Snapshots from Asigalio Street, Kaunas, Lithuania

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March 19th 2008
Published: March 19th 2008
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About 4 months old, when I first arrived.
I am writing this latest blog from Montpellier, France, having arrived here several days ago from Kaunas, Lithuania via Dublin and then Paris. It has been over a month since I wrote and there is much to write about.

My six weeks with Viktorija’s family was wonderful. Since I was not working, I spent most of my time staying at home—helping out around the house, sometimes helping with/learning how to make Lithuanian cuisine, going on runs or doing yoga……I learned how to make Cepeliniai, a traditional Lithuanian dish made from potatoes through a long process of mashing the potatoes, putting them through a juicer to extract the starch, recombining with the potatoes (two different kinds), carefully forming them into small football-shaped dumplings around prepared ground meat (pork/beef) and then put into boiling water to cook. Served with a sauce (usually with mushrooms, bacon bits, and grease) and sour cream on top. Yummy! I also learned how to make Saltibarsciai, a cold soup made with Kefir, beets/beet juice, cucumbers, and spices. These were two of the many dishes I learned to prepare during my six weeks there (though I am not sure how they would turn out if I tried to cook them by myself!!).

One of the great joys of being in the house on Asigalio was spending time with Julia, Jolanta’s 5-month old baby. She is so cute!! And so positive. She only would cry when necessary (when she was hungry, wanted to sleep, move, eat), in other words she would never cry for no reason. She is also very sociable, being comfortable in almost anyone’s arms. Even strangers. I think this is the product of living with 8 family members under one roof. ☺ I think she will be a very happy and optimistic person in life.

While I was staying with Viktorija's family, Justin, Viktorija’s great-uncle, turned 91. We had a birthday party for him; he was flattered to say the least. We wheeled him into the living room and upon seeing the beer, food, cake with lit candles, and a room full of party guests (and balloons of course) he began to cry with joy. It was wonderful.

For Christmas my mom gave me the game ‘Twister—Travel Version’. I brought it with me to Lithuania and one night we decided to play. After playing one game using the small dots that the travel-pack
Justiniukas' BirthdayJustiniukas' BirthdayJustiniukas' Birthday

Viktorija, Julia, Andrius, Justin, Jolanta, Zena.
provided (it does not come with the full Twister mat), we decided to make our own Twister board using crayons and an old white sheet that was generally the size of a real Twister mat. We proceeded to play Twister, the whole family joining in, for the next three hours. The game got a bit violent at one point—I lost my balance, swinging my arm into the air, and crushing one of the lights on the light fixture hanging from the ceiling. I suffered only minor injuries, was bandaged quickly, and the game continued. By the end it was only Andrius (Vika’s younger brother) and myself left, going at it one on one late into the night. I came out victorious, but only by a hair.

I think as one gets older time passes much more quickly. This is stating the obvious, but it is truly true. Six weeks in Kaunas felt like no time at all.

Additional photos below
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Make a wish! Make a wish!
Make a wish!

blowing out the candles.

Greta brought home a wafflemaker one day after work. It is the family's favorite thing to do--sit and watch me eat food. Look how helpless I look.
Chinese mealChinese meal
Chinese meal

I brought a Chinese cookbook and chopstix from China for Vika's family. This evening we made our first meal from the book--Sweet & Sour Chicken and Chicken with garlic greens. We had to improvise a bit, using what we could find from Maxima (a lithuanian store chain). It was pretty tasty, though we did not finish cooking until 11 at night.


I was sweating profusely throughout the game.



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