Thursday, September 01, 2005

The Long Kiss Goodnight or Pineapple Chicken at Milda’s

Saulius arrives in his tricked out Toyota van, music blaring, and the bass rattling the windows. This is our last evening here in Lithuanian and this is to be our good-bye dinner.

Our flight tomorrow is to leave Vilnius at 6:35 AM – which means we need to get to the airport around 5:00 AM, which means we need to leave Vilnius at 4:00 AM. Vile and Edmundas have volunteered to take us so when they arrive at Milda’s, shortly after we do; Vile reminds her sister that we have to be in bed soon. We “pshaw” Vile noting that we’ll sleep on the plane and we would rather spend the time with them. After a few drinks and toasts the early bedtime is soon forgotten!

Milda has made her specialty – Pineapple Chicken – chicken with a Hawaiian flair – served over hot rice. Milda loads our plates – our stomachs already expanded beyond belief – we try to refuse but she is not having any of it. We eat slowly hoping that it will all somehow fit in. Don’t get me wrong – it is very good – very low fat and sweet, the perfect light end to the day – but it is such a heavy meal and she piles at least four servings onto each plate!

With the food barely shoved down – barely – I can almost feel food at the top of my gullet – Milda rolls out the desserts! We beg for mercy, asking for just a few moments to rest our tired and stretched stomachs…when we realize that we have not confirmed our flights!!

The thing about international travel, you must confirm your flight at least 24 hours in advance or risk losing your seat to a stand-by – even though you have paid the fair and been assigned a seat, you must still confirm. So many folks who come over to America, don’t return that the airlines have learned it is better to overbook and then have the passengers confirm rather than fly with empty seats. Lisa’s father is panicking, cursing that he has forgotten. We yank out the phone book for the number to LOT in Vilnius – the only problem: it is now after 7:00 PM local time and the office is closed!

Luckily – the vodka has not gone to Lisa's head yet and she has the idea to Skype home where it is the middle of the morning and business hours in America! Lisa runs upstairs to the computer to Skype her mother – who by happenstance is not on the computer…FOR ONCE!!! Drat!! We go to our back up plan – our oldest son Steven or one of the kids who would be surely on the computer. We get lucky and Steven is there, most likely IM’ing with his girlfriend or any number of hooligans! We explain to Steven what needs to be done –after our third attempt we instruct him to call Uncle Michael, Lisa’s older brother. The plan now involves Steven calling Michael, Michael calling LOT to confirm us on the flight, Michael calling Steven back and then Steven Skyping us. Mind you now – if we are not confirmed – we could lose the seat on our flight. Let me repeat this, because it is important, YOU MUST COMFIRM YOUR SEATS ON THE FLIGHT, not simply confirm the flight is good – but COMFIRM YOUR SEATS.

Less than an hour later, Steven is Skyping back with us and letting us know that Uncle Michael has confirmed the flight. I find out later that he just confirmed that the flight was good – not hat we had seats – lucky for us – we have a 5 hour lay-over in Warsaw and are the first people to check-in on the OVERSOLD FLIGHT!!!!!!

By now – Milda is piling more desserts on the table – a fruit cake, dishes of ice cream with raspberry topping, cookies, Champaign, wine, beer and more raspberry currant liquor. She offers and too full we politely say no – to which Edmundas begins to tease his sister in-law mercilessly that we are worried that she has poisoned the food! Feeling bad – I eat the ice cream – OK – no that bad, I am a sucker for ice-cream and as I said earlier it is very difficult to get truly cold food.

The evening is fun – filled with laughter as the family teases back and forth. All too soon it is time to head back home to get some sleep before the start of our long journey home…..

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