Monday, 17 October 2016

Student exchange in Lithuania - Day 1

It is 7.30 pm local time in Lithuania and we are having dinner in a restaurant of some peculiar name (oh, those Baltic languages – so beautiful, fairylike, but unpronunceable). We are sitting at a table and Mila, Erinc, Gunay and I are waiting for our fish. Asta says it is a sea fish, they need to go to the Baltic to catch it; we are laughing while Zsuzsanna, Agnes, Andrea and Anna are enjoying their salads, Gema and Ana Maria as well.
In a nice camaraderie we are sharing experiences with our students, duties and schedules, literature, languages and dialects. Asta is describing life in Skuodas and I am asking her where the bars are. Where do Skuodas people drink and dance? We would like to see their hostelries, but Asta says they intoxicate at home...
Earlier in the afternoon I was taking a walk with Mila, Erinc and Gunay and we were looking for a place to have a cup of coffee.  We walked through the town and found a river, a beautiful river. I adore the beauty of rivers, especially in autumn. We walked the wide, straight, clean streets surrounded by high trees. It was very silent, peaceful, tame, good and friendly. We came across a small coffee bar and snuggled in. Erinc loves to talk about our Vesna, calling her a Viking queen. The coffee is extraordinary and the chocolate cake is delicious. All the food in Skuodas is very tasty -  pastry, vegetables, fish and meet, everything is authentic and natural just like people, they are authentic, genuine and very beautiful.

We spent the morning from 9 am to 2 pm at Skuodas high school. The gymnasium is named after Pranciškaus Žadeikio, a renowned philosopher and humanist from the 19th century. There are 350 students in 11 classes. We are fascinated by its grandness, long halls, high ceilings and walls with nicely framed photos of all school-leavers back to 1975. Classrooms are specialized and well-equipped, the school is dignified and it indicates long tradition and solemnity. Our students are with their peers, attending classes of Biology, Chemistry, Russian language, Latin and other. We are attending Lithuanian language class held by the students who are teaching us the history of language, dialects, sounds, they are teaching us to count and they are giving us Lithuanian names. Later we are invited to the teacher’s room to enjoy our coffee, juice and cakes. The headmistress Gražina is with us, cheerful and genuine she gives confidence. We are back in the classroom, attending an English lesson. Students are wearing uniforms, dark blazers and they are very neat, modern and communicative. Their communication with the teacher is perfect. During the break we meet our Magdalena, Romano, Jelena, Tonina, Antonia and Vanna. They are in a good mood, always in a merry company, laughing, cheerful and curious, full of impressions. They are showing off their new Lithuanian, Italian, Turkish, Spanish and Hungarian friends. It is a small world and we get along so well. Lunch is in the school canteen and the food is delicious.
Then we are honoured to meet the mayor in the Town hall. We are watching a presentation about the beautiful Skuodas and its sites. We take a group photo and we part in good atmosphere.
The four of us go looking for the coffee bar,  I mean the Turks, Mila and me. And the students...we meet them in the park, by the river, in the streets, they are in groups, happy and smiling. Who says it is cold in Skuodas? It is a sunny day, there is no wind, it is calm and peaceful.
Frankica Peronja

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