What’s up in Dzukija?

Consider the Merkys river. It comes from another place/country (Belarus), it flows in Lithuania and goes through rapid and slow pace until it reaches Nemunas river in a small town called Merkinė. This town will come in handy :D. These last few weeks I have been feeling like Merkys river due to both obvious reasons (related to my origin) and recent full month planning.

First things first…I have been recently started a sort of “English Club” addressed to the whole Dzukija’s staff. I had no idea of how many people would have wanted to join this activity but it turned out that a lot of people wanted to learn English (or at least more than I expected 😉 ). On Friday I move to Merkinė, the other ‘headquarters’ of Dzukija National Park, where I (mostly the staff) get an ‘English’ refill XD. This town is located at the confluence of the Merkys and Nemunas rivers. For further information about this visitors’ centre click here. The best for them is that, in each centre, they are divided in two groups: beginners and intermediate. Each meeting focuses on specific subject matters like grammar, vocabulary and culture. See pictures above.

Known the whole ‘family’, it was time for my ‘official launch’ in this in-love-with-nature yet full of surprises world, the Dzukija National Park. Someone might get a little bit confused… ‘launch???’ Does it mean that the staff did not know who you are? Surely, I had been introduced to most of the people working in this national park but, on the 17th of May, I had the possibility of telling them something more about my country, my city and above all myself. I had prepared a PowerPoint presentation where I explained most of the typical Italian stereotypes such as talking loudly and with gestures (something that they might have already noticed thanks to me XD). I also explained the beauty of my city, the reasons why I decided to apply for an EVS experience here and my expectations. I was accompanied by Rima, my colleague, who played the role of English – Lithuanian translator. After lots of words, it was time to make Lithuania meet Italy and more specifically Bari. I prepared all by myself two large portions of ‘Focaccia’, a typical local plate halfway between bread and pizza with lots of tomatoes, olive, oregano and olive oil. Focaccia was offered with traditional plates like Šaltibarščiai (the cold red soup). See the pictures above. I think they liked it a lot.



Dzukija National Park can always benefit from some public events to make itself known. Therefore, the next day a little group formed by people from Varena Cultural Centre, Vilnius Cultural Centre, my tutor, my mentor and I moved to Kaunas where several touristic and cultural attractions from all over Lithuania prepared stands and promoted their park, centre and so on. I helped with the preparation and I also talked with some random English-speaking tourists. There was not much time to explore this city that I discovered it served as temporary capital of Lithuania during the interwar period, while the traditional capital of Vilnius was part of Poland between 1920 and 1939. Some wandering around made me realise that this city is prominent in several cultural and entertainment areas. That day happened to be the day of the final match for Euroleague Basketball so there were wide screens and tons of people watching, cheering and emotively involved in this event. That reminded me of the well-known Italian football addiction XD.



And things continue to evolve, day after day…just like a river.


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