Potato Love – Jackie from Westmont

Today I fell in love. My day started out just like any other day, except the sun was shining and it wasn’t freezing cold outside! For the first time since I’ve been here I wore my converse without my leg warmers. It was beautiful. I debated all morning whether or not I wanted to go to the orphanage again this week. I ended up going. Best choice ever! We took the children that wanted to go to the beach (about 5 in all) and just spent the afternoon walking on the sand next to the live and vibrant waves of the Baltic Sea (this fact blew my mind). At first the children were a little timid. There were four study abroad students and one Russian student that made the trip to the orphanage along with Steve (the professor at LCC that runs the program). By the middle of the walk they were trying to push us into the sea and stealing any of the shells that we found. But there was one boy who simply refused to open up to anyone. Ernestas. On the walk home I chased him down and we bonded over the fact that we both enjoyed making weird noises. We spent at least twenty minutes copying the noises the other one was making. As we got closer to the orphanage he began to try to speak to me in his broken English and I was overjoyed! We talked about potatoes. He dragged me up the four flights of stairs to the level that he lived on as we called each other potato and made even more silly noises (I think we were both mesmerized by how cool they sounded in the stairwell). It was time for us to leave and as I began to walk towards the door he stood in my path and would not let me pass through the door that led to the stairs we had just enjoyed walking up. I gently told him that I would return next week. Then said “Give me a hug, Potato.” He hugged me for what seemed like ten minutes and then as I was walking away we made noises back and forth. Needless to say, I will not debate whether or not I want to go to the orphanage again. A little boy name Ernestas, A.K.A. Potato, stole my heart.

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