Friday, July 6, 2012

Statehood day!

Surprise, surprise - today is another Lithuanian holiday :) Today, the Lithuanian people have been totting their national flag on all the buses, shut down the schools and gotten off work to celebrate a very important day. July 6, 1253 - the coronation day of Mindaugas, the first king of Lithuania. Also the only king of Lithuania.

Basically, the story goes like this: In 1250 or 1251, Mindaugas agreed to receive baptism and relinquish control over some lands in western Lithuania, in return for an acknowledgment by Pope Innocent IV as king. The Pope welcomed a Christian Lithuania as a bulwark against the increasing Mongol threats; in turn, Mindaugas sought the Pope's intervention in the ongoing Lithuanian conflicts with the Christian orders. So, the Pope established Mindaugas as the first King of Lithuania, and started introducing Christianity to the country.  During his rule as the first king, he was credited with stopping the advance of the Tartars towards the Baltic Sea, establishing international recognitino of Lithuania, turning it towards Western civilization, and generally is considered the founder of the Lithuanian state.
Mindaugas, himself.  I'm sure that horse is much nicer in person.
Jolly as the King was, most of these things seem to end badly, and he was assassinated in 1263 by his Nephew Treniota and anothe rrival, Duke Daumantas. Then, his three immediate successors were assassinated as well. The disorder this caused wasn't resolved until Traidenis gained the title of Grand Duke in 1270. Notice however, that Traidenis wasn't granted the title of King - either the Pope of the people (not sure which) learned from the tragedy, and never gave the entirety of the country's power to one man again.

Today, the Lithuanian people celebrate Mindaugas' rule with Statehood day!!! Since there was this jolly festival going on, there were hardly any kids at school today - only about 5 in the morning class, and 10 in the afternoon. It was still fun though!
Artur, with his Playdough Unicorn

Z, so VERY angry with his unicorn


Artur makes this anxious face about 80% of the time. He leads such a worried life.

Me and my Unicorn that Alysa commanded me to make

You know. Just Sofia.

In the middle of playing with playdough, Sofia marched to the front of the room and started playing teacher! She told all the kids to get on the line, and asked "Whose being good?" It was precious.

Teacher Sofia, allowing Z to pick a song to sing, since he was being "sooo good".

The ever artistic Alysa, with the awesome Unicorn that she made.  Dima has a secret artistic talent, and Alysa definetly got that trait. She's an awesome artist!
Teaching was super laid back, so we also had time to shelve the 3 GIANT boxes of books that Bailey's brother sent us for his Eagle Project.  We were sent probably over 400 children's books, and it was great!  We shelved them in cardboard boxes around the room, and Janese did an AWESOME job reorganizing all the supply room. Basically, it was a great day :)

Also, funny story of the day! Yesterday, I was explaining "family" to the kids, and had a picture that I had drawn of my family.  When I told the kids it was my family, I got two reactions:

1) The majority of the kids who looked shocked. I couldn't figure out why until Alysa said "Teacher. BIG FAMILY!" I just laughed :) (You have to remember that the economy and need to work usually means that families only have 1-2 kids)
2) Bernard who immediately said "Teacher! NOT your family!" I was confused, and asked him why that wouldn't be my family. He sighed exasperatedly, and said while pointing to each of my family members "English, English, English, English, English", then stabbed his finger on my picture and shouted "LIETUVA! NOT ENGLISH! So, not Teacher's family." It was pretty funny :)  I'm not entirely certain if he thought that I was actually Lithuanian, or if he was confused that I was in Lithuania while my family was in America.... but it was pretty funny :)


1 comment:

  1. LOVE it!!!! True to Bernard spunk! You do so well and love you so! AND your family misses you!

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