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Exciting Morning

Hoo boy. It's not even 9:00 A.M., and there's already been Stuff Happening.

First of all, I spent about forty minutes on the Intarwebz and on the phone with the Pony Parents researching and booking my flights to and from Vilnius this summer. I'm going to be attending the Vilnius Yiddish Institute's Summer Program, a month-long intensive Yiddish course at Vilnius University. There will be classes in the mornings, and trips around Vilnius in the afternoons, and musical performances in the evening. This will be fun, and an adventure, and incredibly exciting, and is in fact the whole reason that I took Yiddish this year, so I could enter the Vilnius Program at something other than rank beginner level.

However, fun and entertaining as this program is, it's . . . well, it's in Lithuania, which is halfway around the world, so travel arrangements are exciting, where by "exciting" I mean "totally confusing and nerve-wracking." All you Europeans who wonder why Americans hate traveling to Europe? Part of the reason is that there's a really big ocean between us and Europe, and crossing it is a major pain in the ass. But I'm going to do it, because the reward is that I get to spend a month in Lithuania.

The Pony Parents want me to leave from the East Coast, so I can spend some time with them before I leave. Fine. I looked up flights from Boston, and discovered that, in fact, the best place to depart to Lithuania is New York, from JFK. Okay. No problem. After a little noodling with dates, I had narrowed down the flights to two finalists: A flight on Finnair, with a layover in Helsinki, or a flight on (who knew?) Aer Lingus, with an extraordinarily long layover in Dublin. I did give serious consideration to the Aer Lingus flight, on the theory that Dot might be able to entertain me for at least part of twelve hours in Dublin, but in the end, I chose the Finnair flight with the layover in Helsinki.

Sorry, Dot. But I would have been terrifically jet-lagged and nothing more than a Pony zombie, and it would be a weekday anyway. And the longest layover in Helsinki is only eight hours.

So, I'm all set to go to Vilnius, leaving on the 24th of July and returning the 23rd of August. This is going to be really neat!

After I bought my tickets, I breathed a sigh of relief. Then, I headed to the kitchen to make breakfast, at which point the shrilling of lots of sirens outside sent me scurrying to the windows for some free entertainment. This was the view out my bedroom window this morning:

I ended up counting about five fire trucks and one cop car, though you can't see all of them from the window. They stopped in front of my apartment building for a good fifteen minutes, but I couldn't quite see what they were doing. Eventually, they gave up and went away.

And now it's time to start the day. . .


( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 3rd, 2008 02:08 pm (UTC)
So no big handsome firemen pounded on your door? That's good, I guess. :-)

And Lithuania sounds like fun. You'll have a great time.
Jun. 3rd, 2008 03:06 pm (UTC)
I am very happy when firemen do not pound on my door while I'm still in my jammies. I much prefer firemen in their role as free street theater.

Lithuania will be awesome. Brace yourselves for a major picspam sometime in September.
Jun. 3rd, 2008 02:27 pm (UTC)
Going to Lithiuania sounds exciting. I hope you have a great time.

Well, I agree with Daw. The firemen are interesting as long as they're not evacuating your building!
Jun. 3rd, 2008 03:07 pm (UTC)
Lithuania will be really neat! I'm looking forward to it. I'll meet Yiddish students from lots of different countries, and we'll all speak Yiddish with each other while roaming around the Jerusalem of Lithuania. What's not to love?

Firemen make good street theater, as long as they stay there.
Jun. 3rd, 2008 03:51 pm (UTC)
Lithuania sounds... well, not my idea of fun (undoubtedly because I don't know that much about it), but I'm all for people taking trips that excite them. them. Which this clearly does for you. So I'm excited for you, definitely!

But I definitely "get" the Pond factor - you're right, that can be a bit rough. I usually flew into Paris or Berlin and then just took a train to Trier, so at least I didn't have any layovers on the European side of that long flight; but I agree, it does suck to have that long of a flight.

Good luck!
Jun. 3rd, 2008 03:57 pm (UTC)
There did seem to be some American carriers willing to make the trip from New York to Vilnius, but they all had layovers, and they were all much too expensive. One of the virtues of Finnair is that it's kind of cheap. But being over there for a month will make up for the flights.

I don't know much about Lithuania, either, which for me is part of the fun. I get to study Yiddish and explore a foreign country!
Jun. 3rd, 2008 04:20 pm (UTC)
Wow. Lithuania! That's awesome. Can't wait to hear about the adventures there:)

I wonder if you'll every find out why they were parked in front of your apartment. We had a fire down the street on Memorial Day and whoo boy was that exciting. It was in a dumpster and they caught it just in time before the houses really caught on fire.

Today seems to be a day for ambulances and fire trucks around here though. Two went by while I was taking a shower at 8 am this morning and another one just went by. Exciting times. I'm glad they are not stopping here!
Jun. 3rd, 2008 07:08 pm (UTC)
I asked my Hebrew teacher, who lives down the street, if she knew what was up with the fire trucks. She said she was in the shower at the time and hadn't even known about the trucks. Just one of life's little mysteries, I guess.
Jun. 3rd, 2008 04:27 pm (UTC)
lars is not fond of helsinki--i will report back if he has any recommendations about lithuania. that will be fabulous and we will miss you and look forward to all your stories when you return!
Jun. 3rd, 2008 07:08 pm (UTC)
Does Lars know of anything to do in the Helsinki airport for eight hours?
Jun. 3rd, 2008 06:15 pm (UTC)
All you Europeans who wonder why Americans hate traveling to Europe? Part of the reason is that there's a really big ocean between us and Europe, and crossing it is a major pain in the ass YOU enat me here. I seem to cross an ocean everytime I go from Europe to America, too... So I wouldn't see your reasoning as very sound, my friend...
Jun. 3rd, 2008 07:09 pm (UTC)
You may notice that, despite the big-ass ocean, I'm going! But it's hella easier to get your "other cultures" fix domestically!
Jun. 3rd, 2008 06:16 pm (UTC)
you beat me here, I meant
Jun. 3rd, 2008 09:15 pm (UTC)
It all sounds wonderful. Well, not the firetrucks, but they left. But the Yiddish Program at Vilnius and, wow, Lithuania. Different and unknown enough to be an exotic adventure yet not so far beyond our experiences as to be completely alien.
Jun. 3rd, 2008 10:48 pm (UTC)
With the fire trucks, I was mainly amused because they came and went all before 8 in the morning, and there was absolutely no hint of an emergency anywhere on the street except for the fire truck convention. Vilnius and fire trucks, all before breakfast!

I'm really looking forward to Vilnius. It's going to edge out Prague as the farthest away from home I've ever been, and I can't wait!
Jun. 3rd, 2008 09:41 pm (UTC)
That's weird about the fire trucks. But the pictures of where you live made me all nostalgic...

It's so exciting about Lithuania. I already can't wait for the pics! I'm laughing at one of the options being Aer Lingus. But yeah, 12 hours is waaaay too long.
Jun. 3rd, 2008 10:50 pm (UTC)
I was pretty gobsmacked when my Orbitz search turned up Aer Lingus, of all airlines. They seem to have a pretty regular run between Dublin and Vilnius. Who knew? And, when I saw the twelve-hour layover, I will confess that my first thought was, "Gee whiz, I could go have lunch with Dot!" Never mind that the flight would arrive in Dublin at five in the morning from New York, and I'd probably really impress all your friends by falling asleep into my food, but I did think of you.

And then I looked at the Finnair flight, and logic kicked back in.

But the pictures of where you live made me all nostalgic...

Awww. . . .
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Jun. 3rd, 2008 11:01 pm (UTC)
A postcard of Chicago, or of Vilnius? Anyway, I wouldn't know where to send it. Much better pictures to be had in September when I bore you all silly with post after picspammy post describing the place.

Last year, we had a similar fire truck convention. Again, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Very weird.
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 3rd, 2008 11:26 pm (UTC)
We'll see about the address. It might have to be one of the days before I leave, because I don't know what my internet access will be like there.
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )