Just landed in Phoenix!!! Yah!!! My mom has been asking me daily about the stats on the blog. So for the record I have had 1968 hits. (funny how that number is oddly familiar). See my stats and the follows by country below.
Monthly Archives: June 2012
It is 5:45am in Newark, NJ and I can order coffee without asking, “Good morning, do you speak English”. Ordering American style coffee has been challenging but I have learned how to order my cava with hot milk. The coffee is spectacular in Poland and Lithuania, just very dark and strong. There is no decaf so that is why my blogs have been typically written at 11:00-12 pm. The summer solstice also contributed. Who wants to go to bed when it is daylight at 10:30 besides my mother. So as I wait for coffee in Jersey, I think I will say so long for now.
I am sometimes accused of thinking I am always right. It is because I am. My guess is that sometime in February when they canceled our flight from Warsaw to Chicago and rescheduled us on the 6:00am from Vilnius to Warsaw I might have deleted the email thinking it was advertisement. So when we woke up this morning at 8:00am and I turned on my phone, I saw the Orbitz txt saying that our 6:00 am flight was on time, I freaked out in my reserved sorta way. My mom was a wreck. After being in the phone with Orbitz and LOT for 2 hrs. they said I have to change the ticket at the airport in person no guarantees. Got to the airport we were able to fly to Warsaw on the original flight then fly to Newark. We were on our own from there. So then I called the International dept of USAir and had the loveliest woman help me change our award travel from Chicago-Phx to Newark-Phx. She did it!! Angels again! Mom was able to rebook with Marriott.
So the best part is that we arrive an hour earlier than planned and will be able to welcome David and Brett off their plane and go home together. Celebratory Svyturys!
One thing we kept hearing from all of our guides is that “everything is complicated”. Some people on our trip felt that we were in a Jew hating country others felt the opposite and saw progress in modern Lithuanian Jewry. Meeting Rita who restores the Jewish cemetery stones in Jurbarkas gave me hope but not everyone respects her like we do for what she is doing. We met the gentile man who takes care of the wooden synagogue in Ziezmariai who is not respected for caring for the holy structure. We went to Slobatka across the river in Kaunas and saw that the memorial plaque noting the ghetto and the murder of 30,000 Jews had acid splashed on it. When we were in Vilnius we saw some weird march with some idiots dressed with CIA on their backs with holding a chain someone wearing a concentration camp uniform in shackles. A few minutes later some local drunks were dancing around singing “Havana Gila” for money. But not in a cute or funny way. It was rather icky. Didn’t want to confront either of them as we weren’t sure what would happen.
Everyone we met in Lithuania was very nice, courteous, and helpful. I think the Soviet years severely held them back in embracing diversity. We met and had dinner with American Attaché Jonathan Berger. The US embassy is working with educators to bring them up to speed with teaching about crimes against former “Jewish soviet citizens”. Time will tell. I would highly encourage everyone with Lithuanian roots to visit. It is a beautiful country with a lovely educated culture that is finally coming back.
We just met an angel. Mr. Lludvikas was only 5 when the Nazis came to Ziezmariai. He and his mother would disguise themselves as beggars and smuggle food to the Jews hiding in the forest. Fast forward to today, by himself, he takes care of the only remaining wooden synagogue in Lithuania dating back to 1780. He defines the Yad Vashem title “righteous gentile”. I have video of him as well as pictures. There is one of where the mezuzah was located. Wooden synagogues were banned after a certain date because they would catch fire.