It is now as cold as it looks in all the pictures.  When we got up this a.m. it was -28C which is -18F.  I am happy to report that it has now, at 2:45 p.m., climbed all the way up to -15C or 5 F.  That is much better!  John’s car wouldn’t start so we all (John, Rachel, Chayah, Noah, and two students, Dacia and Nastia, along with us) caught 2 cabs to City Church.  It was great to see how many turned out on such a cold morning and as we drove past the bus stop there were a dozen plus students waiting out in the cold to go to church–an amazing sight..  In Orangeburg, some people can’t make it if it rains a little and I must say, if we had not had a ride, I would not have walked to the bus stop and waited in the cold.

Though it is cold, and on Friday we had a blizzard–snow blowing everywhere so that everything was white–we still do not have a large accumulation of snow.  Although the streets have not been plowed, it is still no problem for traffic to get through but it is a bit slippery as the snow is packed down.  I believe it will begin to warm up on Tuesday–just a little.  I understand that in the US, the groundhog saw his shadow on Feb. 2, which means there are six more weeks of winter–I don’t know if that is true for Lithuania as well but I’m expecting it will be at least six more weeks before we get any real break in the weather.

By the way, Chuck and I were so pleased to find that the library had a copy of one of our very favorite movies, Goundhog Day, which we usually watch every Feb. 2nd.  After watching it for maybe the 10th time,  I decided this time that we really should go to Punxsutawney, PA, next year for Groundhog Day.  But then, in some included comments about the movie, we learned that it was not shot there but in Woodstock, IL.  What a disappointment! We can still go but it won’t be the same and, without Bill Murray and Andie McDowell, it probably wouldn’t be nearly as much fun.

Here are some photos from Friday’s little blizzard and also a shot of my favorite neighborhood dog.  He sits on his dog house like Snoopy.

Across the street

Up the street view

Neighbor plays with dog--this dog was loving the snow.

Our big event for this week was being invited to the home of Algis and his wife, Lianna, for dinner on Friday night.  This is one time when I really wish I could have taken pictures to share with you because it was a very unusual house.  Algis lives in a very nice up-scale neighborhood and his house is quite large and unique. It is surrounded by a  yard with a small pond and has a decorative fence which is the norm in good neighborhoods here.  Inside there were many floors with staircases going off in all directions.  Some levels had just one room.  The floors were all lovely wood–different types.  There were marble floors in some places as well as the outside patio and porch area (where it made for very slick going in the snow).  Their lovely and sweet daughter, Gabriella, who is studying to be a doctor, was also there.  Dinner consisted of chicken cut into small pieces and cooked with peppers and celery in some sort of sauce, some slightly seasoned rice, shredded raw carrots with a dressing, and marinated beets which were chopped up with onions. The plates were prepared in the kitchen and served to us and no seconds were offered. No bread and butter were served and no salt and pepper were on the table.  (I got full, and committed a serious Lithuanian faux pas – I didn’t clean up my plate.) I do not know if this is how it is always done in Lithuanian homes.  Afterwards, we went to the living room downstairs for dessert in front of the fireplace.   This was a huge course in itself and I was already full.  There was a big selection of cheeses, some hot peppers and some garlic toes (they eat them plain) and some sort of meat.  There was a huge dish of fruit–bananas, kiwi, grapes, etc. and a type of cake.  Gabriella had made some cookies to add to all this.  It was a very nice meal but a lot of food to eat. It was also pleasant company although Lianna does not speak English so I’m sure it was boring for her.

Though it is Sunday afternoon, Chuck is in his office grading papers.  He is very over-loaded with so many students.  We will have a little break this week as we will be taking off on Friday and Saturday for a short sight-seeing jaunt with some other folks from the university so we are looking forward to that and I should have some interesting things to report.

Miscellaneous interesting fact about Lithuania:  you cannot buy a ruled tablet or notebook.  Every one looks like this:

Labas vakaras! (Good evening!)


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