THE VOICE OF INTERNATIONAL LITHUANIA
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By Jurate Kutkute Burns
My most recent visit to Lietuva concluded on September 24th of this year. It was my fifth visit since I first saw my parents’ homeland in 1998 and I can honestly say that each time I come, my appreciation and love for this country grows. Several of my friends in Lietuva have asked me what I think of their country, or city, as they wish to compare their vista with that seen by an outsider. These are my impressions, colored in part by my own parents’ views of what Lietuva meant to them.
First, Lietuva, while geographically small, has an enormous investment in artistic and intellectual capital. Artists, musicians, poets, writers and teachers are appreciated for their talents. Vilniaus Senamiestis is truly an architectural treasure, and each year more of the decayed buildings are being refurbished. Valdovu
Secondly, the camaraderie among friends, or
Third, the countryside is every bit as beautiful as the poets say. The lakes, the forests, the bountiful
So, where do libraries come into this discussion? In typical fashion, we cannot avoid comparing ourselves to others in the same profession. I have Facebook Friends at various
I had the unique pleasure of being in Vilnius for the return of our silver medalist basketball team. While I had seen on the internet how Lithuanians welcome returning champions and medalists, this was the first time I stood in the square with thousands of other cheering fans. It was a great feeling!
All of these experiences bring me closer to my Lithuanian roots, and closer to my friends and relatives. If I could, I would spend several months a year here, enjoying the food, the
So, to those who want an honest opinion from an outsider: Stay proud of your beautiful homeland, maintain your values, your traditions and love of nature. Keep those close ties with your
Brief biographical sketch:
Jurate Kutkute Burns is a librarian in Destin
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