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„Priecājos par latviešu optimismu”
Apskatīt komentārus (0)


28.09.2011


Attēlā: Pamela Harman Daugavietis ar dzīvesbiedru Andri Daugavieti Rīgas redakcijā

 

Ligita Kovtuna

 

Redakcijas viesi

„Priecājos par latviešu optimismu”

 

Tā mūsu sarunā Rīgas redakcijā aizvadītās vasaras augusta dienā teica amerikāniete Pamela Harman Daugavietis, žurnāliste un rakstniece no Grandrapidiem, ASV. Viņi abi ar Pamelas dzīvesbiedru latvieti Andri Daugavieti bija izbrīvējuši dažas stundas, lai apciemotu vietu, kur top avīze Laiks. Viņa šovasar pirmo reizi apmeklēja dzīvesbiedra dzimteni un savus iespaidus nu pauž stāstījumā, ko sniedzam jums, cienījamie lasītāji.

 

Ar žurnālistei raksturīgu vērīgumu un ieinteresētību Pamela tvērusi faktus un iespaidus, ar rakstnieces jutīgumu izdzīvojusi Latvijā satikto cilvēku dzīvesstāstus un likteņus. Viņas daiļrades interešu lokā ir galvenokārt dzīves pabērni, bērnu dvēseles, viņu labsajūta šai pasaulē. 1965. gadā Pamela beigusi aktīvās žurnālistes gaitas un pievērsusies rakstniecībai. Viņas pirmās grāmatas „Skaties bērna acīm” prototipi ir bērni no Helen De Vos Children’s Hospital un viņu likteņstāsti. Pamelai un Andrim pašiem ir četri bērni un divpadsmit mazbērni. Andris savulaik beidzis Mičiganas universitāti, strādājis par ārstu. Abi ir kopā kopš 1989. gada, un abiem raksturīgs gaišs un patiess sirsnīgums. Andris savai dzīvesbiedrei atklājis Latviju kā zemi, „kur ir brīnišķīga dzīve – zied puķes, skan dziesmas un dzeja, tautai ir tik bagāta vēsture un kultūra!” Lai šie Pamelas vārdi ļauj plašāk atvērt acis mums pašiem un novērtēt, cik svarīgs ir pozitīvs  un labvēlīgs skatījums no malas!

 

Ar Pamelas Harman Daugavietes daiļradi varat iepazīties, ielūkojoties viņas mājaslapā www.pamspocketbooks.com.

 

 

My First Visit to Latvia

 

By Pamela Harman Daugavietis

Prior to our departure in late August for Riga, Latvia, my husband Andy, born in Riga in 1943 to Peter and Mirdza Daugavietis, received a phone call from Elsa Avens, widow of Latvian philosopher and writer Roberts Avens, a cousin of Andy’s father. Elsa, who now lives in Florida in the U.S., suggested that as an American-born, first-time visitor to Latvia, I might wish to consider writing my impressions of Latvia and submitting them to LAIKS, which follow.

 

Andy and I arrived in Riga, Latvia, via Helsinki, Finland, early afternoon on Friday, August 26, 2011. We were greeted at the airport by Andy’s 90-year-old aunt, Nina Masulune, a well-known author and lecturer on Latvian cuisine and culture, who lives in Riga with her son, Raimunds, whom Andy had never met.

 

Andy and I were married in 1989, and while he had made one trip back to Latvia in 2005 with his parents and brother George, I had never been to Latvia. (The family left Latvia in 1944 and spent four years in a German displaced persons camp before immigrating to the U.S. in 1949.) I was eager to see the beautiful country on the Baltic Sea I had heard so much about over the years.

 

As we rode into Riga from the airport on the city bus, my first view of centuries old, historic Old Riga and its four main church steeples was from the other side of the Daugava River. This scene was familiar to me because it was the same scene depicted in the impressionistic oil painting that had hung in Andy’s parents’ living room for as long as I had known his family, and that now hangs in our home. The live scene before us under sunny blue skies, of quaint and interesting shops of all kinds—book shops, souvenir shops, jewelry shops, clothing stores, coffee shops and restaurants—lined along winding cobblestone streets filled with people of all ages was a dream come true for me.

 

Andy and I would spend one day in Riga and then travel to Smiltene to visit Andy’s mother’s first cousin, Renate, and her nephew Ingus. From Smiltene, we would travel to Rezekne to visit Andy’s father’s first cousin and his wife and pay our respects at the gravesite of Andy’s Uncle Romans, killed by Russian fighter planes in 1944, at the train station in Sakstagals. We also visited the former Zadvinskis family farm Lukna, where Andy’s grandparents raised their four children, among them Andy’s father, Aunt Nina, Uncle Romans and Uncle Zigfrids Zadvinskis, M.D., who now lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with his Latvian born wife Pauline, and parents of four grown sons, all living in the U.S.

 

While in Rezekne, we visited the Our Lady of Aglona Basilica and were extremely fortunate to meet and visit with a lovely and accomplished woman named Silvija Limane, noted Latvian Catholic author and historian. Silvija once worked for the Latvian Embassy at the Vatican and is currently translating Eucharistic Miracles in the World from English to Latvian.

 

Returning to Riga on Monday evening, August 29, we spent Tuesday afternoon visiting Aunt Nina and Raimunds in their apartment about a half-hour ride on the inner-city train from Old Riga. Aunt Nina had prepared a traditional cold meal and then hot meal for us — both were delicious. On Wednesday, we visited the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia, a sobering and heartbreaking, yet inspiring, experience. We also were fortunate to be able to schedule a visit with Ligita Kovtuna, Latvian editor of LAIKS, who gave us a brief history of the newspaper and a tour of their offices.

 

We were deeply touched when Aunt Nina insisted on accompanying us to the airport on Thursday as we were off to Cork, Ireland, to visit longtime friends in Bantry, Cork County. It was difficult to say goodbye to Aunt Nina, who is the epitome of a strong and spiritual woman and a proud and accomlished Latvian.

 

Latvia is an exquisite country, similar to our state of Michigan, blessed with many natural lakes and forests, fruit orchards, birch trees and luscious farmland. The Latvian people I met were friendly and helpful. The Latvian young people who worked in the hotels where we stayed and in the restaurants and cafés where we ate were friendly, polite, efficient and hardworking. We loved the food, the colorful art and handicrafts, the street musicians, the shops and the vibrant life of Old Riga.

 

The Latvian people are values driven, creative, cheerful, resilient, proud and resourceful. While their history is filled with unspeakable suffering, sacrifice and sadness during two occupations by totalitarian regimes, the Latvian culture has endured and is today stronger and more vibrant than ever. In Riga, Smiltene and Rezekne we saw evidence that Latvia is becoming a tourist destination for those seeking rest, relaxation and restoration in the pristine countryside and through holistic medical practices and healthier lifestyle choices. Latvians are also focused on creating sustainable solutions to worldwide energy needs, and are becoming a model for other nations to follow. Latvia, with a population of 2.2 million, is a small, yet modern, Christian democratic country with a rich cultural heritage and enormous potential.

 

While our stay in Latvia was brief, our time there was meaningful and memorable for both of us. Our hope is to return to Latvia in the not-too-distant future. Until then, our impressions and memories of Latvia will be shared with others with the hope that they, too, will be inspired to visit this priceless amber jewel by the Baltic Sea.

 




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