ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN VORAKA
Article Published on 26th January 2024 by Gabriel Valor | www.vorakamag.com
“Nurse Stories” is a book that explores the challenges, difficulties, and joys of working as a nurse. The author tells her story with incredible honesty, from her life in Lithuania and her struggles there to her life as a nurse in England.
The author’s purpose is to help others, through revealing her experiences, take care of their loved ones and overcome difficult moments. This practical book will try to let the reader see the world through the eyes of a nurse and understand the motivation that transforms a profession into a deep vocation. Books have been and remain an important source of spiritual and cultural Human development. Artistic text is a complex phenomenon: it is both a means of communication and a way to store and transmit information, a reflection of psychological life, humans, a product of a certain historical era, and a reflection of national culture and traditions.
The image of a doctor is present on a large number of pages. Works of classical and modern literature, give us the right to argue: that the profession of a doctor at all times has been in demand in society. Interest in this profession is due to the fact that medicine and literature grow from one root: intense interest and sympathy for man and his fate.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Aldona Grupas was born in Riga (Latvia) into a Lithuanian family. She moved to Lithuania in 1976. In 2005 she moved to the United Kingdom. She graduated from Klaipėda J. Kupčinskas Medical School in 1979. In the same year, she got a job as a nurse. Later, from 2001 to 2005, she studied law at the Riga Law University. In 2005, her husband and she moved to the United Kingdom and settled in Wolverhampton.
She immediately got a job as a nurse in a nursing home. She set up a helpline for the Lithuanian community in the town, and she also managed the community for 10 years. In 2010, she set up the Eastern European Community Charity. In 2012 she submitted a project to the UK Heritage Foundation. The project aims to write and publish a book about the three generations of the Lithuanian community that moved to the UK after the Second World War, and their development to the present day. The Heritage Lottery Fund has kindly agreed to support this project. Thus was born her first book, "The Lithuanian Community of Central England after World War II".
In the book "The Lithuanian Community of Central England after World War II", Aldona talked about the founding of the Lithuanian community, the everyday life and celebrations of Lithuanians, and the promotion of Lithuanian identity. The data she has collected shows a large Lithuanian community between 1947 and 2012, how life was lived, where people gathered and talked, played and sang, danced and played sports. Real people's stories are packed into the pages of this book. She cannot fail to mention that she was encouraged to write this book by Genutė Ivanauskienė, a long-standing member of the DBLS Wolverhampton Chapter, and the former head of the cultural department of the Wolverhampton Lithuanian community. Nine years later, she published the book in English, improved by Editor David Stanford, under the title "West Midlands HO!"
Her work is the basis for the London Film Academy's short documentary "Nine Seas Away" by editor Timur Akhmedjanov. Three years after her first book was published, friends started asking her when she was going to write another book. For a long time, she had been thinking about writing a book about nursing in the UK and the importance of nursing. She knows the job well, she has met some great people, and she has heard lots of stories. She wanted to tell the noble and important job of being a nurse, but she didn't dare, she didn't trust herself. She remembers at the seminar "Think Outcome. Thinking into Result. Bob Proctor", the lecturer asked the audience the question - "What is your dream?" Without thinking, she confessed her dream - to write a book about the nursing profession. She was asked: "What is stopping you?" She timidly answered: "Who will read my book?" The group just laughed at her, and the lecturer Galina Hartshorn said firmly: "What business is it of yours who reads it? Maybe thousands of people are waiting for this book."
Her words were a great incentive to write. And she even wrote two books about her work. These books aim to tell life stories, to change the way you look at life, to see yourself from the outside. It's about her job search in England, her professional life, her daily life, her holidays. It's about how this professional path is more than just a job for many of them. Living abroad, she realized that being a nurse has truly become her life, and the people she works with and helps are her second family. In 2020, she set up the Albion Art Club and applied to UK Heritage again. This time she submitted a project to publish a book about Lithuanian writers who have lived and still live in the UK. For the second time, the UK Heritage Foundation supported her and funded the publication of A History of Lithuanian Writers in the United Kingdom. To launch the book, she organized several online literary conversations via Zoom (you can watch the video on her YouTube channel - https://www.youtube.com/c/AldonaGrupasLithuanian
Aldona has published 7 books since 2011:
"The Lithuanian Community of Central England after World War II" (2011); "Nurse, give me a pill for death..." (2017); "It’s hard to be an angel." (2020 m.); "West Midlands HO!" (2021 m.); "The Way of the Heart" (2021); "A History of Lithuanian Writers in the United Kingdom (2022). "Nurse stories" (2023) When she started writing books, she started asking herself where it came from. Why did she become interested in writing? Why does she want to write so much? The first answer came from something inside her: she wanted to talk to people, to share her own and others' experiences.
Another reason is her family heritage. In her family, since the 18th century, there have been teachers, artists, writers, a translator, an editor, a distinguished literary figure. She learned all this from the family album 'The Unfinished Saga. Nijolė Nicole Marytė Šerniūtė - Rainey" . In conclusion, she would like to share the words of her aunt, Nijolė Nicole Marytė Šerniūtė-Rainey: "I wrote 'The Word of the End' and I had doubts.
There is no ending, no such word, as long as my father's hat is still hanging on the brim, as long as I can see my mother's green dress so clearly. I can still hear my aunt's cheerful laughter, I can still read my little cousin's words of hope: "What man does not understand is nothing to God." And like raindrops, she collects the paintings scattered in the far reaches of the world, hanging them on her "wall", feeling the inexpressible joy of communication, as if she were approaching the primordial presence in one, or like a fog melting in all. There is no end."
Aldona Grupas is a member of the Eurasian Creative Guild (London), a member of the UK Society of Authors, and a member of the Lithuanian Creative Expression Association "Menų sodas" (Creative Gardens).
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW WITH AUTHOR ALDONA GRUPAS
What inspired your first book, "The Lithuanian Community of Central England after World War II," and its intended impact?
The inspiration for my first book came from a deep desire to document the history of the Lithuanian community in Central England after World War II. The intention was to showcase the vibrant lives, celebrations, and development of Lithuanian identity within this community. I aimed to preserve the real stories of people and their experiences, contributing to a broader understanding of the Lithuanian migrant community and its impact on the local culture in the UK.
How did your career transition from nursing to
law and settling in the UK shape your perspective and influence your literary projects?
Transitioning from nursing to studying law and settling in the UK provided me with a unique lens to view life from various angles. These varied experiences enriched my perspective, influencing my literary projects by allowing me to explore different aspects of human life. The challenges of starting fresh in a foreign country, along with my background in healthcare and law, have greatly shaped the themes in my books, particularly those centered around immigration, community, and cultural identity.
How does your extensive involvement in the Lithuanian community influence the topics you choose to write about?
To continue reading the full interview, click here to download the January 2024 Literature special issue XVII.