Saturday, June 16, 2012

Moral of the story: YSA Klaipeda activites are AWESOME!

Today was a loooooong but AWESOME day!! We started out by getting our sorry selves out of bed at 5am, packing up and heading out to catch a bus to the train station at 5:20am.  After a 40min bus ride, we got to the train station just in time to catch our ride to Klaipeda!!!!  Our little Lithuanian branch had organized a YSA (Young Single Adult) activity out in Klaipeda, inviting all the YSA from the surrounding areas.  Granted, all the YSA from the surrounding areas only totaled about 10 people, but that's just a minor detail.

For those who remember, I recently went to Klaipeda/Palanga with Z's family about 2 weeks ago. While the experience was wonderful, it was awesome to have  chance to go back again, and have a much more relaxed schedule this time.  Plus, this time, we went by TRAIN!!!! Today was my first time ever riding a train before, and it's just as great as my 8 year-old imagination led me to believe :)  And even better?  For some strange reason, the lady who assigned our seats stuck us all in the only private seats on the car - while everyone else was on row formation, we got this snazzy thing:

Our own little closed off room, complete with glass sliding door for privacy and air holes for comfort. 
The train ride itself lasted about 4 1/2 hours, during which we all attempted to sleep, listened to music, and enjoyed the smell of cigarette smoke from the chap who kept sneaking into the bathroom to light up a smoke.  Yipee.  After we finally got to Klaipeda, one of the YM in the branch picked up us and drove us to the church building. Though this process of picking up and dropping off may sound simple, let me assure you that once you factor in this guy's CRAZY driving, it become much more dramatic.  After surviving our near death experience, we headed up into the meeting rooms to join all the others!

A couple of the faces were familiar (Viktorija and Brigita specifically), but we made a lot of new friends as well!! Viktorija's best friend (who also happens to be named Viktorija - we called the two of them "The V's"), Svitrigaile (who we nicknamed "Gailae" since none of us could say her name) and Andzelika (whose name looks super complicated, but is actually pronounced "Angelica").  Basically, they're all SUPER cool :)

We started off the activities with a lesson by the Senior missionaries, Elder and Sister Flake.  Both gave exceptional talks concerning God's Plan of Happiness and our role here on earth (HERE).  Their words were inspired, appreciated, and definitely needed for us all.  After the talks, we gathered together for some good ol' pizza!!! I'll admit, I've never even considered mixing pickles and garlic sauce on pizza before, but it was strangely delicious.... and we all got about 3 pieces since there were so few people there :)  After lunch, it was time to head to the BEACH!!!

It was a semi warm day (albeit pretty cloudy) and we all loved the chance to relax in the sand and play in the (freezing) water!  

From left: Gailae, Janese, Elise, Me and the V's

Our counterparts on the sand - Elder Hyer, Elder Flake, Sister Flake, Brigita, etc.

From left: Areil, Sister Flake, Elise, Elder Hyer, and Angelica (who's being a bum and hiding her gloriously beautiful face from me)

Areil's super attractive "I love the beach" face

The other lined up on the beach, throwing sand, splashing water, and just generally acting like 5 year-olds. It was great :)

Elder Flake, who was a great sport and rolled up his crisp church pants to dip his toes in the water

Brigita, in all her gorgeous, organized glory (seriously. This woman is a champ.  She's the Primary president, studying in a university, served a mission in Russia, organized the entire YSA activity, and sings perfectly.  Basically, I'd like to be her someday :)

Elise, Viktorija and Bailey

The sky was AMAZING!! Since it was slightly cloudy and pollen was flying everywhere (seriously - I've probably got a handful of the fluffy stuff in my stomach now), the combo resulted with a beautiful green sea, and a beautiful blue sky.
Elise and The V's

Let me explain this picture - it was taken rather skillful by Areil, who was perched upon mine lap, whilst I was sitting on Bailey.  You can see the artistic tri-layer effect in action.

Areil and I

Bailey, screaming in agony as we crush her lungs with our body weight

Elise was corrupting the V's, and teaching them odd songs. And how to hip thrust.

Areil, drawing our love in the sand.
Overall, it was an AWESOME day. It was so fun to spend time with the YSA members - the branches here are so different, it was interesting to see an activity where only 10 people showed... and that's just all there were.  Normally, activities like this in America involved hundreds of people, involve months of planning, and involve a staggering amount of food. In this case, it was more like a bunch of friends getting together for a spiritual thought and fun on the beach.  It was so good, and today I felt like a real Lithuanian :)

Other fun tidbits of the day:
1)  Angelica and Gailae singing "We all live in a yellow apple tree, a yellow apple tree, a yellow apple tree".  Apparently, they had heard the words wrong, and couldn't remember what they were supposed to be :) It was super cute. Plus, I LOVED that they love the Beatles over here as well.
2)  Drawing ancient Aztec drawings in the sand with a random metal stick Elder Hyer dug up.
3)  Giggling at all the Lithuanians sprawled on the beach in bras, speedos, or even nothing at all.
4)  Getting mooned by a boy (probably around 10 or so) who was wearing a shirt, but nothing else. Every time he bent over in the water, hoo boy! There's a fuuuuull moon tonight!
5)  Trying to make Sand Snowmen (I know that's a contradiction, but "Sandmen" sounds lame)
6)  Giving up and making a Sand Angel instead
7)  Picking sand out of every crevice of my clothing for the last 5 hours
8)  Playing with the little kids on the train ride back to Vilnius
9)  Janese teaching Gailae and Angelica different versions of "Call me Maybe".  Examples include:
               Hey, I just met you,
               and this is crazy!!
               And I have Alzheimers,
               Hey, I just met you...
 We loved it, and sang that verse probably 34,525 times throughout the day :)

I've been awake for 19 hours now, probably have an ear infection and desperately need a shower - but it was such a dang good day, I don't even care :)  I love all the people I met today, and loved the chance to make friends in Lithuania.  That's what this trip is really about!

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