It has been a while since I’ve been in Lithuania. If I’m not mistaking I left the country the end of May 2013. After that I spent a summer in the Netherlands and a fruitful study semester in Estonia. I noticed a couple of things when walking around in Kaunas once again.
– It almost seems like a national sport: spitting on the streets. Especially young guys do it, but unfortunately sometimes I also spot some heavily smoking elderly men spitting a not so transparent rather yellowish blob out of their mouth, right in front of my feet. Ieeew. This is just so disgusting.
– In the supermarket I noticed a lot of ‘made in EU’ labels. To me, these claims always look a little poor. When stating a product is made in the EU, it’s most certainly not made in Sweden, the Netherlands or Germany (or countries alike), but rather in slightly Eastern located new EU countries, as shown when further investigating the packages.
– On first sight my new bathroom looked rather fresh and clean… until I looked up. Seems my roommate Yi and I will do a great job building up our immune systems the upcoming semester!
– The first few days in Kaunas were quite cold, around -18. I’m so pleased I brought my ski pants. Interestingly, I noticed a lot of young girls checking my not so charming (but oh so delightfully warm) pants out. I wonder which thoughts in their heads win. The “That girl is smart! And she must be very warm too” or “That pants look ridiculous and I’m so sexy with my see-through tights. Beauty before comfort and health!”-ideas?
– Normally I need around one week to get acclimatized when starting another half year long adventure. I didn’t feel this at all this week, so that’s a good sign I guess. I was quite surprised I managed to leave Tallinn without feeling too sad actually. Probably because I got the best out of my time there, and if I could do all the activities over again, I would do it just the way I did it.
– I must admit that, after having heard the Lithuanian language once again, I prefer listening to Latvian over Lithuanian. I strangely only noticed now that some Lithuanians have a very distinct way of saying words with ‘aaaa’. It makes me think of the ruined Jesus fresco pronouncing ‘aaaa’ in combination with a sheep saying ‘beeeeh’. Nothing against Lithuanians though. You guys are welcome to make fun of my Dutch ‘gggg’ sound.
Ruined Jesus fresco: ‘aaeeh!’
– Hello yellow old Dutch busses which I remember from my childhood! They’re still happily driving around here, having a long second life. The cheese commercials can sometimes still vaguely be spotted.
– Bureaucracy. So many different people responsible for too many small things being all related. When wanting to arrange my living contract and obtain my internet code Monday morning at 09.00 I was told to come back next week. I just can’t imagine the reason why this stuff should take so long. Result: only internet in the reading room a few floors higher, where I noticed I’m in need of warming gloves with which I could still use my keypad. But still, I may not weep. Better to have internet in a freezing cold room than having no internet at all. *Edit: Thursday the sweet administration lady knocked on my door, holding my living contract and a note with the internet code, great!*
– For the ones interested in my ‘world chick’ articles, please check out lindanieuws.nl/wereldwijven/nienkebos/ Also from Kaunas I’ll be reporting on what’s going on in the Baltics (often with a little hint of Russia). Unfortunately the articles are only available in Dutch.
– Last but not least, I wouldn’t be a proper Dutchman if I wouldn’t 1. talk about the weather once more, 2. complain once again. So, it has been very sunny here since the day I’ve arrived. Lovely. The sun seems to set 1,5 hours later than I was used to in Tallinn, so the bright days feel like lasting pretty long. Nevertheless, it is very cold. During the nights it easily got close to -20 the past few days. That is actually not such a problem, since I like the winter a lot. Yet, it’s not so comfortable to feel this cold inside my room all the time as well. When laying in bed I feel the cold wind blowing over my face because of the improper isolation material used (or better: not used at all) in my little room. I wear a hat, a wool sweater and two pants in order to keep myself warm. I furthermore wrap my face with two scarves. A little trick I discovered yesterday: covering the worst holes by putting my beloved Haglöfs windstopper summer jacket in front of it to stop the cold wind stream blowing over my face.
All the best from Kaunas, Lithuania, where Yi and I have been eating chocolate covered pancakes as brunch and for diner in order to distract us from our thesis-writing-self-pity.