Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tinginys - Diana from Cornerstone

My boyfriend had his birthday today. I got to skype him to wish him a happy day. I also made him a birthday cake. He didn't get to eat it. But I wanted to show him I was celebrating his birthday. Also, I wanted to make a cake. I made this cake my roommate taught me to make. It's a traditional Lithuanian cake called tinginys, which means lazy bones. It's called that because it is very simple and easy to make. But it is to die for. {As in delicious.} After you put all the ingredients together, you have to let it sit in the fridge overnight so it hardens, then you have a delicious cake in the morning!

But who wants a cake in the morning? And who wants to wait so long after toiling to be able to enjoy the fruits of their labor? I would not answer "me!" to either of those questions. Neither would my roommates, who would include that they would not want to wait so long after Diana toils to enjoy the fruits of Diana's labor. So, after waiting only until choir practice was over, we dug prematurely into the tinginys with our spoons. And now it is all gone.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Exodus 15 - Shelby from Eastern

This happened at the end of October, and I'm just going to talk about it now.  I had the opportunity to open for a band from Poland called Exodus 15.  This was an awesome opportunity!  Since I'm part of the Chapel Worship Band, we were told that this band was coming and we were going to open for them.  The only issue is, we have about 10 singers who switch out on different weeks.  We only needed 2 singers, so I figured I wouldn't be singing.  Turns out I was chosen to sing! The concert had a decent amount of people at it (and by decent, I mean most of the auditorium was filled).  We got to hangout with the band earlier in the day and had dinner with them as well.  It was interesting to talk to this band that had been together for about 6 years and started out as a camp band.  They sand a few songs in Polish, but most songs were in English.  It was a great time to worship with friends and I loved it!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving in Lithuania - Diana from Cornerstone

 Last night, around 10, Natalie, Kate and I started making pies. Pumpkin pie and apple pie. I had never made pie before, and I didn’t believe I could do it – it seemed so advanced! But my English professor had given me an Apple Pie recipie JUST the day before, and it was so simple. I even made a lattice for the top!

Then today, after class I took at 10 am, I took a quick nap to gather up energy for the rest of the day, as I made dough from scratch to make cresant rolls, and then I made corn, did laundry, at it was time for dinner. But I wasn’t the only one in the kitchen when I was making dough! The other study abroads were quite busy. Jared had bought a turkey, a duck, and a chicken for their dinner of about 30 people. We had a turkey for a smaller group of us who wanted to share with our roomates who had never had Thanksgiving before.

Finally, we brought together our mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing, rolls, corn, beans, gravy, pies, ice cream and all. Without our families around, the food seemed extra meaningful as we went around and had the Americans share our family traditions for the holiday, and each shared something we were grateful for. I think it was the first Thanksgiving away from home for a few of us, including me, so it was quite surreal to see my family on skype all together and being so far away. But it was such a unique experience to be able to share something unique to our American culture with these friends whose culture we’ve been sharing in for the past three and a half months.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

On the Emerald Isle - Anders from Bethel


It was definitely a strange feeling to hear the English language spoken upon arriving in the Dublin airport.  While it has been fine adjusting to the language barrier here in Lithuania, it was definitely a refreshing change.  And let's not forget just how soothing that charming Irish accent can be.

Other than that, Ireland was warmer than our Baltic home, and that was a rather welcome change of pace too.  We wasted no time upon arriving and quickly dropped stuff in our hostel room to go out and explore.  First on the list was to get some food in our bellies.

We walked around the famous Temple Bar area for a while, but our fortunes led us to a little place called Harry Lemon's before we knew it.  This place offered us the best first night experience that we had ever had. Not only were we able to satisfy our hunger, but we were able to talk to one of the owners of the place.  He convinced us to try his family recipe of Irish Coddle (a sort of stew), and some fresh baked brown bread.  It was tasty beyond what words can express.  

After a few more days of exploring Dublin, we ventured out to the West coast of Ireland, which is far more traditional and rural.  It was great to get out of the city, even though Dublin has a very quaint feel to it.  I was floored by the wonderful green expanse that stretched out before us.  We took a day trip to a family's farm just outside Galway in some foothills known as The Burren.  There was an absolutely astounding bleak beauty about the place.

As if that wasn't enough, we then were taken to the magnificent Cliffs of Moher.  At more than 600 feet above the ocean below, it was quite a sight to see (especially when you walked right up to the edge).  We were blessed with beautiful weather that we were told was quite a rarity.  Either way, being out and seeing the sights of this wonderful place warmed my heart.  I wouldn't be surprised if I find myself venturing back to the beautiful Emerald Isle in the future.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Movies in the Beatles - Kim from Messiah

There is nothing like getting a group of friends together and going to the movies! This past weekend a group of us went to go see The Adventures of Tin Tin, an animated film about a boy, his dog and a ship. At least i think? See we expected the film to be either in Lithuanian with English subtitles or English with Lithuanian subtitles. Well, we quickly realize that is not the case for animated movies. We paid good litas for this film so we sat through 107 minutes of action packed Lithuanian fun! Although my Lithuanian class could not have prepared me for this and all I got out of the film was that I wanted Tin Tin's dog, I enjoyed every minute of it! And to finish our night off, we were given a free concert by "the Klaipeda man". When traveling on the city buses, you meet some interesting people but none have ever sung to me. I will never be able to listen to the Beatles' Yellow Submarine without smiling, thinking of the old man who serenaded 7 students with a Beatles song.  Just goes to show that even as the end of the semester is near there is still so much to see and experience.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Talent Night - Diana from Cornerstone

A few weeks ago, there were signs up around campus advertising the need for people to participate in the talent show. I don't know what it is, but I LOVE talent shows. I love to watch them to see the unique things that people can do, or the cool ways that people come up with to perform songs. I also enjoy being in them. So I asked my friend Hannah, plays the Ukelele really well, and sings even better, if she would sing a song with me. So we signed up.
It was such a fun thing to practice with Hannah. We got together a few times to put our song together, and we would find ourselves talking about so many other things as well. I learned a lot from her laid back personality and fun-loving laughter. She even taught me a song she wrote, and we would sing it together. It was SO much fun.
So, last night, Talent Night came along, and we performed our song by Sufjan Stevens. We had fun singing, and watching all the other acts as well! Though all the acts were musical, they were still really diverse. It was cool to see so many fearless performers up on stage. When it came to the end of the show, they were telling the winners, they announced third place, and the winners came up and were presented with... PIZZA! I looked at Hannah. Hannah looked at me. All of a sudden, we wanted to win! Up until that point, I didn't even know it was a competition. And then a competitive spirit rose up inside of me! And guess what -- we got second place! when they announced it, Hannah and I jumped up and RAN onstage, waiting to get off again with the pizza so we could whip it open. And we did. We had a piece then and there, then took  the rest back to her lounge and we got to share our victory with our pizza-loving friends.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

it's a moving picture, a picture that moves - Hannah from Gordon

My friend and fellow G-student, HB, has been recording moments I usually freeze with my lens.
I thought it'd be fun to show you some of my happenings "in motion"
...especially since I never posted any photos from my trips to Riga and Tallin.
Oh well...

Sunday, November 13, 2011

An Extra Hour - Diana from Cornerstone

Today I accidently went an hour early to church -- I guess my lessons in reading clocks in third grade did not really pay off. But it turned out to be a really good thing because I got to discover a nice place for walking. Close to where the church meets, I found a little valley of sorts with an offshoot of the river and an island in the middle. It was so beautiful to walk around the island and cross the pretty bridge that led to and from it. Also on my walk, I discovered a book sitting on the shore. It looked rather lonely and abandoned, so I picked it up. It is in the syrillic alphabet. I looked around, and it didn't look like anyone was in a rush to get back to their book they had left behind. So, moral or not, I took the book.
When I got back home after church, my roommate from Ukraine, who is fluent in Russian, told me it was a book that was praising people who defended the USSR. She translated a bit for me, and it was very red. I decided that even if I ever become fluent in Russian, it didn't sound like the kind of thing I would really enjoy reading. So instead, I tried to think of what I could do with it. I decided to make it into my scrapbook of my trip. So now I am starting to go through all the brochures and ticket stubs from all the places I've been since I've been here -- Tallinn, Riga, Stockholm, Klaipeda, Vilnius, Moscow, St. Petersburg... So many beautiful places! It is fun to go back and remember my adventures and realize I still have time to create more!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Concert - Anders from Bethel

One thing that I gotta say is pretty cool about LCC is that they have some great opportunities to see events and things on campus.  For example, when I saw in the little event email that there just so happened to be a concert opportunity in the main auditorium, I couldn't help but take a gander to see who was going to be there.  I saw that it was a solo piano artist who would be playing some great pieces from all the great composers.  I was so there.

When I finally did show up, I must say that I wasn't too surprised that there were only about ten people in the whole auditorium.  Clearly classical isn't everyone's cup o' tea.  I guess it would be an almost private event.  Sweet.  The only problem that soon became clear, however, was that this guy did not speak a word of English.  Needless to say, that was a bit of a bummer, but it turned out alright because it forced me to listen extra intently to what he said when introducing the pieces.  If I was lucky, I caught the name of a composer that I recognized.  It was alright, though, because in the end, it's the music that matters and the language barrier would dissolve.  No problem.

Except there was a problem...  Just as soon as he sailed into the heart of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata, a shrill cry pierced through to my very soul.  One of the sustain pedals was squeaking and squawking like an old automobile horn.  Wonderful.  Maybe it will go away?  It didn't.  Right when he would get to the most beautifully quiet moment of any piece, it was as if someone were scraping their fingernails across a chalkboard.

Thankfully, however, the pianist was very talented indeed, and I soon forgot all about the squeaky pedal in all its frustrating shenanigans.  As one piece glided into another, I was struck at several moments by the talent of this musician before us.  In the end, it was a rather enjoyable time.  I just wish I had had a can of WD-40...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Russia - Diana from Cornerstone

There is not another place I have ever been that is like what I saw in Russia. It is hard to imagine getting to a point where I could understand the mindset of those who grew up in Moscow or St. Petersburg because they are so based in the rich and intricate history which is so unique.

Moscow was very crowded and big-city-ish. (Which, it obviously is a big city!) I am glad that All of my time there was spent with other people. Listening to my friends Hannah and Paige, who were late to the hostel when we needed to leave for Petersburg made me so grateful that I was not lost on my own in that huge city!! If I ever was left on my own there, I would be at a loss for where to go or what to do.

In St. Petersburg, however, I was very comfortable to take a walk by myself when no one else wanted to see what I wanted to. It was so wonderful when I found in a guide book at the hostel a self-guided “Crime and Punishment Walking Tour.” So the next day during free time, I went to a side of the town that I think few people from our group got a chance to go to. And, the day after that, I got to go see Dostoevsky’s last flat which had been turned into a museum. It was a really good think to have free time to check out what I may not have seen if every moment of every day was planned out.

For me it was actually surreal to have the free time – it gave me a moment when I consciously thought to myself, “I’m growing up!” It was a stark contrast to my trip to Europe my sophomore year of high school when we had a strict schedule and we all had to be in the same room at each museum and we had to make sure everyone was accounted for before moving on to the next room.

One thing that was confusing (and beautiful) was the church service at Kazan Cathedral. I think it helped to drive home the realization that there are so many ways to live, and my way would appear utterly strange to the people here if they were to visit my church service or my city.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Visiting the Motherland - Anders from Bethel

Man, Russia!  You could say that I've been excited about this trip for a LONG time, and I was not let down one bit.  All of us study abroad students left a little over a week ago to begin our adventure into Russia.  The idea of taking an overnight train to get there was at first an exciting idea, and while we did have a lot of fun, it was very tiring for us.  And as if that wasn't enough, we hit the ground running to see the sights.

I think I will forever remember the moment when we visited The Kremlin and Red Square in Moscow.  As we walked in front of the wall, it towered over us in all of its red glory.  Rounding the corner to the break in the wall, I could just barely see the top of the famous icon of Saint Basil's Cathedral.  It took my breath away.  As we walked further and further up the sloped entrance to the square, Saint Basil's appeared in all of its multi-colored splendor.  It was at this moment that it really hit me.  Man, I'm in Russia!

After that moment in the Red Square, there were many other great times that we had as we explored Moscow and Saint Petersburg.  The train ride up to Saint Petersburg was great and soon we were walking around the city.  It was very striking how different Saint Petersburg was from Moscow.  Though, Moscow is older by far, Saint Petersburg had a more historical feel to it.  And while everything in Moscow is centered on The Kremlin, Saint Petersburg had the feel of a very old western European city.  The streets are more straight and the beauty of the old architecture is magnified by the river that runs throughout the city.

All in all, it was awesome to visit both of these very historical cities.  While both offered their own uniqueness, everything felt decidedly Russian.  Beautiful cathedrals abounded in both cities, and there is nothing like hearing the beautiful voices of a choir filling up the immense space for a traditional orthodox church service.

I hope I can go back.  Soon.

Friday, November 4, 2011

What do you know about Lithuania?

Get to know more about Lithuania. This video tells and shows some bits of the country. 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I love Moscow! - Diana from Cornerstone

Today we will be taking the train from Moscow to St. Petersburg. It seems like we could spend years and years in Moscow alone just to begin to get a taste of what it's really like. Three days would never be enough to understand any town, least of all the legendary city of Moscow. It is so bizarre to have that incredible feeling of being in the square where so many things have happened.

When we got here Saturday morning after taking the night train from Riga, we went to the Red Square and pretty much spent most of the afternoon around there. That night we went to the circus! What a great show. It was so fun. I felt like a little kid because all the silliest things can get you laughing so hard! The last act was a walrus, which was such an interesting animal! I'm not sure if I had ever seen one before.

Yesterday, we walked around town, toured St. Basil's cathedral, and then spent all that was left of our summer earnings at the souvenir market!

Today we visited Lenin in his mausoleum. It was one of the strangest things I've ever done.

Then we split up to visit two different museums. Some people went to a museum with old religious icons. I went with about half of our group to a museum with late 19th century and 20th century art. It was really thought-provoking. It is always fascinating to me how modern art and older portraits or religious paintings can all be classified as Art -- that there is something outside of the paintings that connects them all together.

Well, tonight we will arrive in St. Petersburg. I have been re-reading Crime and Punishment -- my favorite novel -- to get into the mood for St. Petersburg. I am so curious to explore!