Waking up to freshly baked chocolate croissants and alright coffee I was determined to see even more of old town than before, I had until the afternoon before my new friends arrived, so i bought an emergency poncho and headed straight to the cemetery just over the river.
To get there I had to go off road a lot and walk up this super creepy stair way into this street with an abandoned apartment block that had all its windows smashed in. It felt ominous, as it does with all cemeteries i go to. But i love them. They are peaceful, and in loving memory of great people. As this one was hundreds of years old and HUGE, it had amazing statues of angels protecting the deads last journey to wherever. and inscriptions in languages i didn’t understand. What i did understand was that there were a lot of polish people in this cemetery. I knew that, because i kept seeing one of my friends middle names (stanislaw) and different forms of his families name, confirmed later by talking with our hostel lady and reading up on some things, that this city was at one stage apart of a polisj/lithuanian kingdom. I kept walking as the rain lightened. Some graves were remembered and therefore kept nice and neat. Others were being lost in amongst a forest of plants and trees.
Walking away from the cemetery I was full of strangely theological questions about what happens after we die. If prayer is powerful even there. Why burial has been so important to humanity for millennia, and how comforting a cherub statue is.
I walked across old town to climb a windy hill to see an amazing view of the whole town, polka dotted by steeples and oldness that Australia couldn’t even imagine. whilst descending to street level I started sending voice messages to people back home about what i was seeing and learning. And at the same time the thoughts starting starting – where does the tension in this city go? The language tensions, the ethnic tensions, the ideological tension?
Kept walking. Tried to go to the toilet, found it cost money. Looked for food, but decided to head home to eat a strange lunch, journal and wait for my new friends.
One thing about meeting new people is the assumption you make. Both individuals had been in missions for a long time, and i assumed both of them would be that. no personality, just heroes of the faith. Now i have never met someone like that. I had emailed both of them and knew that they had personalities, but when i sat with them both i had this strange revelation.
Faith heroes are just ordinary people who say yes a lot. – not that they both aren’t excellent. but they both had normal human quirks and preferences encased in humble, servant-hearted flesh. So we went for a walk together, got some food, chatted a lot and then retired home to bed.
But before i went to bed i journaled a little and then chatted to a Russian man for a little while. He spoke about immigration and starting businesses and how he would speak russian to the elder and english to the younger. He was very cheerful and taught me a lot about the Lithuanian people. and then I slept.