Hannah Nelson

Lithuania

Hometown: Winter Springs, Florida
School: Winter Springs High School
Sponsor District : District 6980
Sponsor Club: Winter Springs, Florida
Host District: 1462
Host Club: The Rotary Club of Kaunas

 

My Bio


Sveiki visi! Mano vardas yra Hannah Nelsonas! (Hello all! My name is Hannah Nelson!) I am 17 years old and a senior at Winter Springs High School. After I graduate in May, I will be spending a year abroad learning, and experiencing a new culture in Lithuania. I love to travel and experience new things so this opportunity is what I love to do. In school, I am a section leader in the Band of Gold and apart of the Symphonic band. Also, I am part of the girl's varsity weightlifting team as co-captain. I am so blessed to have such a great support system through Rotary and through my friends and family. My family consists of my dad, Larry, my mom, Sherise, my sister, Petrea, my brother, Kaleb, and my two dogs, Nacho and Daisy. They help me so much with things like learning Lithuanian, learning its culture, and much more. When I return in 2016, I plan on going to the University of North Florida and majoring in International Studies. I am excited to start my journey towards the adventures and stories I am going to make in Lithuania and to the best U.S. ambassador I can possibly be.

 

My first day in Lithuania

My first day in Lithuania

Laisves Aleja during Fall Festival

Laisves Aleja during Fall Festival

Flags with my fellow exchangers in Lithuania

Flags with my fellow exchangers in Lithuania

EuroBasket 2015. Lithuania got silver. Basketball is a religion here.

EuroBasket 2015. Lithuania got silver. Basketball is a religion here.

My Kaunas girls! :)

My Kaunas girls! :)

Keeping my feet in Lithuania

Keeping my feet in Lithuania

Every sunset is breathtaking.

Every sunset is breathtaking.

Saltibarciai! AKA Cold Beet Soup

Saltibarciai! AKA Cold Beet Soup

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Journals: Hannah - Lithuania 2015-2016

  • Hannah, outbound to Lithuania

    1 month left. This is not a drill, it's the real thing. Am I ready to go back to Florida? I don't know. I will be uprooting my whole life here in Lithuania to go back. I have so many questions running through my head. What if the people back home don't like the new me? How am I going to deal with that much sunshine again? ARE MY DOGS GOING TO REMEMBER ME?! This is the final chapter in my exchange year and I don't want it to end.

    When you are preparing to go on exchange, you think the date for departure couldn't come any slower. Then you come and you start a whole new life. You change, you evolve into this person you never thought you could be. You become friends with strangers, you learn the hardest language ever, and you start to feel normal again. 1 month goes by, then 3, then 6 and then you are looking at your calendar and it says May 30th... 1 month left... You start panic because you realize that you only have 31 days until you leave this life you have worked so hard to build. But then you talk to your Person and you realize you aren't alone. Someone in the Czech Republic is going through the same emotions and events you are. And then you start to think about who you get to see when you go home. Like your brother who you haven't seen in over 2 years. Or your sister who is genuinely your best friend. Or your mom who you haven't gone grocery shopping with in over 10 months. Or your dad who you haven't seen a football game with all season.

    You start to feel anxious and excited to go home. But there is always that thing in the back of your mind saying to you that you don't want to leave. The mixture of emotions is confusing and hard to deal with but at the end of the day, you know you can handle it because the people back home will always love you, there is never enough sunshine, and your dogs will never forget you. And the people you leave behind in your host country will always be there for you no matter how far away they are.

    So what am I going to do with these last days here in Lithuania? I'm going to go spend it with the people that helped make me into the person I am today and enjoy every minute in this country I can call my home. 🇱🇹❤️

    To see my homepage and some photos click HERE


  • Hannah, outbound to Lithuania

    Wow. It's been awhile. Sorry about that. Life got crazy here in Lithuania. These past 7 months (yes, I have been here for 7 months) have been a crazy roller coaster of holidays, trips, and emotions. Only 3 more months to absorb everything I possibly can before I return home. But I don't want to think about that yet. Way too soon for that.

    Life here in Lithuania has finally become normal. I feel apart of the culture and life here. I know what to do in certain situations now. For example, we do not shake hands and greet one another over a door way. It's bad luck. I know how to get around with public transportations. Actually I use an app to help me but that's okay, every one uses it too. I can order my daily dose of caffeine in Lithuanian without getting flustered or resorting back to English. I now can tell the temperature in Celsius than in Fahrenheit. But, unfortunately, I still can't get my head around the 24 hour clock. And I still don't like herring no matter how many times I try it. So those I still have to work on.

    I am currently living with my 3rd host family. They are amazing people! It has that crazy (in a good way) family vibe which is what it's like in my family back in FL so it's very comforting. I live in a small village outside of the city so I take a 40 minute bus ride to the city everyday. But if I'm really lucky, my host mom or host dad will drive me on there way to work. We hike in the forest behind our house every weekend. I have two host sisters (16 and 12 years old) and we have sister movie night at least once a week. I am so happy I get to spend these next 3 months with this family.

    School is going really well too. I get to teach English lessons a couple times a week and I also have private Lithuanian lessons with one of the best teachers at the school. My school also offered me to become a free listener at a local university. So everyday after lessons I go to VDU and take linguistic and political science lectures. I get to meet international students and become friends with some of the coolest people.

    These next 3 months are going to go by so fast, I can already tell. Some of the best adventures I'm going to go on are just around the corner!

    To see my homepage and some photos click HERE


  • Hannah, outbound to Lithuania

    One month. One month is all it took for me to fall in love with this small Baltic country.

    It feels like just yesterday when I hugged and kissed my friends and family goodbye and left the comfort of home for strangers, awkward moments, no English, and a lot of strange food. Little did I know that those strangers would become friends and family, those awkward moments would become memories of a life time, no English would become a language I find beautiful and frustrating at the same time, and those strange foods would become cravings.

    I live in Kaunas, Lithuania. It is the second largest city in Lithuania with about 300,000 residents. But to be more specific, I live in a small suburb called Noreikiskes. My host parents are wonderful! My host mom, Brigita, is a physical therapist and my host dad, Pavelas, teaches human anatomy at the local university. They are so nice and I love my host moms cooking. My host brother, Vilius, is amazing too. He helps me out a lot. I also have a dog who can open doors by himself which is not so cute at 6 in the morning... We have plums, apples, raspberries, and so much more just growing in the back yard. Makes it easy when I'm hungry and I don't want to cook. I can just go outside and get my lunch off of a tree! I take a bus or trolley bus into the city which takes about 30 minutes.

    When I'm not home, I'm usually in the city. I go to school at Jonas Jablonskis Gymnasium which is the school on top of the hill next to Christ's Resurrection Church. You can basically see the church from anywhere in the city. School can be difficult when the teacher only speaks Lithuanian, but the students are so nice and they try to translate for me. The school even gave me a private lesson with one of the Lithuanian teachers! I can feel my Lithuanian get better day by day, but it is still frustrating not being able to say what I want to say.

    9 more months is all the time I have left in this beautiful country. Which means I have 9 more months of adventures, getting lost, and new experiences. Lithuania is changing me in every way you could think.

    Can I just stay here forever, please?

    To see my home page and some photos click HERE

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