I just returned from four incredible days in Vilnius, Lithuania. To see the back story of why i went (heres a link)
I had two days to wander the city myself and one and a bit days to walk it with two new friends who have been in missions for decades, and we were there to scope out a prayer meeting for the area to seek the next step for us there.
To try help process for me, and to tell the stories for others, I thought I would chronicle a bit of it here over the next few days.
So my journey to Vilnius was an interesting one as I was flying out of an airport an hour outside Oslo, but I couldn’t figure out a direct way there, I had to go through Oslo and then come back out. And, as I was flying out at 6am, i had to sleep at the airport. I got to the Oslo central station to wait for my bus and I was just sitting down calmly to drink some water and eat some snacks when my bottle of water exploded. It went everywhere. For some reason Swedes love their bottled water with bubbles and I had walked around shaking it up in my bag. It was such a shock.
I got on the train, and there was an announcement over the PA and I almost absent-mindedly asked the guy next to me what she said, and he paused, realised I hadn’t understood because I don’t speak Norwegian, then realised the announcement was quite important, giggled and said “Oh we have to get off the train because its broken” HAHHAH So we all got off and waited in the freezing 10pm air and then finally got to the Airport.
I am now a youthful 29 years old. And when i think back to my 24th year and the amount of airports I slept in, I remember it being something easy and normal for me to just lay on the floor and fall asleep. Now, its a little different, especially in colder airports, my body gets all “WAAAAA-Y” about colder floors. So i attempted sleeping between a chair and a table, but my hips hurt. So then I walked around, and found a table that I could at least lean on without my hips hurting. So I went in and out of sleep for a good amount only to wake an hour before my flight to realise I hadn’t checked in properly and the internet wasn’t loading any of the check in sites. NOOOOO. So i paid a ridiculous fine which made even the information desk clerk a little sad, and I rushed to security. (This whole process taught me a lot about the system and how my brain works, but more about that laters)
Slept on the plane, landed in Vilnius, got some sweet new moneys and had an awful coffee and looked at a map. There was a train, a bus, a mini bus and taxis. I walked to the train, – it only comes once an hour starting from five minutes ago when the last one came. Taxis weren’t East Timor cheap so i passed on them. And i saw a group of people waiting for a bus so I naïvely thought “Well… they must be going where i want to go” Not having a clue where it was going, I got on. And not having a clue how to pay for tickets, or having the coinage to pay what I thought was the cost, I sat in front of an old woman who pointed to the map when we got to the outskirts of where I was going. What I thought she said was “Yeh, we are at the city, but if you stay for a little longer, we will be where you want to go” What she actually said was “You should get off here because we will soon go off your map entirely. So, less than an hour in the city and I’m completely lost and as I’m way out of the city centre, the amount of english speakers seems to dwindle. (Later I found out everyone under 20 speaks it fine)
So I dawdle around, I find an english speaker who directs me to a non english speaker who didn’t want to join my hand gestures and waving to get a bus ticket, so instead I found the bus going the opposite to my last one and rode it until the river. – My only recognizable land mark at that stage. And like all buses world-wide, there was the awkward physical touch boundary, the random guy that smells of stale beer, the funny old woman who doesn’t care and the two young guys who rang each other from opposite ends of the bus and giggled a lot.
At the river I got out and started walking, it was raining, I was in a new city, and I was determined to wander, with no plans, no goals other than to see the city, the people and hear whatever God wanted me to hear by bringing me there.