Thursday, April 21, 2011


Since the snowy Spring Break, it has definitely warmed up outside and in the moods of Estonians. Yayyy!
During my Spring Break, I did absolutely nothing. And I mean that in the most literal sense as possible. **To any future exchange students coming to Estonia, you will be alone A LOT! It will be depressing, it will suck, no one will talk to you. You can't prepare for it, so just buckle up for a year of continuous ups-and-downs. If you come with Rotary you're slightly in luck. There was only 6 of us here this year; not many come to Estonia. Those few other exchange students that you're with will be your closest and best friends here, so keep them close :)
The other exchange students did some traveling during Spring Break, so I was alone. The school week after Spring Break, though, I met up with the other American student in Tallinn. Her boyfriend from home was visiting her and a few days later her parents would come. So I met up with them one afternoon and we showed more of Tallinn. We tried to remember the different facts we learned during our second language camp in August and thinking of the different places our teacher showed us during our days of sightseeing. Then we remembered one thing.. very distinctly. Pierre Chocolatarie.. Home of the "World's Best Hot Chocolate" -says one travel magazine. The thing was, we had no idea how to get there. So we started aimlessly walking through Old Town, when off in the distance we saw the sign. Believe me, there were some major air punches and excited screams... we scared the man who was walking in front of us. The inside of the place is absolutely crazy. We were trying to figure out the style they were going for. Ripped up, old vests on some chairs, old dresses hanging on walls, rugs used for table cloths, a box of shoes, empty picture frames hanging on the walls. It's just so confusing going in there. When we left, it was snowing again. It was slightly humerous to see the boyfriend's reaction. She and him are from Florida, I'm from Illinois. I'm used to the cold winters, they are definitely not. In fact, it was his first time seeing snow, so he was excited.
We made our way back to the flat to get ready for the main event of the day, the Estonia vs. Serbia soccer game. Of course it kept snowing during the whole thing and was freezing, but it was fun nontheless. Estonia didn't win, it was a tie. And this game was a qualifier for the EuroCup so it was kind of a big deal... emphasis on the 'kind of' because Estonia's soccer team isn't all that great. I mean I didn't find any true fans when I mentioned my going to the game.
The game ended around 11pm and I had to catch the early train back to Rapla. So there was only about 2 hours of sleep.
That weekend there was an actual event in Rapla.. Living in a small town does have its downsides, like no place to go out. But there was the Linnapea Rock. Which is, essentially, just a rock concert with local, Estonian bands. Not so many Estonians themselves are impressed with the music there. But it was nice to see friends outside of school, since I never get to see Rapla friends anywhere besides school.
The following weekend was the Miss Raplamaa, which is just a county-wide beauty contest that later leads to the country-wide contest. It was also my host dad's 35th birhday party. The pageant was held at the other school. I went with my host sister and cousin, but my host sister and I left early because it was kind of boring. So we went to the birthday party. It was pretty big, about 60 people and it was an Estonian party- so LOTS of food :) I sat next to a lady I didn't know, but she knew English well and we talked a lot. And throughout the night people came up to talk with me or asked to dance. Over all it was really fun.
And this week was the 12th grader's last days of Gümnaasium. Now they will study for upcoming exams. On they're last day, it's tradition they come dressed as toddlers and act as them, too, I guess. I never got to meet any of the 12th graders at my school, but it was interesting to see. Like on the first day of school, the 12th graders escort the 1rst graders to the ceremony. I didn't understand much of anything there, but it was just a typical ceremony. Students wore they're school hats, the choir sang, children sang some songs, a couple of speeches, the flag carriers were changed from 12th graders to 11th graders...etc..

Now in school people are preparing for their exams and the ending of the school year. I'm happy it will be Summer break and there will be more activities and festivals, but it's still very sad because I'll have to leave so soon. With a ridiculous contract, I must leave through the Helsinki Airport, not through Tallinn. With that, I must leave Estonia a day earlier to catch a ferry to Helsinki and spend the night there. Because my flight leaves early in the morning. So I'll leave Estonia July 3rd then leave Helsinki July 4th. Just in time to completely miss the National Singing Festival -one of the biggest festivals in Estonia :(


Anonymous said...

kuna Eesti on nii väike siis mul on natukene kahjus sinust et sa Raplasse sattusid sest põhiline elu käib ikka Tallinnas.

Loodan et su Eesti keel on juba nii hea et mõistad! :)

Anonymous said...

I gotta say, it was not a very wise decision to spend your exchange year in Estonia. First of all, Estonian is an impossible language to learn... especially for the English-speakers. And second, Estonians talk pretty good English, so they probably ain't gonna bother trying to understand your Estonian, but instead they talk to you in English, right?

L. said...

I'm sorry but I found your last post little offensive. I have been more than delighted with all your posts and the way you describe Estonia to others. But this one left me with some bad feelings:
''To any future exchange students coming to Estonia, you will be alone A LOT! It will be depressing, it will suck, no one will talk to you.'' I felt like it was a bit harsh. I mean it might seem that way because you live in a smaller city, yet I believe things go the way you want them to go. I have known some other exchange students living in smaller cities in Estonia who have had slightly a different experience. I know we, Estonians can be quite introverts and seem like cold and unfriendly, but we rarely turn out to be once you have cracked the shell.
Either way I have enjoyed reading your blog and hopefully you will still remember your exchange year as a good one. I was an exchange student in America few years ago and lived in a really small city (around 10 000 people). In times I felt it was too small for me, yet I didn't have a problem w/ 'feeling alone'. And yes, I give you that, Americans are completely different as far as being opened goes. Some also say that they will be friendly only to seem polite without any intentions to get to know you. I managed to still find a lot of really good friends who always want me to visit.( I guess that's what they truly mean by saying that you have to adjust with a different culture)

And to the second Anonymous: Estonian language is very difficult but not impossible to learn. I know a boy who learned to speak estonian in 6 months. I think estonians are very helpful and patient when it comes to their language. But I know a lot of us may think it's easier and better to speak in english when it comes to an exchange student.

Take care and enjoy your last months in here. :)

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

?? I know also a lot of exchange students in Estonia or even in Rapla, who have very quicly learned estonian and have been really active and always taking part of activities...So are you sure that you have been an 100% active exchange student??? Estonians are very friendly and can have a lot of fun when you just try to break their shell....Yeah it's called adjusting with another culture:)
But take care and have fun still !!!! :)

Anonymous said...

don't worry about missing the singing festival, it's not that big. the biggest singing festival is coming in 2 (3?) years, this year it's just the youth singing festival.