Friday, September 08, 2017

Interview with a Lithuanian

Thanks, BHF!

1 What are your fondest memories of growing up in Lithuania?

Summers in the city. The city would get almost empty since most of the parents would ship their kids to the villages to stay with their grandparents. I had nowhere to go, everybody lived in the city. I mostly stayed with my grandparents that lived in Zverynas, one of the oldest residential parts of Vilnius and was allowed to do whatever I wanted. Then there were summer vacations on Lithuanian beaches that are beautiful. One place is the Curonian Spit. The other is the seaside resort town of Palanga.

2 What are your worst memories?

I really have nothing. My biggest complaint was that I was not allowed to have a dog.

3 Did Communism permeate through every aspect of life?

Pretty much. I knew that we lived in an occupied country since I was very little.

4 When the Soviet Union broke apart, what were you doing?

I was on the streets. On January 11, 1991, I was outside the Lithuanian Parliament. We honestly thought that the Soviets are gonna attack. We all were ready to die.

5 Before the Soviet Union broke apart, could you ever imagine it would happen one day?

The hope was almost lost.

6 What is the relationship between Lithuanians and the Russians who stayed in Lithuania today?

It's really hard to say, I do not live in the country since 2000. The Russian community was not that big there. The biggest issue is so called local Polish community that is supported by the Soviets. It's pretty complicated, would require a lot of writing but if you wanna now I will try to put something together.

7 Are Lithuanians afraid that Russia will invade again?

Yes, very much so.

8 How similar are the Lithuanian language and culture to the languages and cultures of Estonia and Latvia?

The Latvian language is pretty close, but Estonian is totally different, it belongs to the Ugro-Finnish language group. We were mostly united because our countries were occupied by the Soviets. 

9 Did your family have a car when you were growing up? What was it? What do you remember about it?

We did not have a car. There were very few people who had cars when i was a kid. My great uncle had a Pobeda, but I saw it only in the pictures. That was a beautiful car.

10 What would you like people to know about Lithuania? 

We were the last pagan country in Europe. We were baptized only in 1387. I think that says a lot about our resilience. Also, we are very proud of our language, one of the oldest spoken languages in the world.

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