Jūratė Reventas is a first-year student, born and raised in the United States, but she has always felt a strong connection to her Lithuanian roots. She is very involved in the Lithuanian-American community, attending Lithuanian camps and events, and she knows many other Lithuanians around the country. Here is her story, and a story from her culture:
Lithuania: a small, Baltic country filled with loud people that love beets and potatoes. And I am one of them.
My grandparents on both sides of my family escaped the Soviet rule as children and immigrated to the United States as teenagers. Lithuanians are a spirited people. They are resilient, gaining strength from leaving their home behind to come to a new country, as well as fighting for their country’s freedom. For a small country, there is a lot of national pride and love, shared amongst Lithuanians from everywhere.
Jūratė, my namesake, was a mermaid, and she was the Princess of the Sea. One day, a fisherman, Kastytis, caught her in his net. As soon as their eyes met, they fell in love. Perkūnas, the God of Thunder (much like Thor), was not happy that Jūratė fell in love with a mortal. To stay together, Jūratė and Kastytis ran away to live in Jūratė’s castle of amber. Perkūnas, however, discovered their plan and threw a lightning bolt that shattered the castle and killed Kastytis. Because of this, when walking on the shores of the Baltic Sea, one can find amber washed up in the waves. Jūratė is still said to wander the sea, crying for her lost love.
*Note to Kayla: I want this to be a new serial for the paper. I don’t know what to call it, but Prof. Sauers suggested “Mount Passport” or something along those lines. Basically, the idea is to have students from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds share stories about their families and heritage. Jūratė wrote the article starting at “Lithuania: a small, Baltic country…” I want other students to write the article, send it to me, and I can add the bio information at the top. I was wondering also if there should be a blurb at the end of the article telling students if they’re interested in sharing a story or talking about their heritage to email me personally or if they should email the Echo.