CCTE: Breakfast, Lithuania

Deborah McCollister
“From Cowboy Boots to Snow Boots: A Frontier Spirit in Lithuania”

taught writing and lit in Lithuania with LCC International University

hands held and raised = Baltic chain
thousands held hands across the nation
6 months later Lithuania declared freedom

These remain very transitional countries.

650 students at LCC
½ are from Lithuania, other ½ are from Eastern Europe

last week in August:
walked in market
bought handmade socks, meat cut that looks like

Hill of the Crosses
considered a sacred site
1961 Soviets began to destroy it
every time the Hill of Crosses was bulldozed, the people would erect crosses there again in the dark of night. Finally the Soviets gave up.

publisher in NY would not sell new book to European uni at that time
contrary to strategy for money-making
talked to the textbook representative
tell corporate that I am often on textbook committee in my home university, if they won’t let us purchase them here, I will never buy another text from this publisher.
We will also receive a discount and 10 free desk copies.

“The books smell so good.” (student said, holding carefully)

last entry of academic year:
phrase “good grief” has new meaning for me
choose dark rye bread for a taste of our other home

???Faculty are there as volunteers.
school will give money to travel there

?? overall culture? more pessimism or optimism? generational?

Younger (traditional age college students) people are very hopeful. But very active in politics.
Largest group of students who weren’t Lithuanian were Ukrainian.
hopeful but upset by governmental corruption

Belarus has an election, but only one person runs and you better vote for him.

Overall Lithuanians have reputation of pessimism.

May have noticed in Hill of Crosses. One of most popular icons is Jesus sitting with arm on knee and head on hand “sad Jesus or worried Jesus.”
They say, “He sits with us in our sorrows.”

Yes, overall sadness.
Liked to go to Old Town to buy things.
40% unemployment
with older people, I would think “What have you seen? How many friends did you lose? Were you in Siberia?”

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