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Four months already! It's crazy to think how fast time is going by here; I've been having one of the best and most memorable experiences of my life. Here are just the highlights of my exchange so far.
The first day I arrived in Lithuania was exhausting, I landed around 11am and from the airport I went to meet the other exchange students and we ended up touring Vilnius (the capital of Lithuania) for about 5 hours and I was jet lagged so I was falling behind. I met my host family the next day and they were very warm and welcoming to me, it was a surprise when my host mom hugged me right away but I didn’t mind.
My first day of school was not at all what I expected, my host mom drove me to the school and walked me in to introduce me to my principal and then he introduced me to a couple of my classmates. All the students met in the great hall for a couple of announcements and a welcoming video, then we were free to leave to go walk in a parade through Kaunas old town and after that a couple of my classmates invited me to go with them to hang out so they could show me some of the city. All of my classmates had a lot of questions for me about America and the school systems. That weekend I went with the other rotary exchange students to Palanga, which is a city by the Baltic Sea, for a rotary event. During this weekend we attended a dolphin show, walked in a rotary parade, and walked by the Baltic Sea which was really beautiful. One weekend I went on a camping/hiking trip with my school and so many of us went that we had to split into three groups of about fifty each. Hiked from the train station about fifteen kilometres through the woods and barefoot through an ice cold river to get to our campsite, we got to the train station around 5pm and made it to our campsite around almost 12pm. The next morning we packed everything up and split up into smaller groups of about five or six then we all went different routes to get to the next campsite and it was about ten kilometres to get there and it took us all day because we stopped for about a three hour break. Then the last day we hiked back to the train station which was only seven kilometres and only took us about three hours, this weekend was exhausting and I got really sick from it but it was fun.
Went to Druskinikai with the rotary exchange students for an embrace the snow weekend, we took a three-hour bus ride to get there and we checked into the hotel that we were staying in. The next morning we took a cable car to the snow arena and got our snowboarding gear; we started off with warming up by running up and down the snow hill then finally we strapped in one foot and slid around to get used to it and we went down the hill a few times like this learning how to stand and how to stop. The instructor liked me because I picked things up quickly and I listened to what he was saying and how to do it. After a while we strapped in both feet and moved to a much bigger hill that we went down facing forward with our board side ways so that we could learn how to go, stop, and fall. This hill was really difficult but I got the hang of it after a while and then when we finally reached the bottom we took a lift to the top again and went down again. Then after two hours we all turned in our gear and went back to the hotel. That evening all of the exchange students went bowling and it was really fun.
Throughout the month my class did secret Santa which was really cute we gave small gifts such as candy until the last day then we had to give a real gift, I received a children’s book to help me with my Lithuanian. Christmas Eve is more popular than Christmas Day here so on Christmas Eve my host mom and I went over to her daughter’s for dinner with her family and it was really nice. They don’t eat any meat or anything produced from animals such as eggs or milk on this day. So there was a lot of fish and mushrooms, which I like neither of them so it was interesting. Before our meal we each grabbed a communion wafer and what they do is everyone tears a part off of each other’s and wishes something for that person.