Happy birthday our dear country. This year you've turned 28.
So did they.
28 years old adults, Lithuanians, the bright minds, the talented hands, the humble and the punks, the spiritual and the pragmatic ones.
Teachers, managers, doctors, musicians, painters, designers, perfumers, theatre directors, engineers, editors...
These people are the reflections, the walking miniatures of current Lithuania.
The live portraits this country got finally painted. All of them are so different, yet, so true.
And if so - we have a lot of hope.
A lot of power in our hands.
Very strong, courageous future ahead.
Please read their thoughts on what Lithuania means to them, and feel butterflies in your stomach. Because I definitely do.
Stylist & chief editor: @lenalisabona
Lina is a stylist and chief editor in her new online magazine @abstractstylist, telling about boundaryless places and limitless imagination of Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and the world.
Lina was born in 90s, she likes old fashioned cocktail and animal documentaries on giraffes and elephants. Also, she loves spending time at home and Lithuania to her simply means... home. ♥️
Fund manager at Benediktas Gylys foundation: @burzuika
Lithuania to Ringaile means freedom, which includes home, friends, Santa Claus from TV, small and large theater halls, potato meals.
“You can choose your favourite pieces, you can take everything in a bundle or you can seek for something better outside of Lithuania. You can do whatever you want. Also, sometimes you can remind to yourself, your family and friends that it’s very important to nurture and preserve our freedom.”
Product designer: @domasmark
“There is no such place in the world where I would feel so calm and so much welcomed as I am in Lithuania. And if being less serious, Lithuania is a redneck of Europe.
We have enough of land and little of inhabitants, we don’t have to be bothered about metropolitan buzz and we can enjoy the nature, be it a picnic by the lake or a trip by motorcycle around the forests and swamps.”
Product manager and potato farmer: @kovodukra
“To me, Lithuania without people is just a patch of land on the map.
However, despite the fact people contribute to a country's identity, Lithuanians have one common feature: they don't really love each other. I often encounter the fact Lithuanians find other country's culture and /or production better than the local one.
Yet, indifference to your country is equal to indifference to yourself. I do believe that only once we learn how to fall in love with ourselves as Lithuanians we will be able to establish a really hot romance with Lithuania itself."
QA engineer: @jurgago
“I love watching Lithuania outgrowing its teenager’s skin and moving towards its youth, towards being a progressive and modern country. I’m not a patriot, I lived elsewhere, I know sh*t, and I can say - Lithuanian nature, people and cities are highly adaptable, as a young person willing to change, to prove something to its strict and needy parents which in this case are our government and our people. Children grow up and Lithuania, eventually, will also do. So far, I don’t want to move anywhere from this country. I feel too good being here. Cheers.”
Fashion designer: @vida_straseviciute
“To me, Lithuania associates with melancholy. With fearful and sad eyes of a Lithuanian, where all of our pain and history is coded. These eyes can be recognized wherever you go: in every airport, every country abroad.”
“Lithuania is a woman, a mother, a goddess, a witch and an alchemist. It‘s a soft melancholy, wrapping you while it rains. Lithuania is a tranquility. A purification.
I‘m happy to have a Lithuanian name Egle. It means a tree of death. Don‘t get me wrong: death, in this case, means rather a transformation than the ending of something. A transformation from something very stereotypical to something sacred. I believe my name connects me with Lithuania and defines my mission here: to help others through feelings and emotions, to encourage Lithuanian people transform their oppressive minds into the light ones.”
Art director: @malowine
“To me - Lithuania is a country of opportunities, where I feel fearless in trying something new. Probably while creating, even the most inspiring place abroad wouldn’t make me feel as safe and cozy as I am in Lithuania. Not sure if it’s an element of home or positive environment, which is young and thirsty for fresh ideas.”
“Lithuania to me looks like a wonderful stained glass, where colorful perfect and imperfect fragments merge into one solid picture. In the meaning of time, it becomes live, like a kaleidoscope, where each person is an element of it.
Here, everything is related, even though we don’t understand it consciously. While interacting, we perform a whole new beauty, every day. A fragile and unique masterpiece of history, culture and love. And its name is Lithuania.”
Theater director: @linazidonyte
“I tend to solve life situations as mathematical exercises. Even when I think of Lithuania, I see it as a three-dimensional phenomenon: the first dimension is human relationships, sometimes it’s correct and sometimes it’s like a broken connection. The second - Lithuanian textures, which are: concrete & masonry & plaster, triumphing against nature. And the third one - far perspective, the result we can achieve by hard work.
To resume, Lithuania to me is 3 things: People - Nature - Perspective.”
Business developer: @rutaragauskaite
“I see Lithuania as a young person, someone my age. Someone trying hard to behave like an adult without having real clue what’s actually right or wrong. Yet, acting, failing and seeking for novelties, this way finding its own authenticity. Lithuania learns bit by bit to be proud of itself, also, admit its negativeness and strive to fix it.
At the same time Lithuania seems getting more conscious, realizing it has so many pretty things and minds to expose. For us, as Lithuanians, knowing our country means knowing ourselves. From the very deep essence.”
Accounting team leader: @niormis
“People. Lithuania brings me a very strong association with people who work hard, keep trying, take responsibility for their actions and the results these actions deliver. I admire people who require from themselves to be more than what they were yesterday.”
Resident doctor of anesthesiology and intensive care: @cyziute
“Firstly, I think Lithuania is a gift and a privilege rather than something given. Once you are born in independent country with freedom received a priori, you can hardly measure its price. Maybe the ones who dig deeper into history can realize the harsh experiences people who created Lithuanian independence had. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ So, Lithuania to me is not the green forests, the serpentine of Nemunas or drops of amber left on the coast of Baltic sea - it’s the ambitious, courageous and strong people who once led us to this point. To our freedom. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ I believe we, as Lithuanians, have responsibility to carry this on and give our share to develop our country further.”
Lithuanian language teacher: @esukotryna
“Once I think about Lithuania, I’m caught by the attitude of 20th century which makes me see Lithuania unfold by language, by text, by poetry. Lithuanian poems are too structured and too impossible to translate into foreign languages, so only the native speaker can sense it, can actually know the real meaning behind. The world of Lithuanian poetry: so tiny and so wide at the same time.
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ On the other hand, while working at school I can’t think in 20th century’s categories only: here I observe Lithuania as a country, where it’s possible to study in new and creative ways. To activate critical thinking, raise questions, rely on diverse sources, work hard and seek for results. I think we live in the best version of Lithuania than ever before. So, naturally, you want to value it, preserve and create it further on."
Corporate Affairs Manager @Mars Europe: @mindaugas.rupsys
"Lithuania is like an old annoying friend, whose bad habits you could name for hours. Yet, you keep calling him and asking “what’s up?”
Once he’s doing well – you are proud and once he fails – the only thing you can say “I told you”.
Once in a bar, just two of you, you can mutter and reproach him, but never ever let anyone else offend him.
This is exactly how Lithuania feels to me – imperfect, yet, good to be here."