Ordinary Lives Extraordinary Stories
Hello, Friends! I'm Gabi
My name Gabija (pronounced Ga bi:ya) and has it’s origins in Lithuanian mythology where Gabija is a Goddess of Fire. Everybody calls me Gabi.
I was born and grew up in Vilnius, Soviet Lithuania. Those were times when iron curtain separated us from the Western World. When the Baltic sea would calm down after a stormy night, and the Russian soldiers would leave their military posts on the Soviet Lithuania’s seashore, my friends and I would run to the beach to “hunt for treasures.”
Treasures were considered everything washed up on the shore form Sweden, Denmark or other surrounding capitalist countries. Those treasures included trash lost at sea like ship rope, boxes, plastic utensils, colorful Coca-Cola or Pepsi-Cola cans, and even plastic toys. To soviet children like me, collecting these useless but colourful items, with the slight smell of “the other” world, was the only real glimpse into the western world on the other side of the Iron curtain
My childhood curiosity and eagerness to visit foreign countries grew into a determination to discover and report on different cultures and tell human stories
I felt that journalism was the best choice I can make to achieve my life goals: write and travel. I spent long days preparing for Vilnius University entrance exams while snacking on chocolate candies, which my mom generously provided: “Food for your brains.”
When studying Journalism at Vilnius University I felt in love with literature. My great professor Irena Varnaite opened a world of ageless books and ideas, and I immersed myself in to the studies of Middle Ages, Renaissance Literature and Art.
When pursuing my journalistic career, I have had a great opportunity to work for the Lithuania’s National Daily Lietuvos Rytas and to be a freelancer reporter for Voice of America’s Lithuanian News Service.
When I arrived to Chicago more than a decade ago, I immediately felt in love with this vibrant, friendly and multicultural city. I keep telling to my friends in Lithuania: “When I feel blue I just take a stroll through the city’s streets and I always meet someone who will make me smile or laugh.”
In Chicago I became a staff writer for the community newspaper the Gazette, and wrote in-depth articles and stories on the contributions of a wide variety of community organizations, covered congressional and Illinois legislative races.
The cultural and vibrant art scene of the Windy City encouraged me to try to “materialize” my old dream -- to create watercolors. I call it: “my color game” or “color splashing.” My works were exhibited in group showings at August House Gallery and Lithuanian Youth Center in Chicago.
I continue exploring the world, write and paint. Currently I am living in the UK and I am learning about its traditions and culture.
I always willing to listen to your story.
Send me a note.