Memory Office: L. Baranauskienė

Luiza Baranauskienė shares her memories. Luiza has a mixture of Gerogian and Greek roots. She grew up in Tbilisi, Georgia, where she graduated from Russian school, then went to study English in Petegrosk. During her last study days in Russia, she met her future husband and love of her life – kaunasian A. Baranauskas. She has spent most of her life and still lives in Kaunas, where she has been brought by love.

I have never really cared about one’s nationality. Whether someone is a Greek, a Russian, or a Georgian, in our family, we were used to judge a person by his will and behaviour. If someone is a good person, you simply consider yourself lucky for meeting such person and try to save a spot in your heart for him. Of course, Greece will always be a part of my nationality and I get very excited once I hear somebody speaking Greek.

I went to a Russian school, as it was common between Georgians, and made it simpler to join schools and universities in Moscow or Kaliningrad afterwards. I have dreamt to study languages, but in Tbilisi it was very difficult to get into a college, unless you knew somebody important. I decided to go to Peteborsk and chose English studies. Two years later, after I have finished my studies, life had some very unexpected turns... Serendipity, just a few days before my departure, I accidentally met my husband who was in Peterborsk on a business trip. Apparently, I caught his attention, he was keen on starting a small conversation and introduced himself as somebody from Baltic States… When I introduced myself and my nationality he seemed to be even more interested ... Seeing my thrill for Baltics – my future husband then, offered to come and visit him there… Next day, we meet again in the buffet, he immediately invited me on a date. At that time, in Georgia, we had an impression that people from the Baltic States are very good and honest… so I didn't think much – and agreed to a date. Walking around the city, we went to a station, where simply out of curiosity he asked for my passport and bought me a train ticket to Lithuania...

When I came to live in Lithuania, my  husband's family did welcome me very warmly. I never had any complaints, as he was very kind... When my husband was at work, I spend my time with his father, brother ... My mother in law didn't speak Russian, but I felt love and warmth coming from her face. They were all very kind people.

Later on, wanting to become a better wife, I have started learning Lithuanian... I found an alphabet in my house, started reading simple Lithuanian words - kala, mala ... After learning more words - I was keen on combining them. I went to a store and listened carefully how others were making sentences ... That’s how I started talking one day!

Once I have arrived to live in Lithuania, I have spent most of my time observing everyone in the family, how they interacted and behaved between themselves ... I think I wanted to fit in. I have explained them about my traditions and compared them with theirs... I remember, it was so weird to travel to Prienai at Christmas time, go to a church, pray... It was not common in Georgia…

When I was growing up there were always people in our house ... Somebody would always come to visit, either my mother's relatives or friends… looking for a sleepover or other kind of favour,  and my mother would always warmly welcome everyone, prepare meals for them... Although we didn't have much, and had to live from salary to salary, my mum never spared anything… That goodness has remained in me as well, even now, when leaving home always thinking about 3 ways of doing something good...

Interview date: 28/10/2018