Thursday, June 16, 2016

Cat Videos

When I last left you on mine and Adam's increasingly stinky road trip through the Baltic States, I was recovering from twelve-inch lacerations caused by being severely beaten with entire trees in a Russian banya.

I told you that we were staying in an apartment with a Latvian family. What I did not tell you is that we never saw more than one given family member at a time. And, considering that mom, dad, brother, and sister, all kind of looked the same, we were left to believe that this was something of a Bates Motel situation.

I also informed you that a cat had somehow gotten into our room as I was writing you and I took some pictures of the cat to prove it to you. What I did not realize at the time, but what I discovered several days later, was that during the course of trying to take pictures with the cat, I accidentally took a video. Which video I came across while reviewing the pictures in my phone from the trip. And which video I have now watched 379 times.

Some observations:

1. The look on my face at the beginning of this video is exactly what a cannibal looks like the second before he eats you.

2. This is the look I have on my face every time I see puppies.

3. When the cat started getting close to my hand, my heart rate went to 1,200.

4. There is now evidence on the Internet that at least one time in my life I have said the words "come here kitty" in that order.

5. It is remarkable that I, a 32-year-old man who regularly uses a smartphone, can take a video of myself and mistakenly think I took pictures.

6. My face as the frame freezes at the end of the video demonstrates that I still have at least some British lesbian Presbyterian from the '90s in me.

We left Riga and drove the coast of Latvia, ending up in a town called Liepaja, which is a beach town that we could not enjoy because it was negative eleventy degrees at the time. Very unfortunately we took a risk on our Airbnb by scheduling a stay with a man who described his place as "full for the happy with extra bathrooms in style for wanting."

He met us on the street and walked us up so many flights of stairs that we actually had to camp for a night at the halfway point to acclimate to the swift change in altitude. We ended up on the top floor in what was clearly supposed to be the attic of this building, particularly considering that the door to get into the place was so short that we nearly had to crawl through it.

The apartment was so dirty that you now all have bedbugs just for having read this. And the bathroom did not include a sink, but instead the kind of toilet you might find in a gas station bathroom just off of highway 89 and a shower that had so much mold growing in it that Liepaja is now technically considered a war zone.

But the town was lovely and we got to stick our feet in the gorgeous and how-was-it-not-completely-frozen-over Baltic Sea.

After we left the town, we meandered through the countryside, exploring every church and quaint medieval street along the way.

We also visited a really creepy place called "The Hill of Crosses."

And occasionally I photobombed Adam's pictures at the Hill of Crosses.

And we finally nestled down in a city called Vilnius in Lithuania, where we lived out the rest of our days.

I discovered on our second to last day a SECOND shirt in my bag.

And then it was finally time to make a very long journey home.

I'm grateful that I have had the opportunities to see the world and to share that with you. I feel so fortunate to be able to do so. And I'm grateful for the perspective these opportunities have given me, even if I have occasionally picked up ringworm because of some of them.

~It Just Gets Stranger


  1. At first I thought you were kidding when you said you forgot to pack extra clothes. I now see that is not true. My deepest sympathies for you.

  2. Oh my word. Vilnius. Yes. Have you ever been to Markus' there? Best steakhouse in the world, and I mean that literally. Wonderful cat video. Your consistent hands-in-pockets posing has be curious if you got some sort of disease on your hands?

  3. "Here kitty kitty." "How sanitary." ;)

  4. I want to watch that cat video for the rest of my life.

  5. Dying laughing! And amazing pictures! Thanks for taking me on your trip with you!

  6. How is that cat video so funny!?!?

  7. What an amazing place. Such gorgeous photos!