Estonian Pals

While I came to Estonia on my own, I have certainly met several wonderful people and made some great friends here in Tallinn. Many of these friends have come from church. (For all the complaints I have heard from people over the years about organized religion, I have never been so grateful for the "organized" aspect of my church as I have been this summer.)

Me and Marii
I have also been trying to get in touch with some more cousins, though many have been too busy or out of town on vacation. The one cousin I have had a chance to meet is Marii. In case you were wondering, our names are pronounced the same way. Marii's grandfather and my grandmother were brother and sister. We're working out a trip to visit where they grew up, which I'm thoroughly looking forward to. This girl is awesome!

One of the first people I met at church was Matthew Crandall. From Idaho, it made it easy to understand what he was saying and he taught the English Sunday School lesson that first Sunday. He introduced me to his wife, Maris, who is sweet and was great company at the Open Air Museum and a great cook. The night I went to their place for dinner she showed me a box of old photographs that she had from her family. She made the comment that Estonians never seemed to smile in pictures, so when we were at the Open Air Museum we had to take an "Estonian Picture". (The girl in the middle was one of Maris' students from this past year of school)

Left to Right: Sister Ivanova, Sister Robinson, Triinu, Karolina, Me
There are a whole group of girls that go to all the planned activities and FHEs, who I have gotten to know fairly well. For one we all went to the beach together. It has also been fun to get to know the Sister missionaries (who are serving in the mission I had been hoping to be called to). A new sister just got here from the MTC last week too. She was a little overwhelmed on Sunday. It didn't help that her companion ditched her to come translate for me... they're really good eggs to say the least. As for the other girls, they have all been wonderful to take me to places I might not have thought to go see on my own, like down in N├Ámme and little forest areas, etc...

I have also had several people I have asked to be in photographs for my project. They have been helpful and enjoyable to have along with me. One is a girl named Riina. (When I told her I had a cousin named Riina she was surprised.) Riina wanted to learn some photography, so when we went out I taught her a little as well as used her for modelling.

The lovely Grete is one of the girls mentioned above that goes to many of the activities. On top of seeing her at these, though, I had one of the best evenings with her. After photographing, we somehow started with singing and playing music. She is a talented talented pianist. Not only can she play, she can play by ear and improvise beautiful music. We spent a good hour finding songs we both knew (many old gospel hymns like Amazing Grace) and goofing around. At one point I did get out my camera (remembering it could video tape) and recorded a couple songs.

(Go ahead and ignore my voice on this one... the piano is beautiful, but especially my high notes are rather out of practice and rusty)

Last is my boy Siim. I met Siim my first Sunday. This kid is a riot and I'll just have to give you a few stories to illustrate:

1. When Siim is not going around after church using the English he learned from TV (sucker! Shut up! What's up?) he's using a glove to do the Spock hand and making other people do the same hand gesture before high five-ing him. (Note: Estonians can't do the Spock hand as readily as Americans. I'm guessing they don't grow up practicing this skill as we do.)

2. I'd already talked to his mom about having him in some pictures and when I told him I needed to talk to his mom after church this last Sunday about a time, he came up, grabbed my hand, and enthusiastically dragged me to his mom, reminding me that I needed to talk to her. Enthusiastic  would be the perfect word to describe this kid actually. That or clown.

Siim and his mom Aneli
3. When I was telling his mom the stories about my Vanaisa before photographing, he stopped me and goes "don't say Vanaisa. Say Grandfather, please." I tried to tell him that we always called him Vanaisa, but it was still unacceptable to him. Siim didn't like that I was speaking English and throwing in an Estonian word so casually.

4. In another conversation with his mom, I was telling her how the more I've watched kids the more I think how much fun it would be to have a little clan of all boys (she has 3 boys and no girls). Only catching part of this, he turned to me and goes "Only one boy! I'm your favorite boy!". I don't think he's wrong either. This kid really makes me happy. I even recorded some of his antics so you might understand a little better why.

Really, the people here are wonderful! I'm glad I have had the chance to get to know them and make friends. (It will definitely give me an excuse to come back!)

If you've read this entire thing, kudos! If no one has... it's cool... it will make for a good journal-type entry. And no worries... I'll go back to one image tomorrow!

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad you've met so many great people! Love all the double I's in peoples names and Siim is a hoot! What a cute kid!