I can’t believe that we are already through most of February now! It has been a great month, full of exciting adventures and increasing familiarity with our new home in Lithuania. As I have gotten to know and experience more about this gem of a country, I have discovered some things that I truly love about it here.
- Its History- Lithuania has a rich and long history. Early in its history as a Baltic state, Lithuania was ruled under their only king, Mindaugas. Over the years, Lithuania was divided among various countries. Lithuania also experienced devastating hardship during WWII and afterwards under Soviet Occupation. However, Lithuanians became resilient and illegally distributed books in order to preserve their language. Aother Independence movement emerged, and with huge gatherings and the Singing Revolution, Lithuania declared independence in 1990. Just this Saturday, the country celebrated Lithuania’s 101 Independence Day! In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution in the early twentieth century, Lithuanian’s declared their independence, and many commemorated this event this past Saturday. It is so interesting to see the history of Lithuania and know that many still alive today lived through pivotal moments in Lithuania’s history. There is so much more to learn, but I love this country’s fortitude and resiliency!
- Old Town- I also love Old Town, or Senamiestis, here in Klaipeda! There are so many coffee shops, ships, old buildings, and sculptures. One day, I plan on walking around Klaipeda to find (hopefully) all of the sculptures. There are also different events that happen in Old Town like the Festival of Lights and even some of the Independence Day celebrations. Old Town is a great place to walk around, have some coffee, talk, or even journal. And it’s so easy to get to by bus (bus 14) or foot!
- The Food- So, basically, my favorite food here is Kepta Duona! I saw previous study abroad students post about it, and the hype was well worth it! It’s fried bread with cheese and garlic sauce, and it is super tasty! Some other favorites include potato pancakes, cepelina, kebabas and kibinai. Also, last Wednesday at LCC’s Lithuanian Independence Day event, I tried tinginys, which is a chocolate desert with cookies inside. I am definitely going to try to make some in the future. But, before you get to LCC, I’ll just leave you with some of these kepta duona pictures!
- The Baltic Sea- I love the ocean back home since it is so calming and beautiful. Seeing the Baltic Sea was something I was most looking forward to doing here in Lithuania. During orientation week, we randomly walked to the sea, and the sun was shining and reflecting off of the water. It was perfect and so breathtakingly beautiful. I also have been to the sea from LCC. You can either walk or take a bus. There’s also a tiny coffee shop on the beach too. I definitely will be taking trips to the sea to just take a walk break with friends, do some homework, or even have a picnic.
- The Unexpected Moments-Before coming to LCC, I didn’t have many expectations of what my time here would for sure look like. Since I didn’t know what to expect, I have been genuinely surprised and blessed by different moments here. I love the weather. It is so beautiful right after it snows here, and the world is so quiet. But I also love the unexpected sunshine that makes the city and school come alive. I enjoy encounters with people in shops where I can just barely understand our conversation with my limited Lithuanian, but we still can communicate. Unexpected adventures to new coffee shops or restaurants are filled with such fun. I was even so excited to randomly find a sculpture that I had seen pictures of on Pinterest months before coming here. I have been trying to say, “Yes,” to doing more things here, and that’s when I experience more of this country in these moments.
Lithuania has so much to offer you. It is a uniquely beautiful place. Be open to this experience, and I’m sure you will learn to love Lithuania too.