Alessia, outbound to Lithuania

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I’m writing this now to make up for the last four months of dropping off the grid. Since I’ve arrived, people have ever so gently asked me why I picked Lithuania -such a small, cold country- for my exchange. I never really answered properly. Now, it’s January, and the winter is the coldest I have experienced in my life. But amazingly, I’ve fallen in love with everyone I have met here. The people that surround me do nothing but good things for my well-being. My friends, host families, and affiliated Rotarians have made my exchange so unique and fulfilling. Being able to be in a completely new place with new people has been a blessing for me. The amazing people that I’ve met have helped me experience new things to help me grow. I’ve participated in EYP (European Youth Parliament), school plays, and many Rotary sponsored events. Also: my first snow, below 0 temperatures, and getting extremely lost within the bus system .

Personally, I have had many ups and downs on exchange, as everyone does in daily life. I feel I have immersed myself here so deeply that I am learning things that no one else would unless they participated in Rotary Youth Exchange. The discoveries I have made about myself and what I want to accomplish have made every metaphorical scratch and bruise to get here worth it.

I am extremely grateful for the friends I’ve made, as I know they will last me a lifetime. I’ve been extraordinarily lucky to meet many unbelievably talented and loving people.

I am now writing this while my new host family’s cat tries to find its way onto my keyboard. I’ve adjusted to this new country to a point of normalcy that still amazes me. Though I still dream of the warm beaches in Florida as it’s snowing uncontrollably outside of my window, I don’t want to leave this country that has somehow made its way into my heart.