First I was really lucky to have gone to France before the virus really hit here. I visited my host brother Joris (who my family hosted last year). It was a really wonderful trip for a bunch of reasons. Firstly, where he lives is absolutely beautiful; Annecy France, a smaller city by Switzerland. I also got to visit to Lyon and Geneva for a day, both lovely cities. Of course, I love French food; cheese and bread, and then some more cheese 😉 But the most interesting part of this trip was to meet my host brother’s family. After living with him for five months, I loved being able to see the family that made him the person that he is. The day I got back from France was Lithuanian Independence Day, which I spent with the other exchange students. We went on a hike through the capital to celebrate, and I got to watch a parade & my host grandma made these really delicious pancakes that they only eat on special occasions!
Now talking about the virus. My euro tour was cancelled, and a trip to Poland I had planned. There is no school, and we are stuck inside because the weather still is not that great. BUT I am making the best of it. Everyday I try to wake up and do something productive. I exercise, study Lithuanian, and spend time with my host family. I have done some painting, and admittedly have watched a lot of netflix. I’ve called friends and family back home; basically have done everything you could think to do if you have been inside for 3 and a half weeks. For a few of the days that we actually have had good weather, my family and I went to their “fazenda.” It’s my host dad’s grandfather’s house, and let me tell you, it is OLD. Over 100 years! There is no running water, which means using an outhouse. When we were there we did preparations for the spring and summer. We cleaned out the garden and did a lot of raking. My favorite thing was the grilled chicken my host dad made on the fire. I’m hoping the weather gets really nice soon so we can go more often, because it is beautiful. You are surrounded by only fields, and you feel peaceful.
Some people have asked why I’m not coming home. First of all, I have a sister who has a very weak immune system. I feel as though right now it is more dangerous to travel than to stay in Lithuania, and I would be worried to spread the virus to my sister if I were to return home. In addition, I still don’t feel as though my time in Lithuania is finished. I would rather be in quarantine here for two more months, with the possibility of having one last month of a “real” exchange, than to return home now. Even being in quarantine on exchange is an experience. I’m spending time with a wonderful host family, eating the food, and learning the language. There really is nothing more I can ask for, except for all of YOU to stay inside, and to wash your hands 🙂 I’m hoping to come home to a country out of quarantine!! Thank you Rotary for helping us during this strange time.