I spent Sunday and Monday in London. It was a really neat experience, and I got to see a lot, but I don’t think it was the wisest thing to do at the beginning of the semester. I was so overwhelmed and homesick that it took a lot of the excitement out of it. I have dreamed about going to London since I was little but while I was there I kept thinking, “This is overrated… it’s not that great.” I think it was just because I really wanted to go home. I did have fun though. I also took a lot of pictures (which will be posted soon… hopefully!). I went to Tower Bridge, Tower of London, Piccadilly Circus, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, the houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, Green Park, and Trafalgar Square.
On Tuesday morning I flew to Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. On the flight, I met another girl who is studying in the same study abroad program as me! In Vilnius, we met the rest of the SALT (Study Abroad Lithuania) group, although not everyone was here at that point. We had dinner at a traditional Lithuanian restaurant, which meant LOTS of potatoes. I had a potato pancake with pork inside. It was pretty good, but I have a feeling I will be tired of potatoes by the time I get home in May.
We stayed in hostels in Vilnius since the university is actually in Klaipėda. My hostel was the “Doremi” (like the musical syllables do-re-mi), so it was all music themed. I enjoyed this time because it allowed me to get to know some of the other SALT students a lot more.
On Wednesday, we went to the KGB museum, which was actually right across the street from our hostel. This was a shocking experience. The building is actually the same building occupied by KGB, Nazis, and Gestapo, and was used as a prison and location for interrogation/torture. The KGB moved out in 1991 and the building was turned into a museum in 1992, so it was kept just like the KGB left it. Our guide told us about things that happened there and it felt weird to know I was standing in the very place where many “freedom fighters” lost their lives. After the museum, we took a walking tour of Old Town Vilnius. It is a beautiful city! The old architecture is so fascinating. At dinner, I was able to meet even more of the SALT students who had just arrived that day. I met sever students from Taylor University. This made me happy because it felt like a little piece of home. I hope to become good friends with them.
Today, we left Vilnius for Klaipėda. On the way, we stopped at Trakai, and old castle in northern Vilnius. This looked a lot like what I picture in my head when I think of a castle. It had a moat (drained) and everything. We also walked around Trakai a little and got lunch. Trakai is a cute little village full of small, colorful houses. It lies on the edge of a large lake.
Now I am at LCC. It feels nice to be in my room and unpacked, though I had another wave of homesickness just a little bit ago. :( The room is much different than most dorm rooms, but it’s pretty nice (pictures coming soon). I have 2 SALT students in my room and 2 European roommates. The European students haven’t moved back yet, so I have not met them. It will be interesting when classes start on Monday. I’m hoping they will help me get in a groove so I don’t miss home so much. I am also excited to start working at the orphanage. I can’t wait to love on all those little babies!
While home is receiving record low temperatures and lots of snow, Lithuania is receiving abnormal high temperatures and lots of rain. Normally, I like rain, but now I am tired of it. It has rained everyday since I left home, in London and Lithuania. I think my waterproof coat was one of the best pre-departure purchases I made. In London, I bought a waterproof messenger bag… the second best purchase!
Well, I hope to write more, and post pictures, in the next 2 or 3 days. Please continue to keep me in your prayers, especially praying for strength, peace, and perseverance!