When I came to Lithuania, I thought that it was a little bit bigger than it really is. At least, towns and cities I have been are smaller than what I expected. For example, Marijampole is one of the biggest cities in Lithuania (5th or 6th) but for me and for where I come from it’s a just a town. Not a big one. At first, it was shocking for me, but I’m still enjoying it, because it’s kind of a place where I feel comfortable living at. Small, quite and not noisy town.
Having Marijampole has an example, when I went to Kaunas it was completely different what I expected as well. I thought it was going to be a noisy city, with stressed people running from one place to another. But I think I didn’t meet Kaunas and Vilnius as they really are, because of this Covid situation. Streets, restaurants and cultural places were almost empty.
I guess it’d be quite different from what I saw. But I still enjoyed walking by myself with almost nobody one else in Vilnius Gatve or in Gedimino Prospektas. I could stay only for two nights in Kaunas but I think I could visit the most important places, expect the Museo Žmuidzinavičius so I will try to visit next time because it’s really interesting for me.
I spent in Vilnius five nights so I could visit more places like MO museum or smaller and independent art galleries. I stayed in a hostel in Užupis, which is a bohemian neighborhood in Vilnius old town. It had been traditionally a cultural place where artists wanted to work and share the special environment people can feel there. This district declared itself an independent republic. That was quite interesting for me so I spent there most of the time. I visited many more places as could be the university or some of the many churches Vilnius has. But my favorite place was with no doubt the MO museum, a contemporary art gallery with a really interesting and different cultural experience.
In 2018, State Language Department of Georgia on 11 May, made decision- the Baltic state of Lithuania in Georgian will be called Lietuva. The decision was a friendly gesture: on 3 May, the State Committee for the Lithuanian Language changed Georgia’s name to Sakartvelas in Lithuanian.
2 years ago I was working at Georgian national museum. There I met one Lithuanian guy and he asked me for some recommendations about dishes to try, places to visit, things to do end etc. then we talked about our countries. When I told him that fact, he was so happy and proud. Like me, when I found out it. Asked about what differences he sees between our countries. It was autumn when we met. And he said: you have so much sun here. Usually, autumn in Georgia is rainy. And I was surprised when he mentioned it, and then he added: much more rainy- than in Sakartvelo.
So before coming here, I only knew few things: that Lithuania is Baltic country, was part of USSR, capital of Lithuania, Vilnius is so beautiful. Lithuania has really good friendship with my country (as my new Lithuanian friend said- like brothers from another mother) and it always rains!
So when Aiste, my coordinator in this project, asked me, what difficulties I am excepting in this project- I said: that it always rains, but it is okay, I will bring my colorful umbrellas!
Coming here was so fast decision so I did not much time to create a lot of expectations about Lithuania. And I think it was good, because now everything is new and it makes me more excited about this country.
It is almost one month since I am here. and met so many people. This is my favorite part about new countries. And I can say it for sure- Lithuanians are so warm and so friendly. For example: teachers at my school. I don’t feel like I am foreign for them. Gintare is like my Lithuanian mum. And of course, kids! They are so amazing, So polite, so bright and so smart.
There are a lot of little things that can’t be written. For now, I have so many mixed emotions and I am trying to sort them, but one thing is for sure: here I feel like I am at home. That was thing that I was afraid the most. And did not expected that everything would be this easy with whole new country, whole new culture. But everything is better than I expected (and I like this kind of surprises)
Ačiū to Lithuania and Lithuanians for this.
I chose volunteering in Lithuania because I wanted to be part of a program like this one, working with youngsters and learning from them and the community. I studied History bachelor degree and one of my main goals was to becoming a history teacher in the future. So that’s why I wanted to be in a high school or a gymnasium working with pupils and students and learning from them.
I have two reasons for why did I choose volunteering. The first one is because I like so much the concept about sharing different cultures and identities. I truly think that is a perfect way to improve our knowledge and culture, increasing some skills as empathy or trying to see other people’s perspective. The second reason is that the concept of volunteering means that you do the volunteer because it’s something you believe in. So if somebody do a volunteer he wouldn’t do it because of the money or something like that; the main reason should be that you truly enjoy what you are doing and believe that it’s important for the community and society somehow.
I decided to come to Marijampole because I wanted to live and learn from a Baltic country; I never had the opportunity of learning about this culture neither traveling nor studying it so that’s why. I refused two other options of volunteering in Brussels and Belfast because I knew these countries and their cultures more or less and I wanted to have a new a completely different experience. Marijampole is different from every town I met before. I come from Madrid, a really big and noisy people with five million people living there; so, I’m enjoying how quite and relax this city is, enjoying time with nature, with myself, learning and improving every day in subjects that I’m really interested in as photography or history of film. I feel that I’m not wasting my time but spending in the best way.
I didn’t have many expectations because I didn’t know much about this country and its culture. I’m enjoying the way how Lithuanians live by now. I had expectations about volunteering but I need to wait until the sanitary situation becomes stable again.