I walked back afterwards with Liga. The smell of the bakery we always pass, was so overpowering that we just HAD to stop and get a pastry. We walked back in the freshly fallen snow and had an excellent time. I took some pictures of the port and then just relaxed up in my room. It was nice to have a quiet morning. And now I think I may go watch "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind" with some girls.
We went to a traditional Lithuanian food restaurant afterwards. Rachel and I got the kapte duona (fried bread with cheese and mayonnaise)--you wouldn't believe how good it is, i'm definitely getting the recipe...and then i'll make it for all of you North Americans back home. We also split apple pie with vanilla ice cream--that was a little more taste of home, and excellent of course.
Afterwards I came home and got to talk to Bjorn over the internet, which was nice. The Youth Extreme retreat is this weekend and he a bunch of Trinity people are leading it--hopefully it'll be excellent. It's the biggest event of the year for the kids! They all look forward to it, so it should be good.
Tonight I went with 8 other SA students to check out the YWAM building and the different ministries we can be involved in. Tim, a British lad on the paid team @ YWAM (7 people total) took us there from our dorm and showed us around, explaining everything in detail. It is a ministry in progess, and it is so cool to see their vision and how God is already working there. It was amazing how much of a feeling of community was present there.
the ministries they have include: a hs group on saturday nights, small groups during the week, english classes, family ministry, and they hook people up with an orphanage to volunteer at. It was amazing to see a group of dedicated people across the world being used so greatly by God to reach the people of Lithuania. I have decided that I am going to volunteer at the orphanage, the Baby House. It will be a tough experience because I have to be dedicated for 3 hours one day a week, every week, and the orphanages can be a depressing place to be, plus sometimes communication may be difficult due to no translator. So I'm gonna have to study Lithuanian hard so I can talk at least a little, and trust God with giving me the ability to persevere through this. YWAM also needs a lot of English teachers for a class from 7-8 Monday evenings, and since I took a TESL (Teaching English as a Second Language) course last fall @ Trinity, I am going to help lead it. It will be a conversational-based classroom, so it will be interesting, a little chaotic at times, but I think it will be good. K, so now I've gotta go study some Lithuanian. Labankt (Goodnight).
It was sunny and even warm the whole time, but within 10 minutes of getting back to the dorm, a snowstorm broke out. The snow was so beautiful that Renalda, Andrea, Peggy and I decided to go run out in it and take some pictures. We were having an excellent time, until Viddy and Martinis (boys across the hall from Peggy) decided to start a snowball fight with us. We were yelling so loud that I guess everyone in the dorm wound up watching us from their windows...haha it was probably a funny scene to watch: Renalda kept screaming, Peggy was yelling, "Prasom, ne, Prasom!" (Please no, please!--as if Lithuanian was really going to make them stop!) Andrea was trying to take pictures and yelling, "Don't get my camera wet, seriously guys." And I was trying to stay out of the fight but everytime I got hit, i got mad and would attack them...overall it was somewhat unsuccessful on the girls side. So we ran off to the grocery store, Ikiyuokis, to buy some food. We took some more pictures in the snow on the way back. It was so cold tonight that the snow actually has stayed, but its very icy. I haven't fallen yet though...proud of myself on that one.
Saturday morning at 11, four girls stepped out from karklu penki into a snowy blizzard to trek to the Baltic Sea and experience the traditional Lithuanian Sauna.
We arrived @ the ferry dock to be delayed for 1 1/2 hours due to the snow storm. We hit up the best cafe I've been to yet here and then walked around old town and found the coolest little Lithuanian Art store. It was full of local Lithuanian art-paintings, pictures, sculptures, etc. I have been back already twice since then, the owner lady and I are good friends already, haha.
Finally @ 1 pm, we took the ferry across the spit (only a little longer than the Ft. Langley ferry, yeah pathetic) then we hiked through a national park for 20 min. and finally arrived @ the beach and found the sauna.
It was a tiny little building, hidden to the public...it's not advertised at all, but local people go there every weekend. It was an incredible time. We sat in the 100 degree C sauna for about 10 min. and then when we thought we were going to die from heat we ran straight out the door and 100 ft. into da Baltic (0 degrees C) So we went from boiling point to freezing point and back again...crazy, but really good for the body. The Lithuanian people do it very often, especially during the winter. We're going to try to do it @ least once a month.
We finally got back to the dorm @ 4:00pm and made a killer dinner--we were starving. That night Peggy, Andrea and I took the bus to Maxima (a huge shopping mall). When we were getting off the bus, I tripped and fell in the middle aisle in front of everyone. I totally hit my shin and my chest--a lot of pain. Everyone on the entire bus, including the driver stopped and stared at me...then the bus started again and I was trying to get Peggy to tell the bus driver to stop cuz we needed to get off, I was yelling, "ne, ne, ne! Sustoti!" The bus driver stopped and i hobbled off. Everyone was still watching me the entire time. it was hilarious but by far the most embarrassing experience of my life, and due to the other culture I couldn't even try to laugh at myself and make some smooth joke to smooth over the experience. Haha, oh well...I guess it keeps life interesting. What a day!
My roommates are amazing ladies. I am already close friends with Renalda and Agata. I think tonight even, we are going to go out to Global, the local dance club (it is half price on Thursdays, so everyone, and i mean EVERY one from LCC, my school, goes). They absolutely love dancing here, which works well for me, cuz I like it a lot too, haha. The only part I do not enjoy besides obviously experiencing drunk people, is the smoke. People are allowed to smoke inside everywhere here, except for in LCC and our dorm (which is so nice). I definitely took for granted having fresh air back home. Smoke in the eyes is definitely the worse, but I guess this is all part of experiencing a different culture...which has been a challenge, but an exciting one.
So my roommate, Renalda has a rare Latvian name, but this year was the first that she was on the calendar so we went out to her favorite spot, the 12th floor restaurant of the Klaipeda Hotel to celebrate. It was me and 5 Latvians which was a bit frustrating cuz I'd have to tell them to speak in English once in awhile, but it's interesting how well I can tell just from listening and watching their body language what they're saying. The lighting of the table made for really cool portraits, so we wound having a photo shoot (well it wasn't, but i called it that! haha)
It was such a fun evening, minus the trick the boys played on me. They made me think there was something excellent to see on the 9th floor, so when we got there I was anticipating a beautiful view of the city. Well, it was actually a strip club! I went from a gasp to turning around and almost curling up on the ground. The boys just laughed. I was very mad with Ivars (who took me there), well I tried to be, but they were all laughing at me so much in the restaurant, that i had to laugh. It was bad, pretty funny, but still bad. But the evening was the best I've had since being here.
It was so interesting to see all the different buildings of the city. Renalda and I agreed that our favorite part of touring was to see nicely painted, restored buidlings with ruins or a shack right next door. It gives the city more personality and depth. Nalda said, "who would want to see all perfect buildings?! That is simply fake, but this is truth."
My favorite experience was definitely visiting the main cathedral in the big square. I loved standing on the wishing stone outside, making a wish while spinning around 3 times (yes, i got a little dizzy)....oh and the inside was absolutely breath-taking. Everything was elaborate. Beautiful paintings of the disciples and Jesus all over the walls. The Lithuanian people actually disguised spending money on the church during Soviet Rule by saying the church was being used as a gallery (Those Clever Lithuanians!). But the best part about the Cathedral was how peaceful it was just being in there. I bough a candle to place for prayer @ Mary's altar and one morning I went in alone just to pray. It was incredible to sit in such a place and worship God. I didn't feel like He was any closer there than when I am in my room, but there was a definite respectful fear present as people recognized his holiness.