(Welcome to a special series on GrowingUpAustin.com, A Lithuanian Story – All the Way From Texas. I am traveling to Lithuania this summer to teach storytelling at A.P.P.L.E., an education conference that I first taught at almost twenty years ago. The new conference is fully of mystery and adventure. The first conference gave me stories I have been telling ever since. So, I decided to write about the trips here. If you have just joined, here is a summary of the posts. I’ll return to writing about hiking, live music and art for Austin kids when I get back in July. Information is always available at AustinKidsHike.com (hiking), AustinKidsDance.com (live music) and AustinKidsDraw.com (art).)
I wrote recently about getting lost in Lithuania as soon as I arrived. Here is what happened next.
In one last ditch, completely crazy attempt to not sleep on the airport bench that night, I walked up to the information desk and asked a young lady with a friendly face and askede, “Do you speak English?”
“Yes,” she said.
Then I asked a far more difficult question, “I’m with APPLE and I can’t find my ride. Can you help me?”
“Yes, I can help you,” she said. “Your ride will be here at 2:00.”
This was feeling more like Harry Potter’s spells and magic all the time.
My ride did arrive at 2:00.
Drivers with APPLE had been coming to the airport a few times a day for a few days in a row and the lady at the information desk had been helping the drivers connect with passengers. Her seemingly magical knowledge was also a result of being in a much smaller country with one International airport that had one gate and one baggage claim that didn’t even need numbers. It made it easier to find what you were looking for, some of the time anyway.
My driver was picking up someone else at 2:00, but he was glad to see me. APPLE had incorrect flight information for me, so they had tried to pick my up the day before. And, yes, he knew where the bank was where I could get money, several people in the group would be going later in the day. And after the bank, I would have a hot dinner and a comfortable bed at night. The next day, I would have a ride to the city where I would be teaching, which I learned was Kedainiai.
I made a promise to myself to always have an address with me when I traveled. I was sure it would be a very, very, very long time before I made the same mistake again and got so lost that I didn’t know where I would sleep. It would most certainly happen again in Lithuania, for heaven’s sake… right?