Sunday, August 12, 2012

A Sunday at Trakai

Last night was a pretty late night, courtesy of catching up on blog posts whilst finishing the Lion King.  However, I slept AMAZING and was ready and rested for my last day at church. Sort of.

In case I haven't made it ridiculously clear the previous 34 times I've talked about my Lithuanian branch, I love them.  I love them all.  Consequently, today had some of the harder good-bye's I've had to hand out since our time in Lithuania has been getting into single digits.  Despite that though, it was also one of the best church meetings we've had yet.

The first talk was given by Marina, a recently returned missionary who was serving in Latvia and Estonia - Russian speaking.  In the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, our dedication to missionary work is probably one of our best known characteristics.  However, the Lord's church has always been a missionary church - Jesus Christ's life was the perfect example of this.  During His ministry on earth, he taught the gospel at all times, in all places, and to all kinds of people.  He also called apostles and other disciples to preach the gospel so more people could hear about the blessings of His gospel.  In our church, youth and older couples alike volunteer to serve across the world to share the message of the restored gospel - Marina was one such missionary, and spoke of the growth and love she developed while serving.  It was amazing to hear the testimony of such a strong woman, and the love she had for her Heavenly Father.
This is Marina - aka, Sister Grineviciute. Clearly, she's awesome.
For more on LDS missionaries, see HERE

After Sacrament meeting, I headed into the Primary room to help out and start playing prelude music for the kiddos. Every week, I hope that playing hymns or primary songs before class will help calm them all down, and every week I'm left disappointed. Least I try, right? :)
Little Sofie, the youngest daughter of the Miles (American embassy) family
Sofie stealing my camera and documenting Onita braiding my hair, 5 year old style.
The kids in Primary
The cover of the Lithuanian hymn book
Eli, the oldest son of the Miles family
Glori, the middle Miles daughter (are you starting to catch on to the fact that I love this family? :)
Marta and I
One of my favorite pictures of all time - all us ILP girls and our Vilnius missionaries :) From left: Areil, Janese, Elder Sherman, Elise, Elder Pekam, Elder Davies, Elder Kezley, Elder Reynolds, Bailey, Elder Erikson and I.  (Also, as a hilarious side note, doesn't this picture look like we're in 4th grade all over again? 11 people all jammed into one photo, and not a single boy/girl physical contact. hehe)
After church was over, I quickly jumped on a bus to head back home and get some stuff done before starting out on our next plan. While I was on the bus, a quirky little Lithuanian grandma came and sat next to me. Before I knew it, I was engaged in the most intense one sided conversation of my life - she was monologuing about something important sounding, and obviously I had no idea what. It sounded pretty intense though, and I just sat there pretending I was getting the greatest life advice of all time from the secret wisdom sage of Lithuania.  At one point, she looked at me expectantly, as if waiting for me to respond to these nuggets of wisdom - so, I explained that I was American, and spoke English. She nodded understandably, was silent for about 4.6 seconds, then launched off again in another stream of Lithuanian until she got off the bus.  I walked away laughing to myself, and reviewing all the tidbits of wisdom I made up in my head whilst she was speaking gibberish to me. I love the Lithuanian babushkas :)

After I made it back to my apartment alive, I packed up everything I needed for the adventure and set off with Elise to catch a bus to the train station. We had plans to meet up with Vika there, and made the trip down to see Trakai castle!  After a brief setback involving grumpy ticket ladies and flirtatious/super nice male ticket collectors, we got an awesome discount on our train tickets and were on our way to the lakes.

The view of Totoriskiu lake as we got off the Trakai train station. We had to walk a ways to get to the peninsula castle - about 30 to 40 min - but it sure was a great view!

The bridge connecting Trakai castle to the mainland

Inside the castle courtyard - this thing was BIG

Nothing puts a damper on your day like having your appendages locked in wood.

Or getting locked in a giant metal chicken coop.

Again, the Trakai castle courtyard

Inside the inner castle courtyard and looking up through all the levels of staircases.

Staircase maze, anyone?

Did I mention some of the stairs from afore mentioned stair maze was ridiculously steep?  No? Well, then I just did.

Vika and Elise blinding me with their Lithuanian love

The view with the rain clouds. One thing I will miss about Lithuania - they sure known how to make rain clouds here.

Once it warmed up and I took off my jacket, Vika was SO excited about my sweater! Apparently, it matched the castle and therefore was worthy of a picture. Little does she know, I got it at a Lithuanian thrift store.

The sunshiney lake.

After it stopped raining (for the 3 seconds it actually stopped), we looked out the window to discover a beautifully bright rainbow! Vike had her 4th freak out of the day and dragged us all out for a picture :)
 Elise also had a little culture and tried some Kibinas -

Kibinas are little Lithuanian rolls stuffed with meat. Basically, they're good.
Funny story - on the bus ride home, Vika, Elise and I ended up getting jammed in the back seat next to a Spanish family reunion party.  Holy smokes - I haven't heard Spanish in months!  I just giggled to myself every time I heard the word "bonita" and "iglesia" - which was a lot :)

All in all, a full day.  If anything else, I'm going to be quite the mess when I get home from this adventuring/sleep deprivation/jet lag. Look out family - I'm going to be a monster.

1 comment:

  1. It's good that you tried kibinas! When people take a Baltics for Foodies tour, this dish is the most important (and the tastiest!). Food is in general very important, remember that when travel Lithuania and let yourself relax a bit :)