Monday after work I went out to the psuedo-boonies of the city centre to pick up a violin from a guy who was recommended to me by a guy who my grandfather knows. turns out to be this really nice elderly gentleman (and I mean GENTLEMAN. holding doors every which way, walking me out of the building, etc.) who has an apartment full of string instruments and books. In the process of getting the violin from him we also started to talk and I found out his life-partner (she had passed away a few years ago) and he learned I worked as a translator. this led him to telling me of his own interest in languages and, a few minutes later, how his son is a writer and how his life-partner Vizma Belsevica had also been a writer and he himself was interested in Scandinavian languages and how one has to really love the language from which they are translating (in a literary translation sense).And in my head I go "HOLD up. VIZMA BELSEVICA?!!?" and then I almost started to cry. Maybe it happened because I was in Vizma Belsevica's apartment, in the room in which she had passed away, talking to who was probably the person who knew her the best after herself. Maybe it’s because I’m just a big fan of her work. Vizma Belsevica was and is one of the hands-down all-time best Latvian writers, female and in general. The woman knew how to use words in her poetry, how to get the gritty yet emotionally sensual, the politically charged. Through her writing it is clear to see she was a fiercely intelligent woman. And I’m there. Thanks to my grandfather who either didn’t remember or just failed to tell me who I was going to see.
After a few more items were passed into my bag (an article from the 1920s on translation and a copy of Belsevica’s "Bille" to borrow) and a few short anecdotes about his and Belsevica’s son and grandchildren, I went on my way in a whirl of emotions and one violin richer.
And my assignment, apparently, is to have "Bille" read by December.
This past weekend we went to Sigulda to look at the fall colours and sort of celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving. This involved riding a skilift down a hill, having a picnic on a small beach by the Gauja River and then booking it back to the train station. We took pictures with giant canes, as well. Look for those photo-moments at kaija.jatnieks.com/photos!