Laaabas! My name is Eleanor and I am a hippie bus. This summer, I was chosen to be THE one, which will get this unique opportunity of carrying 6 strangers around Lithuania. Nice and easy job, you’d think? Well, not exactly.
So, you would like to know how was it? To tell you the truth, after those 4 weeks I cannot recall all what I’ve experienced during this journey. But I’ll tell you what, for them I might have seemed quite and dumb all the time, but in fact – I heard, saw and felt EVERYTHING. All their conversations, all their thoughts, all their emotions. So you think you have watched all the photos and videos, read all the articles and now you know what REALLY happened during the project? Shhh… my child, you know nothing. Since this is the last piece of the RoadTrip diary, let me share with you some pieces of their personal stories. Because I’m Eleanor and I know things.
The one where wild Mediterranean appears
So Lithuania is very different from my country. Example no. 1: it’s not raining that much. But it’s OK, I was a scout once so I know how to survive in extreme situations. But the thing I really cannot understand about this country, is freezing water in the sea. Seeing Baltic Sea for the first time in my life, when we visited Palanga, was a remarkable experience. And the sand was not burning my feet! Other beautiful things to discover were the dunes in Nida – just like a desert, but a cold and windy one.
Cool weather conditions recompensed with warm atmosphere of music, which surrounded us all the time. When we visited the absolutely unique Vinetu Village, I felt like in heaven. In the evening we all sat in the biggest tepee, with bonfire inside, and the owner of the camp gave us Indian instruments to play with. It was just like a jam session! The next time when I felt like this happened in Šilutės, in a Culture Centre. We heard live traditional Lithuanian music, played by a professional musician. Plus, we were treated in a typical, extremely hospitable Lithuanian way – with food and drinks. Apart from all this, I still sometimes felt nostalgic for my country. But guess what? A little part of Italy appeared unexpectedly, when we were staying in a beautiful place called Sodyba "Eve“. In one of the bathrooms we found a bidet! Some of my teammates have seen it for the first time. I couldn’t believe that – how can you live without it...?
The one from the Hunger Games
Today I saw a cat. It was SO CUTE; little and black and it was running away from me but I didn’t care – I love you, cat. I could play and feed him all day long, but we had to move for another adventure. Those Hunger Games are killing me. OK, I was trained for this at school, so I could manage perfectly with shooting arrows and extreme camping, but come on – walking in swamps? When we visited Šilalė, the amazing young people from Youth Centre ‘Pulsas’ took us for a trip in the forest, where we took a challenging stroll in the mud. And because I’m quite tiny, I thought I’m gonna stay there forever. Luckily, my friends helped me survive those sticky moments. The expedition continued: they made us climb the trees in the Adventure Park and, when we were in Tauru Parkas, we had to sleep on the trees, too! So as you see, I’m becoming a true ninja here.
Although, I must say that I’m experiencing some brief times of joy. It’s always a relief not having to run and fight for my life every time I cross the street; the drivers are so polite in Lithuania. In my country (funny fact: it consists of 7107 islands!) it’s really different. Apart from that, one of my biggest dreams came true. When we were in Palanga, the city which I liked the most, we had a chance to try ourselves in the roles of the radio stars. We participated in the radio audition in radio LRT, and it was absolutely unforgettable! The best part though happened in Kaunas, where in BlueOrange bar I took part in the Xbox competition – and I won! I even got a delicious award – can I keep it?
The one with maternal instinct
I really didn’t realize what I’m putting myself into, when, at the beginning of the trip, I said to the interns ‘don’t worry guys, I will take care of you!’ They really took it seriously. They started to call me their ‘mamma’ (and because I speak the language, they tried to translate it to Spanish. But guys, ‘mamasita’ doesn’t particularly mean ‘mother’!). Anyway, every day I heard the same set of questions, with ‘where are we eating today?’ and ‘is there wifi?’ as the most common ones. Luckily for them I am the best mom in the world and we had a chance to eat in some really nice places, as for example Bulvinukė in Palanga. And when we were staying in a Honey Valley campsite I was kindly offering them delicious cookies all the time.
Still, there were some advantages of being a Lithuanian mother for a bunch of strangers from foreign countries. I discovered that I can raise them all the way I want it and so I made them learn Lithuanian language all the time. It was perfect, because at some point I was really tired of translating everything for them. I figured – why not make them believe that speaking Lithuanian is easy? My best student was Kamia, who learnt to introduce herself fluently in my language, but what’s better – I even trained her to order food in the restaurant by herself – all in Lithuanian! There were also some other nice moments, where I could transfer all my maternal love to animals, too. Just to mention amazing animal shelter or a winter garden, where I could touch a cute little bird – a dream come true!
Because you see, it’s not like something starts and then ends. It just starts... and goes around – but never stays the same. And so they just went each other’s ways in every direction possible, but they surely didn’t go the same way they came from. They took off for other adventures, much richer with what they've experienced, survived, seen, heard and been through. At some point they all put their backpacks on their backs for the last time on this trip. Was the luggage lighter or they’ve just got used to constant carrying all their belongings with them? It was filled with memories counted in every measure - hours of long conversations, decibels of loud laughter, miles of walks, liters of rain and kilograms of eaten potatoes.
Damn son, it was a hell of a ride. And as challenging it was, for sure it made me happy too. Ladies and gentleman, let me introduce you one more time to my children, who I carried through this crazy Roadtrip. 6 strangers - the most random family on earth.