Kissing – Normally when a man meets a women for the first time they don’t kiss each other on the cheek and instead they shake hands. Some people know that in my culture we kiss on the cheek so they do it with me, but it is difficult for me to know how to react. Once I was with a female friend and two of her friends, I gave her two kisses on the cheek then I tried to do that with her friends but instead they gave me a hug and you could see the WTF face they had. Most fascinating thing I see is when girls want to congratulate very close female friends regarding an event, birthday or achievement. They give a quick kiss in the mouth to each other. How cool is that ?!
Crossing the streets – Cars stop when you pass the Zebra, something very unusual in many Latin countries. Most of Lithuanians respect the traffic lights, and it is interesting to see green, red and YELLOW lights for pedestrian. WOW !
Super Market Card – Everytime you use your supermarket card you will get some credit in your card. But what really fascinates me is the fact the if you have to pay 81 Litas with 14 cents, the cashiers tells you: – Would you like me to get 14 cents from your card, so at the end you pay me Lt 80,00 instead of Lt 81,14 ?? Of course I want !!! So I get rid of the annoying cents as a change. Rock and roll !!!
Sun – You can easily find people saying goodbye to you and add the phrase “hope tomorrow to be a sunny day”. I always took the sun as a normal and usual thing in my daily life, but in Lithuania it was a big event, especially during winter. The lack of sun in the northern hemisphere is so big that when sun shines it brings happiness and hope for people at the same time brightening their lives.
Soviet Times – Lithuanian still blame a lot aspects of their personality with the soviet influence in their country.
Soviets even tried to eradicate the Lithuanian language from the face of the Earth, but some brave people could save it. I have friends that refuse to learn Russian and others that still appreciate the language. Compared to Latvia and Estonia, Lithuania has a smaller Russian speaking population. That might be the reason why the government protects a lot the language and a law was passed that forbade the use of international characters to new companies’ names. Really impressive.
But sometimes people exaggerate, as once I was part of a conference and told the organizers that most of Lithuanians were shy and didn’t want to ask questions, the answer I got: “It is because of the soviet times”. As a matter of fact, later in the conference Lithuanians were very open, and I had this experience in many countries in Latin America as well. So here comes the importance to have an experience abroad, it could open your mind to many things.
Soviet residences– You can still find a lot of soviet style residential buildings in many cities. The space inside the apartments is very compact and inside you can still find old soviet designs and some rooms that look like a museum. If you are lucky, you might find a carpet on the wall. I found this carpet thing very peculiar and interesting, though is very difficult to clean them.
Check my other posts related to Lithuania:)
#1 Work Enviroment
#2 Cultural Shocks
#3 More Cultural Shocks
#4 Kissing, streets, sun and soviet times
#5 Girls Girls Girls !!
#7 You are (not) my friend
#8 Beach walk, flowers, quiz and mosquitoes