Taurage Adventure

Trip Start Sep 15, 2010
Trip End Jul 23, 2011

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Friday, September 24, 2010

A quick update on my search for relatives in the town of Taurage ...

Despite having to run after my bus, I was relieved to know I would make it to Taurage before nightfall.  This town of 28,000 is not listed in the guidebook so I had no idea where I would stay upon arrival.  That said, as the bus pulled into the station, I asked an elderly woman sitting behind me if she knew of a hotel.  She motioned to follow her and I explained in my choppy Lithuanian that I was looking for my relatives.  Her name was Ona and she seemed very excited about my quest.  She kept pointing to her daughter's car and saying "daughter - English."

As I approached her daughter, Remigija, I explained that I was looking for a hotel.  Remigija said she was happy to take me to the nearest hotel but that I could also come to their house and use their telephone book and phone.  Since the tourist office was closed and I didn't have any better ideas for finding my relatives, I did a quick gut check, agreed, and insisted I would go to the hotel afterward.

As we drove to their lovely home by the river, Remigilia explained that she has a good friend who is a local English teacher.  Before long, her friend Judita arrived and was able to help translate the genealogy information my friend Clydia compiled about the Waitekus family.  We stayed at Remigija's house for several hours while she called the director of the Taurage archives office and Judita bravely called people from the phone book.  A few times we thought we were close but in the end we needed more information. 

Judita is only two years older than me and was very excited to have an opportunity to practice her English.  She invited me to stay at her home for the night and I suggested that I speak with her students the following day.  We gladly agreed on the exchange and then took off for a night tour of the town.  We went to the old castle, river and catholic church ... all places that were likely stomping grounds of my relatives.

The next morning I helped teach Judita's fourth grade class and then we went to the local archive office.  Judita also teaches English to the employees there, so I knew we were in good hands.  After a long conversation and several phone calls it was determined that the necessary information would take a least a month to gather from their Vilnius headquarters.

Even though I did not meet any direct relatives on my great grandfather's side, I certainly met three wonderful women.  They were so surprised to find an American in Taurage and I was so blessed to find people willing to help me.  On the bus ride back to Vilnius I felt as though I had just fallen from the sky and Ona, Remigija and Judita had caught me with open arms.
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Joan Vehik on

Susie James and I (from the Senator's Office) follow your adventures with great admiration. What an experience you are having! I think I told you one time that my husband was born in Estonia - and he and his family escaped during the war. You are probably not that far from where he was born. You are a wonderful writer - I feel like I am right there with you. Keep safe. joan

John Panneton on

looks Great , keep it going

Mark Harkins on

This is fabulous reading and great pictures. You are living a lot of people's dreams. Know that we are thinking about you and enjoy the commentary. I hope you at least requested the records so that you could look them over later!

Keep us informed!

Rob Williams on

Fantastic!!! Safe journey's and may all you encounter be a s friendly and adventurous as you!!!

Rehab on

Look at you there all smiling and enjoying yourself there. Glad to here you're safe and sound.

Rehab on

It seems like everyone is nice and friendly up there. I so wanna travel the world like you're doing it right now. I can't believe I am getting jealous. :P

Caitlin on

Crystal, of course you were caught with open arms! We can find family wherever we look if we have open hearts :-) I'm so proud of you and your brave adventure. Keep the posts coming! Love you!

Judi on

Keep writing these colorful and entertaining episodes, Crystal, & we're all gonna chip in to send you places just to see what happens next! :+) This could be the start of a brilliant career for you in unexpected ways, dear I-Reporter! Encore!!!

Clydiam on

How exciting! I think your great grandparents would be proud that you cared enough to visit their homeland. What a wonderful adventure.

Third Big Day on

Crystal my love. That is so freaking awesome. I wish I had the time and money to do that exact same thing. Maybe in a couple years or so. We'll see what happens. After reading your blog, I couldn't help but share it with my two good friends. And they were saying how awesome your adventures are. Anyway, until then Shinuk "later." Peace. And Miss and love yeah.

Mike on

Hello everyone..can anyone help me out with a place to stay in Taurage?rental

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