Asian studies in Lithuania

Beijing Diaries

Authors: Grainytė, Vaiva
Published in: Vilnius
Published on: (Lietuvių) 2012
Publisher: Vaga

Poet, prose miniatures and essays author Vaiva Grainytė as many students has experienced what it feels to study abroad. By choosing Beijing\’s Central Academy of Drama the writer hoped next to the language studies get known to the local scene arts, to learn more about the Asian theater.
To China V. Grainytė comes without knowing a single word in Chinese and accept that as a life challenge. She wrote down the memories about surprises, Lithuania unfamiliar cultures people, crowded cities and annoying happenings in the book \”Beijing\’s diaries\”.

The name „Beijing diaries“ immediately show us the type of the book – it is a diary which a girl studying in China constantly tries to fill with new adventures. A young woman describing adventures in a distant country enjoys using acute comparisons, sarcasm and irony: “…it’s been 60 degrees of Celsius. I already sweat out pood of liquids: if we transformed that sweat into bricks, we could build a three – storey house.“ Many people while reading unusual adventures, squeeze smile or even laugh.

Immediately after landing in Beijing the main character Vaiva cannot believe that just before the flight she almost cried and blowed her nose full of tears. Now she is in one of the biggests cities in the world. First impression turns her into not excactly what she excpected. This is not going to be a dream vacation in Asia. It‘s going to be a year full of misunderstandings for which she will have to get used. As the student who came from Lithuania everything seems to be new – she writes about variuos nationalities students, their exlusive sometimes irritative features, challenges while learning new language and great patience requiring life in a huge city.

While living in China Vaiva always changes her mind about the people around her. One day she enjoys environment, another –  hates everyone and everything that happend. Climate and time zone differences tortured Vaiva‘s health for a long time. A student tried few traditional Chinese healing methods, unusual massages and medical measures. During that time girl was glad to have a careful roommate Pavlin who took care of her as good as she could. Pavline was czech. Vaiva wrote that foreigners to whom she told that she is from Lithuania often greeted her Russian. Girl avoided close relatioships with others.

During the year spent in China Vaiva had been travelling a lot. Everyday of holidays she had planned. She had visited the Great Wall of China, the World Expo in Shanghai, Inner Mongolia and many other beautiful views distinguished places. Travelling was full of excitements, pleasant and unpleasant occurrences. After winter vacation in Lithuania to Beijing continue her studies returned Vaiva felt like home. The climate, people, transport, everything was lovely. The second semester passed instantly and in the end of the academic year girl could not understand that everything has ended and she is coming back to her native country.

Beijing – the city in every sense far to Vilnius or Kaunas. The city where art is understood differently, where various values and rules prevail, where people’s view to the world is quite different than people’s in Lithuania.

After acquired a master\’s degree in Lithuania Academy of Music and Theatre Vaiva Grainytė dreamed about drastic changes, travels and felt irrational attraction to Asia since her childhood. One day while browsing the Internet author came across the information about the People\’s Republic of China Scholarship awarded to the young EU citizens who want to learn Chinese language.
This encouraged the writer to take a risk. In 2013 V. Grainytė for her book \”Beijing Diaries\” won Augustinas Gricius award. This book was positively evaluated and commission’s granted as the best prose debut of the year.


Initiators of the project: Japan foundation VDU