A few things has happened over the past few weekends..
On Easter weekend it was actually nice outside. It was sunny and moderately warm, different than the Illinois Easters I'm used to -wet and dreary. So my family and I took advantage, did some yard work, and grilled. Such a pleasant 3day weekend.
Then came Sunday, my host dad still did some work outside, but my host mom made duck for the big meal. While she was preparing the meal, my host brother, grandmother and I decorated eggs. And it's not the same style as in the US. No one does the whole food coloring, vinegar, and boiling water on already hard boiled eggs thing. Just onion peels or yarn -maybe even flowers- on fresh eggs. So I broke a couple. Whoops.
So here's how they do it: Cover your egg with onion peels, wrap in a small square of cloth, tie it off with string and place in pot of boiling water to hard boil. When it's cool, cut through the strings and remove your beautiful eggs. *tying the string too tight may cause the egg to break.
Then of course, while we were all sitting around the table we did KAKSISMA (ok, I'm not totally sure on the word, but that's the way it sounded when my host brother kept saying it) Anyways, you have a partner and an egg and, well, basically you just bang your eggs together. It's supposed to show good luck (if your egg cracks=bad luck/if your egg doesn't crack=good luck)
The following weekend I went to a classmate's birthday party. I've been to other friends' parties, but those friends live in other parts of Estonia. I finally went to a Rapla party. It was in a different town, but I'm lucky because my classmates really are an awesome bunch of kids and I got a ride to the party. It was at a school in a very small town. Anyways it went on for quite a while and it was nice. I never see my classmates outside of school. So I only get to see their serious sides, I never see them relaxed, having fun, etc.. It was really fun, even though they were speaking in Estonian for the most part and I couldn't understand a lot. I don't think they know how much it meant to me to be invited and see them outside the school bubble.
A few weeks after that I did my first presentation at school. You might be thinking, 'You've been there for over 9 months, of course you did presentations for your Rotary club or school. People want to learn about your home country.' No, I haven't been asked to do them for either school or Rotary. So the presentations I was required to make about my American life have just kind have been collecting dust in my flash drive. But alas, a teacher spoke to me! (which really is a shocker because the school didn't tell the teachers or students that I'm an exchange student, so everyone just ignores me) And she, the music teacher, asked that I make a presentation about music from America. She thought I should just do it in English, but I decided to give myself a challenge. Since no one speaks to me in Estonian, I'll get some studying in and do it all in Estonian. I wrote it out and asked my classmates several times to check the presentation for me. Finally they got to it, corrected my endless mistakes, and I could show it. I showed it to my class first, but the teacher stopped me and told me just speak in English. And while I was showing it, it just reminded me how much I love my class. They smiled, listened, helped, laughed at the jokes, and seemed somewhat interested. After that, the teacher gave me a chocolate bar and told me to wait for the next class to show it again. The next class was the other 11th grade. Honestly, it was like reliving the first day of school here, again. No one smiled, laughed, paid attention.. Many of them slept, had their computers out, talked..
That said. Thank you 11H, I love you guys and I'll miss you.
A couple weekends later, I went to Tallinn. My classmates went to a military camp, which I am slightly disappointed I missed. With all of my sisters serving in the Army, it interests me and it just would have been nice to see it all. But I went to Tallinn to meet a girl who I haven't seen since Karkku Language Camp. She lives in Lapland and her parents came to visit her and they went on a small, Nordic tour. They spent a couple days in Estonia and Halie (the other American) and I were they're tour guides. It was a great gig, we got a free meal and hot chocolate. :) And lucky for us, tourist season has begun, so the churches and museums were open. And what was even better, it was free museum night. So we took a bus to Viimsi and visited the Estonian War Museum. It was cool to see, it was about the Estonian soldiers fighting in the War on Terror. And towards the end of the night, they had a skype interview with two soldiers in Afghanistan. But it was fun, even though some of the soldiers were laughing at us when we tried to climb in vehicles. The next day we showed them to the malls they wanted to go to, but as we walked through Raekoja Plats, it was Tallinn Day! So there was a choir singing and paper flags and balloons handed out. In the end, it was a nice, though tiring, weekend.
On Friday, my school didn't have classes. There was a ceremony. I got a school hat a month ago, which looks a little like a train conductors hat, and I finally got to wear to the ceremony. Although, my classmates helped me get the hat, they never told me there were certain hate rules. So the people around me had a good laugh when I wasn't holding my hat properly when we had to take them off. After the ceremony, my class met with our teacher, ate kringel, drank lemonade, and talked for a little while. It was really odd when the teacher asked me to say how I enjoyed my year here. It's a normal question, but she asked if I could say it in English and my classmates encouraged me in Estonian. That was the weird part. It's always just English, English, English. No one wants to speak to me in Estonian, so it's always weird when they spontaneously ask me to say something in Estonian. Soon everyone left and it was just two classmates and I and we talked for a while longer.
Later that night, it was warm and we grilled since my host sister recently had a birthday. Of course the mosquitos were absolutely terrible! They're huge here! Then came Saturday, the grandmother came over again, because my host parents went to a party that night. We grilled again and I slept a lot. On Sunday it was a little like any other Sunday, but Sunday night the neighbors, who are really family, were grilling so we went there, too. Such a nice weekend with good food.
On Monday there was no school and Tuesday my class had exams, so there was no point in me going. So what else is there to do? Go to Tallinn. I met up with Halie and Adriana(the exchange student from Brazil) and we tromped around town and I met with another girl who I haven't seen since August at the Tallinn Language Camp. It was nice to talk with her because she spoke to me in Estonian and only in Estonian.
So last weekend I got to speak more Estonian because my host grandmother doesn't speak English and I met with the Estonian friend who spoke to me in Estonian.. Sometimes it's nice to know I can minimally understand the people of my host country. :)