As my final Tri-S dinner happens this evening, I cannot help but reflect on my time here in Lithuania so far. All from navigating the city and bus system to walking the shores of the Baltic Sea and sipping coffee from a local coffee joint, I have experienced a minimal amount at what this city can offer. But, who am I to sit here moaning over what could-have-been or what I could-have seen…it is time to think reintegration, what bucket list items I have yet to cross off, scheduling time with friends and roommates prior to leaving…so much to do yet so little time…
With that being said, my Tri-S dinners have been helpful in gathering with fellow cohort members to reflect on the feelings above. For those who are unfamiliar with this concept, it is I who will break it down for you.
Tri-S: Spiritual, Sustenance and Soup
The cohort gets split into small groups and assigned with a leader, usually an LCC faculty member. It could well be one of your professors. They provide you with a home cooked meal in the comfort of their home.
First meeting: Your first ‘meet-up’ will be basic introductions and fun story time. You get to know your leader on a more personal level as well as your fellow group members. JoAnn made us a delicious Thai curry over rice, talk about YUM, and allotted us time to play a game before diving into the juicy stuff. And by juicy, I mean, getting real about how adjustment to LCC and Klaipeda in general has been. I remember sitting on her floor with a cup of tea listening to her give us an overview of the semester ahead thinking, what in the world did I get myself into.
Second meeting: Your second session will be POST-Russia. You will debrief about the trip, sharing good and bad stories…oh! And you will be able to sit and laugh about the Russian sauna because who doesn’t laugh at the fact that Russian women smack you with palm branches? Trust me, it sounds funky but it has been my favorite memory thus far. JoAnn again made us a delicious peanut curry over rice which we all enjoyed.
Third meeting: Reintegration, scary right? The thought was intimidating at first feeling as if it were so far away but it has come. JoAnn articulated many scenarios in which we may find ourselves in once we return. She gave us time to reflect on how we would respond to that many questions or lack of questions that will come. We thought about what we would miss and not miss about Lithuania as well as examining our personal growth. She encouraged us to take time to journal as it is a way to take care of ourselves and prepare for what is to come when we arrive back in the states. I left this final meeting excited for what awaits me at home but unusually empty – feeling that there is a part of me that does not want to leave.
I encourage you to take advantage of these three dinner sessions as they are crucial to your emotional well-being here at LCC. You will be amazed at where you started and where you will be at the very end.
– Cameron, Messiah College