Friday, December 21, 2012

The world is a book - Breanna from APU

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” - St. Augustine

I stumbled across this quote a while ago, and every once in a while, I go back to read it. And each time I read it, the more true it has become.

The world is a book. It's full of interesting characters, unbelievable places, and exciting adventures. The more time you invest in reading a book, the more you want to finish it. And once you dive in, it's impossible to stop reading. There's always something exciting that comes next.

I've begun to realize that travel is the same. The more of the world you see, the more interesting it becomes. Once you start, you can't stop. It's simply addicting. A while back, I read that, "traveling is the only thing you can buy, that makes you richer". And I couldn't agree more with this quote.

While I am still in the first chapter of this book, and certainly not yet an experienced traveler, I'm learning that this world is meant to be traveled. There are too many beautiful things to see, too much history to learn, and too many languages that need to be heard. Every country is unique in it's own way, and has a special story to tell.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

What is normal - and where do I find it? - Deb from Roberts Wesleyan

This past week has been filled with mixed emotions. Final projects are getting assigned, final trips are being planned, and I'm beginning to think about packing to go home. The semester is coming to a close! As excited as I am to come home to people I love and a country I'm familiar with, a part of me is sad to be leaving Lithuania. I've made amazing friends and have had the chance to visit so many different countries along the way.

There are certain things about Lithuania that I've grown accustomed to, and it's going to be difficult to go back home and not have these things. For example, tea time with roommates is something I've grown to love. I've gotten used to walking down the cobblestone streets of Old Town, eating kepta duona (cheese bread) and bandelės su curd (rolls with sweet cheese inside), and spending time with friends who speak different languages. It's really strange now to overhear people speaking English, because I'm so used to hearing Russian. I've actually forgotten a lot of English words just from lack of using them! I've gotten used to dressing up for class (no T-shirts here!), and to walking EVERYWHERE.  On the street, I walk past people without saying "hi" or smiling and I only ask someone how they are if I have time to listen to how they really are.  In the grocery store, I stand uncomfortably close to people in line without feeling uncomfortable, and get annoyed if there is too much space between other people in line. I bring my own bag and bag my own groceries. 

All of this has come to feel "normal" now. I actually don't really know what normal is anymore- it's different in every country!  Being in this part of the world has helped me learn so much about history and culture. Seeing things like Soviet prisons and Nazi war uniforms has suddenly made things interesting that I had zero interest in before. You can read about it in a history book all you want, or even go to a museum in the States, but it will never have the same effect as standing in an actual KGB prison cell. We watched footage of an actual prisoner being killed in the very room we were standing in. And this happened just a few years before I was born! It was unbelievable and not something I ever want to see again, but it really put things in perspective. A year ago, I didn't know Lithuania was even a country...it's safe to say my knowledge of geography has gotten just a little bit better. In addition, this semester has redefined my definition of "traveling light" and changed my opinion of what is a "good" place to sleep (McDonalds in Germany, anyone?).  I've learned how to be flexible, and I've learned to appreciate different languages instead of getting annoyed that people don't speak English.  It's been a crazy, but amazing couple of months here in Europe! That said, I can't wait to be home.  My ETA is three weeks from tomorrow! Time really does fly when you're having fun :) 

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The contemplative Life – Lizzy from Cornerstone

Since Lithuania is in the center of Europe, many students take advantage of cheap flights and opportunities to travel.Some students choose to visit Rome or Paris, and others look for more unique opportunities. Below are a few notes from Lizzy after spending a weekend visiting a peaceful monastery in Germany.
Sr. Makrina and I before I left to go back to Lietuva.
Photo by Lizzy
It began as a solo journey to a foreign land, not knowing what to expect or how I would get there, but I was on my way.  My destination would be Dinklage, Germany...The weekend was filled with a lot of talking and a lot of thinking.  These sisters live a very contemplative life, and I envy their devotion.  I am grateful for the time I could spend in Kloster Burg Dinklage and I am thankful that I could spend my time there talking with a follower of Christ.

Monday, December 10, 2012

LCC’s Got Talent – Abby from Northwestern

LCC held their annual talent show.  I was really excited to see what students and staff would show us.  It was a pretty good show too; the musical acts ranged from pop to punk to Gangnam Style and other entertainment included a magician and “swimming.”

Magicians Photo by Abby

Friday, December 7, 2012

Learning Humility - Missy from Eastern

In Study Abroad Seminar, we took a survey: “75 long-term outcomes of an international experience.” This helped me to think about the ways that I have changed, things that I have learned–and also what I have not learned from my time here.

Something valuable I have learned is to ask for help/favors from other people. In the past, I have been too proud to ask others for help; I get a sense of satisfaction from being self-sufficient and “having it together.” I hate to be a burden to others. Coming here with only a forty-two pound suitcase, I have needed a lot of things that it is just impractical to buy (i.e. cookware, hairdryer, large bookbag, etc.). Also, being a foreigner, there have been many situations in which I’ve needed directions, social etiquette cues, and translation. I am grateful that I have gracious roommates and friends who have really been an example to me of generous, cheerful givers. “Ask and you shall receive”–sometimes God’s provision is there for the taking, we just have to be bold enough–or humble enough–to ask. Now that I have been a recipient of such generosity, I am learning to be more giving to others.