I have been exhaustively learning Lithuanian for 1 year and 6 months. While it is little time to learn a foreign language, it seems I have done it all my life or part thereof. The feeling I have is as if I were Ulysses trying to return home, in Ithaca, after fighting in the Trojan War as reported poetically in Homer's Odyssey. My epic has begun on 5 October, 2015. This all started because I was doing Russian conversation classes with my teacher, who is actually born in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. After doing 36 Russian conversation classes with her, I realized that I was facing a unique opportunity, that would be, to be able to learn Lithuanian with a native speaker.
Many people have asked me or could ask me, but why Lithuanian? I have been studying foreign languages for a number of years and decided to focus on learning Indo-European languages. I have studied and had contact with languages of other families, such as: Mandarin, Sino-Tibetan family; Indonesian, Austronesian family; Yucatec Maya, Mayan family; Hebrew, Semitic family. But after a personal choice, I decided to focus entirely on Indo-European languages, so that I can learn at least 10 languages of this family. I have already knew that Lithuanian was a language quoted by several authors as being the oldest modern language of this family, and could be compared to Greek, Latin, Sanskrit and Hittite. With that, my curiosity was increasing even more and I thought that one day, at least 10 years from now, I could learn it. By the time I started learning Lithuanian, I was actually thinking of going back to German studies, but since I had a teacher in front of me and I did not know if I would have an opportunity like that again, I decided to go down that road and leave the German aside, at least at that moment, for now, I have just returned with my studies of German in a school.
As a sailor, among unknown waters, I began my endeavour to understand something so different from everything I had learned so far, in fact, some elements of this language resemble Russian, but even so, I was in a totally strange territory.
I felt alone on a float, moving through calm waters and facing marine storms that almost beat me. At times I could see land and think it was close to home, but it was hallucinations caused by lack of fresh water or by being exposed for days and more days in the intense heat of the sun. Days passed and I arrived on dry land, but just like Ulysses, I faced giants and frightening monsters. The only way was to return to the sea and try to travel once more.
Months and more months went by and I knew many islands and fabulous beings. I began to understand things I had never seen before and to savor the taste of exotic foods. The perfumes I breathed had aromas that ran from the West, past Persia and into India. Again and again I was intoxicated by drinking a strong and unequaled drink. I was cold, warm, hungry, thirsty, and I was attacked by sea monsters and struck by heavy rain. At times I did not feel my arms or legs. My strength almost deserted me, but I always thought of beloved Ithaca. Staying so long away from home was an incomparable misfortune to me.
Giant waves dragged me from side to side and it seemed that I had provoked the king of the seas in person. Over time, I got used to life at sea and learned to fish and store rainwater. When I arrived on a new island, I hunted and picked fruit up. Today I feel that with each passing day, that I am closer to home and that the sea no longer frightens me. I dream of home and dream that the sea has also become mine. My return to beloved Ithaca has not yet been possible, but being able to know and map this sea of information and feelings that is the Lithuanian language, full of mysteries and nuances, gave me the proof that the fact that I want to return home and see that In front of me I would have to cross a whole sea, it was already worth it.