Wednesday, June 29, 2011

June 29, 2011

About 10:30 Gertruda arrived with I, A and N.  I didn't really know what was going on, but they were all in the kitchen and Gertruda was cooking.  I was confined to my bed as I have now been classified as an invalid.  I was given two pieces of bread with butter and sausage which tastes like bologna.  Later, Gertruda brought me breakfast which was macaroni sauteed with spices and egg along with two sausages which taste like hot dogs.  A brought me a cup of coffee.  I wanted more sugar and cream but was afraid to ask since I am under such restrictions!

Gertruda, L and S went to the village to buy gifts for L and I's host parents.  They are leaving tonight to drive to Riga.  The girls leave at 6 a.m. for Washington, D. C. where they will travel to Mount Airy, MD for five weeks.  I remember that experience last year so well.  S came off that plane looking lost and tired, carrying a little bag with gifts for me.  She brought me a wall hanging that had a tree on it and the leaves were made of amber chips.  She also had a coffee mug with a map of Latvia, filled with candies.

In the afternoon we went to Anita and Tourlic's home for lunch.  The recently bought a house.  They had previously lived in a two room flat.  They paid 15,000 lats for this house.  That is about $30,000.  It needs a little updating here and there, but is a nice house!  A large living room, two good size bedrooms, a small kitchen and a one car garage.  I also learned that Tourlic owns the apartment Gertruda uses in Kraslava.  It was bought several years ago for about the same as their house, but Anita says it would not sell for that now.  The economy has suffered greatly with all of the people moving away from the city.  They have about 1 1/2 acres of land which includes a pond and wonderful garden spot.  They have mostly root vegetables and then lots of beautiful flower gardens.  Anita gave me the grand tour, pointing out all the flowers.  She apparently has a green thumb.  Unfortunately, I brought S's camera but she had taken the memory card out of it.

Lunch was wonderful.  We had cold beet soup with rye bread first.  Just like S makes for us in America.  Then we had pork cutlets and potatoes. The potatoes were tiny.  Like our little new red potatoes but these were not red.  She had boiled them whole and then the girls peeled them.  Next, Anita cut them into little pieces and fried them with dill.  She made a wonderful dessert of an apple cake which included lemon and was topped with cinnamon and sugar.  I am calling her later to get that recipe.  Wonderful tea followed the meal.   She served the soup in normal type soup bowls.  The rest of the meal was on saucers.  That is apparently the norm here.  The kitchen is tiny by our standards, but big compared to Gertruda's.  It is not unusual for houses to be sold without kitchen cabinets here.  She said they paid extra for the former owners to leave the kitchen.  The cabinets and appliances are nice, but all small.   We are so spoiled in America!

L and S went with me and Gertruda to Anita's.  A, I and N stayed at the apartment.  When we returned I was sitting downstairs and shared that A had locked her out of the apartment.  As I can figure it, He locked out both I and N.  Eventually N convinced him to let her in but I did not want to go inside because he was being mean to her.  It seems most of the children are mean to her.  She is pitiful.  Even her sister, actually, especially her sister, is mean to her.  When we got inside the Russian was flying and I thought I was about to witness an international incident!  Maybe a nuclear explosion!  Everybody jumped on A.  S said that he had also destroyed an air mattress at the country home that morning.  I had seen it there.  It was a nice one like we have in America........double high twin size.   I don't know where it came from, but it appears to be a treasure.  I asked if it was an accident and S said no.  She said A was "nervousing" Mama Gertruda and she is about to send him to the children's home.  The reprimanding of A went on for a long time and he started to cry.  I don't know if she told him he was going to the children's home or what.  I am a softie, but I did think it was a bit harsh.  He has kind of attached to me and Gertruda kept saying my name and trying to get him into the living room so I could see he was crying.  He kept pulling away.  I didn't want to cause problems, but I did go into the hallway and pat him on the back.  I didn't want him to think I would laugh at him for crying. I think his medical condition includes scoliois.

They keep telling me he is really bad.  He does seem very young for 14, both in stature and behavior.  Locking the girls out was mean, but I think I have observed other meaner L hitting A and I.  It is a different culture.  I don't understand everything.  I mentioned to Anita that sometimes S has a very angry, mean tone to things she says to me.  I thought it might be a cultural thing, but Anita doesn't sound like that.  She said she could not be mean if she tried.  S and I will work on that.  I don't think she intends to sound so angry.  She just needs to be aware of the way she sounds and how that is interpreted by others.

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