We only have three and a half weeks left until our semester abroad in Lithuania is over. I feel the urge to began gathering things to bring back home to introduce and give to my family. I have already stashed up a whole drawer of souvenirs from the countries I have visited so far, but I think it is valuable to bring things from Lithuania and Klaipeda specifically since that is where I have been living. When I get home I know I will miss the little things about living here. So, I have put together for myself and other study abroad students a list of things to bring home for yourself and family.
Amber from the Baltic Sea
Amber (Gintaras) has been part of Lithuanian and Baltic history for thousands of years with the tradition of using it for jewelry. You can find it for yourselves at the shores of Palanga and Klapeida a few days after a storm. The stone is very lightweight and is something that is easy to bring back with you to the states in your luggage. Almost every souvenir shop in Lithuania will offer a variety of Amber jewelry or a magnet with small pieces of Amber attached. Most Amber you see is real, but I personally will be buying from a store in Klaipeda called Amber Queen. At most boutiques, you can get a certificate that declares that the stone is 100% real. The price range can vary depending on the size of Amber you buy. Since my name is Amber I am willing to spend a bit of money for a nice piece, but if you can find your own stones at the beach yourself you save some money and it has value to you because you found it! If you dont like jewelry, Amber makes a great gift for your mother, grandmothers, sisters, and friends!
Traditional Lithuanian Knitwear
Whether you are studying abroad in the Fall or the Spring you will experince winter in Lithuania and boy its cold! While you are here I would recommend buying fleece, homemade scarf, gloves, hat, and socks. Most souvenir shops have them for good prices, but you can also find them at the market near old town. I think this is a good souvenir becuase when you wear them back in the states you will remember the weather from Klaipeda.
The wooden folk art tradition is a big deal in Lithuania. You’ll see lots of carved wood decor inside and outside the buildings in some parts of Lithuania, as well as wooden crosses and statues in the countryside. Becuase of this wood carvings makes for a great gift to bring home to people that really shows the folk art of the area you lived in. There are many types of boxes, bowls, and spoons, but Lithuanian traditional imagery also appears in the purely decorative form. One interesting figure is Rupintojelis, also known as “Pensive Christ” or “The One Who Cares.” If you are a person of a more practical nature though, and bringing home even more dust collectors is not something you fancy doing, buy some beautifully carved and very useful kitchen utensils such as spoons and spatulas.
Lastly, we all wish we could pack a whole suitcase full of a fridge and bring zeppelini, kepta duona, varškės sūrelis and kibinai home with us without it ruining but that’s not possible. It is possible however to bring back a few of the foods you enjoyed here that won’t be in the states. A few things I plan to bring are sakotis which a traditional Lithuanian cake that is more like a cookie. It is easy to bring home becuase you can buy them pre-wrapped and travel ready. They also come in different sizes and flavors. Another snack I would suggest bringing home is bread chips. In the states, we do have bread chips (like the ones in Chex-Mix) but these come in multiple flavors and are so good! I would also suggest bringing dill chips back home to the states they are tasty and your family will have fun trying the interesting flavors! Both the bread chips and dill chips are easy for packing since they are enclosed and can be bought in small quantity.
I hope this will help you when its time to decide what to buy when you are preparing to come home!