Sunday, August 08, 2010

Popierus Bubelukas

Packing, Shipping, and other Fun Things

The title of the blog refers to the Lithuanian words for "bubble wrap" and though it's hard to find it's impossible to find if you don't know how to ask for it.  All is well; I found some with the help of my friend who is a determined shopper and has a car.  Now, a couple of my favorite things can be bubble wrapped instead of taken apart for shipping.  Literally translated, the words mean "paper of little bubbles."  I discovered that the shipping company recommended to me is less expensive per kilo than the post office so I am packing, labeling, sorting, and giving away, down to the last teaspoon.   What a colossal pain moving is and how frequently I seem to have to do it! Perhaps I'll get good at it some day but that is not now, not this day.  This day, now, I am not good at it.  I do not like it; I always discover too many things that have not been used for some time, and too many things I want to keep to save myself the trouble and expense of purchasing them again.  Now, however, I must make sure that each kilo (about 2 lbs.) is worth at least 2.10 euros ($2.74), or it's not worth taking.  Of course, some books cannot be easily replaced, if at all, so they go wherever I go.  And, if you've ever helped me move, pack, or store my library, you realize that e-books cannot happen soon enough in my life, or yours! I wonder what would happen if an e-reader fell in the tub?  I'll bet it doesn't dry out like a book.

Every few days I walk to the Paštas (Pashtas, Post Office) and buy more boxes.  I think I have a good grip on the packing process but every so often I open a drawer or cupboard and realize that I could very well miss a nook or cranny that holds something I'd really like to take with me.  Probably, for the first time in many moves, I am attempting to pack all I own, on my own.  That's doubtless one reason for my worry--others can see and notice things I cannot.  I fear that when the shipping company arrives on Thursday I'll have missed so much and have no way to get it to Beirut but deadlines are deadlines.  They come and force me to be ready, so I will.

A Story of Saturday, The Old Market, and A Butcher

Yesterday, acting as a buddy for my new neighbor, I took her to the Old Market, several blocks away.  It is an especially wonderful place in the summer but is open year-round, especially the indoor section that is filled with fresh dairy, baked goods, fish, meat, and poultry, as well as two long rows of flower sellers.  That was our last stop before going to Pasažas, nearby to have coffee on our way home.  Susie, my new neighbor, paid for coffee and we went to find the ATM on Turgaus and Tiltu streets.  There, I reached for my wallet and it was gone.  

I was incredulous, not because I'm the most attentive person in the world but because losing it was just too huge a disaster to contemplate.  After searching my market bag and purse, always worn over my head, diagonally, I had to accept the obvious.  We walked back to the coffee shop; no one had seen it.  Then we walked back to the baker and she said, in Lithuanian, that I'd had it when I left her stand.  The dawning misery ahead began to overwhelm me as I realized that I would not get my shipping completed this week without the money to pay for it nor would a new debit card reach me before I left the country.  We walked back to the coffee shop where an LCC grad, a young business owner was in a meeting.  Realistically, he said, there was not even any point in reporting it.  It was most certainly lost forever.  My best plan was to forget about it and begin the long process of calling all the credit card companies and cancelling my cards.  We walked home.  

Back in my apartment I remembered one more place and felt compelled to return to the Old Market.  I had put my market bag down to rearrange some items on the counter of an empty kiosk.  I returned there and began looking around, knowing that it had been over an hour and that it was probably stupid to believe it might still be there.  A young man, a butcher at a kiosk next door came over. (He, in Lithuanian): What are you looking for?  (Me, German, broken): My purse.  It is yellow.  (Lithuanian, less broken): I was here, it is like this (holding hands in the air for shape).  (Butcher, Lithuanian): It was a yellow wallet?  (Me, Lithuanian): Yes! He left me and went over to a stool covered by a towel.  Lifting the towel, he pointed to my wallet!  I'm sure he could see in my face my complete relief and, should he have doubted it, my eyes filled with tears.  (Me, Lithuanian):  Oh, Thank you!  Thank you very much.

It was hard to believe this near-miracle.  No one would have given me any chance at all of recovering it in the open market.  It was only later that I realized that every penny and every credit card was still there.  Of course I prayed.  Of course I'm thankful.  Now I must write a  grateful thank you note in proper, not broken, Lithuanian and take it, along with a box of chocolates to the butcher next weekend when he's back at his stand.
Love and hugs,



  1. Wow, great story! Thank God you have your wallet back. Blessings as you move.

  2. Thank you Laura. I enjoyed seeing the pictures of your new place. I hope you'll be very happy there.

  3. I was hoping 'Pastas' (sans the squiggly) meant pastries!! glad you found your wallet. God is good:-) What a great life - crazy - but VERY fulfilling for you I hope!!

  4. Yes, it absolutely is fulfilling, in a very different way from your own work and challenges but fulfilling none the less. Too bad Paštas doesn't mean pastry.

  5. Oh I love this story. There are good people and God's blessings everywhere! (And by saying this, of course, I mean not only Klaipeda but also and even little Hesston.)

  6. Michele, I have no doubt--good people everywhere, even in Kansas! A real miracle of goodness and I had a front-row seat!

  7. Anonymous9:52 AM


    What a miracle and a complete continued belief in people. Good people are everywhere. Little did he know what a HUGE thing that was. Whew!!!!!!!!!!!


  8. Yes. I agree. A miracle and he now knows because that was in my Lithuanian thank you note.