Yesterday was the final full day of the Monsoon. We started off our day with a 2.5 hour walking tour of Vilnius, which included the self-declared independent micronation of Užupis, which is similar to Christianshavn in Copenhagen, sans drugs. There was a Tibet Square in honour of when the Dalai Lama visited, and the Backpacker Jesus statue.
Our final morning in Riga, we slept in before going to the bus station for our 2.5 hour bus to Siauliai, Lithuania. From there, we would be taking a 20 minute local bus to see the Hill of Crosses: a Catholic pilgrimage site that has been active since the late 1800s, and was repeatedly threatened during Soviet rule.
Yesterday morning we made our way to the food market, Balti Jamma Turg, in Tallinn for some street food and free time before our bus to Riga that afternoon. I mostly just relaxed with some coffee while the rest of the gang wandered off to do their own thing. But I did get to indulge in some Uzbek food for lunch, which was delicious.
Well rested after naps and a good night's sleep, this morning we got to see Stockholm in a non-zombie state. We left shortly after 11:00 and walked 20 to the ferry in Old City to catch the 82 ferry to the island of Djurgården so we could experience the most highly rated thing to do in Stockholm: the Skansen.
After eating a delicious, healthy and free breakfast at the hostel, Carol and I decided to go check out Sankt Jørgens Sø, a series of human-made rectangular lakes marking the western edge of the city. There were countless runners out and about, as well as families going for strolls with children, making it a quintessential fall Sunday morning in a beautiful European city. Soon we decided to grab some coffee and sit outside of the cafe people watching and absorbing the culture of Copenhagen, which included lost of talented and creative street performers.
One of my favourite jobs that I had during university (and I had a lot) was tour guiding. While Bucknell is far from perfect, at the end of the day I love the community, education, and overall experience I had during my four years there. Getting to share that experience and that love of Bucknell with prospective students was amazing.
We live in a world where, according to society, trans people don't deserve to exist. The basic act of being alive - of breathing, of resisting this societal standard - is in itself revolutionary. It took me a long time to understand that and realise the value in my own life. I spent too much time believing that the path which society has set forth for trans people was the only option. It took taking a leap of faith and going on a trip with ten total strangers across Siberia in the middle of winter to truly discover that there's more to life than what is expected of me.