Hello! Or perhaps I should say sveiki, since I need to keep practicing. Relocating to a new country is no easy task. I have done this on more than one occasion, but this time was the most challenging yet. I want to share my mental and literal journey with you, and give you some general and specific tips for you to visit Lithuania. So let’s start, shall we?
Deciding It’s Time To Move On
For the majority of my life, I have lived in Spanish-speaking countries, like Mexico and Peru; I spent my last 5 years in the latter. I can clearly remember my first thought, as I exited the plane in Lima: “Quiero vivir otra vez acá” (I want to live here again). Let me give you some context. I traveled to Peru for a couple of months prior to relocating there, and on that previous trip this thought took me over. It felt so right, and I was so excited to see my relatives again.
I’m lucky enough to still have a grandmother here, she is the sweetest woman you’ll ever meet. And I would be remiss by concealing the fact that the food here is just amazing, and in my humble opinion, second to none (except Japanese).
Chasing My Dream
But, as the years went by, an old dream of mine kept gaining strength: visiting Europe. I must admit with a little bit of shame, that despite I’m old enough to have adult children, I have never “crossed the pond”. So I was at the end of my lease agreement and started to wonder what to do next.
Because I was starting to feel uneasy due to several things, including the political situation of Peru (which I’ll spare you the details of). Change is a constant, and sometimes we need to embrace it. We evolve, grow, and well, change. Some people dye their hair, others get makeovers, and a few look for new hobbies – I relocate.
Big Connection With Lithuania
My logical choice was to go back to Mexico. After all, my closest family is there, but that did not feel right. I was deciding out of fear and looking for a safe transition. For the sake of context: I currently coach people and several of my followers live in Europe. So I started looking into countries where they live and felt a big connection with Lithuania.
At some point, I was watching videos of people walking through the city of Kaunas. They have an avenue called Laisvės alėja, Freedom avenue, which is a beautiful pedestrian road. After some days I asked myself: “Why do I settle for videos of it when I can walk it? This is what I want, so let’s do it!”.
Preparing For Change And Bracing For Impact
This part will be very brief since the most exciting story is when I finally experienced Lithuania. I had to sell or give away most of my stuff; definitely miss the bicycle more than the TV!
I also bought a course to study the Lithuanian language. It has a lot of limitations like not having a native speaker to ask questions to, but at least I learned how to say hello and ask for the bathroom – remember the word tualetas if you ever visit.
Why You Should Go To Lithuania?
I must say something out of the love I have for this beautiful country. The agent kinda belittled the country. Maybe because I could have chosen other destinations like Germany, Italy, or France. But I can assure you: Lithuania is an amazing country with more than 30% of green areas, a clear blue sky, beautiful architecture, and a very peaceful environment which for someone like me is just pure bliss.
Tip 1: Show You Have A Plan
After the ordeal of packing my gear and clothes in 3 pieces of luggage, I finally traveled to Europe on June 10th. A big surprise was waiting for me in Amsterdam, my first point of entry to the continent. The immigration agent asked me: “Why are you going to Lithuania?” with a look of suspicion perhaps in case I was planning to become an illegal immigrant.
I honestly was not prepared for that question and I froze. In the end, I was allowed in, since I had paid reservations and a ticket back to Lima. So, a pro tip for any new travellers: show you have a plan and also that you have a purpose for your trip.
Tip 2: Sign Up For A Language Course
Some say things happen for a reason, but I respectfully disagree. Based on my experience I believe we make our days on earth a blessing or something else. And we contribute to the creation of those realities through our paradigms and wishes. All these words are my segue to a very pleasant flight from the Czech Republic back to Kaunas.
I made a wonderful friend that sat next to me during our flight. She shared so many tips for my stay. And among them introduced me to this great platform: SPEAK. I immediately enrolled in a Lithuanian Basic course and made several friends. Especially, I feel grateful for my buddy who has taught me so much.
I will not mention her name in case she doesn’t want the spotlight, but you know who you are. Labai ačiū mano draugė! (thank you very much, my friend).
Tip 3: Visit The Highlights In Lithuania
I have done a lot of things here, and many for the first time: like riding an electrical scooter, kayaking, filming a stork, and taking a picture of Saturn and the red super-moon from August 12th.
I want to give you two additional tips when you visit Lithuania because, for me, they were the highlights of my trip. Go to the place where rivers Nemunas and Neris merge, and visit Kryžių Kalnas (the hill of crosses). The river’s confluence is in front of a beautiful castle in Kaunas (Kauno Pilis), which has an impressive statue of the coat of arms featuring a Knight riding his horse ready for battle.
The hill of crosses features an unrivaled display of well crosses from all over the world with messages in Japanese, English, Lithuanian, and Spanish (among others). It is a very special place charged with powerful intentions from all around the world. But, if you have a limited amount of time and need to choose: visit the castle in Trakai. A must-go location here!
Living The Dream
I hope that after reading my blog, you feel at least curious about visiting Lithuania. Because this lovely country is a paradise and deserves to be more in people’s minds. Cheers!
Want to immerse yourself before you visit Lithuania? Meet The Ukrainian Helping Migrants & Refugees Integrate Into Lithuania.
Want to help SPEAK Lithuania reach more people? Support the crowdfunding campaign.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the views of SPEAK.