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Friday, January 28, 2011

Lithuania


It appears it’s finally gonna happen...I’m planning to fly to Lithuania this May with my cousin and my uncle. Three Dikinis men traipsing about in a foreign motherland. Alone/together. Kinda blows my mind.

This trip will be quite the adventure. My cousin, D, and I are easily mistaken for brothers. Here’s proof (from decades ago...I’m the dude on the right):



So, yeah, D’s one year younger but the genetics are obvious. He’s traipsed all over this planet searching for gems. Found a few. He’s raced Triumphs in full leathers. Still trying to break the land speed record on a diesel-powered cycle, in fact. Yep, he’s my blood. Gawd,
I can’t help but love him so!

And there’s my uncle, A, the only surviving brother of three. He's closing in on 70 and STILL plays full-contact hockey every Friday! He was the youngest, the craziest. He’s a sweet rogue, a bon vivant and careless spendthrift. And, oh, how he can dance! Lighter on his feet than Fred Astaire, I swear! Going anywhere with him is a guaranteed "experience." I’m gonna grip his hand tight as he buries the ashes of his brother, D, in a Lithuanian cemetery, just as his brother, my uncle, requested.

And then there’s this: it's an emotional experience for me to be in Lithuania (I visited once before in 1975). I understand and speak the language. I know the country's history and culture (though my parents never taught me all the cuss words). It's surreal to be in a foreign land that feels so familiar and yet remains so different. Vilnius (the capital) is a great walking city. It's one of too few medieval walled cities that hadn't been destroyed in war (although the Jewish quarter was completely obliterated by the Nazis). The last time I was there, I walked for 12+ hours/day just to explore every street. I was 24, then. I'm gonna find out how far these tired legs can propel me now. My only hope is that they carry me far enough.

I’m eager to discover all the backstreets and back ways of the heart.

* * *

9 Comments:

Blogger Lilith said...

I'm happy for you. You look pretty good in a speedo Jonas.

Fri Jan 28, 07:50:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

I'm happy for me, too, Lilith. But there ain't gonna no more Speedos for me. Them days are come and gone. Sigh.

Fri Jan 28, 07:56:00 PM  
Blogger Ponita in Real Life said...

I'll bet your legs will carry you far, Jonas. What an experience!! Have to agree with Lilith... you did look good in a speedo back in the day. ;-)

Fri Jan 28, 10:56:00 PM  
Blogger Jonas said...

Thems were the the dsys, Ponita...

Fri Jan 28, 11:44:00 PM  
Blogger Wine and Words said...

I praise God board shorts finally took popularity. I remember one year the team Speedo was stars and stripes. We actually tanned through the stars, which were white, but not through the navy.

I am so excited for you Jonas. The homeland thing...yes, but so much so the characters you will be traveling with, the memories, like your own medieval wall 'round heart Dikinis.

Your uncle sounds amazing! I would love to see him dance. And D....knows how to feast at the banquet of life, yes? So the three of you will be well fed, in so many ways.

Sat Jan 29, 08:04:00 AM  
Blogger Bernard said...

Lithuanian is the only language that, if you want to cuss, you have to do it in Russian or Polish. There are no cuss words in Lithuanian, except when you call someone a toad.

Sat Jan 29, 08:42:00 AM  
Blogger anna said...

Love the floral print on your Speedos.

I am so excited for you (and a little envious too). I can hardly wait to hear all about this trip. I do hope you share some of your experiences with us.

Sat Jan 29, 10:49:00 AM  
Blogger Jonas said...

I'm excited for me, too, Annie! Truly am. Offhand I can't think of traveling companions as eccentric, free-spirited and crazy as my blood brethren (my ex was great, too...but there's that ex bit).

My uncle was a dance instructor for a number of years (in the course of a "career" that spanned a great many occupations/preoccupations).

You made me smile, Bernard. We only spoke Lithuanian within my home. It was the language my parents taught me. They didn't teach me any cuss words (neither Lithuanian nor English). I picked up all my English swear words from the streets. Haven't spent enough time on Lithuanian streets to know if they have cuss words, too. I tend to believe they do...beyond just rupuze.

Funny thing. My parents taught me the language and all its inflections from their own time and place. Nowadays, I find the language spoken by Lithuanian immigrants hard to follow. The pronunciations, accents and timing are a blend of Lithuanian and Russian. The language has changed after 60 years of Russian rule.

I think there's a good chance I'll have a few impressions/experiences to pass along, Anna. I almost always do whenever I travel.

Sun Jan 30, 08:31:00 PM  
Blogger Ed said...

Jonas. I, like you, am from this part of the world. However, my roots are over there....I've been over there four times. It is truly a moving experience. If I had any advice, find yourself a small entourage. One of the best parts of being in Lietuva is experiencing the people...It was fantastic...

Mon Jan 31, 06:16:00 AM  

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