Living in Lithuania is not without its challenges and cultural misunderstandings. For those who know me well, having the middle name “Awkward” only adds to the occasional faux pas.

This guy has stories.
For example: last week in Lithuanian class we began to study adjectives. Being two staff members auditing a student course, it sometimes can be embarrassing to offer our own answers or questions in an audience that is not our peers, but those we mentor. 

Our professor, Radvyta, advised us to turn to the proper page in our text book— it was filled descriptive images of different physical attributes, labeled in Lithuanian. Immediately, I pointed and said: “Hey, it’s Josh!” pointing at a pirate-esque male character with an eyepatch and stubbly beard. 

Immediately, the class roared with laughter. 

After further inspection, I did not identify a pirate, but rather the pictured example for “ugly.” The eyepatch was a Band-Aid and the stubble was acne. Not the best way to describe your spouse…

Uncomfortable situations aren’t always bad. I love shopping at the open-air market and grocery store. We’ve been frequenting one called “Maxima.” Their shopper’s rewards program earns credit at the local movie theatre—eventually we’ll have enough credit for a date night! 

Home-made Cheezits, complete with hole!
Upon one visit to the grocery, Josh and I were inspecting something to drink and deciding whether it was the right choice. Around the corner came a very distinguished gentleman, in cap and leather-elbowed blazer. He looked down at the package in my hand, up at me, and down at my hand again. Making eye contact, he blew me a kiss and continued with his shopping. The decision had been made — into the cart it went!

Unfortunately, Maxima doesn’t carry all of the creature comforts we were accustomed to at home. We have had to adjust our diets and frequent recipes to the ingredients that are available. There’s no cream of tartar, Crisco, Chocolate Chips, or Cholula hot sauce… but we’ve made do. I’ve even attempted making my own Cheezits (and they were pretty satisfying). It’s all part of the journey.

Students paint a collaborative picture
during Art Week.
When times seem difficult, it’s not hard to find encouragement. This past week the Resident Life team sponsored “Art Education Week.” There were nightly events to inspire and engage the student body in the musical and visual arts. 

Since LCC International University does not currently have fine arts programs, our hope was to fill that gap with some intentional programming. 

It was AMAZING. The response was so great to the “Funky Jam” on Wednesday night that we hope to host more in the future. We also had an art show on Thursday with over 50 pieces of student art on display — the talent pool here at LCC is unbelievable. 

Additionally, we started work on a mural and it’s almost finished. There are about six core girls who are helping paint it and it’s been lovely to get to know them better as we paint together. (We'll post pictures of its progress in a future post)

The Funky Jam, an improv
jam time, is one way students can
exercise their creativity.
Through all these adventures, I never forget those we’ve left behind in the States. I had the unbelievable pleasure of chatting tonight with Steve and Darla Schrock and welcome their son, Samuel Joseph, to the world. I cannot express the joy and sadness it brought to my heart to share some time with them on this happy occasion, but to be so far away from such dear friends during such a blessed event.

Occasionally, I feel the spirit of Hal Shrader calling out to me when a song pops into my head. I’ll be walking from the dorm to DeFehr, the main academic building, to pick up printing and, out of the blue, I start singing: “Hey, I just met you and this is crazy, but here’s my number, so call me maybe…” 

For those who don’t know Hal, he’s quite fond of this Carly Rae Jepsen chart-topper.  Although catchy, it’s not one of my favorites, so I like to think that when it comes to mind, it’s Hal thinking of me all the way from Arizona.

Hey, I’ve just blogged a bunch, and this is crazy, but I’d love to video chat, so Skype me maybe?

1 Comment