Monday, August 18, 2008

Klaipeda and the Staves

Our first stop in Eastern Europe is in the Baltic Sea state of Lithuania. We are staying with our friends Kim and Andrew Stave, of George Fox fame. I worked for Kim when I was at Fox (as a house manager) and Trina was also one of her residents. We've very much enjoyed the familiarity and memory sharing of our time with Kim and Andrew.

They live in Klaipeda on the cost of Lithuania--they work at Lithuania Christian College, an ecumenical school whose primary goal is to foster moral leadership (don't read this in the American political milieu too much) in the former eastern block by developing morally, socially, and intellectually integrated leadership skills in their students. Obviously an ambitious project!
They've given us a nice tour of Klaipeda--up and down the main streets, to the marketplace and the meat market, the great eateries (we had amazing Ukranian food last night), and the important squares and landmarks. We also spent some time at the beach on a spit that juts out near the port (and near an enclave of Russian territory that is not connected to the main country by geographic means). It's been great fun.

We've also enjoyed their hospitality, of course, and their dear little girl Ieva (the Lithuanian iteration of "Eve"). She's an absolute doll--doing something cute at every turn. She's in that three year old little person stage, which I have to be honest, is about the only stage I really look forward to if I have children (well, there is the post-collegiate one too).

It seems that the primary story for this area of the world is the soviet/post soviet dichotomy. There is the old--the standard Stalinist dormitory looking buildings--the transition--the too quickly built and unfinished because of poor planning--and the new, the restorations and the steel and glass. Each have their own distinct character and bear witness to the complexities of the culture at the time. We weren't quite ready to dive into Euro-Russian history yet (despite my love for such subjects) after all life of fjordland hikes. But we are glad we have, and we are adjusting well to our new surroundings.


kim, andrew & ieva said...

Yay, Ron & Trina! We're so glad you're here!!

Matthew and Lisa said...

Wow their little one is ADORABLE!!!!