Yesterday my husband and I had the chance to talk on the Christian radio and tell our story how we met and talk a bit about life, love, etc.
Before the program started we were chatting with the hosts about our unusual marriage. I am an American, and my husband is Latvian and we live here, in Latvia. Most people when given the chance would go back to the States. But when I married my husband I knew that I'd be here, forever. I accepted that and most days I am ok with it. But the truth is leaving ones country, culture and family never gets easier.
9 years ago I fell in love with man I call my husband. We are happy, we are blessed. We have 3 kids speaking 2 languages. But the fact is I would not recommend cross-cultural marriages to anyone.
The top reason by far is family. My family was close growing up and the distance between me and them now means my kids will never be close to their aunts and uncles and cousins in the US. That breaks my heart. Holidays are never spent together. There are no family gatherings or birthday parties. SAD. Tickets for 5 are way too expensive for us to see them often.
Marriage is hard with anyone. But when you throw in culture and language it gets even harder. These are things that can be worked through and do help us grow. But they they sure get in the way when it comes to understanding each other as one would like.
Your self identity in a foreign country- whether that be yours or your spouses' will never (maybe it will after many years) be quite as comfortable in a new country as in ones own. I have lived here 9 years. I speak the language fluently. But I am still an outsider in many ways.
Are you married to a foreigner? What is your story?
Since I work in a bakery besides painting, I bake ALOT of cakes. Were I to count them
they would be in the hundreds this year :) But my all time favorite cake
right now is this Latvian honey cake. I love that it is sweet, but
perfect with coffee and as moist as one could wish! YUMMY. This cake
vanished in no more than 10 minutes this evening!
I have borrowed this recipe from the website cetrassezonas
and tweaked it some. I hope it will work with your American sour cream
or wherever you are from. But as long as you can get your hands on real
sour cream you should be fine.
You will need:
Springform pan 10-11 inch.
1 1/4 c. sugar
3 cups flour
7 T. butter
2 T. honey
1 t. soda.
2 cups sugar
3 cups sour cream
2 T. grated lemon rind
1 t. vanilla extract
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup cream
Melt the butter, sugar and eggs. Stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Pour into separate bowl.
soda and honey in pot, heat over medium heat, stirring constantly until
the mixture is caramelized. It will be foamy and gradually turn a rich
brown. Do not burn! This part is always so cool! I didn't know you could
do this with honey :)
this mixture to the egg mixture and stir well. Stir in flour. The dough
should be stiff and you can let it cool and it will become even easier
Prepare sheets of baking paper by tracing
the size of the pan on the paper. You will need 5 such prepared baking
sheets or papers. Divide the dough into 5 equal portions. Flip the paper
over and roll out so that the dough is the size of your drawn circle.
Use flour as necessary to keep from sticking. It will be thin, apx. 1/8
inch. There is no need to have a perfect circle, you will trim the edges
Bake until brown, and crisp. DO NOT BURN! It bakes quickly.
the rounds are ready let them cool and then trim them to fit inside
your springform pan. Save the trimmings for later. Prepare the filling
by stirring it well, until the sugar is dissolved. It will be soupy!
one cake round at a time, then spread apx. 1 cup of the sour cream
mixture. Then another round until you have used up all the rounds and
all the filling. Pour any remaining filling under the last layer. Do not
put filling on top layer if you desire to top with chocolate. Chill
overnight. You can also add the chocolate at this point or do it the
next day if you haven't already topped it with chocolate then melt the
chocolate with the cream and then spread over the cake. I topped mine
with rough sugar grains here and chilled the chocolate. When it was set I
then removed the cake from the pan.
You can put the
remaining edges that you cut off in a blender and grind them into crumbs
which can then be used to garnish the edges of the cake. This cake is
meant for home so the decor is simple, but you can decorate it as you
Slice and enjoy!
So let me know if you make this cake and how it turns out for you!
In looking for places to stay for our trip to Lithuania I stumbled upon Vienkiemis. I liked the reviews I saw on Booking.com and that it was child friendly.So I made a reservation- directly through their site.
We were more than delighted with our stay there, and if you are ever near the area with kids then you MUST go there.
We were there off season, but it looks like the kind of place (by the size and attractiveness) that they are crowded during summer.
I liked the rustic look of the buildings and was delighted by the elegant room we had. (We stayed in one of the apartments ) I have in fact never stayed in such an elegant looking room/apartment (and I have stayed in ALOT of hotels). I loved the room, and the sitting room next to it where we played chess in the evening on a gorgeous chess set.
The food was yummy, and we had some nice meat filled potato rolls- traditional food. (Though the ones we had down the rode on the corner on the way home were even better). Breakfast was lovely and filling.
But the best thing by far was the collection of kid sized houses- just like a children sized village. There was a windmill, a church, a school, a root cellar, a mill and all manner of other small buildings. Our kids absolutely loved it and went over the whole village the first evening and the next morning. They also have a cute mini-zoo.
If you want a place where kids can chill and play after a drive to the area then this is THE place to stay!
Maybe romance isn't about love at first sight or those sweet nothings in your ear- like you see in the films. But maybe it is that faithful love that keeps your husband coming home day after day, and loving you no matter how you look, act or feel.
Maybe it's not about being the best at everything (ideal Mom, superwoman) But maybe its letting the love you have and the simpleness of each moment shine forth and make you be the best you were meant to be at that moment.
Maybe love isn't butterflies in your stomach and candlelit dinners like it used to be. But maybe love is when your husband keeps working a job he struggles with, providing his family's daily needs.
Maybe love isn't like the books or the movies or the dreams you'd imagined of what it would be. But maybe love is when you are tired and needing a quiet moment and your husband is willing to give the kids their baths and put them to bed so you can just clean up the kitchen in peace :)
Maybe love isn't all our culture cracks it up to be but rather boils down to those little things our men do every day. Not those things they do in the movies- like rescuing the fair maidens, or saving lives, or spewing out poetic language. But maybe love is . . . .
-when he changes the diaper of the 2 year old who comes to the table stinky so you can stay in your seat.
-reading his Bible alone, so he grows in God's wisdom.
-bedtime stories to your kids- making him such an ideal Daddy.
-pancakes he makes on Saturday morning.
-long chats at the table when the kids have been excused.
-supporting your hobbies, even when they are messy and seeing your talent (even if your art keeps you from having a perfectly clean house).
-filling up your car with gas.
-hugs and unromantic pecks on the cheek :)
-being an unchanging rock of support and advice.
-helping us say "no"when we have said "yes"too many times.
-listening to our rantings, and not offering solutions.
Maybe love is so much more than the fairytale romance women dream up and the romance they long for their husband to envelope them with.
Maybe love is just these simple little things all stemming from that deep, rich love that grows over time. It's like deep pools that only the light reveals as these daily rays shine forth to show what lies beneath.
Maybe love is just this, this day in and day out. Living our boring lives in their monotonous humdrum and learning to be kinder, gentler, and stronger as we are immersed and hammered and drowned with real, hard, strong LOVE.
If I were to believe that things happened according to fate and such then this day would have been one of those. . .
It seemed an especially fine day and the kids even all woke up early- which was a plus since my kids had to be at their kindergarten lesson early.
The car windows were foggy and the defroster wouldn't work.
There was no where to park near the kindergarten.
I left my kids and took a walk with my 2 year old and went to a resale shop. We had a peaceful, uneventful time.
When I went after my 2 older kids 2 hours later I thought their teacher seemed sad or troubled. I asked how things went and she told me D-boy had had a bad day. He wouldn't read. He wouldn't listen. He demanded games and when she wouldn't give him any (my 4 year old perhaps was doing one while he worked on his reading) then he was angry. . .
I could see from his attitude he was in a rebellious mood and the teacher seeing me try to cope with my 3 kids said she hoped I'd be able to handle him. I said, " Oh, I will! "
I was disappointed. I was embarrassed. I was sad.
Everyone wants their kids to behave. To respect authorities. To be good students. To do their best and be model pupils.
I gave my boy a lecture. I told him he had made us all sad. I told him this behavior would mean no Legos for the rest of the day unless I saw some repentance in his attitude. I also told him he needed to go apologize to his teacher. We talked. We hugged. We almost even cried (he is so much like me. When he finally realizes he has messed up he feels so bad about it. Once the anger is gone).
And so he went back and told his teacher sorry.
I know that might seem kinda weird to some. But to me- if my kids hurt each other at home or are unkind they must make things right. To me, for him to realize the enormity of his wrong he had to go and make it right with her. If I hurt someone's feelings I can't rest until I make it right and I want my boy to respect the feelings of others. A teacher is not just an educator- but a person with feelings and when our students misbehave it makes us feel badly as teachers (NOTE FROM EXPERIENCE )
The day moved on. We got lots done. I've painted 2 scarves today and my kids and I worked up lots of apples.
Yet the poking and proddings of many whiny little voices still pile up to make me feel frustrated and like a balloon ready to explode when my husband asks me something that seems to me even a little negative (the final pin to make me pop).
And so I went out to walk the dog and talk to my Jesus and vent and pray.
And in the end God sets all right in my world. Because He is Heaven and He is Good and He is ALIVE!
You know the feeling as a Mom of wanting to be busy, to have your kids involved? You know you long to go somewhere and do something? But then, life starts filling up and you get so busy you feel you are just running, all the time?!
And then you think, "Whoa, I wish I could have my boring life back. And have time just to BE and live." and not just run, run, run.
With the new year of school comes new lessons. My oldest two kids have a lesson with their teacher once a week which is a nice time for them to work on their Latvian, and prepare D boy for school.
D-boy has also begun music school. Today was his first day and as I sat there watching him learn to hold the violin and learning and singing and interacting with his new violin teacher I was happy. Then he has his music theory class with 6 other kids and despite his reserve in the beginning he had a blast with the motion songs and games they did. I was happy to see my boy interacting and enjoying music.
Then there is the prospect of swimming lessons and with all these new opportunities come lots of new homework, and running and waiting. And my youngest has finally got the case of the terrible twos and is a totally strange grouchy boy instead of his happy normal self.
Life has gotten so busy I feel we are in constant motion and I feel I won't last long at this pace. I need to have quiet. I need to have time to be still and stay home. I need to keep my "nest" in order for it to function.
How precious are the days when lessons are few and we can stay home and do our home-school lessons and just enjoy being homebodies. How thankful I am for this new and busy phase and the talents God has given my kids.
I watched the new movie Mom's Night Out and would recommend it for any Mom and especially for those with young kids who feel they "going crazy." I find myself feeling that way nearly every day, so believe me I know how you feel. This movie made me laugh and cry and reminded me of my focus as a Mom.
You probably barely remember me now that you live so far away, but I wanted to take this moment to write you a little letter.
Today you are 3- Happy birthday sweet girl!
You have been special to me since before you born because I somehow felt like I was more a part of you coming. I got to meet the midwife when she came to your Mommy's when she thought you were going to come. I was pregnant with my 3rd baby and felt like I needed something different. I was tired of being afraid of having babies. And your Mommy inspired me that having babies could be easier- she was my birthing hero.
We were so happy that God brought a girl to our dear friends- because these sweet little princesses from heaven are ever so much joy to their family's.
We were honored to be asked to be your god-parents and pray that you will grow to be a strong, godly woman.
Did you know your name means "lady" or "bitter?"
Marta in the Bible was a women who worked hard at home, caring for her home and those she loved.
Be sure to always put Jesus first- be HIS woman and make time for him daily!
We wish this 3rd year of your life to be full of joy, and that you would not be fussy more than necessary. Listen to your parents and be obedient!