Book review: Kurt Vonnegut – Slaughterhouse Five By Edvinas Matonis LEU Student

Kurt Vonnegut – Slaughterhouse 5 Book review

Kurt Vonnegut the creator of the Slaughterhouse-five novel was an American writer. In his long career he published 14 novels, three short story collections, five plays and five works of non-fiction. He is most famous for his best-selling semi-autobiographical novel Slaughterhouse-five that I will be reviewing for you. To make things clear, this novel may be considered a semi-autobiographical, because narrator of the story is the author himself, as he shows narrators identity when he says: „That was I…That was me…That was the author of this book…“. So let’s get back to business and talk about the novel. First of all, Slaughterhouse-five is the story of Billy Pilgrim‘s life, that is framed in World War 2, to be more specific in the dreadful bombing of Dresden time frame. Billy Pilgrim is a slender looking guy that was born in Ilium, New York, that was drafted for military service in the World War 2. Well, the most interesting thing about Billy is that he is not interesting character at all. He is not a hero who saves his comrades in the heat of war. He is nothing like that in this story. Billy Pilgrim is rather a dull character who is pushed through out the life without making any decisions. After witnessing these horrors of war, Billy struggles to move past the self-destructive human nature and he starts to travel through the story by jumping into different parts of his life. From this point the story becomes quite strange and absurd. He starts to jump in time when he experiences memories associated with the war. Then, Billy becomes „unstuck in time” and „has no control over where he is going next“. Due to these time jumps, he witnessed how he became wealthy optometrist, how he got married, how his children were born, how he survived a plane crash. But the most absurd thing in this story is that he believes that he was abducted by aliens. He thinks that aliens abducted and took him to their home planet Tralfamador through some kind of a time warp/black hole. Then, Tralfamadorians placed him in a zoo as an exhibit for other extraterrestrial life forms. The aliens taught him about their concept of time and how everything, even every second of time exist at once. They also taught him that death is just an unpleasant moment. Due to Billy‘s ability to jump around in timeline, he already knew these lesions when he was in bombing of Dresden. Finally, at the end when Billy was assassinated he tried to show this message to the world. He knew that he is going to die, but he did not mind it. I think that Vonnegut created a perfect portrait of a young man with the help of Billy’s character. Billy, who was drafted, thrown into the heat of war, captured, starved, yet managed to survive the terrible bombing of Dresden, while being 18 years of age. Due to this, war traumatized him so much, that in order to deal with all these horrific memories he started to hallucinate and invented an alternate reality in which he is able to jump in time. Due to these time jumps, the whole book is written in small chunks of Billy‘s life from random points. In other words, the story is not told in a chronological order. Also this novel explores themes of war and how war can affect an individual, or innocent peoples in a really tragic way. Theme of death is also quite common in this novel. But not in a sense of mourning for the dead, or fear of dying, but as a certain part of a whole existence of a person, and that we need to celebrate it while we are still here. On top of that, K. Vonnegut‘s writing style also helps reader to imagine those horrific events quite vividly.

To sum up, I know this novel sounds complex due to absurd Billy Pilgrim‘s world and all those time jump shenanigans, but it is full of irony, sentimentality, black humor and absurdity. I would recommend it to people who tend to like various science-fiction stories and have quite dark sense of humor.




Book review: Charlote Bronte – Jane Eyer By LEU Student Viltė

“Gentle reader, may you never feel what I then felt! May your eyes never shed such stormy, scalding, heart-wrung tears as poured from mine. May you never appeal to Heaven in prayers so hopeless and so agonized as in that hour left my lips: for never may you, like me, dread to be the instrument of evil to what you wholly love.”

Jane Eyer is an incredible tale about a young girl named Jane, abused and tortured throughout her childhood, school years, later on as a governess and even as independent woman. It is most certainly a love story too. Love that finds its way and conquers all. This book opens up with a 9 years old Jane telling her lifetime story. It is 19th century, story takes place in northern England countryside. Immediately you are taken back in time and as you start to read you will feel as if you are there, in England, living this story. Poor Jane tells about her not having parents and living with her cruel aunt Reed and her kids, her not being loved, but only treated like a burden. Tough childhood doesn’t get any better even then little girl is sent far away to the charity school. There she faces starvation levels of food, freezing rooms, and poorly made clothing and shoes.Despite the difficult conditions at Lowood, Jane still prefers school to life with the Reeds. She learns proper ladylike behavior and compassion, gains a more spiritual focus. After 6 years of hard work she becomes a teacher and later on faces her new challange- work as a governess in a mysterious Thornfield. This is there all the mystery and drama begins to show. After some time working in Thornfield Jane meets a man who later on turns ous is her employer and the owner of Thornfield. Both of the characters take an interest to each other, however they try to hide it. On top of that, young Jane notices some strange things happening in Thornfield as from time to time she hears maniacal laughter coming from the third story. This mystery stays on Janes minds, however she starts to realize that she is falling for her employer Mr.Rochester. Still she keeps her distance as she believes Rochester have feelings for other- beautiful Blanche Ingram. As evens move further Jane has to leave Thornfield for one month to attend her aunt, who is on her deathbed. There she discovers a huge secret, her aunt just before dying confesses about Jane’s uncle Eyer who left her inheritance. When Jane returns to Thornfield,Rochester tells Jane he will soon marry Blanche, so she will need to leave Thornfield. However, feelings of these two finally burst and they finally come clean. These two end up getting engaged and it seems as if the happy ending of the story. Hoever as I noticed that half of the book is still left I knew something will come up. And so it did. On the day of love birds wedding a strange man announces Rochester is already married to a woman named Bertha Antoinetta Mason. Jane runs away from Rochester, with a little money. She travels far away and even faces starvation until finally she gets a shelter from Rivers family. Later on, Jane finds out that Rivers family is actually her relatives family. All the members are cousins of Jane. She shares her uncle’s inheritance and even gets a proposal from her cousin John to get married and travel to India. Jane refuses and soon dreams about her true love Rochester. Having bad feeling she travels back to Thornfield, and to her horrid she finds it burnt to the ground. what about Rochester? What happens next? Does Jane get her happy ending after all? These answers I leave to find out for yourselves, dear readers.

One last thing I would like to mention. It’s a complicated love story, with unexpected plot twists that leave you shocked. Moreover, a lot of mystery and drama is involved. All human emotions such as happiness, sorrow, anger, fear, hate, and pity are also masterfully brought to life in this book. The conflicts between love and independence and conscience and passion are brilliantly shown in this book. Also, this love is at that time considered morally wrong, since Jane was from the lower class unlike Mr.Rochester. But in the end, love conqures all and nothing else matter except the passion that two lovers feel. It is a classical story with a vivid discriptions of people, surroundings and emotions. Strong and complicated people are described in the book, as well as the weak ones. You get to feel what characters felt and in your head you get to live what they lived. This is why once you start to read this book you will not want to put it away.




A glimpse into everchanging music library by Andrius Židavonis LEU

I have always believed that music defines a personality and I constantly kept eye, or rather ear, to what people are listening. The style of music does tell a lot about a person – if someone is a melancholic, or a happy and an up-beat person, or party goer… you get the idea. And thus, I will invite you to a journey not to understand me more as a person, but rather to broaden your own musical library.

Gorillaz – drawn by animation, settled for music

Thus first in the line is actually a very well know band for its unique properties. It’s – Gorillaz. Gorillaz is the only ‘virtual band’ and it consists of 4 members – 2D, Murdoc, Russel and Noodle – and every single one of them have their own personalities. In reality, Gorillaz has been created by two artists and I won’t be the one to spoil who they are, you will have to do it on your own! Gorillaz just released a new album called ‘Humanz’ just a couple of weeks ago, which I really do recommend you to listen to it.

Personally, Gorillaz really introduced me to a concept of music and created the foundation of music. At first I was actually more interested in their animation than the music (I was around 8 when I first saw them), but in time I grew fond the music they were playing.

The reason why I enjoy them now, is because their style of music cannot be defined in a single word. Every single of their album feels like a different journey through different styles of music bringing new stories about the band and extraordinary experience to the listener.

My personal favorite songs: Feel good inc., On Melancholy hill, Fire coming out of the monkey’s head.

Post rock – the modern or rather ‘rockier’ take on classical music

Jumping onto a rather peculiar style of music called post-rock and for an introduction, I believe that this song is very suitable. Instantaneously, as the name suggest, I feel the warm rays of sun bathing me. Song’s up-beat attitude create this easinesswhich immerses on the sunny summer days.Post-rock usually has no lyrics in them and as Claude Debussy said: Music would take over at the point at which words become powerless, with the one and only object of expressing that which nothing but music could express.”This realization struck me while listening to this style of music. Post-rock forces the imagination do the work. Through the marvelous combinations of sound we are sent all around the world. The only grasping idea what the song is really about is provided in the tittles of the songs and usually they are extremely weird or even funny.

My personal favorite bands: Dorena, Explosions in the sky, EF, Mogwai

Electronic music – in search of unknown

I never had a knack for electronic music, mainly – I couldn’t find a piece which I could enjoy. It’s not that I prejudicially dismissed any electronic music, I just couldn’t find the right one! And suddenly, completely out of nowhere I found ‘Baths’ and the new horizon has opened upon my eyes. I finally realized what I was looking for, it was something that no other unsynthesised instrument could achieve. This song, or rather, Baths in general, bring a lot of usual instruments, but they put little something extra and that extra is where the synthetic sound do the work. Not so long after, I embarked upon the wonders of Daft Punk. Frankly, their music is just screaming to be played at a disco party!.. which we already past several decades ago… Frankly, this type of electronic music really speaks volumes to me. It makes me dance and feel like there is a disco ball hanging above my head. It really takes me back to the times when my grandparents were still young.

Actually, they released an album several years ago, which was entirely dedicated to the disco genre, called ‘Random Access Memories’ to which I have danced my feet off.

And I really do recommend to watch the movie: Interstella 5555: The 5tory of the 5ecret 5tar 5ystem’ in which there is no other sound than songs from Daft Punk’s album called ‘Discovery’.

My personal favorites: Flying Lotus, Thievery Corporation, Baths, Daft Punk.

The good old indie rock

Frankly, I could be rambling in this section for hours without end, but out of the all indie rock bands that I have ever listened to, Typhoon triumphs. The reason why do I consider them as the best is because they focus not just on the lyrics but on the music itself. I believe, that this band would be as good as it is even without the lyrics – they have two drummers on their band, that is something to take notice of! Not only that, but the lyrics of their songs are in such a harmony with the music and it creates such an outstanding result.

But the reason why I enjoy them so much, is the way the main singer and songwriter Kyle Morton, portray his stories and emotions. Almost every single one of the songs have this dark and quite deep connotation to it, but none of them actually feel to be that way. Rather, all of them have this certain grace and grandeur to it, which really tells a lot about their perception to life. Through life, no matter how hard it gets, always walk with a head held up high.

My personal favorites: Typhoon, The Killers, The xx, Alt – j, BRNS, Florence + the Machine and many many more…

This wraps up my review on at least a fraction of my music library. I hope that you find some of these songs/bands interesting, enjoyable and eye-opening as they were for me. With all honesty, all of the mentioned sub-sections were stages of my maturity. With age, my taste in music shifted and I searched for new kids on the block and I hope it will keep on evolving. As a side note, I do trace back to roots and listen to the old songs and take a ride the memory lane.




My All Time 3 Favourite Film Directors by Stanislovas Riška

Behind every great movie, there’s a person who controls everything – the pacing, choice of actors, their actions and basically… the whole film. They are known as directors, and today I would like to talk about my 3 personal favourite directors of all time.

Master of visual storytelling, Wes Anderson is an American film director and screenwriter whose films are known for his unique artistic sensibilities. The geometric concept, meticulous color schemes, quirky characters and dialogue, dead-pan comedy and camera movements are basic elements to help the audience recognize any Anderson film.

In case of camera movements he is best known for his use of symmetry, which plays a big role in the most comic parts of his films. Film critic David Bordwell writes that symmetry can create a “static geometrical frame [that] can evoke a deadpan comic quality.” This is proven in Anderson’s work, where symmetrical goodness makes the film more interesting and, simultaneously, amusingly offbeat. When watching a Wes Anderson film, the viewer can clearly understand why this particular director serves as an inspiration to so many designers. Specifically, it’s most noticeable how much thought he puts into the color schemes, almost branding each film simply through the use of color, which also gives a feeling of a children’s story book. Most actors in Wes Anderson’s films are usually given lines that demand comedic dryness and emotional subtlety, which could very well go wrong if it wasn’t for the visual techniques that make the audience chuckle every time a character is at the center of the frame talking with no apparent sentiment at all.Anderson’s dialogue style varies from understated to matter-of-fact, delivering silly lines in an expressionless serious way and serious dialogue in an unsettling foolish way. Ridiculous situations are presented as normal occurrences, and at least one character in each film is completely obsessed with their current project, which is usually something creative.Anderson’s stylistic choices—being both loved and hated by many—have provoked much acclaim, discussions and even parodies, and he has become the recipient of in-depth scrutiny. But in my opinion he deserves none of that, for he is truly a master of his craft, for no director can make such aesthetically beautiful and quirky films as Wes Anderson. Some of the films that I recommend are: ‘’The Grand Budapest Hotel’’, ‘’Fantastic Mr Fox’’. You would also do yourself a service if you checked out his other films 😉

Would be an odd list of directors without mentioning ‘’the coolest director in the game’’ – Quentin Tarantino. When talking about directors like Scorsese, Stanley Kubrick, Hitchcock, Nolan etc. Everyones screenplay style will merge at some point. But Tarantinos screenplay is very distinctive from others screenplays.

Tarantino has a definite style, there can be no question. One could say that his style is predominantly referential, derivative, and securely rooted in films of the 70s. Tarantino is more straightforward in his film making, paying direct tribute to the 60s and 70s directors (and genres) that formed and shaped him as a young director. He liberally uses music, slow-motion, and stylized dramatic action and the kind of movie violence found in the Dirty Harry films to tell the sordid tales of grungy and morally questionable characters. His dialogue is highly stylized and quite clever. Tarantino has the power to wow you with much more style than substance. Youll have a good ride, but you might be left hungry afterwards. In the last decade, Tarantino has begun to direct revisionist revenge dramas, set in past historical periods, but featuring characters who are still unmistakably Tarantino creations. This postmodern displacement allows traditionally victimized and oppressed cultures to exact revenge on their oppressors. The two films are Inglorious Bastards, which tells the tale of an elite Jewish squad of commandos who attempt to assassinate Hitler during World War II. Django Unchained tells the story of a wrathful slave who teams up with a German mercenary to kill as many slaveholders and masters as they can. Both are ultraviolet and quite stylized and amazing. I recommend films such as the previously mentioned “Inglorious Bastards“, “Django Unchained”, but I would also add both volumes of “Kill Bill”, “Pulp Fiction ” and “The Hateful 8”.

Finally I left my favourites for last, Ethan and Joel Coen. The Coen brothers have an unrivaled and penetrating style, that has undoubtedly been influenced by film noir, 1930s screwball comedy, avant-garde theater, 1950s TV Comedyand many more.

Their movies are vast landscapes of peculiarity, filled with odd and eccentric characters who dont belong anywhere else but in their surreal landscape, which has a vague feeling of dread. Dialogue is sparse, but so incredibly effective. Characters speak with their own distinct voices, not sexy witticisms made up by the director and screenwriter, as is the case with Tarantino. In a Tarantino film, you get the vague sense that every character has the voice of Tarantino himself, and all speak using a sort of smart and sarcastic, referential dialogue. Conversely, the Coen brothers dialogue is unquestionably motivated by the character and his/her personality. Coen films often involve a crazy sequence of events, predicated upon mistaken identity, duplicity, deception, greed, revenge, or just plain, good natured agreeability, which are expertly spiced up with great pacing. They never hurry perfection, but know how to methodically unravel a riddle, and let the audience come along with them for the ride. The locations are evocative, the accents pitch perfect, the costumes indicative of time and character, the music so deliciously underscoring the film. And think of the acting. People have won a handful of Oscars for this work.

These characters are so fastidiously drawn, you cant even tell theyre acting. Their actions and words are completely and utterly motivated by character.Some of the films I recommend are: ‘’Fargo’’, ‘’Burn After Reading’’, ‘’The Big Lebowski’’ (I recommend this especially to students ;)) and my personal favourite – ‘’Inside Llewin Davis’’. But I do have to warn you, that their work is a bit harder to get into, their films do require the viewers to think throughout the film or at least give it a few re-watches.

I Hope you learned a lot about my personal favourite directors and will enjoy the recommended films 😉

Questions:

What are some of your favourite film directors?

Do you think directors perform the most important work in film-making?




My creative milestones of 2017. By Martynas Jakucevičius

Greetings. During this year I, Martynas Jakucevičius, have reached this sort of a milestone in different forms of creativity including music, poetry and fiction.

There are a few music genres that I work on. They are hip hop/rap and dark ambient. My ultimate goal is to achieve the complete synergy between these two genres and combine them into one so that the sounds of the genres would compliment but not hinder each other. Dark ambient (in the 1980s also referred to as ambient industrial or black ambient) is a genre of post-industrial music that features foreboding, ominous, or discordant overtones, some of which were heavily inspired by elements of ambient music. Often causing negative emotion in the listener. It is a genre that is usually misunderstood by people. A lot of people don`t even consider dark ambient as a music genre at all. Dark ambient is often used in horror movies to create that right atmosphere that makes horror movies scary.

I released a dark ambient mix this year

And with poetry it seems at least to me that I am improving which in itself is nice and a rewarding feeling. Here are my newest poems:

I remember
The black/white forests
I remember
The memories I hold dearest

And the time`s entropy
That sweeps them away
Such is all o`ours enemy
But none is immune
To sweet sweet decay

Decay of heart
Decay of spirit
Decay of body

Archway so dark
Betray the gimmick
Dismayed and bloody

Religious or cynic
Rich or poor
Healthy or in clinic
Guilty or pure

All face the same entropy
That sweet sweet decay
Oblivion enters me I await my doomsday

Universal being

I wander the decayed lands of yours
And so I wonder who am I
For I know who you are

For you are everything that is dear to me
Close to me, you are life, death
The sun, the moon and the stars
The mountains in the earth
The air in my chest

The endless waves of bottomless sea
The forests, the jungles, all beings
Including me, but what part of me
Only belongs to me
What is that part

Who am I, answer me
I question all of this
I witness the decay, the death and rebirth
Of life around, the land around

I place my feet in the sands
Stand still, I feel the wind
On my face as I grow old and decay

Forever

Forever blue
Forever young

Forever cruel
‘Again got stung!’

Oh the yonder
I still ponder

What lies under
The great beyond

Not behind it
Not above it

Nor the left
Nor right, in front it

But question is
A different one

Why don`t I go for the sun?
No, that would be mad

And truly sad
Remember Icarus?
That poor, poor lad

Sun is too far
For mighty legs of mine

And skinny hands
Don`t like to spar

I decline
I can`t go far

But still the wonder
As it is

For time is short
Remember this

And when your legs
Become so weak

Kick the bucket
And go to sleep

Explore the great beyond
And more

Forever young
Forever more

Forever calls

Forever`s lore

Ascension

I am on the edge of dying
Drinking, thinking about my sins
I look up, Orion`s belt

Trapped in a cage of lions
People`s emperors are burning in kilns
I`ll hang on Orion`s belt

That’s not what I was told, the liars
Living in small tins
Orion opens his arms

In a welcoming embrace
Embraced by dark star gods
I figured, humans are pawns
But now, I am among the gods
Life shifts away when the belt is tightened…
Life shifts away while the belt is tightened…

Legacy of Naught

When my soul leaves my body
You will cry from time to time
When my heart stops beating
We will go back in time

Where my heart beats again
Until my final moment
Reliving every memory
Again and again
Until you`ll move on
And the memory disappears
In the wind like dust
In a gust of wind
Part after part is forgotten
Oblivion is calling
Chilling oblivion
Dominion of the lost
Hegemony of the forgotten

My soul leaves my body
Cry from time to time
My heart stopped beating
Go back in time

To be continued… 😉

Here are the links where I usually post my works:
https://soundcloud.com/martynas-jakucevi-ius

https://allpoetry.com/Celestial_Seer




Young&Talented Writers’ Club Presents Martynas Jakucevičius and his Novel/Sneak Peak

Recently I started writing fiction. It might not be perfect or something special but to me it is a milestone. The point when you decide to write and you actually are writing is a huge step in my opinion. Here is a ‘sneak peak’ of my work:

In the year of 1374 on the darkest day of the year. A day of stark and ominous nature. Full of horrors and morbid creatures of the unnatural. A full, white moon was reflecting the false light unto the lands of an isle in the Baltic sea. The island was large in size. Old, ruined, lifeless castles, towers and villages loom the land. Countless ages have past until man refound the isle. And so, on this night a group of German knights lead by Lord Toten Wulfenburg, an exiled noble of the Holy Roman Empire who was excommunicated for sodomy and hedonism. While in truth, his ambitions got the better of him and during a failed coup he ran away with a group of loyal knights and followers. Wulfenburg was large and burly – bull of a man with long blonde hair, striking sky-blue tired eyes and a dishevelled beard. The exile was hard on him. Few injuries here and there, a walking stick reflects the injuries of a leg. His appearance has definitely seen better days. Tattered ta bard and cloak, dented and dirty armor. His sheath hides the chipped, blunt sword and blood-stained blade. His followers and companions fared a lot worse. One of the knights got his hand severed. A makeshift bandage hides the ugly stump. The other got blinded by a man-at-arms in a small skirmish with a royal patrol – the emperor`s men. Most of them bore minimal injuries. While a common soldier might have abandoned their feudal during such dark and hard times, but these men are loyal men – knights, squires and servants and even some of the ladies. Exiled as they may be they still follow their doomed lord. Lord of the homeless, the exiled, the forgotten, the forsaken, the pariah. During a huge raid of a small port city on the coast of a Baltic sea the exiles managed to commandeer two small merchant ships and a huge supply of food, cloth, general goods and precious metals. They took to the sea. The pagan sea. While the Scandinavian lands to the north have been united with the Christendom and while the Baltic coast to the east is controlled by the Teutonic order there is still something ominous and doom-filling about the sea. Lord Walsenburg and the exiles sailed the calm sea for three days until they came upon the ISLE. The landing was chaotic and panic filled. In a small amount of time the servants and knights erected makeshift tents. The isle gives off a dark and atmosphere and the lord feels it. The isle itself is not charted on the merchant maps. The exiled lord sees an opportunity to disappear from the Christian world by settling the isle. Still staying in one of the ships he look over the isle. Right then one of the knights – the one with a stumped hand, comes to the lord and asks: “What are your orders, lord? We have unencumbered both of the ships. If I may ask…” ” you may” the lord answers. “Are we going to stay on this isle? I noticed that the isle is unsettled by people as far as I can tell. I have dispatched a couple of squires to scour the isle. My thoughts are that we should find a suitable place and set a more permanent encampment there.” The lord remains silent. Thousands of thoughts flood the mind. Something summons him, calls him, teases him to go forth, to explore, to find the source, the summoner. Toten descends the ship unto the soil of the beach. ” It needs name.” He whispers and ventures forth toward the camp.

1) Why do people try to avoid darker, more real or bad things, problems, themes?
2) Why it is hard for some people to share their creative works? Is it fear of criticism?
3) If you had to create a poem or a song would you make it dark, bright? Why?




LEU students @ Germany: “A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.”

“A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.” – Tim Cahill

From March 13th to March 24thme and my course mates had the chance to travel to Heidelberg Germany. Due to our limited budget we brought plane tickets for the March 12th instead (the tickets for that day flights were much cheaper). The original plan was to spend 24 hours at the Frankfurt-Hann airport and then get on the bus which was leading to Heidelberg. We successfully

stayed at the airport for the first hour. After that we got a little bored and decided to go sightseeing. The only problem was that were was not much to see. Frankfurt-Hann was in the middle of nowhere and the closest city was about 100km away. Yet, we were not dishearten and still went out for a little adventure. Near the airport was a tiny town that was full of motels. We decided to walk around this tiny town and if we were lucky maybe even find an affordable motel to stay for the night. We were not lucky. We walked and walked, yet everywhere we went it was ridiculously expensive and neither one of us could afford it.

Soon after we found a “Burger King” where we ordered some coffee and spend 4 hours talking. Me and my peers originally were not that close, but after spending the entire day wandering around that small town, we became closer. Our airport adventures did not stop there. We still needed to sleep. But where? At the airport? There are no beds there! But there are chairs…

And this is how we slept. On the chairs. At the airport.

Next morning we got on the bus and went to Heidelberg. Heidelberg is one of few German cities that were not destroyed during WW2 and today is one among most popular tourist attractions. It has spectacular old town, castle and many more. Unfortunately the 2 weeks we had were not enough to see everything that the city had to offer. But together with secondary

school students from Heidelberg Theodor-HeussRealschule school we went to explore the old town and the castle that was nearby ( the students were giving us a tour around). It was a lot of fun and helped us to bond with those children.

In Heidelberg we spend two weeks attending classes as teachers-observers,

walked around the city and explored the unknown places. Yet, all of us agreed on the fact that most fun time we had was back at the airport. Because it was the place where we all become friends.




Fashion Japan. By LEU students

Traditional Japanese Clothing
Modern Japanese Fashion




Rock, My Favorite Music Genre. By Simona Rapalaitė, LEU student

A music genre is a category that defines the piece of music. A well known fact is that there are a lot of music genres and that even now, new forms of music are invented. In this world pop music is the most popular genre that is why it has a lot of influence to our generation. I want to talk about another genre of music which changed a lot of people too and keeps us inspired till this day. I will talk about my favorite type of music – rock. Firstly, I have to mention that Rock music originated in the 1950s in the United States of America and was mostly known as “Rock and Roll”. “Rock and Roll” was made famous by the music king himself Elvis Presley. There is a lot of debate on who inspired this genre to appear but, all in all, it has its roots in 1940s’ and 1950s’ and was heavily influenced by blues, rhythm and blues and country music.

The main part of rock music is the guitar. To be specific it is an electric 6 string guitar which is easily heard in a rock song. Of course there are other instruments like drums and a 4 string electric bass guitar. In the 1960s when the original rock was starting to get famous these were the only instruments that were present in this type of genre. Nowadays there are digital electric devices that accompany a rock song or/and other instruments sometimes are present which do not look like they would fit in this context. For example, a famous Finnish band Apocalyptica uses cello as their main instrument in metal songs, which is a rock sub genre.

Talking about sub genres of rock it is clear that there are a lot of them. 1960s is sometimes referred as the “golden time” of sub genres for rock. Blues rock, folk rock, country rock, raga rock, and jazz-rock were some of the hybrids that emerged at that time. Also, these sub genres contributed to the development of psychedelic rock and the psychedelic scene. There is a need to mention that new genres that emerged from this scene includedprogressive rock, which extended the artistic elements;glam rock, which highlighted showmanship and visual style; and heavy metal, which emphasized volume, power, and speed. Then at 1970s punk rock emerged, which wanted to break the rules of all of these sub genres and at 1980s it made alternative rock, new wave and post-punk appear. For me 1990s is my favourite decade of music. At that time some genres introduced them selves to rock like Brit pop, indie rock, pop punk, rap rock and rap metal and some of the new types of music appeared like grunge, garage rock and etc.

The context of in this type of music changed through the decade. A rock song usually has a verse-chorus form in which love is in the center but through the years it has made some political or social problems to be heard. Also it is great that rock music is beginning to be credited for its lyrical side. This year Bob Dylan a famous American songwriter, singer, artist and writer was given a Nobel Prize in Literature for having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.

All in all, rock is a great genre that keeps us inspired, motivated or sometimes even sad. It is a great joy that I and people of the world can experience it and hear it. Rock is diverse and interesting that is why i like it.




1 year`s worth of melancholic, sad and dark poetry (updated). By Martynas Jakucevičius LEU student

We are happy to welcome a young artist into our poetry corner, enjoy 😉

Prophecy

When the Sun will release it`s final breath
And when the greed of men will awaken the dead
Land will favour the moon , in dept
The moon will open the tombs
Thus will begin the dance of death
And stars will weep and weep
Not a drop of life will land on earth
And when men and women will begin to die
The skies will open, releasing all the grief of the stars
Grief will flood the streets of greatest cities and castles
Sons and daughters of the Sun will align
Moon will drop from the skies
Leaving a barren wasteland in it`s wake
Lorded by those who have been doomed to rot in darkest tombs
A great battle will take place,
Death and man, will face each other with grace.

The Swords that cut deep

Draw your sword, young lord.
Draw me a bloody painting if you will
But is it the only way? To live with a burden
Such as this is just only an existence.
You – a shell of your former self.
So help me and yourself…
Draw your sword…

Loneliness

Blackness…Darkness… Void…
Heartache I cannot avoid
Where are you, my beloved?
Alone, again… Alone, I said!
I hover in darkness,
I have become rugged…
Where are you, my beloved?
In the arms of the other…
On other side of the world…
Or dead… I have said,
If you die… my love dies with you
Where are you, my beloved?
In the stars… In the dreams
I discovered you…
So, where are you, my beloved?
Loneliness, I love you…

The ethereal dream

My thoughts that make wrath manifest
Awakens the anger that hid, corrupted my soul
It manifests as fire in my dreams
It ends as buried bones of my being
My feelings that make sadness a reality
I dream and awake in an ocean
I would sink deeper if not for my devotion
It threatens to drown me
To surround me in pain
To take me to the endless abyss
To see the world through the thickest mist
My fears that makes me tremble and stutter
They define and refine me like a stone-cutter
I fear what I can and could do
I fear what I won`t and never do
Fear makes me re-think my plots
Makes me correct and connect the dots
I stand still, inactive
The fear of fears, fear of idleness
I awake from my ethereal dream
Trying to comprehend what is real
What is real or nonexistent?
What is true and what is just an illusion?
Define it and see that the world is full of delusions…

Wishes of a pariah

A lone man stands at the hill overlooking a metropolis of a city
He founds himself wanting, lacking of substance, a warm heart
A heart that is frozen at the moment, a moment that is lost in time
He remembers not the moment, but the feeling, the way that he felt
He felt the wind at his wings high above the clouds, his towns, cities
He believed and he had to pay for it, a payment of a warmth of a heart
A heart that is cold and dark, a stark contrast… A wish to have it all back…

Void

Awake… awake, my child
Witness your own reflection in a mirror, exile
A plain sight for my eyes
A simple shell, people think it holds a simple mind
But how can such a mind be simple when you have the blackest heart?
No one welcomes you to any temple
You are unwelcome, that’s when your self-exile began
You ran... and ran... and ran...
Like you, your purpose, your mission is hiding, observing
Searching for something, an apparatus, a place that is lost in time?
You bury yourself in the ground, you find no purpose
So much time wasted, so much was lost for this demented mission
Only the end awaits you, a wise madman, searching for the purpose
Of the cycle of life, but only found the void of life
Void so dark and so deep, you could lose your light in it
The void of ones heart, the void that fills your being...

Origin


I turn my head skyward
Ominous atmosphere in my mind
s sphere

My mind is nothing compared to the celestial sphere
Above all of our heads, thousands of Gods that lay in the stars
Unreachable dark and void heavens, my minds nightly sessions
Stars whispered that dark and light emissions are mostly based in heavens
That Gods bred among themselves that's
how humanity was born

Children of the Gods, the first disciples began to mix and interbreed
Worship of Forefathers started, we began to create mighty monuments
Of bone, of stone, of gold for Gods sat on thrones

Celestial

Where is the happiness that I was promised?
Where is that world full of magic and good?
Where is the future that should be filled with fleeting memories?
Where is the god that I was told to worship?
Where is that purpose of life that I should find?
Where is that paradise where people full of virtue travel to?
Where is that hell where villains face eternal torture?
Where is the love that few can fathom?
Where is that life which my mother gave birth to?
Where is the end in which we all have to hug the hooded figure?
“In you, my friend, in you.” A voice whispers from within…

Within me

Lurking, trying to escape lies a force
Strong force, that only I can see
Shame and need to placate the masses
I am an animal, emotional cannibal
Feeling alone inside, integrating
Piece by piece each day I paint my inner self in gray
What to do? How can I escape the loneliness inside?
How to escape without losing my inner self, without corrupting my consciousness?
I am losing…

Who are you?

Who are you?
A being of inner darkness.
Who are you?
A being of outer light.
Who are you?
I am you and you are me.
Who are you?
The one that is asleep.
Who are you?
The one that is waking.
Who are you?
I am the beginning of the end.

Cycle

Lone man stands at the base of a mount of bones,
Face is hooded as well as thoughts…
Thoughts about future troubles his mind…
“Everybody dies. Babe becomes a teen, teen becomes an adult,
Adult a senile old man… After that… After that comes dust and bones…
But dust and bones is not the end but a beginning… A beginning of a new life…” Voices sing and sing that same old song.
Thoughts die and reborn again in an unending cycle…
He speaks: “Life or death? Think about life after death…”
And as ages pass, old bones turn to dust and ash…
New bones litter the grounds…

Life`s Death

What is life without death?
Would it hold meaning or we would be blind to see reason?
Death, body decomposion, new life…
Men are mortal gods
Time is an enemy
Mortal. Mortal! We all are mortal!
And death, that beautiful death, will take us all…
We are born to die… No option to rewind…

Unknown reaper

Where are you?
I am looking for that which I do not know.

Where are you?
Castles fall, glass shatters, stone floor crumbles.

Where are you?
Guards die, skeletal remains.

Where are you?
Flowers bloom, doom.

Where are you?
Scythe swings and swings.

Where are you?
Hooded you come, skeletal hands are still.

Where are you?
There you are. Scythe swings, my life ends.

I become one with all…

Hopeless

I am so sinister
Blood on my hands flowing endlessly

Unexpected visitor
Is leaving “Wait for me.”

Swallowed by darkness
No light, no candles.

I see nothing for I am nothing
I come from nothing and I will become nothing

I am what you were and I will be what you become
Soon… Wait for me… Soon…

The Dead May Speak

I hear them – whispering
When I creep in a graveyard.
Grey tombstones, old and new
Stand a forest. Walking through
A narrow road, graves unearthed in my mind
A sorrowful soul, no heart found kind
The graves of mine, I want you to speak
Speak to me, speak and I will listen
No one lights the candles no more.
A bag of candles and a shovel in my hands
Need to dig more, more graves, for more dead
More dead need more graves
Some dead need to be unearthed, remembered
Dig…. Dig…. Dig…. A gravedigger…
Troubled mind grows…

Tombstone

Broken pen…
Broken spirit…
Den of sorrows…
Still living in it…
Slowly I am creeping…
Creeping in a graveyard…
No reason to stay…
My glance is empty…
Share a dance with me…
Dead pretenders…
But I turn into a pretender…
Cold winds…
Broken pens…
Broken spirits…
Closest people don`t even know me…
Stone me… Cut me…
Sins of a lost man…
I recite the words…
My own words uttered long ago…
So… So… So low…
Low of me…
Days go by…
Nothing changes…
A sad lullaby…

Monologue of Dust

Wandering within self
Dark moon shines
Endless halls, labyrinths
Undressed to the bone
Smoke a seldom cigarette

Rope in a hand
Kill yourself, that`s some help
Ghosts from a backyard are dancing
Waiting for the merchant
The merchant of death

Starless skies watch over me
Over for me, look and you will see
Witness it, sickness this
A puzzle of words
Thousand swords

Of thousand lords
Skeletal thoughts
Are smashed, need but one rock
This plane of existence
Withering the life of me

A machine is constructed
Pain of love
Pain of god
Rot inside
Drinking cyanide

Mixing with emerald absinthe
Before or since
It does not matter
A body with a black robe
Still exists in this cesspit




Movie recommendation: “My 3 favourite films”. By Stanislovas Riška LEU

Movie recommendation: “My 3 favourite films”.

Download (PDF, Unknown)




J.G. Ballard “Empire of the Sun”. Book review by Viktorija Tamašauskaitė

In the world of wealth, it seems that nothing wrong can happen. Jamie Graham also thought so until he faced the overpowering truth…

“Empire of the Sun”, a novel written by the English novelist, short story writer, and essayist J. G. Ballard was published in 1984. Even though the author of the novel is famous for the thematically and stylistically provocative fiction pieces, he is best know for war novel “Empire of the Sun”, which is semi-autobiographical novel about British boy stuck in Shanghai during Japanese occupation.

The novel revolves around the story of a young British boy, Jamie “Jim” Graham, who is living in Shanghai with his parents and does not know the life of poor. The boy comes from the upper-class family, so he cannot understand what does it mean to live in one room apartment as his nanny’s parents do. Jim is all about the privilege – he enjoys parties that their parents and parents’ friends throw, talks arrogantly with his servants and does not give any attention to what their lives are behind the walls of Jim’s home. But suddenly everything in Jim’s world changes – after the Pearl Harbor attack, Japan occupies the Shanghai International Settlement, and in the chaos that follows, Jim is left all alone in this world, doing everything to survive on his own.

While Jim is all alone, he is terrified of people that surround him and is left to be responsible for his actions and survival. He goes from one abandoned mansion to another, living there for a while and feeding of packaged food he finds on the go. But after some time Jim cannot find food anymore and is left to starve. Then the perfect idea come to his mind – he will try to surrender to the Japanese army, even though officially they are the ultimate enemies of his. After numerous attempts, Jim finally is accepted in the Lunghua Civilian Assembly Center. Shockingly, after some time Jim understands that he has more in common with Japanese soldiers than he could’ve thought. He adores the pilots and their splendid machines and he falls in love with everything they have because he is fascinated and also feels safe there.

At the end of the novel, the end of the war comes, with the Japanese army losing. The food supply runs short and Jim barely survives, with all the people around him starving to death. All the people from the camp have to march to Nantao to surrender. A lot of people die while walking, so Jim leaves them and runs away. He doesn’t see why he should march with them, knowing that he would die either from starvation or walking. But then the miracle happens – he is saved by American Bombers who throw food packages from air. Getting his strength back, Jim returns to Lunghua camp and finds there a person he know – Dr. Ransome, who is about to return to Jim’s pre-war residence with his parents.

In my opinion, this novel shows us a lot about the truth behind all wars and one boy’s experience of survival.

Viktorija 😉




Parrots are awesome pets. By Naurius LEU

This is my parrot Pupa. Sadly not many people these days keep parrots as pets. Some people think that parrots make horrible pets, some have heard bad myths about parrots and think that they are true or that they are expensive. These are the reasons why there aren’t many parrot keepers. But in fact parrots are awesome!!!!!! And here are some reasons WHY!!!!

  • There are many species of parrots. Different species have physical and mental differences. Some are small, some are big. Some parrots can only have one color, others can have two or even more colors. So you can pick and choose which one you like more. Parrots are smart animals. As we know some parrots can learn to speak, but many bird species cant. But that doesn’t mean that they aren’t intelligent. A lot of parrots can learn tricks really easily. Like Budgies or Parakeet, Cockatiels. Parrots are social animals. Parrots are flock animals, which means that they live in groups. My parrot keeps staying close by. Sometimes when I don’t pay attention to her, she comes on my computer and tries to get some attention. She even eats food when I eat something.
  • Parrots can live for a long time. Some parrot species can live 100 years some can live 25 years, others 15 years. It only depends on the species.

Hope these reasons change your mind about parrots and maybe one day you will too get a parrot.




A Flashback of Summer – „Atgaja“. By LEU student Andrius Židovainis

A flashback of summer – „Atgaja“

Loud and eyesight blurring winter is slowly crawling her way into our lives. Personally, winter is a season of constant battle with my inner self: „Me: It‘s been too long since you have been out with your friends. Also me: But… it‘s too cold outside…“ It might seem ridiculous, but I long summer so much, that I spent few minutes under a spotlight, just so that I could feel as if I was looking into the sun. After a while, when all the lightbulbs burn out, I turn to my greatest weapon – memories of „Atgaja“. It’s the most heartwarming place, where I developed as an individual and found my future calling. It’s a place that I call home and I tend to visit those memories, as people say: “It’s good to be home”.

Thus, I will begin unveiling this being that to you, my dear reader, is still a mystery. „Atgaja“ is a creativity encouraging, children and youth, summer camp, but it‘s no ordinary summer camp. Every summer there are 9 shifts with different themes, goals and each and everyone lasting ten days. The most amazing and important part of this summer camp, that the program is created not just by camp counselors but children themselves have all the authority to create or alter the program in any shape, way or form.

There are 5 main virtues we are imparting to the children. First, being nationality – we focus our activities around Lithuanian social figures (authors, social activists, scientists, etc.), folklore (dances, songs, fairy-tales) and history. Second, would be family. We do not talk much about it, because it’s a hard feeling or virtue to explain. For ten days, three counselors become parents and those three get 21 of their children. They become their sons and daughters and the children become brothers and sisters. We share our food, we share same rooms, we experience everything together – we are a family. Third – personality development – every single one of us are unique personalities. We believe that everyone is a flourishing and nurturing personality in the right environment and “Atgaja” is “the” environment. Forth is creativity. As I mentioned earlier, children have total creative freedom – counselors only provide the material – the children do the rest. And lastly, education. We believe, that spending ten memorable days is as important as coming back home knowing a little bit more about the world.

Frankly, if someone asked me what “Atgaja” is to me, I would be puzzled. It’s way more than these 5 virtues that I have mentioned and I couldn’t really explain how many are actually there. “Atgaja” became the place where I grew up as a Lithuania loving, folklore singing, family cherishing, individuality developed, creativity spewing, educated person and it’s only a tip of it.

To me though, the most important part of “Atgaja” is that I realized that I want to be a teacher. An epiphany struck me last year, that I want to be a teacher. Me… of all people. I couldn’t believe myself. While I was imparting all those virtues to children I understood that not only did I make them as my own, but I learned a world from the children themselves. I realized that some of them are a lot smarter than me and that I have educated myself in order to provide them with more information. I felt the need to nurture their personality and education. Chills are running up and down – it was a great moment in my life. And even today, every new thing I learn, would it be a new song, an interesting article, a great book, I am thinking of ways how to explain or portray the new information that I’ve gained.

Thus, my article is coming to an end, leaving you with a message. Your story wouldn’t be same if you decide to travel to this mythical land called “Atgaja”. It would be better. Much better. Experiencing it with your own two hands, mind and a smile, is the only way to find out. It is impossible to put that rejuvenating, nurturing and warm feeling into words that is “Atgaja”. I hope that you will get to experience it for yourself and if you do, I promise you – you will have a time of your lifetime.

P.S. if you want to go as a counselor, I suggest to like the “Lietuvos Atgaja” Facebook page and look for more information or contact jaunimas.vaikams@gmail.com.




7 fun ways to spend a rainy day by Agnė/LEU student

RAINY SUMMER?

IT IS NOT THE END OF THE WORLD

7 fun ways to spend a rainy day

COOKING

You can make yourself happy very easy when you are upset and bored because of rain. You just have to go to the kitchen and make some tasty food, because we all know that good food is the basis of true happiness.

 Films

Almost everyone likes to watch television, but every person has a different taste in movies. So, the best decision would be to invite your best friends to your house and have a film evening.

   POETRY

Rain is great for you if you are a poet. Look at the rain outside, dark vision of the outside world.. Then listen how drops of the rain are falling on the roof..It is a great relaxation for those who can sit down with a pen and paper and write amazing poems.

Photography

People usually do not value wonderful and picturesque nature..But if you have a decent camera (these days, your phone could be a camera!) a rainy day is ideal time to enjoy nature and get some beautiful pictures!

BATH

What can be better if you can fix up a bubble bath and to lie cozy in the bath. You can be sure that it is going to be actually exciting!

Books

If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all. –Oscar Wilde books improve our life and give us knowledge. Rainy days are great to read books in the genre of romance or drama.

  BOARD GAMES

Everyone should play more board games because it is very funny not only for children. You can play games like “Monopoly “with your friends and even family. Board games improve relations and could be an exercise for the mind.

Enjoy rainy days!

Agnė 🙂

 




Oscar Wilde “The Picture of Dorian Gray” book review by Viktorija Tamašauskaitė

“Those who find ugly meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a fault. Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the cultivated. For these there is hope. They are the elect to whom beautiful things mean only Beauty. There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.” “The Picture of Dorian Gray” – a story of a fashionable, evil and scandalous young man named Dorian Gray. He was a beautiful man, but very corrupt and looking only for beauty and material things in his life. This story shows us how young man’s desires can ruin whole his life and what the desires make Dorian Gray to give up for eternal youth and beauty – his soul. The story of Dorian Gray is the most popular Oscar Wilde’s book sold all over the world. In 1890 the tale of Dorian Gray and his immorality caused a big scandal back then. As the author of the novel said, Dorian Gray had a very big moral in himself, but did not explain what exactly he meant. A few years later, Oscar Wilde appeared in trial because of his homosexual liaisons. Everybody started wondering if author portrayed himself as Dorian Gray, O. Wilde had only one answer to that: “Basil Hallward is what I think I am; Lord Henry – what the world thinks of me; Dorian what I would like to be—in other ages, perhaps.”

“She is all the great heroines of the world in one. She is more than an individual. I love her, and I must make her love me. I want to make Romeo jealous. I want the dead lovers of the world to hear our laughter, and grow sad. I want a breath of our passion to stir dust into consciousness, to wake their ashes into pain. ”

A very handsome and self-confident has found a secret to be young and beautiful forever. Seeing all these people around him that are his age, Dorian understands how precious is the secret of his eternal youth and lives his life the best he can, partying and enjoying life as much as possible. He knew that his actions will not have any influence to him, Dorian Gray lives a very lavish and wild life, breaking heart after heart. Finally, he meets a girl who falls in love with him – Sybil Vane. We could say that Dorian Gray also falls in love with her, but when he treats her so badly we can understand one things – he cannot love a pure heart like Sybil’s. A girl, being treated so badly, finally cannot handle the pressure – she kills herself. But things don’t stop here. Sybil’s brother, James Vane, still blames Dorian Gray for his sister’s death and seeks for revenge. But Dorian has another dark secret – in his attic he is hiding a portrait of himself which is a secret to his youth. Gray’s body in real life remains healthy and young, while in the portrait he becomes older and uglier each day. Frightened of what he sees, Dorian Gray finds another beautiful and innocent girl to conquer – Hetty Merton. He promises himself to treat her right so that the picture of him would get better. But it does not. Each day it gets more grotesque. What will Dorian Gray do to escape this madness? In my opinion, this books is a marvelous piece of art. When I read this book I couldn’t do anything else until I finished it. The story is engaging, has a certain dark and supernatural Gothic period feeling. All in all, this story of Dorian Gray shows people what most people seek more in life – beauty, fame and materialism. But within the lines you can see a lot of beautiful and strong lines about our lives, strong ideas and quotes.




Chance for Life by Edita

I’m going to tell you the story of my life. I‘m very young yet so it fits into one page. I do not remember my birthday, my home and my family. My life started a little bit later than I was born…

Some words about me: lovely, sweet, cute and … miaow! My name is Ugnius. Yeah, I know this is an unusual name for cat, but my owner says he gave it to me because of the color of my fur (why not “carrot” or “orange” then..?) Of course I can’t forgive him for this bad decision, but I hope I will someday.

He found me in early cold summer morning. I can’t remember how I got in his yard. Maybe I had come there by myself or maybe someone had brought me there.

There was a big dog in the yard. When I saw him, I thought he’s going to eat me, but I found him playful. He approached me and started to lick my fur. I knew I was unclean, but I got frozen after that so I started to cry pitifully.

Suddenly I heard a noise of door opening. I could hardly see what it was. I got scared because I thought this will be one more dog… but this was somebody else. A human. I don‘t remember if I had met a human until then.He was with big legs and big arms. Suddenly he took me into his warm arms and I found it much more pleasant than the dog‘s wet tongue. I stopped crying.

The human brought me to his large house. He poured me a small plate of milk. I hadn‘t eaten for a long time. I was hungry. When I started to eat I felt pain in my mouth. I started to cry again. The human approached me and beganto look around in my mouth. After that he went out

somewhere for a while and came back with the thing he called „pipet“. I had never seen this thing before and couldn‘t imagine what it was. The human started to drop the milk in my mouth. This way I was fed. He took great care of me, I will never forget it. After that I slept in a warm bed.

Next day the human took me to the doctor which was called veterinarian. I didn‘t like him at all. He dropped something in my eyes. He called it medicine drops that had to treat me for an eye inflammation. Also he said that I had ulcers in my mouth. This was the reason of my pain. According to the vet I had to be fed by pipet. Also he prescribed me antibiotics and medicine eye drops for my damaged eyes. After the vet‘s examination we got back home.

I couldn‘t eat by myself. Only with the help of others. I felt sick and weak. The human had to feed me by pipet for a long time. I had to take those disgusting pills (antibiotics). After several days I started to feel better and stronger. I found my nails so sharp and my legs so fast. Finally I started to use them in my games. On the fifth visit to the veterinarian I was proud of myself. I put on weight 0,2 kilos. This was a sign of my excellent recovery.

Day after day I felt stronger and better. I could eat without pain, clearly see everything around and play actively. I didn’t feel sick anymore. I became the member of the family I have never had. My human says that every creature has to have a chance to live. I got the chance. Miaow!

 

 

 




Moving back to Lithuania. Does it feel like my home? By Justina

It is really strange when you are coming back to your home town after many years living abroad. It has changed. All streets, buildings surrounding your home and all friends are gone too, including you. The feeling is that you move back not to your home, but to a completely different country. If somebody asked me, why I came back? I would say THIS IS MY HOME. But is it still my home? I don’t know! It used to be that your home was a prescribed space: where you grew up was usually where you found a job, got married, bought a house and raised children. But as more people immigrate and emigrate, we have been forced to re-evaluate this model, and this sometimes creates a tension. There had been many things about Dublin I disliked: rainy and windy weather, public transport system, every morning traffic jam, driving, people’s manners, the never-ending construction, to name a few, that I gave up my life there with a flippancy I now find shocking. I had spend so long focusing on the things I didn’t like, and on some idea of “home” back to Lithuania, that I had failed to appreciate what I was losing: real friendships and real home I had spent years building. Picture of Dublin(Picture of Dublin) Many of my friends abroad have spoken of the guilt they feel when they start to accept their new country as home. They feel guilty about missed weddings, new lifestyles and friends but mainly, about not wanting to go back to Lithuania at least not yet. The main reason is money and work. As we know what economical situation is here and what it is in Ireland.  But in general, there are plenty things that help me remember why I returned, some glimpses of the home you’ve cherished in memory for so long. An evening walk in the old town of Vilnius, even the smell of air is different and is really good to hear Lithuanian language around you and that felling that nobody will ask you “Were are you from?” As this one was almost an everyday question abroad. (Picture of Vilnius) And of course, there’s family. It’s very freeing to be able to meet up with your friends and family without feeling sad when you leave, wondering when you’ll see them again.

I know setting back will not be easy, magical transition I had imagined, but I also know that with time and big willingness, Lithuania will eventually feel like home again. 😉 

 

 

 




How is Life in Elektrėnai??? by Evita

Elektrenai is one of the newest towns of Lithuania. Having been established during the Soviet times as the living space for workers of the nearby power plant. Many years ago the territory was covered by remote lakes and fields. But today we have a huge water gathering lagoon, which was created in order to cool down the Elektrenai Power Plant. The city is located between two largest cities – Vilnius and Kaunas, so can be a nice vacation place or even living place. A great thing is that water is several degrees warmer, so you can discover water activities down there (ignoring the fact that this heating damages whole ecosystem). The public beach by lagoon is quite spacious and great for camping, “grilling”, sunbathing. People coming here tend to be educated, that is why the beach is very neat (no water rats or sunflower eaters as can be met by the famous lake of ŠILAS). Clean beach of Lagoon

Nature protection workers do not prohibit to drive water motorcycles, yachts or speed boats. From an early spring you can meet hundreds of kite boarders and kite surfers. The lagoon can be used for water activities such as wakeboarding .Not that much extreme is riding of sup board. Alike traditional surfing where the rider is sitting until the wave comes; stand up boarders maintain an upright stance on their boards and use a paddle to propel themselves through the water. It is not costly and especially great for girls as it helps to keep your body in tip top shape and clear your mind.

Wake-boarding in the evening time. During the winter months, when the lagoon is covered by ice, you can skate, play ice-hockey or ice fish there.

8Yrs old boy Jokubas wakeboarding

As I have mentioned before the city is quite “young”, not many cultural monuments can be visited here. One of them is a great modern architecture church. It has an interesting rectangular arch with 7 crosses, symbolizing 7th century of Christianity in Lt.

The rally competition series “Baltic Rally Trophy” is going to start this year. It will determine the fastest rally drivers of the Baltic States and Finland. Last year it was possible to park your car or quadrocycle nearby the track so the view was distinct and dynamic, the speed could be “felt” easily. A very attractive place is Elektrenai Ice Palace arena, which welcomes everyone all year round. Although it is a bit too cold inside, if you compare it with Vilnius Akropolis skate rink. We even had an ice- hockey championship of youth held here this year. Unfortunately, the ice is being melt during summer time until August. Then the rink is used for various activities (for instance dart competitions). Elektrenai town itself is very clean, grass is being cut constantly. There are many paths for bicycles and skates, ramps for skaters are quite modern there. There is a nice avenue that you can come around slowly and admire the scenery of almost boundless lagoon and reservation. While walking you can visit a small bakery nearby that makes delicious and fresh pastries. My favourite one is English ring – shaped roll or hot small kibins.

Extra ordinary thing is Capitals Golf Club. The court is in a very good condition and very playable. No need to wait on court. Great service and hospitality. Children can be left here for summer camps and learn to play golf. It is costly, however. A friend of mine even took place at the competition of golf starters. An American magazine rounded the club as the best new international project of 2008 in the whole world!!! (Except the USA)

The city has an enormous theme park – a soviet heritage. It was supposed to be a grand theme park activity center with various carousels and even Americanroller-coaster!!! But today we have a very sad view – abandoned and rusted place, showing the face of Soviet Union. From the feminine side, I would like to point out that there are a few nice beauty salons. One is on the first floor of the modern 12th floor building. You can have manicure or haircut done for you, yet the queues are enormous, so the service is not that advantageous.

Strange thing is that you cannot find a place, where somebody can wash your car (I wonder how people do that? maybe they wash their cars in the lagoon? :)) There are also nice markets where you can buy fresh vegetables, meat etc.

To summarize, Elektrenai is a nice, clean and quite place. If you feel you have had enough of that calmness you can come back to Vilnius or Kaunas as it is aprox. 50 km from these cities.

 

 




Daphne Du Maurier “Rebecca” book review by Kamilė Mačenskytė

A young lady, who works as a traveling companion to a wealthy American woman Mrs. Van Hopper finds herself falling in love with a many years older widowed man named Maxim de Winter. Her heart isRebecca flustered with beautiful mirages of a happy ending when Mr. De Winter proposes to the heroine in only two weeks of their relationship. She immediately agrees and travels with the rich man to his home – a mansion called Manderley. Unfortunately her „happily ever after“ dream bubble is popped, when she starts to feel that the ghost of late Rebecca de Winter is still hanging around. The staff seems to push her away, family friends constantly compare her and she feels like a horrible replacement that does not fit anywhere. The more she tries to compare herself to Rebecca the more useless and pathetic she feels, which leads her to believing, that Mr. de Winter is still in love with his late wife. Their relationship seems to be falling apart, as the heroine feels her husband becoming colder and colder, when one evening, the missing body of Rebecca is finally found. After this revelation Maxim has no other choice but to admit to his new wife the truth. Rebecca was a horrid person, who cheated on him constantly and disrespected him through out their whole marriage, so Mr.de Winter lost his patience and shot his wife. After this revelation, a lot of troubles has yet to come to the heroine and her husband, but at least she finally finds peace with herself and shakes off the long stuck Rebeccas image. She once again starts to believe in her husbands love and finds the strength to help him overcome the problems that await.

This book shows us how strongly people love and how love changes them, sometimes for the better,and sometimes for the worse. Our heroine presents us how far one can go for a person they love, how many things they can refuse and leave behind only to have the warmth of a loved person, as well as if you find the right person , many frightening things and situations can become a little less scary with them by your side.

 




Willa Cather “My Antonia” book review by Kristina Ufertaitė

This is a very interesting and gripping story, which is narrated from the author’s (Willa Cather) point of view as one of the main book characters friend (Jim Burden). My Antonia is a novel about a girl (Antonia Shimerda), her hard but joyful life, boy (Jim Burden) who loved her his entire life from all of his heart and beauty of the country they are living in. Antonia is a girl who works as a farmer for half of her life because of her family’s financial situation It’s her brother’s farm and he is responsible for it, but Antonia’s brother (Ambrosch) does not even try to move his finger and find someone who would help him in farming instead of Antonia. Tony (Antonia) Shimerda is a very strong girl who experienced a lot of hard and confusing things in her life: her father’ suicide, heavy field work, boyfriend’s fraud and loneliness. But she still manages to see beauty in other people, stay happy and be thankful of what she has. Everyone should learn how to appreciate what we have and how to be happy every day because we are not doomed yet if we have something to eat or someone by our sides. The title My Antonia” is with word “My” due to Jims inscriptions which were presented in the introduction. This novel is considered as Cather’s first masterpiece and I agree with that because I could nottake my eyes off the book until I finished it. I think everybody should read such an inspiring and beautiful book to find something positive in their lives. I know I did after reading this book. 💡




Coffee Culture by Viktorija Taraškevič

Have you ever heard that, like most great discoveries, coffee’s magical powers were first realized through the majesty of ”crazy goats”? According to a legend, Ethiopian shepherds first got acquainted with the profound caffeinating effects of coffee when they noticed their goats started ”dancing” after eating coffee berries. Either it is true or not, it is proven that it only takes ten minutes to start feeling the energizing effects of caffeine after you take a sip of this drink.

Coffee is an essential element for most of bleary-eyed people to start a morning, as it is very common weapon to fight constant fatigue which is a natural result of the fast life pace and busy routine.  Nowadays it became extremely frequent, for instance, to grab a cup of this comforting treat in the nearest cafe to renew your energy while rushing to do your daily duties.  

This delicious drink  is so well-liked worldwide,  that in Britain it keeps up with the popularity of traditional tea – the traditional English drink. According to statistics, 70 million cups of coffee are consumed in the UK each day. ”We have moved from a nation of tea drinkers and occasional instant coffee drinkers to a nation of coffee lovers and even coffee geeks,” says Jeffrey Young, the chairman of the Allegra Foundation food organisation behind UK Coffee Week, which runs from 11 to 17 April.  

The company first marked the occasion in 2011 in order to raise money for clean water and sanitation in coffee-growing communities around the world, which are often in developing countries. In the past 15 years, chain stores including ”Costa” and ”Caffe Nero” have occupied every nook and cranny of the high street, introducing the British with the drink and making them eager to explore more flavors.

Drinking coffee was not only quite recently regarded as an exotic and theatrical new drink, but also seen as a way to emulate the cosmopolitan New York lifestyles showcased in hugely popular sitcoms like ”Friends” or ”Seinfeld”.

Nonetheless, experts agree that Britain now has one of the most vibrant coffee cultures in the world, which was showcased by the 2010 World Barista Championships held in London.

Coffee is now enjoyed in the home too – a third of people have some form of coffee machine in their kitchen which is easily filled with the beans bought online. However it is prepared, it is made with an attention to detail to ensure consistency, starting with fresh quality beans.

‘Latte art is a bonus as it makes a beautifully presented cup of coffee and shows the care that has gone into making your coffee – but the taste is most important. <…> You can only ruin a good coffee,” argues Graeme Crawford, the managing director of “Papercup” in Glasgow, adding that a great coffee has a “balance of acidity, sweetness, mouth feel and aftertaste.”




Albert Camus “The Stranger” book review by Karolina Orlovska

The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your existence is an act of rebellion.’’

Albert Camus

“The Stranger” is one of the books, where existential problems of a person are touched. The novel was published in 1942 and written by a French philosopher, author, and journalist Albert Camus. In all his works we clearly can see the theme of absurd and the individual facing it.

The novel begins with the situation when the mother of the main character dies. This doesn’t affect him at all: he doesn’t even cry. I’ve got the feeling that he feels bored at the funeral and it seems strange to me, same as it could be to other readers. This lack of emotions creates “the wall” between Meursault and society. We could compare it with the game – if someone doesn’t play by the rules – he falls out. The same happens with the society, because rules are norms or standards by which society lives and in this situation, Meursault is not playing according to the rules. That is why the author gives the name to the this novel “The stranger” or other translators may translate it as “The outsider”. When topic switches to love – it is also the same story. Meursault doesn’t show emotions – he enjoys the physical contact with Marie who works at the same place as he. She, on the other hand, represent his life – free and without any obligations.

The second part of the book is about Meursault being in prison. This is because his neighbor, Raymond,involves him in a conflict with his wife and the Arab, he also gives Meursault the gun, which results in Arab getting killed by Meursault. This was like a favor for Raymond and he acted as though Meursault was his friend. From my point of view – the biggest absurd is that on the trial he as though is judged not for the murder, but for unwillingness at his mother’s funeral. The prosecutor at the trial sees him as a monster who deserves to be killed.

At the end I would like to say, that not always we must play by the rules, sometimes life send us challenges that we must complete acting against the rules. Life is changing, so do we. There are a lot of “Strangers” in our society nowadays. And as Meursault mentioned while speaking with chaplain, that nobody has the right to judge him for his actions or for who he is, and no one has the right to judge someone else. 💡




Some Hints on The Spanish Education System by Pablo Barrera Villaverde

In Spain, according to the law, it is guaranteed thirteen years of free public education. Beginning in the infantile
education (3-6) till the end of the secondary education (12-16) and going through the primary education (6-12). Out of those thirteen years only the primary and secondary education are obligatory (ten years). 

The Spanish education system has a decentralised management and administration model, so educational powers are shared between the State General Administration (Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport) and the Autonomous Communities (Departments for Education).

Most of the schools are public; that means they are fully founded by the government.

In able to be an infantile or primary school teacher you must study a degree called “magisterio” (school-teaching would be the most accurate translation for that term) that is why this article is going to be focused in those two stages.

School:

– The ratio nowadays is around 25-30 students per teacher (it changes depending on the region of Spain you are in)

– All schools are mixed

– Every group has one main teacher which will be with them most of their time teaching Spanish, Sciences, Maths and Arts and Crafts. Then they will have specialists in Music, English (and French if so) and Physical education. (Could happen that the main teacher also is a specialist in one of these areas so he will teach it too to his group)

– Normally the schedule goes from 9:00 till 17:00 with a break a for the lunch and extra activities from 12:30 till 15:30.

Preschool in Spain is divided into two cycles, the first cycle is for children between the ages of 0-3 years old and the second cycle is for children from 3-6 years old. The first cycle of preschool is not free, although there are aid programs for families in need. The second cycle of preschool education in Spain is free for all students. This cycle is often considered as an integral part of the education system. Normally, the first cycle of preschool is taught in special nursery schools or daycares (kindergarten) and the second cycle is taught at primary schools. However, more and more primary schools in Spain are beginning to offer the first cycle of preschool as well.

Primary school in Spain, is the beginning of the government required education in Spain. Primary school is made up of 6 academic school years from age 6 through 12. The system is divided into three cycles of 2 years each. Generally, the first cycle is from age 6-7, the second cycle from 8-9, and the third cycle from 10-11 years of age.

The objective is to give Spanish students a common and solid basic education in culture, oral expression, reading, writing and arithmetic. Required courses include: social studies, art education, physical education, the Spanish language and, if different, the official language of the Autonomous Community, foreign languages and math.

The teaching methodology is directed towards developing pupils and integrating their different experiences and learning styles. Spanish primary education is focused on personalized and tailored classes depending on the level of each child.

Inclusion:

Nowadays the Spanish educational system it is integrated in a context of Inclusive Education. It claims that the educative experience should be an individualised process, where everybody is accepted and provided with everything needed according to their needs.

What do we mean by needs? As a difference to past times, needs does not have a negative connotation anymore. Students, with their own particular situation will be helped to develop their capacities no matter what it takes or which situation it is. (This could be difficulties because of personal reasons, diseases, conditions etc; everybody has to be included in the system no matter what it takes with the idea of creating a normalized environment which prepares student for the real world)

It is a moral obligation also, to work in this context, given the multicultural situation that we as teachers will find in our groups in the schools.




My Stomach Is Full And My Wallet Is Too By Mažena Germanovič

It’s that time again! Time to settle in for the semester and really hit the books… But don’t let food take the back burner. You need to keep yourself nourished and full ofenergy to make it through those classes, study sessions, and probably a part-time job too. I know it’s easier to just stop and grab some fast food, or how when you’re totally stressed nothing sounds better than take-out pizza, but I promise you, a home cooked meal will take you much further. So, I decided to write down my favorite recipe for college students to help those who are still working through those difficult years. What makes a recipe good for students? It needs to be easy, filling, totally tasty, good as leftovers, or a good way to squeeze in some vegetables. “One pot sausage and mushroom pasta” is a perfect example of a simple and budget friendly dish for college students. It’s so nice to just cook everything in one pot and have less to wash, especially when you don’t have a dishwasher, like me. Not to mention they’re super quick and cooking the pasta in the sauce/broth just adds so much flavor.

Let’s start from ingredients. You’ll need:

  •  2 Tbsp of olive oil
  •  2-3 Italian sausages or whatever sausages you have in your fridge
  •  2 cloves of garlic
  •  1 small onion
  •  1 pack of mushrooms
  •  1 can of crushed tomatoes
  •  a dash of salt and pepper
  •  1 tsp of dried basil (optional)
  •  1 tsp of dried oregano (optional)
  •  4 cups of vegetable broth
  •  parmesan (depends on how much
  • you like cheese)
  •  handful of fresh parsley (optional)

Let the cooking begin! First, you add the olive oil and sausages to a large pot and cook over medium heat until they are browned on the outside and firm enough to slice into rounds. Remove the sausage from the pot with tongs, slice into rounds, then return them to the pot and cook for a few minutes more, or until fully browned. While the sausage is cooking, (slice or mince ?) the garlic and (slice or dice ?) the onion (depending on how big you want your pieces). Slice the mushrooms too. Once the sausages are browned, add the crushed tomatoes, onion, garlic, mushrooms, salt, pepper, basil, and oregano to the pot. Stir to combine and to dissolve any browned bits off the bottom of the pot. Then add the vegetable broth and pasta, then stir to combine. Place a lid on the pot, turn the heat up to high, and
bring it to a rapid boil. As soon as it reaches a full boil, give it a stir, replace the lid, turn the heat down to low. Let the pot simmer on low for 15 minutes. Stir it every five minutes or so while it’s simmering. Make sure it’s simmering the whole time. If it is not, turn the heat up slightly. After 15 minutes of simmering, the pasta should be tender and most of the liquid should be absorbed. If there is still too much liquid, let it simmer without a lid for a couple more minutes. Stir in the parmesan and top with fresh chopped parsley, if desired. If you want to make it a little more special, you can try adding in some other fun ingredients like: black olives, spinach, roasted red peppers, or a splash of cream to turn it into a creamy red sauce. The sky’s the limit, so have fun!




Special Agent TeA(cher) – Educational adventures in Heidelberg

“It’s not about education – it’s about the adventure!”

  „I have never been on a plane before” – said TeA to himself. However, the take of did not seem to scare him! In fact he found himself very excited! He was on his way to a top secret destination – Heidelberg Theodor-Heuss-Realschule – one of the most prestigious schools in Heidelberg. He was specifically chosen for this mission by his authority at the LEUS (the name of the organization is classified*).

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His first stop before changing transport (to shake off anyone that might try to follow) was Mannheim. Not much surprised him there, for it was not the first time he had visited Germany, and this city seemed just like any other. Heidelberg was a different story altogether.


The high hills surrounding the city vexed him, calling like only the best kind of adventures do.


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The old town was full of wonders ready to be discovered. The school was full of knowledge and experiences so eagerly awaited. The very first day he made a promise to himself – to climb one of the high hills of Heidelberg. But his mission always came first for agent TeA. He spent 10 days studying the schools life, learning the schedule, observing lessons. He found out that German kids are mostly learning the same stuff as Lithuanians. They have math, and English, and even home economics (you know, the one you cook and make the table all proper).

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The infiltration was so successful that agent TeA even made a project with the students of Theodor-Heuss-Realschule about the power of tolerance, and got invited to see the city with the students. Having earned their trust he also started to see that his new friends are working a lot more than the students of Lithuania. The lessons start at 7.45 am. and end around 3 pm. For agent TeA that was a long time and his concentration was beginning to waver. Only the thought, of how important the mission was, kept him going.

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  The lessons and went on, as they usually do, one following the other. Agent TeA observed different methods and approaches used by the teachers in their lessons partly wandering how high the hill opposite to the beautiful castle of Heidelberg was. He met with students and teachers of the University of Heidelberg and was pleasantly surprised to find out that they have spent at least a little time in Lithuania. With some he even managed to speak about the adventure he had been planning from the moment he had set foot in Heidelberg. One student, Michael, gave some very useful information and within the very first two days the adventure was planned! But before TeA could set off on his epic journey, a very special event had to be held. He and his five, highly trained, special op’s agents met and had the honor to present their country on the day of the Reclamation of Independence, March the 11th. The students were very interested to learn about Lithuania, many thought about visiting this newly discovered land during their summer vacation.

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After this very fun, and interactive presentation, agent TeA set out to meet his challenge – the very high hill of Heidelberg. Three times he stopped thinking that maybe this hill is stronger than him, maybe he should turn back. While resting he thought about the students he had met, and what they had learned together. Having gained strength from these happy thoughts he soldered on. An hour it took him to reach the very top. There he found the ruins of a monastery and a watchtower. Having taken a bundle of beautiful pictures he began his descent down the hill. It took another hour. Funny enough he was even more energetic upon returning!

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All in all, it was not the beautiful old town or fantastic new friends that caught the eye of agent TeA. It were the students he had met, and lessons he had seen and the hill he had claimed by his strength alone.

Would you like to know what was agent TeA’s mission in Heidelberg? I bet you would – it’s classified**.

*- just kidding, it’s not; it’s Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences.
** – just kidding, it’s not – he was there to do exactly what he did 😉




Environmental Issues by Gytė Batūraitė LEU

Currently world population has reached 7 billion. Even though there are a lot of people living on Earth, not everybody knows that on April 22 it is going to be Earth’s Day. Earth Day is an annual event on which a lot of events worldwide are held to demonstrate support for environmental protection. There are a lot of environmental problems around us, even though we do not always see them. Probably the worst environmental problems are pollution
and global warming.

One of the most serious environmental issues in Lithuania are air and water pollution. The increasing air pollution in Lithuanian cities during the last years had an impact on health of people. The main air pollution sources are automobiles and factories. However, people can’t simply stop using cars or close all the factories. Can they?

Another environmental issue is water pollution. Water pollution is one of Lithuania’s most serious problems.
Lithuanian surface waters are slightly polluted with heavy metals, oil products and phenol.There a few ways to reduce the water pollution, such as to never throw garbage, chemicals, or paints into the water, also for the
government to buy water cleaning equipment.

ONE MORE really important issue disturbing our life is global warming. There are a lot of possible causes of global warming, such as deforestation, pollution, wildfires, and many more. However, even though it does not seem like a thing that we could see at the moment, but it is evident to see as the time passes. Melting of the ice caps, rising sea level, lakes warming rapidly, animals changing migration patterns, plants changing the dates of activity, and many other things are considered to be the effects of global warming.

Environmental problems may not seem like a huge thing for us now, but what will happen to the Earth in the future, if none of us will care or do anything about it? Who knows. A few things we can do save our planet, or at least not to worsen the current situation, are to reduce the pollution, stop wasting electricity, water, and gas, and to encourage others to do the same.

All in all, the first step to change the world is to change our daily life habits. 😉




LEU. What do you know about endangered mammals in Lithuania? by Dominyka Dovidaitytė

Air pollution, water pollution, climate change and so on, these are all environmental problems. But how about endangered species? What do we call endangered species? Do we have those in Lithuania? An Endangered species is a species which has been categorized by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List as likely to become extinct. Because of increasing urbanization and expanding infrastructure, deforestation animals are being
extinct. There are too many of them to be discussed. Let’s look at some mammals.

Bison is the largest mammal known in Lithuania. Bison was a very important hunting object in Lithuanian history, the Grand Duke Jogaila was interested in great animals’ (including bisons) hunting. Now there are very few of them left.  

Next one is the brown bear. They weigh 130-170 kg. In earlier years
because of increasing population and farming these bears had been hunted as predators. And also deforestation was causing the same problem-extinction.

The third one is forest dormouse. Its appearance is squirrel-like, On average, the forest dormouse is 110 mm long with a fluffy grey tail nearly as long as its body. The head and body length can range from 80 mm to 130 mm, while the length of the tail can range from 60 mm to 113 mm. The range of its body mass is between 18 grams and 34 grams.

All in all, we should protect and respect our country, environment and animals.  I hope that in future the level of extinction will decrease.




LEU.Could deforestation lead to the end of the world? By Dovilė Stanislovaitytė

All of us know that trees produce oxygen and that it is vital for our survival, but trees do so much more. Our forests are natural sinks of carbon dioxide and produce fresh oxygen as well as helps in regulating temperature and rainfall. Now forests cover 30% of the land but every year tree cover is lost due to growing population demand for more food, shelter and cloth. Deforestation simply means clearing of green cover and making that land available for residential, industrial or commercial purpose. This article will look into causes and effects of deforestation.


Deforestation occurs around the world, though tropical rainforests are particularly  targeted. NASA predicts that if current deforestation levels proceed the world’s rain forests could completely vanish in a hundred years which would be a disaster.

There are many reasons of deforestation, but most of them are related to money or to people’s need to provide for their families.The biggest driver of deforestation is agriculture. Farmers cut forests to provide more space for planting. Logging operations, which provide the world’s wood and paper products, also cut tons of trees each year. Loggers, some of them acting illegally, also build roads to access more and more remote forests –  which leads to further deforestation. Not all deforestation is intentional. Some is caused by a combination of human and natural factors like wildfires, which may prevent the growth of young trees.

Deforestation has many negative effects on the environment. The most dramatic impact is a loss of habitat for millions of species. Deforestation also causes climate change. Forest soils are moist, but without protection from sun-blocking tree cover they quickly dry out. Trees also help perpetuate the water cycle by returning water steams back into the atmosphere. Without trees forest lands can quickly become deserts. Trees also play a huge role in absorbing the greenhouse gases that cause global warming. Fewer forests means larger amounts of greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere – and increased speed of global warming.

We can already see negative results of deforestation, but we can try to improve the situation. The quickest solution to deforestation would be to simply stop cutting down trees and plant new ones.  The cutting should be balanced by the planting enough young trees to replace the older ones which were cutted down. It is a slow process, but it can change a lot.

Tropical rain forests which cover 6-7% of the earth’s surface, contain over half of all the plant and animal species in the world. So it is time to think that every action of ours have some kind of effect and cutting down trees can have a huge effect to the Earth in the near future. So all of us should think of a ways to stop or at least to reduce deforestation.




What can be done to solve environmental issues? By Ineta Januševskaja and Viltė Baronaitė LEU

Living in the 21st century seems to be the best time of our lives. We have everything we need: high standards of living, great progress in social welfare, health care and technology, but aren’t we forgetting something? Are we only supposed to care about the latter? The essential problem of the21st century is environmental pollution.The problem is so dire, that urgent measures should be taken. However, a single person cannot be held responsible for pollution, yet every Earth’s inhabitant should take responsibility for his or her habitat. This article will introduce some main issues and key ways to combat them, in order to shape a better future.

The first and foremost issue is climate change. Some might have noticed that the weather has been warmer than usual. Some might even have experienced a drought or, in contrast, an unusual thunderstorm in their area. This is due to effect of greenhouse gases called carbon dioxide, methane, water vapor and other gases. Without these gases, this planet would turn too cold for life to exist, yet too much of them makes the climate too hot. So, what can be done? Reducing, reusing and recycling. By recycling half of your household waste, you can save 2,400 pounds of carbon dioxide annually, use Less Heat and Air Conditioning, use less hot water, encourage others to conserve!

The second issue is deforestation.Tropical rain forests, which are crucial to stabilizing the climate
and to human survival are being chopped down at breakneck pace, one and a half acres of rain forest a second. Humanity has already chopped down about 50% of the rain forests that once existed on the planet and at the current rate of destruction, we will completely destroy the rain forests in the next 40 years. So, what could we do as individuals? By using recycled paper, we can decrease the need to cut down so many trees and by buying goods made with FSC – certified wood, we can show retailers that we don’t want them to support brands that obtain lumber irresponsibly. Last but not least, why not plant a tree or even a hundred trees.

One more issue is the pollution. Pollution comes in many forms and no matter where we live we all
have probably seen it. It became a part of our daily routine to see a thing like smog in the streets of big cities. The first thing we can all do to reduce the amount of pollution in our streets, air and water is to change our mentality. Before buying a new product, ask yourself if you really need it or if you might be able to purchase it secondhand. It could make a big difference in the amount of trash we see in our landfills. Secondly, if you don’t already recycle, get into the habit. If everyone adopted these easy principles, the world would be in a much tidier place.

The last, but not least issue is water scarcity. Water Scarcity is becoming more of an issue as the population increases and climate change causes more droughts. Only three percent of the world’s water is fresh water and 1.1 billion people lack access to clean, safe drinking water. How to deal with this problem? Installing an ENERGY STAR-certified washer, using low-flow faucets, plugging up leaks, irrigating the lawn in the morning or evening when the cooler air causes less evaporation, taking shorter showers and not running sink water when brushing your teeth.

It’s time for us to open our eyes and hearts and start caring more not about ourselves but also about our planet, our home. It is high time for human beings to take the ‘right’ action towards saving the earth from major environmental issues. We and only we create a world we want to live in. And it is up to us weather we want to have a bright future or destroy everything we have. If ignored today, these ill effects are sure to curb human existence in the near future.




LEU. How climate change affects animals? – By Živilė Pstygaitė

One day can be hot and cloudy, the next cold and sunny – these day to day changes are the weather.  One day it’s windy, the next it’s raining, the day after that it’s windy and raining then we might get some sunshine.  So, weather is always changing.  But now we regularly hear about climate change.  Climate reflects long-term weather patterns, so when we talk about climate change, we’re talking about long-term changes to the weather.  Over decades and centuries, climate changes – places become drier, wetter, hotter or colder.

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Our climate is changing, both naturally and due to human exploitation. There is already undeniable evidence that animals, birds and plants are being affected by climate change and global warming in both their distribution and behavior.

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Climate variability and change affects birdlife and animals in a number of ways:

Birds lay eggs earlier in the year than usual, plants bloom earlier and mammals are come out of hibernation sooner. Birds are migrating and arriving at their nesting grounds earlier, and the nesting grounds that they are moving to are not as far away as they used to be and in some countries the birds don’t even leave anymore, as the climate is suitable all year round.

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Many people know that climate change is causing Arctic sea ice to melt, which in turn threatens polar bears who need the ice to hunt for their prey. They spend far more time at sea than it does on land.  Polar bears today are thinner and less healthy than those of 20 years ago.

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Although it is thought that no species has yet become extinct exclusively because of climate change, many migratory and non-migratory species are expected to become extinct in the near future.




LEU. What can be done to stop environmental issues? – By Ineta Januševskaja and Viltė Baronaitė

Living in a 21st century seems to be like the best time of our lives. We got everything we need: high standarts of living, great progress in Social Welfare, Health care and technology. But….. Aren’t we forgetting something? Should we really care just about things like that? An essential problem of the 21st century is world pollution. Currently the environment is so contaminated that urgent measures should be taken. A single individual cannot be blamed for the world pollution, however every person should take care of his or her habitat. Here is a list of thing all of us can try to be a part of a better future!

  1. 1Climate change is first and foremost an issue. You might have noticed that the weather’s been hotter than usual, or you have noticed a drought in your area or conversely, unusual storms. To prevent climate change you can start by using less electricity, driving less, switching to LED bulbs or eating less meat.
  2. 2Another thing to mention is deforestation. Tropical rainforests, which are crucial to stabilizing the climate and to human survival, are being chopped down at breakneck pace- one and a half acres of rainforest are lost every second. Humans have already chopped down about 50% of the rainforests that once existed on the planet and at the current rate of destruction, we will completely destroy the rainforests in the next 40 years. What we could do as individuals? By using recycled paper, we can decrease the need to cut down as many trees and by buying goods made with FSC-certified wood, we can show retailers that we don’t want them to support brands that obtain lumber irresponsibly. Last but not least, why not plant a tree or even a hundred trees.

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  1. Moving on we face pollution. Pollution comes in many forms and no matter where we live we all probably have seen it more or less. It became a part of our daily routine to see such thing like smog in the streets of big cities. The first thing we can all do to reduce the amount of pollution in our streets, air and water is to make a mental change. Before buying a new product, ask yourself if you really need it or if you might be able to purchase it secondhand. It could make a big difference in the amount of trash we see in our landfills. Secondly, if you don’t already recycle, get into the habit. If everyone adopted these easy principles, the world would be in a much better place.
  1. 5Global warming is another environmental issue which is increase in earth’s temperature due to effect of greenhouse gases called carbon dioxide, methane, water vapor and other gases. Without these gases, this planet would turn be cold for life to exist. What can be done? Reduce, reuse, recycle. By recycling half of your household waste, you can save 2,400 pounds of carbon dioxide annually, use Less Heat and Air Conditioning, use less hot water, encourage others to conserve!

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  1. Water scarcity is becoming more of an issue as the population increases and climate change causes more droughts. Only three percent of the world’s water is fresh water and 1.1 billion people lack access to clean, safe drinking water. How to deal with this problem? Installing an ENERGY STAR-certified washer, using low-flow faucets, plugging up leaks, irrigating the lawn in the morning or evening when the cooler air causes less evaporation, taking shorter showers and not running sink water when brushing your teeth.

It’s time for us to open our eyes and hearts and start caring more not about ourselves but also about our planet, our home.  It is high time for human beings to take the ‘right’ action towards saving the earth from major environmental issues. We and only we create a world we want to live in. And it is up to us weather we want to have a bright future or destroy everything we have. If ignored today, these ill effects are sure to curb human existence in the near future.

     

 

 

 

 




LEU. Environmental problems: littering – By Evelina Bankauskaitė

There are many environmental problems in the world today, such as littering, water and air pollution, deforestation, acid rain and more. Many of them are caused by people. You may think that Lithuania is a small country and there are not so many severe environmental problems. Although, the extent of Lithuania’s ecological issues is not as great as in other big countries, they are still issues that cannot be left unsolved.
One of the biggest environmental problems in Lithuania is littering. In the recent report on how European Union countries manage municipal waste Lithuania was one of the outsiders. The vast majority of municipal waste in Lithuania is still landfilled. Despite the fact that since 2004, the recycling rate has slightly increased, the overall recycling level is still shamefully low. Probably, the reason of it is the lack of information. This problem needs to be solved quickly. We have to instruct our people about recycling. The recycling process should be supervised carefully.
Another huge concern is the usage of plastic bags. These bags are very popular in our country. You can find tons of them in supermarkets or in any kind of shop. Usually they are given for free. Buyers do not even understand how many of them they actually take. As you may know, microorganisms are unable to decompose plastic trash.  It is a very massive issue that other countries started to take care off.  For example, Italy was the first country in Europe which forbade onetime plastic bags. In these days, more and more countries in the world apply major restrictions on plastic trash. Lithuania has to do the same.
It would be wrong to say that Lithuania does not do anything to fix littering problems. Every year the volunteers of Lithuania organise action called ‘Darom’. The main task of this action is to collect trash all around the country. This is a good start in solving littering issue, but it is just a little step. We should not litter in the first place!
All in all, the nature is our home. Our entire future depends on the way we protect our nature. Therefore, the protection of the natural environment against physical, chemical, biological and any other negative impact should be the main target in Lithuania.




LEU. The Impact of Global Warming on the Sea Shore of Lithuania by Edvinas Matonis

Global warming is a well known and dire threat to the world. The latter is based on the rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere – which acts as a blanket, trapping heat and heating the planet. Because of that, The Antarctic ice is melting and the sea levels are rising in a raging manner across the globe; Lithuania is no exception to the matter. This article will look into how does global warming affect Lithuania.

To begin with, it is known by most, that one of the long-term effects of global warming is the rising sea level. In the report by the Climate Change Commission, it is said that in XXI century sea levels could rise by 30-60 centimeters and in recent years the sea level in Lithuania alone has risen by approximately 14-16 centimeters. Furthermore, Lithuanian coast also suffers intensive erosion, due to the natural processes of wind and wave, but this was accelerated by warmer air conditions created by the global warming. Additionally, during the last decade, the problem was made even worse by human actions such as deepening of the Klaipėda port and construction of the hydro-technical works. Secondly, one of the most valued natural treasures of Lithuania called The Curonian Spit, which is compiled of beautiful sand dunes, is in danger. This part of the coast is exposed to the most vicious storms and erosion, because of which The Curonian Spit is diminishing day by day.

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Lastly, the situation is also grim for Lithuania’s largest resort Palanga. The beach of Palanga receives a lot of damage every year and during a 5 year’s span that led to the beach being almost washed away. Also, a succession of severe storms in the last 20 to 30 years seem to have accelerated the erosion and coastline recession process. The storm surges are predicted to intensify even further, because of the reduction in sea-ice cover during winter and the strengthening of the westerly to south-westerly   winds.

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All in all, if these threats continue to grow in such a manner, Lithuania is prone to lose its beaches in not quite distant future.




John Fowles’s “The collector” book review by Izabela Daržinkevič

“I think we are just insects, we live a bit and then die and that’s the lot. There’s no mercy in things. There’s not even a Great Beyond. There’s nothing.” (J.Fowles)

UtopiaNowadays, people spend a lot of time looking for the answer who we are and what is the main aim of our life. A few years ago I have also started thinking about who I am and why I am living. I found a lot of different articles and movies, but recently I’ve realized that the best way to answer all these questions is reading books. Of course, not all books are fit for this purpose. Existential and psychological novels are the best books that can help to explain many difficult spiritual things. I have read several books which changed my way of thinking, books like “Utopia” by Thomas More, ”The Master and Margaret” by Michail Bulgakov and a few other, but one book has become a mystery to me – it is “The Collector” by John Fowles. I am still trying to understand what the main topic of this novel is, but every time I start thinking about it, I have many different questions and there’s always something that I cannot explain.

“The collector” was written by an English novelist of international stature John Robert Fowles and it was his first novel that became very popular. A few years after publishing (1963) the book, a featured film with the same title was created. On one hand, it seems that “The collector” is a tragic love story, but on the other hand, it’s something more than that. As I said before, this novel is full of various topics and perspectives. It is about love and relations, happiness and sadness, domestication and about some of us – poor people who are still looking for something good for our soul. This whole inner world is presented only by relations between the two main characters Frederick and Miranda.

The author presents two very different people. Frederick Clegg is a young lonely man who collects butterflies in his spare time. Miranda Grey is a middle-class art student at the Slade School of Fine Arts. Frederick is obsessed with Miranda, he likes her looks, but he does not realize what is happening in her mind. The lack of social skills prevents him from talking to her, but he dreams how he is going to meet her and marry one day. His dream comes true, but only partially. Frederick wins a large money prize and hopes that Miranda will love him at least for his money. He decides to buy an old isolated house in the countryside, arranges everything for his guest and kidnaps Miranda. Further, the author presents a fight between two main characters. There are a lot of external and internal conflicts. All that happens next is self-knowledge in a very uncharacteristic way even for extreme situations.

John Fowles uses two perspectives to tell his story. One part is presented from Frederick’s point of view and the other part is presented in a way of reading Miranda’s diary. This way, the author shows much more details for his readers and creates a very gloomy atmosphere. “While being a guest” Miranda analyzes her whole life. Of course, she tries to get out of her cell, but she is not strong enough to physically fight with Frederick. She understands that freedom is the most important value in life. butterflyMiranda remembers her family and friends, but a big part of her memories is occupied by a man named G.P. Finally, she realizes that she would like to get married with G.P. and continue her artworks. At the same time, Frederick hopes that one day Miranda is going to love him because she is the aim of his life. He tries to be a nice and person, but the lack of social skills and education prevents him of normal conversations with Miranda. Frederick has a very big disadvantage it is his selfishness interlaced with fear. On one hand, Frederick has reached his goal – he has Miranda very near and nobody, as it seems, can destroy his beautiful life. But on the other hand, the result did not meet his expectations. J. Fowles says “We all want things we can’t have. Being a decent human being is accepting that.” When a person, in this case Frederick, dreams about Miranda for a long time he feels happy about his dreams, but when Miranda becomes a real person – someone he can touch or talk with – Frederick loses his interest, loses his aim and now he has to look for something new. At the end of the story, after Miranda‘s death, he realizes that he has found his cruel „vocation“ – to collect not only butterflies but also young beautiful girls.

When I have finished reading this book I tried to imagine what my reaction and behavior would be if I were in Miranda‘s place. Also, I tried to understand and even justify Frederick‘s behavior, but it was really hard. For one moment I even thought that Miranda was to blame for some of Frederic‘s actions. I cannot say that this book has revealed the purpose to my life, but I have found two main thoughts which are very useful. The first, is that we should reduce our level of selfishness and try to live as if today is the last day of our lives because one can never know what can happen next. The second, is that all our goals are like butterflies – we need a lot of time to catch them, and we can never know what the result will be. Some people are like Frederick – they collect small and large butterflies and hide them for the future so that later they could boast about the wonderful collection and have a hope that the biggest and the most beautiful butterfly that can satisfy all the expectations is captured.




The pasta, the siesta, the pedagogy by Ieva Dabrilaitė

Erasmus exchange program is popular all over Europe and it gives students the opportunity to study abroad. I mean, what could be more challenging and adventurous than studying in a completely different country for some months?  Well, I can tell you from my own experience – Erasmus is a thing which you will never forget.

Firstly, last spring me and my group mate from Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences decided that we want to use all the opportunities given from our university and Erasmus was one of them. It took us some time to choose from a quite long list where to go; finally, we chose the University of Turin, which is located in Northern Italy. Maybe you have heard Turin as a capital of chocolate or that it hosts one of the best football teams in the world – Torino Juventus. Honestly, before coming to Turin we did not know what to expect and our knowledge about Turin was based on information found on the Internet!

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We found many differences in Lithuanian and Italian lifestyles. For example, Italians do not get irritated if someone is late. Maybe that is because everyone is often late and it is just the way they live. Also, their eating habits differ.  No need to say that Italy is famous for its cuisine. We can see, usually, Italians portrayed as pasta eating people who drink wine in movies occasionally. Well, this is true. Italians have plenty of ways to cook pasta and they can eat it everyday day. As our university didn’t have a canteen, all the students were bringing their food containers which were usually filled with pasta. Eating in halls or sometimes even in audiences is an absolutely normal thing and we got used to that too!

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Lectures are one more thing I would like to share my opinion about. The thing I liked the most and tried to convey in my teaching practice is the way teacher communicates with students. He never interrupts and diversity of opinions is considered as a good thing in classrooms. Teacher is not the one who shares knowledge, but the one who gives an opportunity for students to talk. I appreciated a lot that criticism was not used at all and it was replaced with some kind of advice. Erasmus gave me a chance to study the Italian language and learn its basics, which helped a lot to communicate while living there. However, sign language was often used to buy groceries or express that I really liked that cup of Cappuccino!

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Talking from my own experience, me and my friend chose to spend more money on traveling and it was a decision I will never regret. Getting lost in small towns, laughing at missing a train (but not laughing so much when you need to spend a night in the railway station!), visiting museums, and meeting locals are just some random memories out of thousands. We managed to visit the capital of fashion Milan, were astonished of  the beauty of Renaissance birthplace Florence, and walked under popular arks of Bologna. Not only did we explore some little Italian towns as Aosta or Ivrea, but also had a great trip to Monaco and Cannes, France.  Adventures, adventures everywhere!

No need to say that Erasmus is a program which allows you to feel some kind of freedom. When I say freedom, I do not mean making spontaneous reckless decisions but more like feeling that you can travel the world and feel like living another life. You have the freedom to travel, to meet new people, to gain different knowledge, and to pursue your dreams.

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I would suggest every pupil who is keen on challenging himself in their lives to take this opportunity. I guarantee discoveries and adventures you will never forget. As it is said, once Erasmus, always Erasmus!




Kolba on Climate Change

Climate change is a change of weather. Unfortunately, it is already happening, it’s not just a fear. It’s hard to deny that today climate change or in other words – global warming is a serious reason for concern. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and other meteorological institutions prove that average yearly temperature has been steadily increasing during the last decades. The Earth’s average surface temperature has risen by 0.76° C since 1850. Most of the warming that has occurred over the last 50 years is very likely to have been caused by human activities. Over 95% of scientists agree that these changes are caused by the Greenhouse Effect. The statistic represents that carbon dioxide emissions increased by around nine billion metric tons over the past decade. Burning large amounts of fossil fuels – coal, oil, and natural gas is the root cause of global warming. The burning releases heat trapping gases in the atmosphere. So all these statistics represent that our world is getting warmer.

Climate change has a lot of negative factors. First of all, the sea levels have been rising, the number of floods in different parts of the world has increased dramatically. It is bad because salt water destroys the crops. Also seawater is contaminating rivers when it mixes with fresh water and the rivers are becoming polluted. That’s why many people are undernourished. Secondly, glaciers in the Northern Hemisphere have started to melt.  Millions of people depend on fresh water supply each year by natural spring melt. And thirdly, it’s ocean acidification. This process is caused by CO2 in the water, and may have negative effects on the entire oceanic food chain. So climate change has terrible effects.It is important to recognize that we should do something that could stop global warming. One of alternative ways would be to reduce CO2 emissions. The government should restrict traffic in the city center or allow Eco-friendly cars only. Also in my opinion countries should invest into renewable energy this way burning of fossil fuels could be reduced. In my view these solutions are the best way to prevent climate change.

To my mind, everybody could promote stopping global warming. I am worried about climate change, so I could motivate my parents and friends to limit car driving and using public transport instead. Also I could become a part of various events or organizations which invite people to adopt a ‘greener’ lifestyles. So there are a lot of ways how to reduce climate change. The most important thing is the desire to save our nature!

 




LEU students’ multiple opinion article “Why I Hate Politics”

“Frankly speaking, I don’t hate politics. However, if I said that I was interested in politics, I would be lying as well. Just because I personally don’t follow the latest news about politics or know much about the political systems and affairs between various countries doesn’t mean that I despise politics. Just like many young people nowadays, I don’t take part in political activities as well as don’t really have much knowledge concerning politics since it seems something that only serious elderly people can be involved in. To me, politics is like an empty house – barren and boring. But you are still surrounded by it, you cannot live without it. And when you look at this “empty house” up close, you realize how much work has been put into building and maintaining it; you realize that it is something rather complex when you start looking at all its crevices and cracks. Hence, you cannot run away from politics, even though, it might not be of any interest to you at all. Every person is a part of his/her country’s political system, whether they like it or not. That’s why I cannot claim that I hate politics – something that controls so many aspects of my life.” Laura Baniulytė, LEU 2nd year student of English philology

“To be honest, I found the statement ‘to hate politics’ rather extreme expressing my individual concern about political issues. In terms of my own beliefs, it would more accurate to state that ‘I don’t really hate politics, while the rest of the world really prompts me to do it’. Literally speaking, thousands of Lithuanians share either limited or fixed knowledge on the fact that approximately two-thirds of the people being in charge of governmental issues are kind of liars, corrupt people or the ones who will never deliver their promises. I cannot agree more, it is normal hate the ones who cheat and disappoint you all the time. However, the other side of this approach could be assumed as a typical human tendency to hate those who are in power and can take actions on others. It is easy to hate the ones, we disagree with, isn’t it? To that end, it is crucial to understand the reasons why are we constantly arguing about politics. Since, otherwise such ‘displeasure’ with political issues could be deemed as either a stereotypical thinking or an old habit against people who are in power. Thus, broadly speaking, these statements mostly lead to my own perception that I don’t really hate politics. I am aware of the fact that politicians are normally surrounded by affairs and tricky situations making them the worst and cynical people in the world. However, despite this, I’m trying to think critically all the time. In other words, I support convincing ideas which not only look nice to me, but also fit my own beliefs. Hence, I find myself being interested and keen on politics quite often. Besides, I consider such interest as rather useful and compulsory. Thus, such perception leads me to rethink the fact that we have no right to judge and criticize the final product if we were not involved in the process. Therefore, to my way of thinking, I can draw a conclusion that we shouldn’t try to escape from the things which affect our lives significantly or neither hate it, but start caring them from the very beginning.”  Miglė Grašytė, second year student of English philology.Miglė Grašytė's profile photo

“Why I hate politics? First of all, I couldn’t say that I hate politics. In contrary, I could even say that I am interested in politics and I am eager to know what it is and how it works not only in our country but all over the world. For some this word may sound as a very boring, complex and frustration arousing topic where everything is very complicated and monotonic. And I do understand this opinion, because politics include a lot of fields where you have to have a good knowledge of law, history, economics and  a basic understanding how to rule the country so that it could prosper. However, you can’t have it without reading a lot of academic books, political articles or law acts. And that, in my opinion, deters why majority of the citizens are taking no interest into politics. On the other hand, there are a lot of good reasons why everyone, like me, should be interested in politics. You can learn not only a lot of interesting political and historical facts but also how to speak publicly, how to solve different problems, how to defend or obtrude your opinion and a lot more. Knowing your rights and duties or what your government decides to approve gives you not only a huge power to control your representatives in the parliament but it also makes you a ruminative and responsible citizen who cares not only about his future, but as well about his children’s future. That’s why nor me, nor you should hate politics.”Gabrielius Bružas second year student of English philology.

“I hate politics because a lot of politicians care more about their own wallet and acquiring power than about being sincere and reliable to the people who gave them the chance to sit in politician’s chair – to their own nation. The fact that most of the politicians are hypocrites is easily noticeable in every election. Generally, people who candidate for the position in the government would say anything to get that job. Every time the new elections come tons of guarantees for better life are seen. Some promise to lower the taxes, some promise to raise the wages and so on. The promises are always very beautiful but changes rarely come to life. The promises are mainly focused on the working class and the elderly because these people generally yearn for the changes so much that are willing to close their eyes and give their vote for the politician that promises the most. Obviously there are some sincere politicians but they are rarely elected because they do not build air castles of fake promises and appear less grandiose. Therefore, I hate politics because the people who were chosen by the nation are rarely those who truly care about their country and deserve trust.”Gintarė Ragauskaitė.
“Answering this question, I would like to say that I do not hate politics. On the contrary, I like it. The first reason why is because politics is very interesting. It is interesting because of politicians’ made decisions, relationships, strategies, which are important to the society because they directly determine people’s lives and living conditions in a particular country. The second reason why I am interested in politics is the knowledge I acquire and the experience I gain. I learn a lot about countries all over the world. I find out a lot about different spheres such as economics, legislature, government’s work, relations. Also, I learn a lot about countries’ political background, history and compliance of traditions and convictions. To sum up, the politics is a really interesting and important sphere for every person. I hope, that in the future we will have more people all over the world, who will be interested in politics. “
Regards,
Austėja Maskoliūnaitė

“To tell the truth, I could not say if I like or hate politics. Day after day, meeting different people, hearing their opinions, it made me to take a dim view of politics. It seems that there are a lot of ”cloudy” and ”hidden” corners of it. In fact, everything in this sphere looks easily bought and sold. What I am mean by saying it, is politicians aspiration to improve their own welfare. If we could analyze politicians promises in terms of percentage, I am really afraid that we would find a huge gap between what was said before election and what was done after election. I guess some people just make promises to buy more votes, so I am not going to believe it until I see it. In other words, until words turns into results. As far as drawbacks of politics are concerned, last headlines of website articles, TV news, newspapers are constantly full of tragic events, higher and higher emigration numbers, corruption and so on and so forth. Maybe these painful topics of our everyday life are bright red signals that something is not right, something more has to be done by our politicians, something more than just words. Not to go deeper, I do not have enough competence in politics to say that I hate it, but I know enough to mistrust it. And as a young citizen I am deeply concerned about the day after today.” II year student of English Philology

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Eglė Gričinaitė




Introduction to U.S. Presidential Elections by Armantas Stankevičius and Anton Achremov

U.S. presidential elections will start in less than 9 months on November 8th, 2016, however both the electoral campaign and the media hype have already picked up a lot of momentum. The reason behind this is that in the U.S. it is not only the Election Day, but rather the entire Election Year that matters. With 2016 obviously being a significant year for the American politics, we would like to once more briefly remind how the United States elections work.presidential_election

As already mentioned, the entire year matters and the reason for that are the primaries that take place in the beginning of the year. The purpose of the primaries is to decide which of many Democrat and Republican candidates will become nominees for U.S. presidency. The way primaries are organized may vary from one state to another. In some of them all voters get to have a vote, in others only the members of the parties can decide. The dates of the primaries are also fixed by each state individually. Despite that, one day, known as “super Tuesday” is special. It is a Tuesday in February or March, when the biggest number of states get to elect a candidate. This year it is the 1st of March, with 11 states voting. The current candidates racing for the seat of the president are Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders, both representing the Democrat party, with poll numbers having a difference only in few percent, which means they are similarly popular amongst the U.S. citizens. On the opposing side, which is the Republicans, we have Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, John Kasich and Ben Carson. Trump currently being the most popular Republican candidate, having ⅓ of all polls and the rest being divided between the remaining candidates.US-PRESIDENTIAL-ELECTION-0F-2016-10

However, candidates are not elected directly; voters only elect delegates who are obliged to vote for a particular person. The candidate that gets more than a half of all delegates’ votes wins the primaries and becomes the party’s official nominee for the Presidential election. If none of the candidates win a majority, the party holds an inner negotiation where some of the candidates may withdraw. After that, a second round of voting is held, but this time delegates are not bound to a certain candidate and may vote as they wish. This continues until someone finally gets more than 50% of all votes. The number of delegates required to become a nominee for the position of U.S. president for the Democrats is 2,383. Clinton currently has been able to win 502 delegates and Bernie Sanders is left with a handful of 70. On the Republican side only 1,237 delegates are required for nomination, but considering the amount of candidates it seems reasonable. Trump is currently leading with 67, Cruz being second with 11, Rubio staying not so farUSA-3 behind with 10, Kasich moving slowly with 5 and Carson being last with 3.

Finally, when all the primaries are over and parties have chosen their Presidential candidates, the final Election Day comes (this year November 8th). This time however, once again citizens do not get a direct vote, but choose the electors, who are once again obliged to vote for a certain candidate. The number of electors varies in different states, depending on the state’s population. When the votes have been counted and it becomes clear, which candidate won in which state, “the winner takes it all principle” is applied. Electors are not directly assigned to the candidate. Instead, the candidate that wins in a certain state gets the votes of all the electors of that state. The only exception from this rule is Nebraska and Maine that use a different method – one elector is selected in every congressional district of these states, while two remaining ones are selected by a statewide popular vote. vote

This is the reason why campaigns in certain states are much denser than in the others, since winning in a big state (Florida, California, Texas) is a lot more beneficial.

All in all, the election system into the U.S. presidency is very elaborate, has many steps and a wide range of candidates. And even though certain candidates have already shown some popularity spikes, the picture of the winner is still vague.

 




“End? No, the journey doesn’t end here!“ by Tomas Aleknavičius

Many know J. R. R. Tolkien as the writer of “The Lord of the Rings”. Do all know that he did not begin, nor stop with this novel? Many don’t bother to wander that maybe there is more of the Middle-Earth they learned to love so much just waiting to be discovered. “The Lord of the Rings” was written in 17 years. Tolkien polished his story relentlessly so it would fit his grand design. What is even more remarkable is that the action of the novel takes place at the end of the Third Age of Middle-Earth history. By the way – ages in Tolkien’s writing are periods of time defined by major events such as cataclysms or great shifts of political power. So, how about the Ages that come before? What about those that come after? These would be very good questions to ask. And Tolkien answers. He answers with the totality of all of his life’s work. He gives you “The Silmarillion”. It is a collection of stories that were published after his death in 1977 by his son, Christopher Tolkien. Tolkien, the elder, began writing the stories that would later become “The Silmarillion” back in 1914. He intended them to become an English mythology that would explain the origins of English history and culture. As a scholar of mythopoeic literature he wanted to give his people something that he thought they, as a nation, were deprived of. Although “The Silmarillion” was rejected by publishers over and over again, Tolkien never gave up. As relentlessly as he cared for every detail in his works, so too, he wrote to editors and publishers seeking those that would take “The Silmarillion” out into the world. Encouraged by the success of “The Hobbit” he tried once more, but it was not yet his time. After this last attempt he returned to puffing his pipe and polishing the philosophy and the theology of Middle-Earth to the very end of his life. Several years after Tolkien’s passing, his son, Christopher, edited and compiled the narrative that is now known as “The Silmarillion”. Finnaly in the fall of 1977 the greatest work of J. R. R. Tolkien was published.

“The Silmarillion” is compiled of five parts:

4. Of the Rings of Power and the Third Age – or “The Lord of the Rings”.
After the end of the Third Age comes the Fourth Age or the Age of Man, where the Middle-Earth gradually becomes more and more like our Earth, but Tolkien never wrote down more than an obscure definition of the Ages to come. Instead, he left us with “The Silmarillion”. A grand adventure spanning over thousands of years “The Silmarillion” accounts for the fall of the Melkor, the First Enemy, the downfall of Numenor, the greatest kingdom of Men, the retreat of the Elves and the Valar from the everyday lives of men.

I have given you, dear reader, a glimpse of what Tolkien worked on, his entire life. Short and clouded as it may have been, still you might have caught the idea or should I say the reason why I write about this man. What he has accomplished surpasses many of his peers, not to mention followers. Single handedly this man has created a mythological background, languages, cultures, histories that encompass as much as some of our own, real world traditions. One man, in ~60 years has done something that nations work on for centuries. And we have the opportunity to see it, read it for ourselves. Isn’t that amazing? With this in mind, I invite you to journey through the First and Second Ages of Middle-Earth in the next series of articles. I will talk about each of the legends separately and the themes that join them thus forming the underlying base of values and beliefs upon which Middle-Earth is built.

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