There are a few days per year that are unmistakable. You simply have to look out the window to know what day it is: Christmas and Easter, the Fourth of July in the United States, Bastille Day in France, and in Lithuania, it’s September First, the day to go back to school. Unlike in the United States when the day to go back to school varies every year, state to state, and district to district, in Lithuania it's always the very first day of September.
In the United States, they celebrate the coming of spring by standing around all day waiting for a rodent to stick his head out of the snow. In Lithuania, they burn giant girls made of straw.
The best thing about living at 54° north, is that after the winter solstice passes, every day becomes a little bit longer. This is very important to remember if you live in Lithuania, because in January, the days can be so dark, it’s hard to tell noon from midnight. The weather certainly does make it hard to motivate oneself to pull on the fuzzy boots and trudge out into the gloomy city, covered in mud and ice, but it’s great for sleeping. My apartment faces east, so in the summer, I’m woken up at 4AM by sunlight flashing in my eyes like a summer camp counselor announcing a secret raid on another cabin—it sounds like fun, but you would rather stay in bed. In the winter, the dense clouds serve as a cocoon to protect you from those pesky sunbeams, ensuring a long night’s rest. This is further aided by the lack of teenagers standing in the courtyard drinking beer and listening to their car stereos. Even during the mildest of winters, it’s cold at 4AM when you live less than halfway to the North Pole.