Thursday, January 6, 2011

winter times

So it has been a while since I last posted. Since November, I've celebrated a few holidays, been resting over Winter break, and been having a pretty darn good time.

Last day of school. The last day of classes before winter break was definitely enjoyable. Though, the whole class didn't show up, the classmates that did got American treats like truffles, peanut butter and jellies, and rice krispy treats. I never knew until the Estonians continuously pointed out that everything I made looks like crap, but tastes absolutely DELICIOUS! It was so funny, I have never heard the word for 'shit' in Estonian so many times, but they reluctantly tried and loved it all. I didn't come home with left overs. So something went right :)

Christmas. It's different than in the US. In the US, we celebrate on Christmas Day, but here the big hoorah is on Christmas Eve. But my host family celebrated a little differently this year. They had their usual celebration with some family, but on Christmas Day. Chistmas Eve this year was the night of a big snow storm, so we were snowed in and I couldn't go to the Rapla Church for a night service.

I got to say, "New Years in Estonia is the best. I wish I could come back every year for it" I know I sound like the cheesy exchange student, but in all honesty it was incredible.. My American friend and I made some rough plans before New Year's Eve, but nothing was definite. So I woke a bit early on the last day of 2010 to make sure I knew what I was doing that night. Well, by noon I knew.. most of everything :) Anyways, we went to Tallinn to see some indie bands and to see the big opening ceremony of Tallinn. -There was an opening ceremony to celebrate Tallinn becoming the Cultural Capital of Europe and the introduction of the Euro- I arrived in Tallinn first and my bus got there pretty early, so I just waited in the very crowded bus station for my friends to arrive on their bus. Well, they came and we were on our way. We walked around a bit and found ourselves in Solaris. There we went to the grocery store and found our dinner, among other goodies. A couple of hours later we were back on the chilly streets of Tallinn. We went to Raekoja Plats, which is where the Freedom Cross is located. There we met with a boy who is a friend of the friends who were with us.. that's weird to explain. Anyways, it was his birthday and we wished him birthday wishes and got the keys to his apartment. Because he was nice enough to offer his place to all of us. He left to go do something else, and we left to hang out at his place. After another couple of hours he and the rest of his band came back. Not long after the 2 Americans decided we better find our way to the Opening Ceremony. The trolley ride! :D Wow. I didn't know these Estonians actually had voices! And we weren't going to let the opportunity of yelling on a trolley without being odd just slide by. So we were with all the Estonians in the crammed trolley sining, dancing, yelling happy new year. But we weren't too sure when we should get off, but luckily there was a girl behind us who was going to the same place we were, so she led to where we needed to be. And we made it. We were a little late, but we made it. First a popular folk band played and it was mainly old people around, but we kept squirming our way in front of the super tall people called Estonians. Then, what is probably the most popular band in Estonia, Tanel Padar and the Sun, played. And by that time we made our way to the front row, so it's cool to say. Not only did we see the most popular band, but front row. Oih.. cheesy exchange student-ness :D
After their show we went back to the Solaris, where they set off fireworks. At first it was fun, but then all the ash started to fall on us, then snow. Wet ash.. it's kind of gross. Anyways after our official New Year's celebration, we decided to go to the place where the indie bands will be playing. A little place called Von Krahl? I was told 'Everyone knows Von Krahl!' Well, I don't know. On our way, we were stopped by many Russians hugging and kissing and the Estonians high-fiving. And we tried to ask the most sober-looking people where exactly Von Krahl is, but we just got the same replies, "Oh I don't know. Ask someone else. Everyone knows about Von Krahl, but me.." Wow. After asking an abundence of strangers, police officers, food venders (where we got amazing kebabs) we finally found it! YAY! But what we didn't know was that there are two parts to this place. We went into one and it was just a DJ and a dance floor. Luckily, our friends found us and brought us to the concert area. None of the bands disappointed, I'm happy to say. We knew the last band, since we were just chillaxing at their place earlier that night, and we danced the hardest for them. The concert went until about 3am, but in the downstairs the DJs were still playing so we just went there until 5am.. until they turned on the lights.
Oh! At one point during the night, one friend and I were sitting at our table and some strange woman was sitting next to me, and who comes to our table also? 2 members of Tanel Padar and the Sun.
So as I mentioned at 5am they turned the lights on and we had to leave. We walked around for a while and ran into one of the two Depeche Mode Bars. We didn't go in, but we definitely had to get some pictures, since it is oddly one of my favorite bands.
Then at about 6.30 the 2 Americans decided we need to head back to the Bus Station to catch our 8am buses. When we arrived to the station, we were greeted by another friend who was catching the same bus. For a while it was just us three in there, but unfortunately two men strolled in and continued to hit on and ask for pictures of the '2 gorgeous American girls' The buses couldn't come soon enough. After our wait, I said good-bye to my friends as they went on their bus and I noticed that my bus still didn't arrive. I asked every bus driver if he went to my town, but no.. So what was I to do? I walked right to trolley stop to take me to the train station because I knew there was a 8.37 train Well, if only I was 2minutes earlier.. Because I arrived to my trolley stop just as it was leaving. And of course I missed it. So I waited and waited.. finally the next one came and of course something had to go wrong with it. Some of the doors weren't closing, so the driver would have to stop and close the doors. Well when it got to the train station, I left the trolley running.. Not the best idea when there is an inch of ice everywhere. While running I managed to hurt my ankle and see my train leave me. And to make matters even better was that the next train was at 10.40am.
Tallinn, it's the capital city -heck, it's the CULTURAL CAPITAL! but on New Year's absolutely nothing was open. No cafes, no kiosks, no shops. I literally had nothing to do for my 2hour wait. So I chose a direction and kept walking straight. I learned a bit from that walk. I make a lot of unncessary turns when I'm actually trying to find places, when I could just be walking straight. Wow. So I walked for over an hour to kill time and got on my train and waited a bit more..
Just to remind you all, I have not slept yet! And I don't know how all the Estonians do it, sleeping on the train. I couldn't even though I was totally exhausted...and hungry. When I arrived in my town, I got a call from my host parents saying they were stuck in the snow. So I rode the bus back to the bus station where I met up with my host sister and her friend. Well much like my 'supposed' bus that goes to my town, the bus that went to our bus stop stood us up, too. So we eventually found a ride, though not a ride we knew that well. And to my American readers, they were like the Estonian version of the typical jeep owner. ;) While riding with them we got stuck a few times, but they managed to get themselves out of it, but then we got majorly stuck and we just left them and made our way home. Finally at around 3pm I could eat hahaha. :D
Epic New Year's.

Earlier in December it was made a possible possibility that I may move to Pärnu, but I'm pretty sure that fell through. So I'm still in search for a new home.
*Please keep it in your hopes and best wishes that my next family can be a local one in the Rapla area.. or that I can get a fuller experience and get a new family. :)