since Lithuanians love to sing, we sang songs all the way across Europe. We spent time in Prague, Heidelberg and Strasbourg. I saw the Infant Child of Prague, castles and the Abbey of St. Odilia. I lived with French families and people from Holland. I slept in the homes of strangers, on a basketball court, on the streets of Paris, and on the ground in the dirt with one million Catholics. I hiked up a mountain and across Paris. I walked in the dust and thought of the disciples following our Lord; I thought of the billions of pilgrims in whose steps I was walking. With my Lithuanian friends, and a million of my other brothers and sisters, I laughed, I cried, I prayed, I sang, I danced, and I worshipped the Lord our God in the Holy Mass.

I met people whose lives were touched, young people interested in the religious life and the priesthood, a young Lithuanian woman whose goal was to become a good wife and mother, her greatest wish but to have children and raise them in the Faith! Never in all my days have I ever met such a faith filled young person ... she was a true marvel ... to look into her eyes was like looking into the eyes of our Lady.

Several of the young people I met from Lithuania felt "called to either a religious or priestly vocation." I do not think more people are being called to these vocations in Lithuania. Perhaps they have a "quieter" culture, a culture that is more open to the Word of God. They have yet to be buried in the excessive materialism of the West. I pray they have the chance to hear that "still small voice." Many are called.

One of my brother seminarians related the words of St. John Vianney, "one out of eleven are called to the religious life or priesthood." In the quiet of the Lithuanian woods, that was the approximate ratio at which I met youth discerning God's call. Perhaps if more young people in our country were encouraged to find quiet time in solitude, more would be able to hear God's call.

I saw many unpleasant sights ... people in the streets of Paris trying to distribute condoms to Catholic youths on their way to see the Pope. We prayed for these confused people, the supporters of the "culture of death." Graffiti insulting our Holy Father and ill wishes of his early demise paved the walls of Paris. I asked a Dutchman if he thought legalized drugs in Holland caused problems. He responded, "They get their drugs, they don't rob me for money and they die. No problem."

Confronting this culture of death was the son of not only Poland, but also Lithuania, an old man, yet a special old man. That is what one of the Lithuanian youths said when we saw the Pope. This young lady turned to me and said, "He's an old man. . . looks so old." However, when 4,000 people collapsed from heat exhaustion, where was the Pope? He was at the altar.

While people drank water and poured it on their head to fight the heat of the noon day sun, where was the Pope? He was giving a homily in his vestments with nothing but the shade of one umbrella. I never saw him drink a glass of water. When people were sitting on the ground exhausted, having been beat down by the heat and the crush of the crowd, where was the Pope? He was speaking a message of hope and love, he was standing and blessing the masses. Where were the hate mongers and the proponents of the culture of death? I don't know, but I do know where the Vicar of Christ was, and it is my greatest honor to say I and my friends from Lithuania were with him and with one million other faith filled Catholics from all over the world.

Postscript: I still correspond with a many young people from Lithuania. They continue to inspire me to follow Christ on my road toward the priesthood. May our Lady always watch over Lithuania and Lithuanians everywhere.

By Mr. Paolo Joseph Dulcamara
Mr. Dulcamara is is studying for the priesthood at Conception Seminary College in Conception, MO.

Back to the Table of Contents


A Good Day or Bad Day?
September 1997
R. Aidis

There are clearly different recipes for the two. If you want to have a bad day, than there's no better to start than to visit a governmental office in Lithuania. There are numerous departments to choose from so it shouldn't be difficult. In fact it isn't even necessary to actually visit a governmental office, it's enough to simply telephone one! Expect the following:

  • a busy signal
  • a busy signal
  • a busy signal, then no one answers. Or, someone answers but hangs up right after you ask your question. Again, no answer.
    And, that's if you speak Lithuanian! If you don't speak the native tongue, the following variation can occur:

    When calling the telephone company and inquiring if anyone speaks English, no attempt at a response will be made. Without uttering a word, the operator on the other end of the line will simply hung up.

    Pay a visit to the electric company! I stood in a line of people, waiting to obtain information from the information desk. We were at the electric company‚s main office. Everyone has to inquire first at this desk to discover how to proceed. We stood and waited while the receptionist elaborately explained information on the telephone. We were left standing, waiting until she finished with her conversation. She finally hung up and phone immediately rang again. She automatically answered the callers questions while we waited, and waited and waited! This makes me wonder who she's talking to. Was the subject matter from the X-files? Every time I call, the phone is always busy!

    To make a bad day even worse, squeeze in a few rides on the public transport, especially during peak hours on a warm summer day when you wish you were all peas in a pod because they don't have body odor. A visit to the public facilities is a must! In Lithuania, one actually has to pay to enter these seemingly historical places. From the looks of it, they haven‚t been renovated since WW I. From the smell, they probably were only cleaned on National holidays. Being a woman (men here use trees as natural lavatories), sheer necessity wins over all other considerations.

    Let's say you want to have a good day! Well, the first suggestion to jump to mind is: STAY HOME (just kidding). But, even that does not ensure a problem free day. The government may decide to adjust your neighborhood's electrical wiring without any warning as they recently did on my block. Maybe it was actually a good thing because I initially thought (in horror) that my NEW cassette player was broken. In fact it was fine. The problem on that day, as on all the following days, was the electricity being shut off for a few hours every morning, without notice, no warning.

    Upon returning to the edge of Europe, (written in June 1997) it is overcast. I am struck once again by the greenness. From the plane, a view the forests, the open spaces, small houses and farms scattered amongst vast fields. It's a charming view from the top down and refreshing, after having just come from the tightly planned lay-out of countries like Holland and Belgium.

    I land and am suddenly aware of the quiet, the lack of activity at the airport. Things move slowly, there are less people, less of everything. It feels like it's the limit, as if the map of Europe ends here. This is the final frontier, the outback, Europe's backyard.

    There's something very bland about the environment. Everything is gray, an overwhelmingly depressing shade of gray. Maybe that's why Lithuania is so conducive for black and white photography. Which, per definition, should be 40% gray.

    In the midst of all uniformity, something shocking catches my eye. A woman standing next to me radiates doll-like charm and elegance. She is dressed in a bright red wool suit, has petite features, wears shiny patent leather shoes, and sports a bob haircut. She fits the part almost perfectly, but her face gives away the fact that youth is only a memory, never to return.

    Then there was the two Brazilians, both in their late 80's. I feel I know them intimately since they remind me of my grandparents (could even have been my grandparents). I feel compassion for those of this age who suffered so much, forced to leave a life behind that will never return. Time did not wait for them. Now they wear age heavy on frail shoulders in a final trip to the homeland.

    So, what's life like at the edge of Europe?
    After 6 months in Lithuanian, I am struck by the dangerous assumptions that have been made regarding the seemingly natural fusion between capitalism and democracy. If the market was made open to competition and free enterprise allowed, democracy would develop organically. But, building democratic institutions is more complex than simply making money. It involves personal commitment, public interest, civil action and, most importantly, governmental accountability.

    Another crucial ingredient is personal empowerment - the feeling that any individual has the ability and, more importantly, the right to affect and influence policies and governmental actions. It's not enough to simply elect government officials. They must be monitored and the people remain involved throughout the process. This change is primarily a psychological one and counters the patterns people learned under soviet leadership. The Soviet system did not promote this type of thinking. In fact people who thought this way often ended up with a one-way ticket to Siberia.

    Consider also, the issue of light bulb theft in the not so distant past! During Soviet rule, it used to be possible to buy burned-out light bulbs at the market. They were needed by workers who wanted to take the good light bulb home without raising any suspicions. Co-workers would question a socket missing a light bulb but not a socket containing a burned-out light bulb.

    You can't choose your neighbors or your family
    Some countries are lucky! They drawn up pacts of cooperation or goodwill with their neighboring countries. Other nationalities are even luckier with their borders being the deep blue sea.

    In this sense, Lithuania did not pull the best card from God's benevolent hand. Their neighbors include: Belorussia which, under the leadership of A. Lukashenko, has decided to sign a more intensive cooperation agreement with Russia. Belorussia has incorporated the Lithuanian coat of arms as its own, forcing Lithuania to modify its original design. Belorussian officials have publicly stated Lithuania is a part of Belorussia (so much for respectful neighbors). But, perhaps the most irritating harassment the Belorussians dish out occurs on the Warsaw-Vilnius train route which crosses Belorussian territory for about 30 kilometers.

    Ironically, the train route does not need to cross through Belorussia, but since it was built during the Soviet period when these mere republic borders were not of much importance, little attention was paid. Today, the result is one big headache! Foreigners who are unlucky enough to be on that train are slapped with a Belorussian transit visa fine of aprroximately $30 USD. Passengers must declare all possessions and are thoroughly checked. If there are any inaccuracies (especially with money), the Belorussians reserve the right to confiscate and prosecute. All this on a short stretch of Belorussian territory.

    To the South lays Poland. Many Poles believe Lithuania's capital of Vilnius should rightfully be a part of Poland. A Pole in Warsaw asked me where I was coming from. When I answered, "Vilnius," he quickly retorted, "Oh, Poland." At the border crossing, the situation is comical, if you are a fan of black, cynical humor. It is common to hear stories of motorists stranded at the border for days. The border guards aren't going anywhere so, why should you? Most Lithuanians I spoke to knew very little about Poland. Those that drive through do just that, drive without stopping. There is an high degree fear and Mafia harassment.

    On Lithuania's western border, you encounter Kaliningrad, still a mystery. It is basically a Russian military enclave. Russia's long arm reminding Lithuania of the Big Bear that lives just around the corner.

    Back to the Table of Contents


    The Baltics - Strange Bedfellows?
    The Baltics are more often than not clumped together as an entity. Newspaper headlines read: the Baltics want to join NATO. But besides their geographical location and a shared enemy and oppressor, the Baltics have little in common. Lithuania and Latvia have the most similarities, stemming from a common linguistic root. But there are also differences, both religious and ideological. Although Latvian border guards may be a slight bit more civil than Polish border guards, the experience is often an unpleasant one.

    Estonia has more in common with Finland linguistically and culturally than with the other two Baltic countries. She's the odd ball. In the Baltic constellation, Latvia often is the scapegoat, bordered by Lithuanian and Estonia, it has to be friendly with both. When a Latvian boasts of his country's greatness, to an Estonian or Lithuanian, the sly reply may be, "Yes, Latvia is lucky to have such nice neighbors!"

    The greater family of Lithuania is an interesting animal. A clear distinction between ancestors and current inhabitants must first be made. On one hand, Lithuanians are a fiercely patriotic and conservative nation. They have survived centuries of cultural and linguistic oppression almost unscathed. As a result, the language and the traditions have remained firmly intact. The legends of the great dukes and leaders of ancient Lithuania are commonly referred to with a source of pride and inspiration. But a different impression is given of contemporary Lithuanians. Many variations of the theme exist but the most common is jealousy is. There is little trust or faith in the neighbor.

    Public vs. private space:
    Several months ago, I met a Lithuanian woman at her apartment. As I entered the stairwell, I became nervous. It looked like the hall had not been painted in the last century, many of the mailboxes had been bent open and could not be shut properly. Again, the stairs were cracked, there were missing pieces, and the lights failed to work. The air was stagnant and stale. I thought a young hoodlum or wino could be lurking around any corner. It was rundown, abandoned, uninviting, and unsafe with a ghetto-like character.

    I began having doubts about the person I was going to visit. Could she really be a successful entrepreneur? I rang the doorbell reluctantly, wondering if I should just call the whole interview off. She opened the door. Suddenly I felt transported into a completely different world. Her apartment was luxurious, the entrance area covered with pictures and exotica collected by her and her husband during their world travels. The living room was spacious, tastefully decorated with items of obvious quality and high cost. What an incredible contrast to the apartment one would expect in such a dilapidated building. This was not the first, and definitely not the last time, I would have such an experience. Since then I have visted business buildings with similar run-down conditions. On the outside, the structure looks like it's crumbling from the core, but inside, everything is shiny, new.

    Interactions with Lithuanians on an official level can be somewhat of a harrowing experience. They are often rude, curt and generally unfriendly. Expect a similar reaction if you are identified as a stranger‚ a foreigner. On the opposite end of the spectrum, if you are considered a friend, relative or someone who deserves help or attention, the experience can be amazingly and sometimes almost overwhelmingly hospitable. Lithuanians will open up their homes and hearts. Its a difficult dichotomy to accept, especially since the difference can be so drastic. I'm convinced foreign "experts", coming to Lithuania, could walk away with a completely different impression of Lithuania, especially if all they see are the public spaces and are limited to formal interactions.

    Lithuanians are not public people. After 50 years of oppression, the public sphere has been severely damaged. People stroll cobble-stone streets without daring to make any sign of personal expression. Of course, this affects day to day interactions. Since I am currently residing in a country that considers complaining a national pastime I'll allow myself a gripe or two relating to the dehumanizing way individuals are still allowed to treat one another in a country that is supposedly moving towards a democratic society.

    Can I have my coffee now?
    Recently, I went to a group dinner held at a state-owned restaurant. I was dreadfully tired and ordered a cup of coffee to start off with. While the waitress appeared to write down my request, I never saw the coffee. Unrequested beverages that were served, along with salads, were eaten. But, no coffee. Apparently, coffee is only served at the end of the meal and although I asked for my coffee specifically to be served at the beginning, my request was not honored. Finally, I cornered the waitress and ask again only to have to wait a good 30 minutes before the cup finally was placed before me. I really felt foolish afterwards; as if my request had been too demanding. Instead of responding, Lithuanians seem experts at avoidance and ignoring what they don't want to address.

    Consider the following:

  • While placing an order at a Chinese restaurant in Vilnius, I asked about the ingredients in a particular dish. The waiter responded with a non-chalant, "I don't know," and made no attempt to find out.
  • I called a Lithuanian travel agent, requesting the price of a ticket to England. "How am I suppose to know that information," he said, then added, "I'll call you back in about an hour or so.
  • While shopping in a new supermarket in Vilnius, one item I selected from their shelves ddid not have a price on it. Therefore I couldn't buy it. Worse still, the cashier avoids all eye contact, doesn‚t apologize, and makes one feel like their to fault.

    A glass half empty or half full?
    There‚s a simple way to distinguish optimists from pessimists. Ask a Lithuanian to comment on a glass that is 50% full. The optimist will say the glass is half full. The Lithuanian would say the glass is half empty. Whether this is traditional, a Soviet influence, or a direct result of the slow gains and general social and economic instability that transition has caused, Lithuanians seem to dwell on the negative aspects of their existence. Conversations with locals tend to escalate into uncontrollable gripe sessions. It is common to have discussions end on such a negative note it almost seems pointless to go on. (Is this one of the reasons for the high suicide rates?).

    Hopelessness and feelings of powerlessness in terms of ones‚ destiny can have tragic consequences. Sometimes the weight put on negativity can breeds negativity. I recently had a short conversation with a flower saleswoman. I was commenting on how Lithuanians tend to be so stern and unfriendly in public whereas in other Western countries people tend to show more expressiveness in public. She abruptly countered with, " Lithuanians have such poor dental facilities. As a result, people‚s teeth are in such poor condition they dare not smile in public." Though this may contain a grain of truth, it also reveals a further cultural trait: the glass is definitely half empty!

    I wonder if this type of attitude is:

    1. a cop out: Don‚t expect anything from me, I‚m depressed
    2. a social norm: We‚re Lithuanians and we‚re all depressed
    3. a blend of A) and B)

    Language Lesson #1: Aidis-Aidyte-Aidiene
    In Lithuania it's possible to have three distinct forms of the same last name, identifying sex and female marital status. In my case, I became Aidyte, my mother Aidiene. My father and brother were able to keep the original form. At first, I resisted the change in last name but tradition and a strong desire to blend in got the best of me. With a name like Ruta Aidyte, I carry a 100% stamp of Lithuanian authenticity which in my case facilitates everyday interactions. However, it did cause chaos in the legal sense since. If I were a Lithuanian citizen than my legal name would be Aidyte, but on my American passport my legal name is Aidis. In addition, Aidyte conveniently advertises that I am an unmarried woman which is what I originally had problems with (whose business is it anyway?) Since then, I discovered that in contemporary Lithuania quite a number of women have held on to their maiden names, especially if they are artists, singers, actresses i.e. the creative ones. In which case, I don‚t mind being mistaken for belonging to the distinguished bunch. Maybe some of you are thinking, "Why don‚t these famous artists retain their maiden last names and just add on the married woman ending (-iene )." Sounds logical, but in effect everyone would confuse them with their mothers and think they were married to their father (dangerously Freudian).

    Language lesson # 2
    Despite being a grammatical nightmare, Lithuanian is a very straight forward language because it is phonetic. Similar to Spanish in a very limited sense, there are a few additional letters (about 8). Once you learn sounds, you could conceivably learn to read Lithuanian aloud without understanding a word. However, this does have its drawbacks, especially for those of us who speak highly non-phonetic languages such as English. Americans are comfortable using our odd spellings and completely illogical pronunciations. Then, here come the Lithuanians who try to phoneticise everything, even English names and words. The results are humorous to say the least:

    As an exercise, try to figure out the original English terms and names:

    1. kantri muzika (OK, the second word is obvious but the first one?)
    2. dzemsesenas
    3. kaubojas
    4. vesternu filmu
    5. Vitni Hjustonas (a famous pop star)
    6. Krisas Aezakas (also famous musician)
    7. sou


    1. country music
    2. jam session
    3. cowboy
    4. western film
    5. Whitney Houston
    6. Chris Isaak
    7. show

    Notice another linguistic peculiarity: all the words end with either a vowel or an Œs‚. Like Spanish, all words have either a masculine or feminine gender. Feminine words usually end with either and Œa‚ or Œe‚ while masculine words tend to end with a Œas‚ or Œis‚ ending. Almost no authentic Lithuanian nouns or names end with a consonant (other than Œs‚). Thus, Lithuanians have difficultu with consonant endings. Not only do they feel compelled to tag something to the end, but they do it out of pure linguistic necessity to conform to grammatical rules. As a result: Mark becomes Markas, Paul becomes Paulius and Bill Clinton becomes Billas Clintonas; and Elizabeth becomes Elizbieta, Mary becomes Marija and Ann becomes Ona.

    Some names produce comical results. Several years back, when Dan Quayle was acting vice-president, he came to Lithuania for a visit. As usual, the press Lithuanized his name to Œkvailas‚ which was actually not so fortunate for Dan because Œkvailas‚ literally translates to Œfool‚. Apparently, Quayle caught wind of this situation, perhaps prompted by all the hushed giggling going on during his visit.

    There are further complications for Lithuanian speakers who travel abroad. For intstance, one very common word (which means both Œthis‚ or Œthat‚) sounds almost exactly like the word shit‚ in English. There is a rumour that two Lithuanian women clothes shopping in America were almost thrown out of a shop for apparently insulting the merchandise. What the shopkeeper probably picked out amongst on the incomprehensible gibberish was:

    Look at THIS one oh, and THIS one is also very nice yes THAT one is nice, but what about THIS one well which color looks better on me THIS one THIS one THIS one or THAT other one. Get the picture?

    Independence and Summer solstice
    During Soviet rule, traditional celebrations were actually a form of resistance in Lithuania. To what extent this was influenced by the paranoid attitude of the Soviet system, or to the actual intent of the original organizers, is uncertain. Apparently anything perceived as being "too cultural" or "too religious" was directly linked to nationalism which was considered anti-Soviet.

    Lithuania celebrates a strong Catholic tradition underscored by a pagan influence. Summer solstice celebrations are purely pagan events. During the Soviet period, these celebrations were stopped. However a small group of Nationals decided to reinstate the events. Oddly enough, the instigators were all members of the ŒFriends of India‚ group.

    Under the guise of this group, the first summer solstice celebrations were organized. The group‚s international orientation allowed them more leeway with summer solstice events (it was assumed to have some connection to India). The initial celebrations were low key (no one wore national costumes) and subject to heavy surveillance (apparently the surrounding woods were crawling with Soviet agents). With time, the celebrations became a form of cultural resistance.

    This year marks the 30th anniversary of the summer solstice celebrations. Seven have occurred since re-independence. The organizers continue to ask themselves, "How do we continue celebrating a festival legally?" I think they are doing a wonderful job. I stayed for the entire celebration, from dusk to dawn and participated in the singing, dancing around the fire, the wreath making and the eternal search for the mythical fern blossom.

    Unfortunately, some of the veteran participants are grappling with changes. A folk dancer commented that the celebration had had a clear purpose in the past, it was a form of resistance against an absurdly repressive system. He admitted that although he still enjoyed participating in the celebration, its symbolic meaning had diminished. I sadly wonder, "Will the idealism dwindle as the result of independence?"

    Oh where or where goes the waste?
    At one time, there were small metal trash cans all over Vilnius for public use. But, many were stolen shortly after independence, sold for scrap metal. These metal cans have since been replaced by bright green plastic ones. No problem for most types of trash except for lit cigarettes. Many locals still automatically chuck them into plastic cans, causing small flash fires. Even though no one is interested in stealing the plastic cans, they‚re also disappearing in smoke that is.

    After moving into my new apartment, I was confronted by a very strange situation. When is the garbage collected? I was given a myriad of answers but no one knew exactly for sure. Apparently it is collected at around 12:00 am one day and at 7:00 pm the next day, on an alternating schedule. But my neighbors couldn‚t provide a definitive answer because they rarely used it. Instead most had special spots to deposit their trash, either a container somewhere in the area or by simply bringing it to work and disposing of it there. That‚s when I started noticing other people seem to follow the same routine. They carry small bags of trash and deposit them elsewhere. This is what I‚ve begun to do as well. I‚ve identified slightly larger trash cans near my home and almost every time I go out downtown, I carry along a bag of trash. It‚s an embarrassing feeling - dressed up in a suit, briefcase in hand while non-chalantly cramming a bag of trash into a small public receptacl. But its either that option or being available for those select hours on the off chance that the garbage truck will come on time. If you leave your trash bags unattended in a public space - beware! If someone sees and reports your action, a hefty fine awaits you. Yet, surprisingly enough, the streets are impeccably clean.

    Finally, three new discoveries:
    < #1 Grateful Dead and basketball.
    Most of you wouldn‚t think a famous hippie, groupie drug-based band like the Grateful Dead would have anything to do with basketball. But, as the now Œlegend goes, a recently independent Lithuania was hard up on cash and though their basketball team displayed Olympic promise there was little money to get them there. As luck would have it, a famous American NBA player who happened to be a dead-head (fan of the Grateful Dead) took an interest in helping Lithuania‚s team. He approached the Grateful Dead for funding and it was granted. To show further support, not only did the Lithuanian basketball team receive the money they also got great tie-dye dead-style team shirts. And so the unlikely combination was born. The shirts were originally made only for the players but due to popular demand, were made en masse and sold to fans. As a result it is possible to see a middle-aged Lithuanian who has never been to a Grateful Dead concert, most likely not even heard of their music and perhaps not even able to speak basic English, wearing a brightly tie-dyed dead-head like T-shirt in downtown Vilnius.

    #2 Frank Zappa
    This eccentric and outrageous American rock legend never made it to Lithuania in his lifetime. But, apparently he once mentioned that he would like to visit Vilnius. This verbalized, but never realized intention, was enough encouragement for Frank Zappa fans in Lithuania to decide to build a monument in Zappa‚s honor. In 1995 a bust of Frank Zappa was erected, not in front of the art school as planned, but in a small park on the side of a clinic. The municipality forced the change of location when teachers at the art school began to oppose the monument, fearing the bust of a musician famed for anti-establishment songs could corrupt their students. The bust now stands in a very inconspicuous spot easily overlooked if it were not for the colorful mural painted on the wall behind the monument.

    #3 A unique form of Feminism‚
    Imagine . . . you're surrounded by female bodies. Not just the types one sees in fashion magazines but real female bodies with curves, soft spots, wrinkles from age, stretch marks from babies born, and scars from operations. Some bodies are deeply tanned to a rich copper color with no tan lines visible. Others have tan lines showing what their bathing suits used to cover up. Contrary to the Barbie-doll bodies of models in fashion magazines that mimic happiness and freedom in their bodies; the women show a genuine comfort and acceptance of their bodies. Welcome to the Women‚s beach in Palanga!

    What‚s the secret? Remove the judgmental evaluating eye of men and the restriction of uncomfortable bathing suits. Stir in a bit of health consciousness and sauna culture tradition. You now have the amazing dynamics of: The women‚s beach. Grandmothers and young girls alike, the very fat and flabby as well as the slim, all participate in the ritual of sunning themselves, swimming, exercising, and snoozing. All inhibitions seem to melt away as women do what they feel comfortable doing, what is practical or what is simply fun. It is common to see a woman completely naked except for a leaf or piece of paper stuck to her nose, or small wads of toilet paper covering just her nipples from sunburn. Children of both sexes are well represented. Of course even on the beach, many women love to shop. At the Women‚s Beach its possible to do a bit of that as well. The most popular items are bras and lingerie; no need for dressing rooms since no one needs to undress; women try it on right there in the sun! Men are obviously absent. Should one appear, sand is thrown in their faces or they are thrown in the sea. Harassment is not tolerated in this sanctuary of female freedom.

    As always your letter and comments are appreciated!

    Ruta Aidis
    Vienuolio 12-4
    2001 Vilnius

    email: raidis@pub.osf.lt
    The above may be reprinted in part or in total if full credit is given to the author.

    Back to the Table of Contents

    Back to the Table of Contents


    3. The Man From Red October (final part)

    Not all the facts are similar. Jonas defection took place in 1961 at the height of the Cold War, the hunt for Red October just before Perestroika in the 70s. Like Ramius, Jonas was outwardly quiet, emanating great strength, despite his short stature. He risked great danger for the ideal of liberty. When asked once after many years what he considered his homeland, he replied, "Kur laisve ten mano namai. Where freedom is, that is my home." Ramius was described a half Lithuanian from Vilnius. Jonas was Lithuanian patriot from Telsiai. Ramius‚ bitterness and determination in carrying out his task stemmed in part from the death of his wife, because of an error during botched operation by Soviet doctors in Moscow. Jonas never forgot the deportation of his parents to Siberia, the dead bodies of partisans lying in the wayside on his path to school. Jonas is once reported as having said his strength came from seeing "too much blood". When Jonas defected to Sweden in the Baltic, he was only 26 years old. Captain Ramius is portrayed as a bearded, middle aged, zilas juru vilkas -- a gray sea wolf, as the Lithuanians would put it. Amazingly, before Jonas‚ death at middle age, there was a remarkable resemblance between the two men, down to the wrinkles on the sides of their eyes, as his sister notes. Both men had studied at the Leningrad Naval Academy. Both transferred enormous amounts of technical information to our intelligence agencies. The Red October successfully eluded the Soviet and American radar in the North Atlantic and eventually docked at Norfolk, Virginia, not in Sweden. In both cases, the instruments were rigged to elude the captors. In the film, Ramius has a dramatic confrontation with the political commissar on board, and eventually kills him. In real life, Jonas confronted the political commissar but did not kill him.

    Jonas‚ real life adventures took their toll in 1991, when he discovered he had a cancerous brain tumor. It may well be that poor radiation shields on early atomic subs contributed to the cancer that would soon take his life. He harbored a seemingly impossible dream, to visit the tevyne ˆ homeland, one last time. He kept a powerful short wave receiver in his apartment on Alice Street in Oakland, and invariably listened to Radio Moscow precisely at 4:30 each day. When his homeland, tiny Lithuania, led the Baltic states in a quiet, singing revolution that eventually exposed the cracks and weaknesses in the Soviet Empire, he was overjoyed. When blood flowed again on the streets of Vilnius in Jauary of 1991 - Soviet tanks ran over unarmed protestors - he was unutterably saddened. With CNN television cameras filming the bloodshed in the Baltics, the Soviet Union could no longer maintain its shield of duplicity. the Empire crumbled. Lithuania, as well as the other Baltic nations, declared independence and were recognized by the world community.

    In the spring of 1992, Jonas realized his dream of returning to the homeland. he flew through Scandinavia to Riga in Latvia, then on to Lithuania. soviet agents still lurked at border crossing points. He knew his death sentence, issued in absentia had never been revoked. He was still fearful of having too many borders to cross. Soviet troops were still stationed in Lithuania. With only about a year more to live, perhaps Jonas felt he had nothing to lose. He was really "sick from nostalgia", as his sister puts it. When asked what he wanted to see most of all, he said, "All I want to do is go for a walk in the fields and meadows where I used to run as a boy." Fortunately, he was able to do that as well as to see his brothers and sisters and their families. During his time there, he forgot his illness, spoke to as many villagers as he could, saw as much of the homeland as possible. He was comforted there. He often sighed, "It's too bad I'm sick. Maybe I could still help Lietuva - Lithuania in some way.

    When he said his farewells to his family and homeland, he knew it would be forever. He asked his sister Eugenija that his ashes be returned someday to the family cemetery at Zarenai. Unfortunately, this mission has not yet been accomplished. When Jonas met death alone in his apartment in Oakland in April, 1993, it was much as he wanted it. His only daughter, Jennifer, arranged for the cremation but returned to her home in Guatemala with his remains after the funeral. None of the Lithuanian family members were able to be there. Someday soon, Jonas wishes may be fulfilled and he will go "home" again.

    Marijona Venzlauskaite Boyle

    Back to the Table of Contents

    4. Follow up on the Grodis Kidnapping

    The same guy who is relaying messages between the "kidnappers" and the family of the kidnapped for ransoming him back is involved in the Viktoras Grodis and the Brolin cases. That man is Magomed Tolboev, General Secretary of the Dagestan Security Council.

    ---------- Forwarded message ----------
    Date: Thu, 4 Jun 1998 01:20:13 +0200

    The Swedish foreign minister Lena Hjelm-Wallén early on brought the Brolin-case up in a meeting with Russian foreign minister Primakov. She has also shown her personal interest by visiting Paulina´s family in Västerås (west of Stockholm). Brolin´s church in Västerås, the foreign department in Stockholm and the Embassy in Moscow have been working on the case all since the beginning.

    The church is in the forefront, backed up by the authorities. The church has a representative in the area, a Finnish lady who since long is familiar with the actual peoples and places. She is said to have a net of contacts in Dagestan and Chechnya who are helping out. People from Västerås have been down in Caucasia for meetings with their representative. For long it was officially said that the kidnappers were unknown and that no demand for ransom had been presented. For a month or so there has been some official talk about negotiations through middlemen but "not about ransom." The Swedish authorities and the church have the same official standpoint, they will pay no ransom.The latest though is that there are "no comments" on the ransom questions.

    Early on, Tolboev was at the center of things and was often commenting on the case in the media. The Swedish parties very soon showed to be uneasy about his role, more or less openly admitting distrust. They tried to find alternative channels and several times Tolboev aired dissatisfaction over not being contacted, claiming Swedish authourities were uninterested in their own people´s fate.

    One video was withhold by him for quite a while, because Swedish authorities did not turn to him. When the ambassador finally arrived at Tolboevs office, it took only three days for a new video to come out, picturing Brolins receiving the very same the ambassador brought. For some time now, though, it has been official that Tolboev has sidestepped the issue and other channels were being used. Nothing is known publicly about them.

    There is no doubt that progress has been made since January, but almost no hard facts have come out. People who have access to inside information say it is most likely the process will go on for several months yet. In Sweden, there has been massive media interest in Daniel´s and Paulina´s fate. Their loved ones have been interviewed time after another. Two papers run daily pictures, day counts and remembrance notes. One of the biggest newspapers has a story each and every day related to Paulina and Daniel. People are asked to send personal greetings, which keep pouring in. This same paper promises sooner or later, in one way or another, all this will be brought to Daniel and Paulina.

    With hopes and prayers for a safe and soon liberation for Daniel and Paulina and for Viktoras Grodis.

    Arne Bengtsson

    Back to the Table of Contents


    One hundred days have elapsed since President Adamkus started discharging his duties as President. During this period, a president's mistakes are not taken very seriously. Yet Adamkus has already managed to debunk the myth that the President's Office has only very limited power, or that it merely performs a kind of decorative function. There are signs that the people perceive Adamkus as a real head of state. Although Adamkus won the presidential elections by only a thin margin, he nevertheless quickly managed to become the country's most popular political leader and, judging by the polls, the people's trust in him is growing. This outcome can be traced to personal qualities of the President as well as to favorable political circumstances.

    Former President Brazauskas used to complain that he was subject to humiliating treatment by Seimas Chairman Vytautas Landsbergis. Many observers started to believe that the weakness of the presidency was predetermined by the Constitution, which, besides representational functions, grants the President limited authority in the foreign affairs field. Nevertheless, Landsbergis attempted to overshadow President Brazauskas in this field as well. Instead of complaining about his lack of power in foreign affairs, Adamkus took the initiative, and Landsbergis in most cases has not been able to overtake Adamkus. True, Landsbergis managed to be the first to go to Italy before Adamkus went on his visit to this country. Some of Adamkus' personal qualities give him important advantages over Brazauskas. Besides his command of English, Adamkus can communicate in German and Russian. Adamkus' long service as a high-ranking US federal official allows him to feel at ease in any number of settings and to communicate in a confident, Western style. This American experience was recently useful when Adamkus, in the manner of US presidents, lobbied parliamentary deputies of various Seimas factions to support the candidacy of Mecys Laurinkus to head the State Security Department. During all of the international meetings that Adamkus attended, he proposed solutions to concrete questions and did not limit himself to declarative statements. Thus, Adamkus, among other things, discussed the problem of long lines at the Polish-Lithuanian and Belarussian-Lithuanian border crossing points with his counterparts from Poland and Belarus. The President discussed with the Italian Prime Minister the return to Lithuania of its former embassy building in Rome. At the trilateral meeting of the Baltic heads of state, Adamkus proposed many concrete documents and discussed ways of speeding up the signing of the sea border agreement with Latvia.

    It is impossible to link the new leader to the Communist past, which according to Brazauskas himself, did considerable harm to the former President's image. This is an important factor not only in the foreign but also in the domestic political life of the state. Adamkus can feel much more confident because he does not have to carry the burden of the past. Moreover, the Conservatives cannot afford to ignore him, or reject his initiatives solely on the basis of anti-Communist ideological principles. Even the most ardent supporters of the Conservatives have a much more favorable view of Adamkus than of the former President. Nevertheless, the current president could hardly have exercised as much influence as he did during the recent removal from office of several of the most-critisized ministers, had there not appeared conflicts among the ruling coalition partners. The President was able to play the role of mediator between the governmental and party authorities. Here his non-partisan status was useful. The President spoke in the name of the state and not on behalf of an individual party. He has succeeded in allaying the suspicions of his critics that the Center Union, which supported him in the Presidential elections, will dominate his views. The President's Office has been staffed by specialists, and not by party activists, and this has helped him to escape the influence of the Centrists. Lacking his own political party, the President will find it difficult to carry out independent policies and achieve concrete results. Nevertheless, during his first one hundred days, the President managed to create a good public image of himself and win the trust of many people.

    This is probably more important than overt support from a political party.

    Back to the Table of Contents

    6. Days to remember:
    America! America!

    49 years ago: May 11, 1949, doomed by Yalta supermen to remain eternal Lithuanian "Displaced Person," this fellow, with 249 other landsmen, as well as hundreds of other "Delayed Pilgrims", landed at Pier 54 new New York City. It took eleven days to sail from Bremerhaven, an English zone of defeated Deutschland, "Deutschland ueber alles."

    Four years after World War II, they hoped, waiting idling, until the DP Bill passed the United States Congress and was approved by President Harry Truman. We sailed an old Army, creeping and whining ship, SSGen.Holbroo, to cross the raging stormy Atlantic. Finally, "Oh glory, glory Alleluja", the Statue of Liberty appeared in a panorama of glaring lights of Manhattan skyscrapers, blinking lights of ships and airplanes.

    Finally, not as a paradox, but in complete reality, a melody, what we, the students of the Stalin constitution in 1940 were ordered to sing, rang in my ears:

    " ... Ya drugoj takoj strany niznaju, gdie tak volnoj dichet cheloviek" (I do not know other such country where people feels so free.) Will such lovely tunes, mixed these days with funeral march beats, be threatening Earth with nuclear self-destruction?

    Back to the Table of Contents

    7. MAMA,-MA,-Mom!!!

    A noble way to celebrate Mothers Day

    Lithuanian Children Hope
    c/o Lithuanian Human Services Council
    2711 West 71st Street
    Chicago, Il 60629 U.S.A.

    LCH president Gina - Grazina Liautaud has send out this document to be received on Mother's day everywhere:

    „Seven years have past from the establishment of Lithuanian Children Hope (LCH under the umbrella of the Lithuanian American Community Human Services Council. From its inception, LCH has and continues to provide specialized pediatric orthopedic medical attention to the Lithuanian children.

    During these seven years over 100 children have been brought to the Chicago, Los Angeles and Tampa Shriners Hospitals for required progressive, specialized medical treatment that is sill unavailable in their homeland. The LCH Orthopedic Surgical Unit, established in 1993 in Vilnius, continues to grow in its expertise. This is largely and overwhelmingly due to the chief of staff of Chicago Shriners Hospital dr. John P. Lubicky, under whose care Lithuania‚s orthopedic surgeons have received specialized training not only during the 8 trips to Lithuania by teams led by dr. Lubicky, but also to training provided there them here at Chicago Shriners Hospital. Nearly $6 mil. in equipment donated to the Unit, the specialized training, and the unique care provided to the children requiring extraordinary medical attention here in the U.S.- all of his aid is due to your assistance.

    As we celebrate Mother‚s Day and honor mothers who have given us so very much, let‚s remember those mothers who are raising children unable to live normal, lives. As we rejoice in our children‚s health and well being, let‚s open our hearts to those mothers whose joy is overshadowed by tears of their children‚s uncertain future.

    The LCH Committee ...thanks you in advance, for your continued support.‰

    Back to the Table of Contents

    Back to the Table of Contents


    8. Book Review

    Enterprise Restructuring and Foreign Investment in the Transforming East:
    The Impact of Privatization [New York: The Haworth Press Inc., 1998; 10
    Alice Street, Binghamton, NY 13904-1580; 
    email: getinfo@haworth.com;
    fax (607) 722-4583; phone (607) 722-5857].

    Excerpts from Reviews:

    "Contains a very interesting paper by Leszek Balcerowicz, the chief architect of Poland's reform program, and includes two illuminating interviews with Lithuania's former Prime Minister and with. . . The editor, Professor Samonis, should be commended for having put together a well-balanced set of papers, which researchers and policy makers will equally find very useful. Overall, this impressive volume represents a significant contribution to the rapidly growing literature on private sector development in transition economies."

    Peter Cornelius, PhD, Chief Economist, Deutsche Bank Research, Frankfurt, Germany

    "Samonis has put together a group of authors who combine expertise and scholarship with non-conventional views about crucial issues of micro-economic transition. . . . Another strong feature of the book is that it introduces the reader to lesser known countries."

    Marie Lavigne, PhD, Emeritus Professor of Economics, Universities of Pau, and Sorbonne, Paris, France; and author, The Economics of Transition (1995, 1998).

    "Recognizes the central role of foreign direct investment in international economic transactions. Understanding the role of such investment will help the countries of Central and Eastern Europe to relaunch economic growth and development, ..."

    Karl P. Sauvant, PhD, Chief, International Investment, Transnationals and Technology Flows Branch, UNCTAD Division on Investment, Technology, and Enterprise Development, Geneva, Switzerland.

    End of Excerpts from the Reviews of the Book Edited by Val Samonis.

    Back to the Table of Contents

    Back to the Table of Contents


    9. Note of Remembrance

    Just a somber note of remembrance. On June 14, 1941 the Lithuanian holocaust began. That day the first trainloads of Lithuanian men, women and children, in sealed cattle cars, were shipped to Siberia. 1% survived. The Russians having invaded the country shipped out the educated, the teachers and the government workers and their families. This first weekend 30,000 were shipped out.


    Back to the Table of Contents

    Back to the Table of Contents


    10. A Letter From a Young Lithuanian

    My name is Marina Simonian. I am 15 years old and I am in 9th grade and living now in Key West, Florida. Five years ago my mom find job to work on ship in America. This job was for six months. She sold our apartment for tickets and left me with my grandmother. When she came to America she worked four months and then a new manager fired almost all people from ship. So she had visa for two months work here. She worked very hard on two jobs 16 hours a day. She liked America and she wanted to bring me here but she couldn't. So she married an American man and just after two years when she married she brought me over. And now I'm here. My trip was from Lithuania to Germany from there to Detroit and to Miami. When I left Lithuania it was snowing and when I came here it was hot. Next day we were in Miami all day, my mouth was wide open "wow". It's so clean, palms, beautiful. The next week I started school. In Lithuania school is very different from here. Here we have just 4 blocks and every day same classes. We have a school security. Like in movies. I am missing my friends, dad, grandma, cousins, uncle, boyfriend. We are gonna move to Naples and I don't want to change schools again, I am afraid that teachers will be not good like here.

    Marina Simonian

    Back to the Table of Contents

    Back to the Table of Contents



    Sales of beer increased 12 percent in May over April totals, while year-to-year revenues went up almost 29 percent. According to the Beer Brewers Association, the 10 largest breweries of Lithuania marketed 1,397,000 decaliters of beer in May.

    Kalnapilis of Panevezys remains the leader of the market. The Panevezys company sold 395,000 decaliters in May. Sales of Kalnapilis went up 9.4 percent compared to April and 45.7 percent compared to May, 1997. Kalnapilis has 28 percent of the Lithuanian beer market.

    The production of Klaipeda's Svyturys increased 7 percent in May up to 316,000 decaliters. Utenos alus (Utena Beer) sold 236,000 decaliters of beer last month, which is 16 percent more than in April. Svyturys and Utenos alus occupy 22.5 and 16.5 percent of the Lithuanian beer market, respectively.

    Ragutis of Kaunas is in fourth place according to the quantity of beer sold. The company increased sales 16 percent up to 168,000 decaliters. Ragutis introduced a new beer called Desimtukas in May. The Kaunas company has almost 12 percent of the Lithuanian beer market. (Lietuvos rytas June 5

    Back to the Table of Contents

    Back to the Table of Contents


    12. Smithsonian folklife Festival

    There will be a folklife festival in Washington DC, June 24,28 and July 1,5.

    For those of you that have American friends interested in the Smithsonian festival, I found the following amusing description of Jonines in "Vilnius in your Pocket" -- so pass this around, encourage people to come on the 24th for the bonfire. St. John's Day - June 24

    M is for Magic, Merrymaking, Midsummer's Eve; that is the night of June 23 preceding Jonines (St. John's Day - June 24). The longest night of the year, it is a festival of enchantment, wonderment and myth-making - a time when lovers go seek out that fantastic fern-blossom which only flowers on this special night. Celebrations revolve around nature's most powerful forces. Young (and not so young) women adorn their heads with wreaths of flowers and leaves while the men opt for the more macho oak leaf. Everyone - children, grannies, lovers and mothers - light bonfires and sing and dance and play games around the frolicking flames. He who leaps over the burning fire will be blessed with luck. High up, on the highest hill, a flaming wheel of birch bark is lit and rolled down the hill. He who leaps back and forth over the burning ball will indeed be blessed with good luck too.

    Women be warned! This is the night when you could find out who your lucky man is! Float your crown of flowers down the river and see how far it travels. The further it floats the sooner you will tie the knot. And remember, the hunk you wed will appear from the direction in which you see your first Midsummer's Eve bonfire. Women whose flower wreath gets stuck in the river bank and refuses to float full-stop should not despair. This does not mean you will never marry.

    Try Option N°2 instead. Bathe your face in the magical Midsummer Day dew and savour its purifying force. Younger women will instantly become more beautiful; older women more youthful.

    And finally, the fern blossom! That mythical blossom which only bursts into flowers in the thick of the woods on this special night. Remember, it can only be found once in a lifetime! If you are ever so lucky as to find this wonderful blossom of eternal happiness be sure to catch the blossom with a silk handkerchief as it falls (then draw a circle around yourself with a Rowan branch, light a candle and pray). If not, you might just let that one chance of happiness slip through your fingers for ever.

    Vilnius In Your Pocket, Issue No. 21, May - June 1996.

    Thanks RutaK for that bit of information.

    Back to the Table of Contents

    Back to the Table of Contents


    13. Lithuanian Days Celebration

    The annual Lithuanian Days celebration will be Saturday August 15 and Sunday August 16 at the Schuylkill Mall, Frackville, PA. We feel this is the oldest, continuous Lithuanian celebration in the United States. More information will be forthcoming as it is received. Bernice Mikatavage

    Bits and Pieces.
    Vincent Kreder of New Jersey taught in Lithuania for six years, first with the peace cops and now with the Soros Foundation. He was teaching baseball to the boys in Druskininkai and received equipment for them from the Philadelphia Phillies. He was taken ill and has not been able to get back to Lithuania. We wish him the best of health and a speedy return to help the boys with their baseball. Bernice Mikatavage


    This section is to acquaint you with some of the not for profit organizations helping Lithuanians and Lithuanians who have a business with whom other Lithuanians may do business.

    Did you notice the link between the articles? I mean, really, how could you miss? I hope you checked it out ˆ it is an interesting bumper sticker that will help an orphanage in Lithuania. Go check it out ˆ and, NO, it does not have anything to do with adopting Lithuanian babies and importing them, nor does it promote Lithuanian brides ˆ just a friendly reminder that we Lithuanians are beautiful and more of us here would help make America more beautiful!




    Have you been looking for a terrific fundraiser to help your Lithuanian non-profit organization? You may join CJCC without any cost or purchase requirement. Then simply have your members choose CJCC as their coffee company and your Lithuanian organization will reap the benefits. Because of the structure of CJCC, the members of your organization can also reap benefits just by purchasing coffee from CJCC on a monthly basis. Check out CJCC at www.clubjoe.com for more details or call CJCC at 207-883-9110. Make sure to tell them that LABAS sent you. I know your members will enjoy the coffee and your organization will be able to help its particular mission for Lithuania! (This is only available to organizations filed as not-for-profit in the United States)


    The U.S. Baltic Foundation
    1717 Massachusetts Ave., N.W. Ste. 601
    Washington, D.C. 20036
    Tel: 202-986-0380 Fax: 202-234-8130

    Purpose: to provide an interactive forum between U.S. and Baltic business, education and political leaders.

    Lithuanian Mercy Lift
    14911 127th St.
    Lemont, IL 60439
    Tel: 630-257-6777 Fax: 708-388-2059

    Purpose: To solicit and transport conations of critically needed medicines, medical supplies and equipment to the people of Lithuania.

    Lithuanian Children's Hope
    2711 West 71st St.
    Chicago, IL 60629
    Tel: 773-476-0664 Fax: 773-436-6909

    Purpose: To bring Lithuanian children to the U.S. to receive specialized medical treatment through the Shriner's and sponsor and orthopedic teaching facility in Lithuania.

    Lithuanian Orphan Care, Inc.
    2711 West 71st St.
    Chicago, IL 60629
    Tel: 773-476-2655

    Purpose: To provide care to orphaned and needy children and large natural and foster families in Lithuania as well as scholarship aid to needy student. Suggested annual donation is $150 per child or $250 per student.

    A.P.P.L.E. (American Professional Partnership for Lithuanian Education)
    P.O. Box 617
    Durham, CT 06422
    Tel: 860-347-7095 Fax: 860-347-5837

    Purpose: To conduct summer in service seminars for teachers in Lithuania and support ongoing exchange of educational information, material and personnel. Scholarships to sponsor summer interns in 1998 are $30. A.P.P.L.E. instructors are volunteers.

    "Saulute" (Sunlight Committee)
    419 Weidner Road
    Buffalo Grove, IL 60089
    Tel: 847-537-7949

    Purpose: to provide care to needy children. $240 suggested annual donation per child.

    The Lithuanians of America is a non-profit organization for Lithuanian-Americans based in Kansas City. The purpose of the organization is to promote the Lithuanian culture through education, dance, and language. We have several events per year, including a Christmas party with Kucios table and Independence Day celebration (2/15 this year). Membership is only $10 for a family or $7 for a single person. For more information, contact Kathy Hazelwood or (913)262-7175.

    Is your not-for-profit organizations not listed? Send an email to The Editor with a brief description of your mission and get it listed.

    Back to the Table of Contents

    Home Books Guestbook E-Mail