• June 1, 2012
  • 230

WHEN THE “CHOSEN ONE” IS A FOREIGNER…

Fot. Marian Paluszkiewicz

Not only is summer a time of long-awaited vacations but also when most weddings take place.

Lithuanian statistics show that more and more couples is getting married lately. Though most marriages last year has been between the citizens ofLithuania(84 per cent), there have been three thousand marriages to foreigners as well.

In an interview with “Kurier” Wilna Ilona Jurgutienė, director of the Registry Office at theVilniuscity municipality, has stated that last year there have been 218 marriages to the citizens of other countries (there have been 161 marriages in 2001).

‘Overall, I must say that at present more and more of our residents are marrying foreigners than right after regaining independence. Particularly it applies to women, as men rarely decide upon “foreign” marriages,’ Ilona Jurgutienė said.

Last year 2100 women has married foreigners, as compared to 872 men.

‘Most marriages has been to the citizens ofRussia,Belarus, andUkraine. Fewer, but still numerous to the citizens ofGermany,Poland,Latvia,USA,Great BritainandNorway.’

A point of interest is that most women chose their partners among Germans (305), (Russians), English (153), and Americans (142), whereas men turned more towards the east, marrying women fromRussia(412),Belarus(134), andUkraine(115).

Sociologists claim that, even though the number of marriages to foreigners is increasing, Lithuanian society is sceptical towards them. Women marrying men from abroad are often accused of laziness or stupidity (particularly when marrying the followers of Islam from theMiddle East); conversely, the attitude towards men choosing foreign spouses is far more lenient.

However, 56-year-old Natalia Drozdowa, living in Vilinus, is certain that different nationalities of the spouses play almost no part if the marriage is built upon mutual respect.

‘My daughter married Alexander, a man fromCyprus. They met while she went toCyprusfor vacation eight years ago. They fell in love. For half a year they kept in touch through the Internet, and then he came to visit her in Vilinus. He even memorized a few Polish phrases to talk to me since I don’t know any English,’ recalls Natalia.

Alexander has been a guest at Natalia’s house for a month, and before leaving he asked for her daughter’s house. Natalia was touched by the respect shown to her by her future son-in-law. She says that Alexander to this day calls her “his second mother.”

‘Even though my daughter lives so far away, I am not concerned because I know her husband is taking good care of her. I visit them once a year and I have a five-year-old grandson who is already speaking three languages: English, Greek, and Polish,’ says Natalia.

26-year-old Inga Morozovaitė from Kowno has very different opinion on husbands from abroad. She maintains that mental and cultural differences between the spouses doom the marriage to failure.

‘I was madly in love with him, even though he was twice my age, had two children and still bowed down to his mother’s authority. A large family lived in a large house, where everything was shared property and nobody had any concept of private space. She had no compunctions about entering the bathroom while I was bathing, controlled the way I was dressing, and even went through my underwear. He saw nothing wrong with it,’

They lived together for two years, and they planned to get married. During his stay in Lithuania Stratos got along great with Inga’s mother and stepfather.

‘They had liked him so much that they didn’t even believe me when I admitted after finally coming home that he’d hit me more than once,’ says Inga sadly.

Currently, she maintains that the Greeks she’d met while living in a town nearAthensdidn’t have too much respect for women and she herself had often felt as an “ornament” to her man.

‘His best friend had married a Russian woman fromKlaipėda, they had had two children together. That friend often stressed that women from our country make very good wives: they are beautiful, industrious, and… obedient. Stratos expected that from me as well,’ says Inga.

‘I worked in his firm, which provided tourist entertainment. I did not get any money, because my beloved said that “the money we earn we share” and he got angry whenever I mentioned payment.”

Three months before the wedding Inga packed her bags and came back toLithuaniapermanently.

On the other hand, 23-year-old Krystyna is confident that a man from abroad is the best prospect for a husband. She admits that right after finishing the university last year she went toHolland, not just to earn money but also to find a husband.

‘I first visitedAmsterdamon “Erasmus” exchange program. I fell in love with this city, and I knew I would be planning my future here,’ says Krystyna, currently working on one of numerous flower plantations inHolland. ‘I met Richard at work. He is caring, gentle, and tolerant. Our men do not appreciate the women. They are used to the fact that a woman works and after coming home she cleans and prepares dinner. Men in the West imagine domestic life quite differently, and they participate in household chores just like the women do.

Richard and Krystyna have been living together for half a year. Though the met fairly recently, they are planning to get married next spring.

‘My parents aren’t too thrilled about my choice,’ says Krystyna. ‘They are afraid that if I marry Richard I will not come back toLithuania. But I wouldn’t anyway – I could never afford my own flat there, and I don’t want to live with my parents. Here inAmsterdam, with my fiancée, I have much better prospects for future life.’

http://kurierwilenski.lt/2012/06/01/gdy-wybrankiem-jest-cudzoziemiec/

Tłumaczenie Andrzej Rola w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Andrzej Rola within the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.

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