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Published: January 18th 2009
I am sorry that this has taken so long to write yet I have been quite busy lately.
To start it off, I moved from Tartu to Saaremaa- the biggest out of the three Estonian islands. I live right in the capital city called Kuressaare and it is wonderful.
My family here is made up of my host mum, my host dad, and three host brothers. One of them (Taavi) lives in Tartu and goes to University there so I don’t see much of him. He visits every now and then though. He is 20 years old. The next oldest is Artur. He is 16 and is in 10the grade so I see him at school almost all the time. The youngest brother I have (Mattias) is six going to be seven in March. He is the craziest out of all of them because he is so rambunctious! We have so much in common though- I am not fluent in Estonian so I get to practice on him and he doesn’t speak English. Funny to hear the phrases he does know. He learns most of the English he knows from Cartoon Network.
I have so far managed to make fajitas and burritos for my family and both turned out excellent. They ate some salsa yet not too much because it got too hot for them. One of my host brothers told me that it is tasty in small amounts.
We live in a flat that has three bedrooms so Mattias and I share a room. There is one bathroom for three of us (two brothers and myself) and it proves to be interesting to say the least. In the mornings my host mum cooks breakfast or we get cereal and read the paper (more like hunt for words I know and try to make sense out of an article for me). They are so patient with me and are completely supportive of me still learning Estonian. I learn so much in just one day and it gets easier and easier. Of course this family was impressed with the amount I knew already, so they didn’t get me from square one- basic school for complete idiots who have no clue about Estonian-aka me five months ago.
Speaking of school, I go to a school that has 800 kids in it and word defiantly gets around quickly that an American exchange student is there. Random people come up to me and say hey my buddy or something out of the blue. The best part about that is that I have no idea who they are most of the time. The hardest part of school is when teachers ask you what to do with you; give you grades, give you homework and no grades, buy all the books that they kids have and try to catch up/start where they are, sleep in class, not attend this class at all, all of which the teachers ask me and expect me to answer them in a few seconds time. Exciting? More than I can say. Frustrating? More than I can say. Tiring? More than I can say. Mind boggling? More than I can think… still!
I live right in the center and that means that I get to walk to school which takes 8-15 minutes (depending on if I go alone or with Artur because he knows all the shortcuts). I can stroll into town any time because it is less than five minutes away as well. The movie theatre here only plays one movie a week so I have to be patient. No worries there, plenty to do.
Also, just thirty seconds away from school is a sports center and you can go pretty much any time. Play basketball, football, do gymnastics, run the track, you name. In school there are so many clubs too. I asked my class teacher to give me a list and I was shocked when she handed me the next day two sheets full of different things. Translating was needed of course, yet tons of choices. One of my friends from school invited me to belly dancing class. Never really wanted to do it before, however once I tried it, it was thrilling. Maybe because the teacher was speaking English just for me and it was broken so she would say random words like left side, or hand up. Made only funnier by the fact that I had no idea what I was doing so fumbling over my own feet was marked off my checklist by the end.
Now I take my leave to catch some shut eye and off to school in the morning. Tsau.
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