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. . .