Electroshock and free water in Lithuania, broken-bus in Poland and 800 EUR prize in Germany.

Since I was 6 years old I started to go to music school and play percussion. As I had a great teacher (and still have a good friend) Larisa Puzule, I was inspired and pushed towards reaching something more than just graduating. By participating in camps and solo competitions, I finally rolled in high level wind orchestra in age 15. With break for last 5 years, this spring I accepted the challenge to go in a tour with the Universities of Latvia Wind Band, which had a lack of percussionists for a competition in Karlsruhe, Germany.
In May 13, 9 pm we got in a bus towards our goal.

The first stop during the night in Lithuania was legendary. For the first time in my life I got real electroshock from a guard. This is very sad story from my perspective. As we – two girls went to the forest to pee. The reason was because in the gas station half of orchestra went in and the lady actually wanted us to buy something, otherwise we cannot use the lavatory. Paying for toilet would be no problem (as we did that in the Germany), however, there is difference in the way you serve your clients. This time the lady had no servicing manners. So total mess started and as I said we left to pee outside. And a guard came after us with a huge light and electroshock! Which he actually used towards me after I asked him why is he so aggressive (we didn’t pee as you can guess). This just raises some questions – am I dangerous because I pee? Is he mentally ill if he has no doubt to use an electroshock towards two younger girls? Last words he said was “здесь туалет платный!” which means – here lavatory is on charge! This still messes in my head and I cannot find the life-lesson here, just that some guards are really sick and are not making anyone feel safer.

After first night in a bus, this was my breakfast, almost like home:


The second night was spent in Ostrava, Czech Republic. Who would think that we will be in a city where the Worlds Ice-hockey Champion is going on; and it’s just because we had orchestra friends there who helped us to find place for sleep-over on or way to Germany.

As Czechs did not agree to provide us with any place where to hold rehearsal, we made a small concert for local students who are living in campus. They seemed to be very happy for such a surprise.


Of course we also did watch ice-hockey in the local students bar!

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Moving forward to Germany I spent my time reading. This is a book I chose because of the lecture I needed to prepare, where Soren Kaplan was one of the main authors of the tool that I wanted to introduce to students. About the book I would say that this one is good for the beginners and elderly people, or for people who do not know the power of flexibility, changes and non-hierarchical structures yet. An easy reading for students in bachelor level to receive first impression, what innovation means and how to be open-minded.

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In Germany for two nights we slept in the Sports-Hall. Most of the people were freezing, I felt totally comfortable. My recipe is developed because of my often travels – you always need a sleeping bag, pillow, extra blanket AND to sleep in a very warm (and sweet) sweater. Then your nights will be full with dreams and heat.

FINALLY we have arrived at the day of competition. Before that we had a great out-side concert with a lot of sun and a Palace in our background. The next day we also participated in co-orchestra, which was huge and impressive!


But then the way home started. Through Poland! Stop for 9 hours was pretty nice – good (and cheap) food, fantastic company with many jokes and walk through nice garden next to the one more amazing Palace in this world. This world holds some beauty, you know…


After 9 hours free time, we drove 40 min and the bus broke down. Suddenly after this nice experience we found our selves in the middle of nowhere. It could be even worse! At least we had a small hotel with a bar, where to eat, sleep, play cards and have free lavatory!

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After one more night without normal sleep we moved all the stuff from one bus to another, which came from Riga to pick us up. The journey was re-started at 6 am.

And still I want to finish this blog post with story about Lithuania, where on Tuesdays morning in Statoil we got free hot water for our dry soups, that everyone wanted to have so badly after 5 more hours drive with a bus. Lithuania is full with contrasts. In one gas station (which was not Statoil) you get electroshock for free, in other the hot water without limitation – for hole orchestra. I’m happy that electroshock was limited to only one try and only for one person (which was unfortunately me, but maybe luckily it wasn’t for others). By the way, the problem with bus was that generator died and never charged the accumulator again.

I am still somewhere lost with all the emotions and thoughts. This story is some 5% of everything I went through these days. Thanks to everyone who was next to me, when support was needed. What I definitely found out was approval to my theory that democracy is the only solution to collective satisfaction. But this again is a long story short! Here I would like to give many thanks to my ex-boss Diana Berzina from SEB, who showed me a new perspective in my life and meaning of team-work, personal and team development, self and team motivation and just how to be a better leader.

In the competition we got second prize where the first ones received only 1,5 (out of 100) points more than us! And the 800 EUR for this result. That will probably be spent in the next trip for better bus. The next trip is to Brussels in June. I am not taking this challenge, however. This time I am going to Maastricht, where I will be participating in the Summer-School for PhD students. So stay updated by following my blog!

Have a great day!

@ agneesze






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