I’ve spent my first month in Vilnius…..and the question everyone is asking my wife…….how is Tom getting on??? It seems to be a common national dilemma. How could an Englishman move to Lithuania.. surely he will hate it, how could he survive?? How long will he last?
The answer to the question? Well, I’ll answer that in a moment, but first let me turn the table and examine the question from the other side. Lithuania seems to be obsessively self-depreciating. The national conscience seems to veer towards negativity. I’ve been told “the traffic in Vilnius is impossible.” “The water park is too overcrowded”……”don’t try this it will be bad.” I’m a glass half full kind of guy. And so far Lithuania has been like visiting one of those restaurants where you get free refills! Because the local people are perpetually talking everything down, my expectations are exceeded in every occasion. I have to say, it’s wonderful!
The weather has been great. I arrived when there was 30cm of snow on the ground and sub-zero temperatures in early April. But within a week it was ready to barbeque outside weather! Amazing! I never saw such a swing in climate in my life. So missing the winter is probably giving me rose tinted spectacles. As an Englishman, summer means not wearing a coat. Anything above 18 °C warrants shorts and a T-shirt. I’ve noticed that I am conspicuous in this habit. I look in amazement at the locals in winter coats in 20 °C heat! But there is total solidarity amongst the resident population in their unanimous choice of long sleeve clothing – I am the only one in (just) a short sleeve!
But the more I discover in Vilnius, there more I like. I see a booming city with real energy and a blossoming identity. I’ve found a vibrant city that has been far more hospitable than I was expecting with genuine warmth and a healthy dose of curiosity from the locals.
My journey in Lithuania has just begun, but an exciting adventure lays ahead of me…
To be continued….