Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Eesti Tuuri!

Ok, so a few days ago, on Sunday, I returned to Rapla exhausted. Why you ask? Let me explain; let me go back to last week on Wednesday.

WEDNESDAY 9/29- It started as a normal day, except I was carrying a big, heavy bag. Ok, no. I gave my host mom the heavy bag before I went to school and she kept it at her work, so I wouldn't have to carry it around with me all day before I went to Tallinn.
So, this tour... it started in Tallinn at the Kalev Spa and Hotell. I left Rapla at about 4:30 and made it to the Kalev Spa around 5:30. Halie and I were the only ones there for a while. Eventually Heino and the other students came about an hour later.. ugh. Then we went to our rooms and Halie and I convinced Heino to let us go outside and walk around for an hour and a half. During our hour and half, Halie and I were starving and realized: we don't eat until 10.00!! We just had to get some munchies. So we walked through Old Town and went to a grocery store to buy some goodies :) after our walk we went back to our room and ate some, then went down to the pool to swim with the other students. There are some things you all should know about Estonians and their swimming habits. They are very comfortable with their bodies. Men of all ages and sizes wear small speedos; Women of all ages and sizes wear bikinkis. Yeah. Anyways, we spent most of the time in the steam room and jumped into the pool. After swim time there was a little down time, until it was dinner. It was a nice meal, of course there were potatoes, mushrooms, meat, etc. Just typical Estonian food. After dinner we had an hour to finish getting ready to meet the other students coming on the tour from Finland. So at midnight, we walked from the Hotell to the harbor to great the Finnish exchange students. Some we knew from our language camp in Karkku Camp in Finland, others were totally new. The new ones to us were the older exchange students. Most were from Australia, but one from South Africa. Anyways, it was a long day, and no one thought about going to sleep until well after 3am.

THURSDAY- We toured Tallinn a bit. Some of the Rotex in Tallinn gave us small tours of whatever. In my group the girl wasn't from Tallinn, so she didn't know everything about the city. Luckily Halie and I were there after staying in Tallinn for our second language camp just 3 or 4 weeks prior. We still remembered all of the stories and dates and years, so we showed the Aussies around. After our little tour we were on the bus to really start the tour. Our next stop: Rakvere. There we visited a castle and a reinactment going on inside the castle. It was really interesting to see, I must say. We toured the castle and ate a ''medieval'' meal. :) After Rakvere, we left for Narva. We didn't reach there until late afternoon. We were driven to this building. The paint job was really interesting with fusia and bright pinks and purples... Anyways, it was near a river. Across the river was Russia! Sadly, it takes a long time for anyone to enter Russia, even to visit for a few hours, so we could only look at Russia from afar. Still, it was cool. Right on the water is a guard tower. We got to take a tour of it. O my word! From the outside, you wouldn't think there would be so many stairs in there! But jeesh! Those knights really wanted to tone their legs! Anyways, we got to look around and walk through the archor's tunnels and go to the knights' chilaxing room? I don't know what its purpose was, but there were 2 swings in it and games. :)
Afterwards, we left for our hotel, which was right on the river, too! So Halie and I were roomates again. And we experienced the most horrifying, yet most hilarious thing. haha. We were given our room 602. So we went to the 6th floor, which was a little odd because all the other students were on the 4 and 5th floors. Anyways we get up there and notice what a weird layout the floor plan was. So we managed to find our room. It was in a hallway by itself, and just to let you know, Estonians don't believe in having lights in hallways. So it was totally dark and we're trying to figure out the key. We get in the room and find the beds aren't made... then we notice other people's stuff is in there. So we high-tail it out of there and march down to the front desk telling them our situation. They were totally shocked and gave us another room on the 7th floor. It was a bigger, nicer room than 602. :D
So we had some downtime before dinner. So what else do you do in Narva? Watch Ping-Pong championships on Eurosport! Yeah, it was Germany vs. Korea. It got INTENSE! when the match was over, we went down to dinner then just hung out until bed time. It was nice to finally sleep a bit earlier.

FRIDAY- After breakfast, we were back on the bus to visit a school museum and a small village before we made it to Tartu. At the school museum, we toured a very old, wooden school. In the school the teachers lived in bedrooms connected to their classrooms. Weird. And we took a lot of pictures of the very pretty setting the school was in. After the school museum, we went to a closed mine and toured it. I didn't like this so much. Because everyone just got filthy and it was just mining... so it was kind of boring. Though, we did get to ride a small train in there and scare us to death. :D After the mining museum, we went to a very, very small village. This village is one of a kind in Estonia. Rotary was one of the first sponsors for it. In this village, the only residents are mentally handicapped children and adults. There are workers that help them to become more independent and give them an education to help prepare them for possibly getting a job. It was so cute. You can definitely tell the residents are totally happy and absolutely love the workers and volunteers. There we had dinner, toured their classrooms, met some of the volunteers who rode the bus to Tartu with us, and left for Tartu. We made it to Tartu at night time, so we couldn't see anything but a few lights. At the hotel, Halie and I were roomates again, this time no going into stranger's bedrooms. :) So we get there, have dinner, and just relax. Well, kind of. After dinner one of the Australians came to our room and we watched about the Chilean Miners on the news. Then he left and we went to sleep.

SATURDAY- Touring of Tartu! After breakfast, we were to meet in the lobby. It took some people some time to get around to meeting us, so Halie and I snuck off to a coffee shop across the street and got some cocoa and hot blueberry juice. Delicious! So we started to walk around. We met up with Rotex in Tartu, but we didn't really follow them too closely. Halie and I found the square and saw something was going on. There was a band playing, vendors selling random things, and people were setting up a trampolene. We were drawn by this smell to this van. This guy was selling donuts. ahhahah. So we ate some donuts and walked to the main building of Tartu University and had a lecture on our studying possibilities here in Estonia. Believe me, it's a consideration. It's soo much cheaper here! Though, I can only get a Bachelors Degree, it can be transfered.. :)
Afterwards, we ate lunch at the cafe across the street. Then we left for Tallinn to get on a ferry for Helsinki. It seemed to take sooooo so long! It was only 2-1/2 hour ferry, but jeez-luuiz. We were tired and didn't arrive in Helsinki until late that night. We walked to our hostel and then went for a nightwalk. It was so dark! But we found our way to this area where a bunch of bear statues were lined up. They were each painted by someone to represent a country. America's was amazing, but Estonia's was awful. I don't know what it was supposed to represent at all. ahahaha :D
After the night walk, I felt a little queezy and decided to lay down and not go to the party all the other students went to. It was a party for exchange students in one of our rooms. I felt kind of bad and my roomate kep apologizing for waking me up and kept inviting me to go. She was really nice, but I didn't feel good.

SUNDAY- When I woke up I felt so much better, but so dirty.. I packed my things and went down stairs. There we got on the bus and went straight to the District Conference. Really, there was no point in the Estonians kids to go to Helsinki. At the conference we had a light breakfast. And we introduced ourselves, only saying our names and host-towns. (pointless, right?) then we had lunch there, which was a lot of fish! It was so good. But we had to cut it short and say goodbye to the finnish kids. We Estonians had to go back to Tallinn.
We were back on the ferry. We arrived in Tallinn around 5pm and then we said our goodbyes and went back home.

So on Monday, I had to go to school totally exhausted I fell asleep in all of my classes, walked straight home, relaxed, and went to bed around 8.30. So refreshing.
But I'm still not over the tiredness. I need to get some more sleep. :)

So today, I went to my first sewing lesson after school! I started to sew a skirt and I'm nearly done with it! I'll probably finish on Monday when my next lesson is. :D Next I'll sew a vest/jacket. After that a pair of pants.
I'm really glad to be taking sewing classes. Because it's an activity I got to choose, most of the things here are chosen for me. I don't like that very much. So I that I picked the sewing lessons and got to do them. Everyone is so nice there. Though, I'm the oldest, I don't care. Though, my teacher doesn't speak English, I don't care. It gives me a chance to use Estonian words and learn more. So I'm happy with this activity :)