I woke up at an early hour to get ready to meet up with my father at his cousin Algirdas’s place. I admit, I was expecting us to go somewhere like a sodas (small farmstead only a couple of acres) but instead it was a day for us to hang out. We went to a Maxima which is like the Lithuanian Tescos to just walk about and eat a small snack at the Cili Kaimas which is part of the Cili chain in Lithuania which specialises in different foods, Kaimas is for “farm” or “traditional” food – which invariably means vast quantities of potato dishes and beer.
Got back to Algirdas’s place and his wife, Emilija, had prepared what is considered a light lunch – some appetizers of cold cuts, pickles, cucumbers, tomatoes, herring and bread. The entree was baked chicken breast with cheese & mayonaise — which I couldn’t eat due to my lactose intolerance.
I was to meet up with the Trinkunai at their flat at 3pm so I took a taxi over. It was a very pleasant 2 hours I spent with them. Jonas seemed genuinely happy to see me make a visit to him & Inija. I was asked about the gossip/news of North America. I was also asked other interesting questions as to what caused me to turn towards Romuva, especially when there are other more prominent pagan traditions in North America – like wiccan, druidry, asatru, etc. Was also asked how my parents managed to get my to get fairly fluent in Lithuanian — that part was easy to answer, which is my parents never allowed english in the house when I was young, it was either salt on the tongue or no acknowledgement of whatever I was saying if I spoken english, so the only way to get things done or answered was to speak in Lithuanian. As to why I turned to Romuva, that is an interesting question and I have decided what did cause me to turn towards it is that it feels natural for me, as if I feel at home, like slipping on a comfortable pair of shoes. The other pagan traditions do not feel natural, for my temperment, spiritual needs and philosophical outlook.
I was loaded down with issues of the Romuva magazine, The Oaks which is a journal released each year to coincide with the annual WCER gathering – World Congress of Ethnic Religions. Also got Jonas’s latest book, the latest Kulgrinda CD – the theme being the songs & chants prevalent in Grand Duke Gediminas’ court. I was gently chastised for having such a short visit to Lithuania and it was strongly suggested that I come next year to the annual Romuva summer camp – so I hear and obey, I shall endeavour to do so. Jonas has been thinking of putting together a practical tome together – section on Zemyna, for example, give a general explanation of who she is (Earth Goddess and daughter of Saule the Sun Goddess and Menulis the Moon God), how she is propitiated and then provide source material to show how this knowledge has been acquired — liaudes dainos, tautosakos etc. I admit, if Jonas can put this together I would be hugely excited to get it into my hot little hands.
We chatted about how Romuva is coping in Lithuania and the many interviews both Jonas and Inija give. Romuva, as a movement, started back in 1967 and both of them are working on transitioning the administration over to the next generation – an example being that for Rasa this year they wouldn’t be in Vilnius to lead the celebrations – others would do it. But they both have big plans and are still tirelessly working to promote Romuva.
Afterwards I toddled my way home, which is approximately 3km from the Trinkunas flat. Stopped along the way to pick up some refreshments for myself. Had a good full day and i was quite pleased with myself.
Later on I threw caution to the wind and had a chocolate croissant. I have to admit, with the food being generally lacking in fibre I was not feeling all that “cleansed” so I was hoping that an overload of lactose would clear me up. I also drank a litre of milk… eventually it worked, the following morning.