This seems to happen to me with every journal I write, so I am sure this is no surprise to any of you: I have many things I would like to write in this update, but I don’t have several hours to spend writing and I am sure you don’t have several hours to spend reading. So, I will make this journal more of a fun one about some things that I have done and seen recently.
Two quick updates for some of you who I know are wondering:
1. No, I still do not have hearing in my right ear.
2. I return to the Baby House tomorrow to continue working with the Little Snails! Other than my hearing, all of my other symptoms are finally gone!
Today was a beautiful day! It felt like the incoming of spring. I went for a run this morning with Julia, another study abroad student. It was wonderful! And we didn’t mind that people looked at us funny as we jogged past them. This afternoon, we walked into Old Town to spend a few hours working on homework at a coffee shop called Vero Café. This has become my new favorite homework spot. It is located right next to the river on the edge of Old Town and has large windows that offer a great view of the river and park. They also have delicious mango chai tea. As I sat by the window there this afternoon, I thought about how the city had come alive today. There were several people fishing in the river, a guy kayaking, many people riding bikes on the park paths, and tons of people out walking. This former-Soviet country that, at first, felt cold and aloof became entirely friendly and outgoing with the change in the weather. During the cold days, there were always lots of people walking in town, but no one ever smiled or laughed as they walked. Today, I actually got a smile from someone that I passed on the street! And I saw so many people smiling and laughing with those they were with. It was a beautiful sight!
Something else I observed today: dogs! More specifically, German Shepherds! If you know me, you probably know that German Shepherds are my absolute favorite dog breed. My roommates here say that I have a German Shepherd radar because it seems like I see them a mile away. I noticed today how many Shepherds there are in the neighborhood behind campus… apparently they are a very common dog in Lithuania. And, on a funny dog note, the other common things here are doggy sweaters. But not even just sweaters…doggy snowsuits! Almost every dog, big and small, gets bundled up as much as the children walking down the street. Today, almost every dog I saw was free of its winter clothing!
I attended a different church today: International Christian Fellowship (ICF). This was my second Sunday going to this church. I still love City Church, the Lithuanian church I go to some weeks, but ICF is wonderful, too. Services here are entirely in English, which is actually one of the drawbacks in my opinion. I really enjoy the Lithuanian aspects of City Church. So, I have decided that I will continue to go between the two churches, as I enjoy both and learn a lot at each one. Today was ICF’s student-led service. This was one of the reasons why I chose to go there this week. It was really neat to watch a combination of European and American students come together to create the Sunday service. A Russian girl who lives down the hall from me, Liza, led the service. She did the opening announcements and prayer, and I was amazed by the fervor in her prayers. The passion of her faith poured out of her without restrictions. She expressed her love for God and, in a language that isn’t even her own, used the most beautiful language when communicating with our Heavenly Father. Then, a Ukrainian girl, Dasha, who also lives on my hall, gave the message. She spoke of the six months she spent on a mission in South Africa. The depth of faith and trust in God that she spoke about was incredible. She knew that God called her to go, but had no idea how it was going to be possible from a financial standpoint. But God provided, and she went. I loved learning from each student who participated in today’s service. It was a blessing to me, and a challenge to make sure I express my faith with as much joy and passion as they do.
Now, for today’s edition of “Learning Lithuanian with Katie”…
Šeimos = family
Mano tėvo vardas Davidas. Jis yra tamsus ir stiprus ir laimingas. = My dad’s name is David. He is dark haired and strong and happy.
Mano motinos verdas Melissa. Yi yra tamsi ir graži ir linksma. = My mom’s name is Melissa. She is dark haired and pretty and joyful.