Peters Traces His RootsOctober, 1994
No Mistaking It
We come in for our landing in Riga. The metal and concrete shingled houses, clearings and fields mixed with fir tree forests, are all very typical of the Latvian landscape.
Close to my heart, my Latvian brunch awaits me: home-made pickles, cold cuts, smoked fish, and piragi. Now, true afficiandos prepare piragi by filling crescent shaped rolls with cubed bacon, mostly the fat part. Thankfully, my mother makes a more lo-cal variety, but the traditional ones are pretty good too as long as they're hot. Cold and congealed, they do lose some appeal!
While I feast, my mom and her sister Laura start catching up on what's been happening.
Gaida joins us for a picture at the table. Below, a short pause in the conversation as brunch has continued into dinner. Laura has a new friend in her lap, Ester's cat, Pice. (Ester is Gaida's son's Arno's wife. I promise to put a family tree into one of these albums some day!) Eventually, we finish off the evening with a couple of rounds of coffee - my aunt Laura is the other coffee fiend in the family, though thankfully in lower doses than mine! And I finally head off for a good night's sleep.
From the first time I met my relatives, I sensed they were family. With each visit, there's a greater sense of closeness, of integration. Without my own, I grew up enjoying the extended families of people close to me. As much as I had borrowed those of others, knowing what to expect, experiencing my own family was still strange, new, and wonderful.