Merhaba Türkiye… again…

I couldn’t grasp that I have already landed in Istanbul after seeing spectacular view of the city through the plane window, when officer suddenly started to flirt with me. While checking my passport, he expressed his thoughts about my beauty. At the same moment I understood, nothing changed since the last time I was in this country. Turkey is still Turkey.

Two days after, I was waiting for a friend in Taksim square. A man came to me and told me: “Doyouwannadirinkcola”. What? Do you want to drink cola? It was hard to stop laughing of such a straight forward strategy. Next evening somebody in the street was offering tea… I don’t know these people. But… I can’t be surprised. I have already spent too much time in Turkey, so I can not pretend that I don’t know, how Turkish do not hesitate approaching foreigners and especially girls.

First time I came to Turkey in 2013 February for my first semester as an exchange student. Since then, because of interesting and romantic twists in my life, I officially entered Turkey six times and I spend around 10 months in this country. And now, I am again settling down in Istanbul for at least next 4 months…

Now I am not so surprised or feeling exited about everything around me. In my face you can see a wise smile, because I overcame “integration period” 1.5 year ago. Now, I feel somehow local… As much, as foreigner could be.

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The first morning and I am already trying some East Turkey traditional  bride accessories

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Voices in my head

It was supposed to be an Erasmus+ project about youth opportunities and rights in EU. At least, I thought like this. However, more than week close to Zakopane (Poland) with young people from four countries, became a … teenager camp. I don’t mean, that participants were underage. I just want to say that they were acting as they would be in their sweet sixteens… And I was not exception too.

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Project was named as “Young man can have a voice”, but for me it seemed that it was more about voices in head and how to follow them. It’s hard even to try to explain the craziness of the project and participants, but I will try to mention some details of it.

Four nations in one place. Loud, naughty and sarcastic Lithuanians, competitive and friendly Romanians, always ready to drink but little bit keeping distance- Polish and… one Swedish guy. Hmmm… In first days I was making fun of his very very Slavic name and trying to convince all participants that he is a Russian spy, because he doesn’t eat Polish apples. Later he got a new nickname – “The IKEA heater”… He was one of the favorite victims to tease and we enjoyed it. Most important that he had good sense of humor, so no one was insulted and he still wish to come to Lithuania…  Continue reading

searching for direction

I love that feeling when I am walking on empty road and I am surrounded by fields and forests. It’s so quite that the only thing interrupting silence can be wind running between branches of trees. At this moment I feel part of environment and I can hear myself. Sometimes I know answers for questions I still can not ask. So it takes time. I need to make many steps to find out, what’s going on inside me.

I started to feel that I’m lost. I have to rediscover direction, because now I don’t feel like I am fullfilling my life. It’s like floating without managing to reach any shore. Because I don’t know, where I want to be. Continue reading

The Dream Team

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Studying in Georgia was really wonderful experience, because of people around me. My „Eastern European family“- group of young, wild and unique students. Each of us had very different personality, but we managed to tolerate differences and felt like family. It was so special. Together we were Living, Laughing, Partying, Complaining… and of course, Travelling.

Honestly, I was not so much into exploring Georgia every weekend. It was my third time in this Caucasus country.  Once you have seen monastery, you know, all of them will be almost same. Once you have visited Capadocia in Turkey, none of other cave town will be comparable to it. So, if I was travelling around, I was doing that, because of the process, but not destinations. Hitchhiking and good company- it is a guaranty for a good trip.

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My trip to Abkhazia. The country that doesn’t exist

If you’re interested in visiting Abkhazia, it’s not so difficult, as you can guess. You have to fill out application at the Abkhazian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website and after few days check your email box for an authorization letter. Print it and it’s your permission to cross “the border”. I strongly recommend crossing it from Georgian side. If you will do it from Russian territory and later you will try to continue to Georgia, you can be punished as crossing Georgia’s territory illegally and you’ll have opportunity to discover local prison for two years. You need Ingur border crossing, which is next to Zugdidi city. To reach it, you can by bus, train… or by hitchhiking, as I did with my lovely travel buddy – Edita. Hitchhiking in Georgia is always amazing, so we reached border really happy.

First of all, we visited awesome Georgian officers. They were interested, why we’re going to Abkhazia and gave as some tasty nectarines. After asking me, how many days we will be there, I answered “Four days. If we won’t come back, start search for us“. Stupid joke, because… they can not cross the border. Georgians can not visit Abkhazia (or they must to have a status of IDP- Internationally Displaced Person), but Abkhazians as the citizens of Georgia’s territory (as almost all world believes) can visit Georgia. Doesn’t sound fair…

Welcome to Zugdidi Continue reading

Quite a country. Or maybe not. Abkhazia

The negative outcome of traveling a lot and frequently living abroad- is having difficulties to feel excitement again. Ahh… first times were so bright! All tastes, smells and noises. But finally cities started to be so similar, architecture and landscape not fascinating anymore, less surprises and challenges on the road. After traveling became the way of my life, I am not able to reach that excitement I had first times. Although,  I’m still not able to settle down. Drugs- they are such a good analogy! The first dose suppose to be the best. Later, to reach same effect you need more or stronger ones. So it’s time to change the way of traveling. Couchsurfing and hitchhiking still give me vibes, but places not so much. I wish to go to South America, deeper to Middle East or maybe Africa, but at this moment I don’t have opportunities to do that. So, why not to go somewhere where is… kind a forbidden place? Why do not go to a territory, which is recognized as an independent state just by Russia and few other countries, but doesn’t have international recognition? Where does kidnapping sometimes happen and bombs were falling not so many years ago? “Elementary, my dear Watson. Because it’ dangerous”. Maybe yes, maybe no… maybe doesn’t matter. After all,  “Danger” definition depends on the perspective.

The idea to go to Abkhazia was really attractive for me. As for a traveler who needs something new and as for a political science student who loves compare her theoretical knowledge gained from literature and lectures with “touchable” reality. And also, I wanted to get to know Georgia from all side. But wait, is it Georgia or not…?

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Things I learned in Georgia- Part 3

Georgia taught me so many different and surprising things, that I could never guess I will learn. Maybe it even changed me as a person. I became more patient, more relaxed and ready to accept all different “surprises” in my road of life.  You have to become person like this, if you want to survive in messy Georgia. In the beginning it was annoying, but after sometime I started to enjoy it…and now I am even missing it. Maybe it’s some kind of “Stockholm syndrome”?

1. I wish to say, I will never miss these moments, when I’m coming back home after hot day/crazy night, and… there are no water. At all. How many evenings I was going to sleep after washing my face with Likani or Borjomi mineral water? Another situation- exam session. I am pretending, that I am studying. Bah! No internet. Options: to go to nearest bar with internet or to visit part of family aka neighbors living in “Depresuha”…But you know, you will not study there. I guess once or twice even electricity disappeared… Ahh, my lovely Georgia!

2. Tbilisi State University… I guess, it’s one of the best universities in Georgia. But the lack of organizational abilities and competence sometimes was really killing me. My patient was tested by lecturers who were late for their classes and keeping students to wait …Or sometimes not appearing at all, because they…hmm…forgot. Wonderful syllabus of courses comparing with the quality of real classes. Last weeks decisions like “You don’t have to give final paper.” But  I already had it! The feeling, I don’t know when/where/why this course exist?

However, I loved smoking breaks with professor next to the university window in corridor. I loved discussions about things I am interested in. I loved teachers who really taught me something…and was bringing wine to the last lectures.

3. As I have already mentioned about punctuality, I want to continue about  time. In Georgia I learned that exist normal time and… Georgian time. 5 minutes normal time =20 minutes Georgian time (or more). If you have a meeting with Georgian, don’t bother yourself about coming on time or at least bring a book. It will take time until Georgian will show up. Of course, few exceptions exist and some of them will come on time. Continue reading

Things I learned in Georgia-Part 2

If somebody would ask me to describe Georgia in one word, it would be “Hospitality”. Maybe second choice  would be “Drunkenness”. After short time in Caucasus, you can understand, that it is the perfect country to have Borjomi springs, after drowning in wine rivers…

1.The first words you can learn in Georgia are: gaumarjos(cheers for all), gagimarjos(cheers for you), khvino (wine), ludi (beer) and chacha (stronger version of vodka). And they will be the most useful for all time you will be in this country.

2. Chacha is not a dance. It’s a killer, which makes your brain to dance for a moment and after it – to shut down. Never, NEVER drink it after hours of consuming wine or beer (or both). You will puke or you will have black out …or if you lucky, you will just pass out.

3. Another advice- avoid horns. It’s some very special way of drinking in Georgian style. You have horn (it can be small or artificial one and big) and after long toast you have to drink it bottoms up. So, in a minute you have to drink around 400ml wine(if it’s the big one, like in the picture). Outcomes similar as after Chacha.

It’s better  not to tell, what had happened after it… My lovely drinking buddies- Otto and Linas :D Continue reading

Things I learned in Georgia- Part 1

I feel, that it’s a time to tell the truth about the awesome and magical place called Georgia. It’s a pity, I was not writing my blog during the time I was there…The main and quite shameful reason- I was or drunk, or trying to get sober. And sometimes I was too busy  catching up the things I have to study for university. Also, it was too personal to write about all stories happened to me and my family- people I lived together. But now, I am at home and I remember everything with a warm feeling inside me and smile on my face. No mistakes, no regrets -just crazy time of the life when you are young and stupid.

But for now, not about it. Let’s talk about the things I learned  in crazy Caucasus country.

1. There are the place in the world where traffic rules do not exist. If you want to  cross the road be ready to be fearless. Green, red, yellow…does not matter. Just trust your luck and be self-confident. Do not stop moving and look to driver’s eyes. If you will stand next to the road, they can feel your doubts, so they will not stop for you. Just move and they will slow down. It’s too problematic for them to smash you and clean their car after it.

2. Georgian drivers- are crazy drivers, but really experienced. You need to be a pro, if you want to manage to drive and not to kill any cow, goat, ship, horse, duck… on the road, that will appear quite often.

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3. If you are hitchhiking, be sure, you are hungry. 75% drivers will feed you. To say “No”, not allowed and disrespectful. But you can manage to avoid offers to drink (even if many of them will have really good homemade alcohol in their car).

4. Yes, they will ask you, your number/facebook/vkontake(?) or odnoklassniki(??) account name. To keep in touch and to meet again to eat shashlik.

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Do not leave your country!

As the person who people can call addicted to travels and living abroad, now I can give you advice- Don’t do it! It’s too difficult… to come back to reality. And even it feels too painful, too depressing and too hard to move on.

Yes, I’m again suffering from that natural shock coming back to my country. And it’s not first time. Of course, I know that finally, I will get rid of this suffer. However, the only way I can manage that feeling as fast as possible is… going abroad again. Sounds kinda like drug, isn’t? I need to travel more and more, and if I’m not getting it, I start to experience something like hangovers or unpleasant drug withdrawal syndrome. Yes, I am addicted. And every time, after coming back, it’s harder and harder to stay for me here…

During this dark-term, I hate myself for putting to same suffer every time as I step my foot on motherland’s ground. I remember how much I was crying leaving America, because I knew- my life won’t be the same as it was during my crazy summer in New York state… It was even hard to breathe while tears were running through my face, when my Erasmus sister from Canada left me in Turkey… I knew, that she was so important  in my life and I didn’t want to loose her. After coming home I was feeling so empty, because I left my first love in Istanbul (of course, it’s different story because I came back…). And now… I found my crazy Eastern European family in Georgia and very important people who taught me something, that I couldn’t learn by myself… But  I left that life again and I won’t have it anymore.

Why it’s so hard for me to come back, but it’s not a problem to leave Lithuania? First, I always have a place to come back. And nothing is changing here. People still here, just…yeah… we are getting distant in friendship, because our lives are moving in different directions…

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