Well, it’s February 1st. I have been away from home for a month, and one fourth of my study abroad is already over. The time is flying! I continue to be amazed by God’s faithfulness every day. The opportunities for learning new lessons are never-ending. It feels like my heart grows a little bigger every day and my joy increases proportionately. I have come to love the girls I live with as if we have been roommates for years. It did not take long for us to understand each other’s personalities, awkwardness, humor, and patterns. God definitely had His hands in the roommate selection process. Also, I continue to get to know more people outside my room. I am excited for all of this to continue over the next three months.
I would like to share some of the cultural lessons I have learned in this first month:
- It is kind of interesting because, in general, men here don’t necessarily see women as “equals”. It is one of the cultural things that has been difficult for me to get used to. There is one guy that lives across the hall from me who says “Hi” every time he sees me… but he is the only one.
- Also, no one here holds the door for other people. This has been quite the contrast to IWU, and home. Everyone looks at me like I’m crazy, and they act rather confused as to what they should do, whenever I hold the door for them.
- Smiling at people on the sidewalk… That’s another uncommon thing. I read in my Lithuania guidebook that if you smile at people as you pass them on the street, they will likely assume you have a mental handicap. It’s just not part of the culture to smile at strangers. Well, I have decided to keep up my smiling anyway! It never hurt anyone to receive a smile.
- Lithuanians are big on giving gifts. If you go to someone else’s home, you bring them a gift. It is usually something like flowers, wine, or sweets.
- Outdoor workouts are weird. If you go for a jog down the sidewalk, people WILL stare at you… in a way that makes you feel like you must be from another planet.
- Being a criminal justice major also makes you weird. It has a lot to do with the history of Soviet oppression, but most people hold the stereotype that police officers and others within the justice system are corrupt.
- Fireworks happen all the time… like right outside your dorm room window. There are almost no legal restrictions on fireworks in Lithuania. So, anyone can shoot them off whenever they want. I usually see them three or more times a week. On Thursday night, someone shot them off right outside my dorm, about 75 feet away.
Another Lithuanian Language Lesson:
- Labanakt (good night). But, you ONLY say this is someone is actually going to sleep, not just as a goodbye for the evening.
- Trisdešimt šeši (thrity-six). In my opinion, this is the hardest Lithuanian number to say. If anyone can figure out how to pronounce this correctly, and do it for me when I get home, you might win a prize.
PS: For everyone who has been waiting to see pictures of where I am living, I am really hoping to have a good photography day tomorrow. I have been saying that they are coming soon, but I missed my opportunity for good weather days. Tomorrow is hopefull.