This is a wonderful time when most Lithuanians are waiting for the upcoming holidays and meeting with relatives at the table for Christmas eve, except this year. This December at the Bible Institute was different than ever, just like for everyone else here. In a typical year, students go home for holidays for a full month from the first weeks of December to the first week of January. Many return to their homes, here in Europe, and also across the ocean. Others stay and travel around Europe. This December, we studied longer because we started studies a few weeks later than usual. So we got a total of two weeks off. This time we will mostly talk about them. It is truly amazing what miracles God did during the holidays!
We knew for a while that there are no chances for us to go back to Lithuania for the holidays. Hungary is closed to foreigners, so even if we left, it would be difficult to return. Even if we could return to Lithuania, it wouldn’t make much sense, because we would have to quarantine ourselves for 10 days. But after Lithuania declared quarantine at the end of
November and become included in the list of “affected countries”, it turns out that there is no need to quarantine when coming from another red zone country (if there is no gray zone country crossed). So a little bit of that hope began to grow. After talking to the administration of the Institute, we received permission to leave, with an agreement that we would have to spend 10 days in quarantine when we come back. Realizing that we would probably be able to return to Lithuania for Christmas after all, we started planning our holidays in Lithuania.
Unfortunately, 2 weeks before departure, Poland was announced as a grey zone country. This means that if we go through it to Lithuania, we will have to quarantine for 10 days and all the holidays with our loved ones will fade away. And this is the only available transit route through the EU territory. So we prayed a lot and 5 days before our planned day of departure, the EU released an announcement that out of 16 Polish regions, only 4 remain in the gray zone and the remaining 12 will return to the red zone. That’s how, the way to Lithuania appeared again, only it became more winding because it was necessary to bypass 4 grey-zone regions. Because everything happened so unexpectedly, and we did not want to cause any false hopes for our loved ones, we did not tell almost anyone from our families that we are coming back home.
The trip went smoothly. At 4:30 am we left Tóalmás. We left Hungary surprisingly calmly and got to Slovakia. As soon as the sun started rising and the first fog came up, we got to drive through the beautiful Tatra mountains, so it was not only beautiful but also dangerous. Suddenly, while driving, I saw some silhouette lurking in the middle of the road, so I slowed down, thinking that it could be some kind of animal or a person. I was not mistaken:
In a few seconds, the car stopped a few meters away from a beautiful pair of deer that just looked at us and went further in their ways. We went through the Czech Republic and Poland without any issues. We saw Police being at borders but they were not checking every passer-by. Finally, after four months of not being in Lithuania and a long sixteen-hour drive, we crossed the Lithuanian border!
We did quite a lot in Lithuania. We initially rushed to do a COVID-19 antibody test. The test is optional, but if antibodies are found, it means that the individual was infected with coronavirus and has acquired immunity for 3-6 months. Thirty-six hours later, we got the results. It turns out we both had an asymptomatic form of COVID-19 around the end of November and now have quite a strong immunity for it. By the way, after the trip, we decided that we needed to repair our amazing 2001. SUBARU car because the engine started to heat up. With God’s help, I managed to find an amazing auto mechanic who agreed to repair the car together with me (I really wanted to learn more about repairing cars.) To those who know about cars, I’ll only say that the problem was the rusty main radiator. In addition, we managed to replace the engine cover gaskets, the main belt (which was already so thin that it is a real miracle of God that it hasn’t burst on our way to Lithuania), and other standard accessories. P.s. Before this repair, I had no understanding of all of this.
We spent most of our time with our relatives playing board games, socializing, and enjoying each other’s fellowship. Christmas eve and Christmas was definitely one of the coziest we have experienced yet. For the past three years, on a New Year we attended the “Saltshaker” Christian Conference, but this year we had to take a break and return to the times when the New Year was celebrated at home with our parents. I also had the opportunity to donate my blood. Just recently, I received a call that due to my COVID-19 antibodies my blood plasma was also used to treat patients from coronavirus.
After the holidays, it was time to go back to the institute. Before the trip, we received the message that if the Hungarian border Police will accept our COVID-19 medical records and do not enter us into the system, there will be no need to quarantine us when we return! The trip back went surprisingly faster. Probably because we reached Slovakia in ten hours by motorways. But it took another six hours to drive all the way through the Tatra mountains and reach our home in Hungary.
It was a lot of fun to come back because we could meet friends and classmates, whom we missed very much during our two-week holidays in Lithuania! We came back on January 2nd, Saturday night, and two days after that on Monday, we went back to our studies.
The semester is coming to an end, therefore we have quite a lot of studying. But finding some extra minutes per day for a few days, I tried to describe everything to you as soon as possible.
Happy New Year! – Arnas ir Gabrielė