Sheepish ****head looking for company for S. Tunick's installation

16 comments - Post a comment

Hi, I'm looking for a like-minded lady to accompany me in taking part in Spencer Tunick's Dublin installation at the IFSC on June 21st I'm a little wary about doing it on my own. Please help! Alan (36 tall, dark and handsome)

Would you like me to hold you by the hand and warm your pink buttocks up as I whisper some encouraging thoughts on the way to IFSC? Sorry, mate, I think you have registered for a wrong photocall.


Struggling to improve language skills in Ireland

3 comments - Post a comment

Thank you! Free dictionary began to provide pronunciation in American English and British English. Previously only American English was available and I was stuck trying to work out what should it sound like if I tried to make it sound as similar to the transcription provided by the dictionary in my laptop. No wonder the Irish guys I work with can't seem to understand me sometimes (hopefully not most of the time).

Actually, it has become a bit of a challenge to improve one's English if one works in customer service in Ireland. On one hand, the industry is dominated by foreigners. On the other - I could easily get away with 100 words and 5 catchphrases. After all, you enter the shop in order to buy, rather than to communicate (apart from a few customers we have).

It's a grand day.
Would you like a plastic bag?
I do like it here.
Irish are friendly.
This wine is fantastic.

When I was a student, going to the USA for the summer with the J-1 visa was popular. Oftentimes whoever stayed on the East Coast, somewhere around Atlantic City, returned to Lithuania with far worse knowledge of English than they had before boarding the plane. They were speaking Russian in the USA. Or Lithuanian - as there were so many of them in that area.

I sometimes feel like this country is heading in a similar direction. That's why I blog and spend some time trying to improve the language - I know there is much more to say than it's a grand day. Unfortunately, my improvement has slowed down, as there are no native English speakers-boyfriends around.

Yet, as Clarence Darrow has said, even if I do learn to speak correct English, whom am I going to speak it to?


Dublin pinhole

4 comments - Post a comment

During one of those quiet days in the shop I made a camera out of a matchbox. Went for a walk. Developed the film. And then I asked myself: why on earth did I buy digital SLR? No digital manipulation. Pure photography. As it should be.

Dublin pinhole. Four Courts and the River. ©Lina Zigelyte

Equipment: matchbox pinhole


The best news in months - a new cinema house in Dublin opened

6 comments - Post a comment

I am blown away! It is not a parking lot, not yet another supermarket, Pennys or offices. It is a brand new four-screen Light House cinema on Market Square in Smithfield, built after the old Light House Cinema on Abbey St. was shut down in 1996. The brand new cinema is aiming to focus on independent and world cinema and I have to say that their current screenings prove that.

Moreover, the halls have wooden floor! Something very scarce in Ireland. And nobody was eating pop corn during the screening of XXY which we watched yesterday! There are four relatively small screens, with a total capacity of 614. And LOTS AND LOTS OF SPACE!

God, I soooooo would like to exhibit my large format photographs of shut down cinemas of Dublin, which I did for NCAD there. Do you think it would be easy to find sponsorship? I'd need about 300 Euro for paper, darkroom and framing. Should I contact them?


Filling the gaps: why so little is known about Lithuania in Ireland

23 comments - Post a comment

A sculpture of an angel from Vilnius besides Mansion House on Dawson St in Dublin. Vaidas RamoŇ°ka's sculpture is part of the events celebrating the fact that Vilnius will be the European Capital of Culture in 2009 and invites foreigners to visit the Lithuanian capital. Unfortunately, the angel, which has been watching the passers by for a couple of months, can hardly be seen through the hedges and tulips. Hopefully, Vilnius will attract more attention than the sculpture next year.

At first you get angry. Then you try to smile and quietly grumble: "Oh again..." Yet once you notice that those stories tend to repeat, you anxiously press the panic button. How come nobody knows we have electricity and we know how to flush the toilet and no, our language has nothing to do with Russian?

Explaining to foreigners what Lithuania is like, can be quite a challenge. After spending decades behind the Iron Curtain we are desperate to be acknowledged, heard, seen and identified. God forbid you don't know about our Baroque churches or the coastline. Or the fact that Vilnius is going to be the European Capital of Culture next year - along with Austria's third largest city Linz (yet we prefer not to mention that, although I love their website). Or that our beer is as good as Czech or Polish, which seem to be getting quite popular in Ireland - you can buy it in O'Briens and avoid miscommunication in Eastern European shops. Or if you haven't heard that Lithuanian language is one of the oldest and best preserved in Europe. Or...

But why should foreigners bother with these crumbles of information about a former Soviet republic nestling somewhere along the shores of the Baltic sea? For many we will always remain a mere former Soviet republic, no matter how hard we try to convince the world that we are not a black hole on the world map. Despite 17 years of independence it still seems that little is known about us.

As part of the campaign, promoting Lithuania and celebrating the fact that Vilnius will be European Capital of Culture in 2009, a contest was introduced recently. Lithuanians are invited to send various myths they have heard about their country. The best ones are regularly published on the most popular news website in Lithuania. Majority of them seem to arrive from the USA, where Lithuania oftentimes is considered as either one of the 50 states or some district in Russia. Scandinavians tend to think we live in the caves and have never seen TVs or microwaves. Some agree that our capital Riga is as beautiful as another Lithuanian city Tallinn.

The objective of the contest apparently is to challenge various myths about Lithuania and to encourage Lithuanians to send a message to the world about what their country is like.

Sounds like a good cause, yet as I was reading those bizarre stories with various misconceptions, it seemed that those myths mainly seek to emphasise foreigners' stupidity and ignorance. Besides, they are written in Lithuanian and are of little use as a message to the world.

Of course, it is funny to discover that some think Lithuanian women still don't have the right to vote or that Lithuanians live in igloos, but as we gargle with laughter at foreigners scoring a fat hollow zero in questions on Lithuania, we should ask ourselves why so little is known about us.

I must admit I used to support those who were considering people of the Western world as somewhat ignorant and being lightweight in general knowledge department, the Irish being no exception. Yet after living here for a couple of years and seeing what has been done in order to introduce Irish to Lithuania, I am beginning to reconsider my position.

Recently I was asked why the vast majority of the events organised by our embassy and various Lithuanian groups seem to be concerned only with attracting Lithuanians and rarely target the Irish audience. While I am trying to come up with some sort of an explanation, the Irish continue to weave another myth about us. Ignorance? Whose, I wonder...

Written for "Metro Eireann"