Journey by Dawn

Lithuania: my 38th birthday present at mushroom season!

As it turns out, I was born in the mushroom season! When I was a child, never noticed that. I guess it has a lot to do, with having a car and the freedom of movement that it provides… When I was a child we didn’t have a car, (not a TV or any mobile devices!). I’m not that old, but I guess Lithuania is a bit slow to develop as a country comparing with the other countries I’ve lived in.

My first impressions of living here after six years

The first impression, is that everything feels old comparing to life in Australia. The roads are not even, hard to drive on in a straight line, the trains are old, the houses are really impressive… on the positive side, everything has a story to tell, even an old entrance door.

My birthday adventure

On September 18 I turned 38! Still I don’t know many people here so I decided to visit a very traditional family in a small town close to the border of Latvia. I visited a friend who I have never met before (we became friends as the lockdown started) who had an accident recently that limits his mobility. It is really quite sad but I know he will get better over time.

With my friend who had an unexpected turn to his life due to a car accident recently

A few Lithuanian unique cultural experiences I had since I arrived (1 moth ago):

  • If you are visiting someone and they offer you food, but you really don’t want to have it and politely say no, it can get quite nasty. They are culturally ‘excused’ to insist many times. I honestly had a fight with this guys mother because I didn’t want to have the cake after having a big lunch. I think she thought the worst of me. Only latter other friends explained to me that what she did was normal behaviour. I’ve never experienced such type of disrespect before.
  • Lithuanian people are generally cold and they are very slow to become friends, but once they do, they will stay friends with you for many many years. I stayed a few nights in a monastery where I had an opportunity to meet two sisters that I’ve known for over 12 years now. Wow! I wonder sometimes if this is the better way, unlike Australia where many people can be so friendly and seem fake with their emotions, because they don’t make any commitment to feeling close (sharing personal things).
  • Lithuanians are ‘dreamers’ they all have dreams and like to talk about them a lot. I used to dream, but I guess I grew out of it. Perhaps a Lithuanian who is fully of this culture never does. Like the forest covered in mist, or the city of Vilnius (seems to be very cloudy all the time); it’s the same for the people and their mysterious experiences.
  • About the food: I seem to get full very easily here, I think it has to do with the type of diet the traditional and easily found foods contain. People here also eat in large portions (just an observation)!
The feeling of arriving home.
Inside the church
Inside the house where I slept – has all basic needs

The monastery

The sisters of Bethlehem and St.Bruno build this monastery about 20 years ago. It’s a French community that is of Catholic faith, cloistered and isolated from the world. Their life is adoration of God and a simple lifestyle, involving serving him in prayer and sacrifice. Though love is their main guiding light.

The cloistered area where each sister has a small house
The kitchen for the guests
A road to the forst

The forest

Listening to the silence of the woods, resonates deep in my heart, where I find peace and serenity, where I hear my own soul and God speak to me sometimes, giving me assurance (or doubt) in my decisions. On the day of my birthday, the walk was quite emotional. This place will change in winter, and I’m so glad I will be here to witness that change.

The mushrooms

Honestly, I had never seen so many in my life! I son’t know much about the types but the sisters and the locals do and they even made a mushroom soup as one of the meals. Very tasty!

Is a good mental image to go to – a small house in the woods (when you need mental rest)

In conclusion

My new life is on a good road. Next blog I will show you the university where I study and I also began filming a movie on living costs in Lithuania (in case you wonder!). I thought it would be interesting to share with my Australian friends who I know are with me on this two year adventure.

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