There is a theory that any person in the world can be connected to any other person in the world in approximately six relationship steps (“six degrees of separation”). In Lithuania, that shrinks to two degrees of separation. Everyone I know seems to know everyone else I know even though I know them through completely different connections. Did you follow that?
Now, this is probably not too unusual since I am an American academic living in the two largest cities in a country of only 3 million people. I tend to know educated, professionals who speak English, which already narrows the pool of people. Quite a few of the people I know attended Vilnius University at the same time. However, I’m still often surprised by the connections.
For example, an American acquaintance recommended that I take jewelry classes with a glass artist in Vilnius. The next week, I was introduced to the sister of my Lithuanian language teacher in Seattle at a party in Vilnius. It turns out she is the glass artist who works with my American acquaintance.
This kind of thing happens all the time. Just look at the “mutual friends” lists with any of my Lithuanian friends on Facebook (“I didn’t know you knew her/him!”). As the Lithuanians say, “Vilnius is just a big village” and this goes for the whole country. The second part of that saying, “be careful who you gossip about.”