The USA, Portugal, Spain, Russia, Canada, Alaska... Life is spinning like a wheel for 32-year-old Paul Cataldo. However, a few months ago a Lithuanian girl, Ieva, from Vilnius turned this loner’s world upside down. Their love, which was born in Alaska, brought Paul to Lithuania.
Paul Cataldo and Ieva
© Asmeninio albumo nuotr.

Paul, how did you meet Ieva?

The first time I saw her, she was in a small bar in the mountains, in Girdwood, Alaska. She came to the bar with some Lithuanians, one of them was her boyfriend. As soon as our eyes met – we fell in love. I thought I was going to faint when we first talked.

The second her boyfriend stepped aside to order a drink at the bar, I asked Ieva if he was her husband. She smiled and raised her hand showing me that she did not have a ring on her finger. Before the Lithuanians left the bar, I got Ieva's contact information and we agreed to meet in Whittier, a small fishing village nearby where she was working at a seafood café.

How long did you wait before visiting Ieva in the fishing village of Whittier?

Three nights. The first night I saw her in Whittier, I told her I was in love with her. The next night I asked her to marry me.

Did you know anything about Lithuania prior to meeting Ieva?

I really didn’t know anything about Lithuania other than that it is a Baltic state. Ieva and Gintarė (Ieva’s friend) taught me so much about Lithuania over the summer, which was quite fascinating for me. From the videos they showed me on YouTube I could see that Lithuania is very beautiful, much like Vermont and New Hampshire. I am hoping that I get to see a real Lithuanian winter with plenty of snow.

Paul Cataldo (Paulo Mielinio nuotr.)
Paul Cataldo (Paulo Mielinio nuotr.)

How long are you going to stay in Vilnius?

On this visit I will be in Vilnius for six weeks. We will go back to Boston for Christmas/New Year and then back to Europe together in mid-January, when we will tour Europe. March to mid-summer, we will stay in Portugal where Ieva is studying.

You are on the road almost constantly… What do you call home?

I tow a tiny camper behind my car when I travel, which really enables me call every place home. Ieva jokingly calls my camper "būda", which translates to "dog house". I grew up in Boston, MA, which is where my family resides. I would call Boston my home base, if I had to give an address.

I was living in my camper for the whole summer in Alaska while Ieva was working in the fishing village. At the end of the summer I drove straight through Canada to Montana where the girls flew to meet me for one more month before their visas expired. In Montana, we stayed in Glacier National Park in my "būda" where we absolutely fell in love with the awe-inspiring, breathtaking phenomenon that is the Montana wilderness. It was in Glacier National Park that I proposed to Ieva a second time, only this time I had a ring. I never really believed in "soul mates" until I met Ieva.

Paul and Ieva
Paul and Ieva

You are coming to Lithuania not only for Ieva, you will also perform. What kind of music do you perform?

I have several shows around Vilnius. My music is American influenced acoustic roots. Similar to Neil Young and Bob Dylan with more of a southern influence. At age twenty-six, I moved to Asheville, NC, in the mountains on the Tennessee border. It was during that period of my life that I acquired the southern influence that you hear in my records. All my upcoming shows in Lithuania can be found at www.paulcataldo.com. More shows are being added every day.

Does Ieva have any ties to music performance?

Ieva studied classical guitar for ten years, but hasn’t played recently. I’m hoping that our romance will rekindle her passion for guitar.

Ieva and Gintarė
Ieva and Gintarė

Have you set a wedding date?

I hope it will be very soon.

Do you speak any Lithuanian?

I have learned a bit from the girls hiking in Alaska and Montana. I’m sure I have a pretty bad American accent, though. I’m hoping to be fluent in no time! I have been listening to Andrius Mamontovas and watching Gustavo Enciklopedija, which has been a very big help. I especially enjoy watching Gustavas's cooking segments.

One day in Montana we stopped at a small café and used their wifi to watch the Lithuania vs. Spain basketball match. I am a big fan of the Lithuanian basketball team now.

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