:: IRO 2014 - 2015::
My experience at the ladies circle international conference @ vilnius, Lithuania was simply wonderful.We departed on the 27th of August and were there until the 31st Aug 2014. Here's a memoir and a journal of my travels.
I was the only representative from Area 2. We were a total of 7 ladies from India.I was elated and proud to represent my circle, Area 2 and India at the conference .
At first nervousness crept in, when at the registration all I could see was new faces in a place so new. My mind soon changed, nervousness was soon replaced by excitement when we were welcomed by The Amber lady Team who were very friendly and made us feel at ease. (Amber is the symbol of Lithuania and hence the name) They explained the schedules in detail as each programme was at a different venue.
The First event was the opening ceremony... a welcome parade followed by a welcome party. An experience so memorable... with each of us present dressed in our national costumes. The ladies in their national costumes were a treat to the eyes, with everyone looking beautiful and the place colourful.
We were all dressed uniformly in orange chiffon sarees.Our sarees were much appreciated and loved... a result of which, we posed for many pictures.
The opening ceremony was at the Palace of Grand Dukes.
With all the ladies from different countries seated, the president, mayors and the team members were introduced, which was followed by a traditional dance show.
After the opening ceremony we walked together in a parade as we headed for the welcome party at club Palo Latino. The place was beautiful with a lovely ambience... we had a great time interacting, making friends and exchanging pins with the presidents of other countries. We danced and the music was so good that we partied until the wee hours of the morning.
The next day, the AGM started on time at 9 am in the Vilnius congress concert hall. It was a proud and a very prestigious moment for me to attend the LCInternational AGM wearing the chairperson's jewel. It was indeed a very different experience. With so many agendas, it was nice to see how they went about it and the voting process to name a few. What more... the meeting even concluded on time. After which I exchanged pins, the LC 4 T. Shirt and flags with the present and past head board members.
In the evening, we were divided into groups where the ladies of our host country threw open their houses and welcomed us for a home party. It was a truly Amazing experience. The couple welcomed us by first giving us their traditional... bread with a sprinkle of salt on top followed by a drink. We introduced ourselves. The musicians played traditional music to which the host showed us how to dance and we followed them as they taught us different styles. The couple too performed for us. Our hosts suggested that each of us present should dance to the music of our country, to which we did. They treated us with superb spread of local food but alas not much choice for us vegetarians and yummy desserts. The host prepared fresh mint tea from her garden. It was atruly a different experience and a beautiful oppurchunity to learn the traditions of their country.
My last event was Gala dinner at Amber Lady in Belmontas. Here again we had a mixed seating arrangement to interact with dfriends from different countries.
The closing ceremony... presentations were made by members of the head board and their final speeches were delivered. This was followed by music played by the gentleman's band followed by delicious food and fireworks.
To sum it up, when we travel we meet marvellous people along the way and make connections that last a lifetime. The first step is the hardest but it so worth it. This journey of mine was definitely measured in friends rather than in miles. It was indeed fun interacting with president Soumya, IPP Pooja, Kavya, Vinutha, Rashmi and Shivani and I'm sure their experiences would be similar to mine.