This month is the 40th anniversary of Romas Kalanta’s self-immolation and the two days of demonstrations that followed his funeral. I’m in Lithuania for ten days to attend commemorative events, speak at two conferences and a school, hopefully do more interviews and (of course) visit friends. I’m temporarily re-activating the “Amanda in Lithuania blog to chronicle my further adventures in dissertation research this month.
(And for those of you who who are wondering, I have a 150 draft of my dissertation. It definitely a rough draft and I still need to write two sections. But I am well on my way to my goal of defending my dissertation and receiving my Ph.D. in fall quarter.)
I arrived safely back in Seattle on Sunday afternoon and this ends another installment of “Amanda in Lithuania.” Many thanks to all of you who read my blog! I enjoyed writing it. I’ll check in periodically as I finish up my dissertation this year and hopefully take a few trips to back to Lithuania, but I won’t be posting regularly. I’m always taking photos but rarely get photos of myself. I’ll say goodbye with a couple of photos taken by a friend of mine so that I would have photos of me in Kaunas And so, dear readers, Iki pasimatymo — until we see each other again.
At the Kaunas castle (photo by RG)
On Vilniaus street in Kaunas' Old Town
I arrived in Lithuania on September 1, 2010 and I depart today August 28, 2011. During the last 362 days, I…
Conducted 49 interviews
Revised my dissertation chapter outline 5 times
Partially drafted 4 chapters and the introduction of my dissertation
Attended 3 academic conferences
Traveled 71 times between Kaunas and Vilnius
Wrote 315 blog posts
Watched 214 episodes (10 full seasons) of the television series Stargate SG-1 on DVD
Built friendships, had adventures, improved my Lithuanian and had an all-around great time!
Best “I won’t take it personally” quote — said to me by a Lithuanian friend:
“When I was in the United States, I would say something and I knew I said it correctly in English, but still people wouldn’t understand me. Sometimes when you say something in Lithuanian, I have no idea what you said and now I understand how those Americans felt when I talked.”
Best “totally validates my opinion that Lithuanians don’t plan” quote — said to me by a Lithuanian who lived in the States for nearly 20 years as we were discussing how he could help me with my research:
“I’m going to write this down. I learned how to plan in America.”
Most useful phrase I learned in Lithuanian this summer (unfortunately I had several opportunities to use it given the frequent thunderstorms):
“Eidama per parką, aš sušlapau [While walking through the park, I became completely wet].”
Best philosophical quote — from the summer course lecture on Lithuanian literature:
“Should we rely on the illusion that the era of changes ever comes to an end?”
My last days in Vilnius have been filled with final packing and saying goodbye to friends and colleagues — actually this pretty much describes my whole week. As I say my farewells, all my Lithuanian friends tell me “we are waiting for your return.” I’m already planning a trip to Lithuania next May for the 40th anniversary commemorations of Kalanta’s self-immolation and the events that followed his funeral. It is good to know that I have friends who will be waiting for me when I come back.
These tables outside a cafe in Vilnius are waiting for someone to sit down and enjoy the sunshine and a cup of coffee
Lithuanians LOVE basketball — and right now the entire country has basketball fever because Lithuania is hosting Eurobasket 2011. The European basketball championship games start August 31 and the final rounds will held in a brand new arena in Kaunas on September 18. The arena was officially opened last Thursday with a “friendly game” between Lithuania and Spain, the reigning European champions. Lithuania won (whoo-hoo!) but I’ve been told that they don’t have a particularly strong team this year and probably won’t get a medal. But that doesn’t mean that the streets aren’t awash with red/yellow/green basketball paraphernalia. There is even an official song featuring three Lithuanian pop starts. Go Lithuania!!
Today I say goodbye to Kaunas. This afternoon I am moving everything from Kaunas to Vilnius, where I’ll spend the last few days before I leave. I’m packing this morning, then friends from the university are bringing lunch for a final farewell gathering before I leave town. These are a couple of my favorite photos from Kaunas on this, my last day.
The shadows of onlookers on street paintings done by kindergarteners at the Kaunas Jazz Festival
A section from the mural on the Kaunas Picture Gallery