Also, God has been blessing me with countless opportunities for incredible, intentional conversations. One of the big American stereotypes I wanted to defy when I came here is that Americans are superficial and judgmental. Well, I have had many chances to be genuine and loving… and it’s amazing! Aušrinė, one of the girls who sit next to me in my Social Psychology class, has become such a sweet new friend. In almost every class period, we have the opportunity to work together, and she loves to ask me questions. Today, we talked about schemas and how much of a difference it makes to have positive schemas. She asked me how I manage to keep such a positive outlook on things and not get stuck on the bad things. Also, my professor brought up the verse Philippians 4:8: “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” So we also got to discuss this verse and how practicing it can really change the way we think and live. It was so much fun talking about this topic with Aušrinė. I can tell that she wants to learn from me, but I don’t know that she even realizes how much I am learning from her, and how much this new friendship is blessing me. It makes me smile!
Now, I come to the title of this journal entry. You may, at first glance, assume it means “Hello!” or some other greeting. In fact, it means “Enjoy your meal!” ... “Why title a journal article ‘Enjoy Your Meal’?” you may ask. Well, for those of you who did not aready read my little blip about this on Facebook last night, let me recap. A few days ago, I got groceries from the Maxima grocery store. I normally go to Iki, the other grocery store they have in Lithuania. (Basically, for the sake of comparison, Maxima is the Lithuanian Walmart and Iki is Lithuanian Target.) Anyway, Maxima was unfamiliar to me. I had hopes of making a family recipe for mashed potatoes with hamburger gravy (using white meat in place of beef) at some point this week. This trip to Maxima was the first time I bought meat since coming here. I know all of the words for different meat products here, so it wasn’t that I couldn’t find the right meat. My problem was that, unlike Iki, the only ground meats were at the deli counter, not in the pre-packaged meat section. I wasn’t feeling confident enough to try to order ½ kilogram of ground chicken from the deli worker, so I decided to replace it with sausage. I found the cylindrical packages that read “Dešra” (“sausage”) and picked one in the medium price range, thinking this would give me a better shot of good quality meat. There were a few other words on the package that I did not know, but I knew it was sausage, so I assumed it would be good.
Last night, I decided to make my meal. I started the potatoes and began making the white sauce for the base of my gravy. Then, I opened the sausage… it looked like a shortened, fat hotdog. Really, it was the color, texture, and consistency of bologna. But, it smelled and tasted like salami. Well, I don’t care for any of those things. However, I was not going to waste it and I thought it might be okay once warmed up and mixed into the gravy. Needless to say, I had to scarf it down because it was a bit difficult to tolerate. I survived, though. Afterwards, I decided to translate the other words from the package. This is what I got: “100% Quality”, “No meat substitutes”, and “Soviet Sausage”. … I have no idea what “Soviet Sausage” means, or why anyone here would use that as a marketing tool, but I will be avoiding it now. Given the color of the meat, I think I can at least safely assume that it was most likely a pork product of some kind. However, because I have leftovers of this bologna-salami-sausage crossbreed meat, I am resisting the thought that it could, quite possibly, contain parts of the pig’s internal organs. Also, I will no longer shy away from ordering at the deli counter.
Another interesting fact about Lithuania: Old Town Klaipėda does not have any churches. This is because most of them were so damaged by artillery fire in WWII that no one tried to fix them. They just demolished them and left squares or parks in their place.