Klaipeda Coffee Shop Guidebook

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One of things I am most thankful for as a student at LCC University is that we are surrounded by an abundance of coffeeshops in downtown Klaipeda. Even after three months here, I still haven’t visited them all 😂Here are our study abroad cohort’s favorite coffee shops….

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1) Coffee King

Address: H. Manto g. 13, Klaipėda 91246

Pros: Unique variety of themed coffees and teas including Marilyn Monroe and Bob Marley tea.

Cons: Because of Coffee King’s smaller size, it can get easily crowded during the weekday afternoons and prime homework time.

Recommended Drink: Elvis Presley Tea

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How to Fall in Love with Russia in 9 Days

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Amidst a confusion of colors and shapes, there are retro cafes and miles of soft Christmas lights hung around the corners of department stores, golden domes that glitter under the 4pm rain, cathedrals that stand like mountains, and quiet canals with arching red bridges and our foggy reflections staring right back.

Indian novelist, Anita Desai writes that wherever we go becomes a part of us and I’ve come to think more and more about her words these last few days after returning from Russia.

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Our fearless comrade group!

During our Fall Break, our study abroad group traveled to Moscow and St. Petersburg for a nine day journey. This included scavenging through the metro stations, munching on delicious sweet and savory blini (Russian pancakes), dressing up for fancy ballets, getting lost in gargantuan museums, and admiring centuries-old architecture with our large doe eyes.

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Aš Kalbu Lietuviškai – A Reflection by Katie

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Photo by Katie Wells

Hi guys! Its unbelievable how fast the semester moves… tomorrow morning, we’ll be on a train bound to Moscow, Russia but we’ll keep you updated on our many adventures through Instagram!

This post will feature a halfway point reflection by one of our Fall ’17 study abroad students, Katie Wells. Read the full post on her blog Kate In Klaipeda!

As everyone should know, I’m a regular at probably three different coffee shops. They all know I’m American now and so interactions go one of two ways. The first is I walk in and greet the barista, “Laba diena!”

“Oh hey! Welcome back!”

“No, gosh dang it, I’m practicing Lithuanian.” And then they laugh and ask me how classes are going.

The second goes more like this: “Laba diena, prašom maža latė” I order, feeling pleased, until the barista asks me a follow up question and I stare blankly. I reluctantly huff out a “kalbateangliškai?” and the barista smiles pleasantly and asks “for here or take away?”

“Oh, for here.”

“Okay, that’s čia in Lithuanian.” Bless your precious souls. Whenever a Lithuanian is eager to help me fill in the blanks, I always get excited

For another interaction, we started ordering in Lithuanian and the worker just cut us off completely and asked us to speak English.

Probably the funniest interaction (at least to me) was trying to order pizza for ten people and I started listing the order and the worker just smiled at my attempt at ordering in Lithuanian when she could clearly hear my accent when I said “pepperoni” and “Hawaiian”. Nevertheless, she let me do my entire order in Lithuanian and only corrected me once because of a grammatical error.

Despite some of the challenges, I’ve embraced every moment to speak Lithuanian. We did presentations in Lithuanian class on our families and I enjoyed each small sentence that was successfully constructed. I then went to the mall by myself a week or so ago and managed to do an entire transaction, even after I miscounted my change and she had to ask me for ten more cents. Even at LCC, I try to find a Lithuanian and talk about my day (although I still don’t know past or future tense and I end up asking how to translate something anyway).

In any case, I’m determined to learn as much Lithuanian as I can and get out into the world every day. Which is typically getting coffee, but it’s still good enough practice for now.

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Trying 10 random Sūrelis Bars in Lithuania!

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For me, one of the best parts about living in Lithuania is going to the grocery shop and coming back with an arm full of uniquely flavored sūrelis bars to try. I’ll admit its probably not the healthiest habit but after a stressful week filled with exams and paper deadlines, I’d say that you deserve to end the day with something sweet.

For those of you who don’t know what sūrelis bars are (first of all, you are missing out!!), they are a sweet snack made from curd cheese that taste almost like a cheesecake bar coated in a chocolate.
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At every local grocery store in Lithuania, there is an wide assortment of sūrelis bars flavors ranging from chocolate to poppy seed to jelly filled. After some intensive research and homework, five of us choose 10 random flavors to try out and here are our thoughts…

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A Day in Riga, Latvia

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Black cats and cobblestone, gothic spires, a self-serve dumpling bar, and penthouse view of the city’s skyscape – we arrived at Riga, Latvia after saying our goodbyes to Tallinn, Estonia with renewed spirits and an eagerness to explore. 🇱🇻❤️

 

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The sky was overcast but unsurprisingly, Riga was still alive with life – tourist groups with tall flags and dslr cameras, local vendors selling wool mittens and winter wear, and then us, cozily wrapped under layers and layers of warm sweaters and oversized scarves, with our eyes wide open, trying to soak in everything before the day reached its conclusion.

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Out of the Baltic cities, Riga is the largest in population and is characterized by its Art Nouveau styled buildings, historical old town, and rustic cafes and wine shops. While walking through the Old Town, there was an air of elegance and tradition, as if we had suddenly stepped into a painting from five hundred years back.

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Adventures in Tallinn, Estonia

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Labas!! Hi friends, I’m Nysha, one of the social media and photography interns for this semester along with two other wonderful girls, Jemi and Ellen, who will be actively updating the Study Abroad Lithuania Instagram.

We will be sharing travel tips, food recommendations, and recaps about our quirky and spontaneous adventures to come and posting weekly on this blog! Last weekend, our group of 24 study abroads packed our bags (and many layers of warm clothing), then headed north towards Estonia…

After an overnight bus ride of nine hours, we awoke in Tallinn, Estonia to sunlight peaking through the windows – miles of forestry and farms transforming into the tall pastel buildings of Tallinn’s old town.

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Despite the long commute, we were energized by the lively streets of Tallinn (along with some needed cups of coffee) and even came across a street performer blowing iridescent soap bubbles.IMG_4288.jpg

The child within of all of us came out as students began running after rouge bubbles and trying to catch them in their hands before they disappeared into the quiet morning sky.

IMG_4424After a tour of the city, nine of us rented bikes and rode from the city park into the forest then to the sea and back. There is a bittersweet feeling when you know the moment is going to pass but you want it to linger a little longer. Under the 2 p.m. sun, wind tugging at our hair and the sound of waves crashing against the pier, I forgot about everything else just knowing that there was nothing between me and the sea – no distractions, cellphones, snapchat filters, or the bulky Canon camera hanging from my neck.

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Cuties haha!

Two hours of bike riding later, here we are with just the same amount of energy and smiles that we began with.

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At night, the streets were empty aside from the sound of our laughter and footsteps. The buildings were backlit with an orangish glow and the sky, a muted purple like the color of Xi’an, China in mid-January.

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I loved the stillness of the Tallinn at night – it’s the feeling that despite the busyness of work and school and worrying about the future, everything is going to be okay.

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(The next morning before leaving for Riga)

While others were exploring the morning antique markets, some of us were busy at the local bakery snacking on some sweets….  We grabbed some freshly baked pretzels and a strawberry cake bar and quickly devoured them on the way to the market.

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Twenty minutes before it was time to depart Tallinn, we finally did arrive at the antique market to admire the variety of vendors selling fishing gear, pins dating back to the Soviet era, dresses, and rusted household goods. The time was too short and with a last glance, we ran back to pick up our luggage from the hostel.

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Psalms 33:5 reads, “The earth is full of His unfailing love,” and I see it here in the midst of our travels. Thank you Tallinn for welcoming us during our short stay here,

– Nysha

 

 

 

 

Dear Future Travelers

Dear future travelers,

With just over 10 days left in the semester it’s time for the last blog post from yours truly! It’s been so much fun to share our experiences and memories with you as we explored Lithuania and invested four months in the culture here and beyond. I’ve made some of the best friends and memories in these months abroad and have changed in numerous ways as a result. If you’re at all considering coming to Lithuania for a semester, please do! Let me highlight a few last things.

When we first got here, the cultural differences were a little bit rocky and intimidating–Eastern Europe feels like a world of its own, so different at times from the States, that the first few days are overwhelming. You walk around and hear Lithuanian, Russian…basically everything but English everywhere you go. But after a few days to adjust, you learn how beautiful and peaceful that is. You learn how beautiful it is that you can communicate with people without verbal language.

After a few months of exploring Klaipėda–walking through the cobblestone roads of Old Town, spending hours in a coffee shop people watching out the window, restaurant hopping every night of the week to try all the traditional foods and drinks, and buying ketchup in the grocery store thinking it’s a jar of tomato sauce–you fall in love with the place you’re in. And, if you give it time, you fall in love with the people too. You learn that the experience isn’t an experience without the people, it’s just a mindless semester abroad.

No other study abroad program will push the limits of your comforts academically, spiritually, and personally as much as this one. Living with Eastern European roommates is a blessing, traveling to Russia, Latvia and Estonia as well as many other independent trips is the best lesson in cultural awareness you’ll ever get, and meeting the people here is life changing. To see God working in yourself and in those around you is the best gift you can receive from a semester spent anywhere–to take something with you and leave a part of you behind in its place–and I have never experienced that as genuinely and deeply as I have here. So, I promise, if you spend four months in Klaipėda you’ll quickly be ready to spend four years here next.

I have had the best semester of my college experience at LCC. As much as I miss my friends and family at home, and even good old Gordon College, I will miss LCC, Lithuania and the Eastern European vibe just as much. So my wish for you is that you take the risk and visit the most underrated part of the world–take the first step in changing your life and your world perspective. You won’t regret it! 🙂

Much love,
Caitlyn

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