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Published: March 30th 2009
I thought I would tell you a bit about Saaremaa. Living here for about three months, and you guys still don't know too much about it. Here are some random things that I notice... still!
Half the days (especially here on the island of Saaremaa) are filled with either snow or rain, or extreme clouds that look like either could happen at any moment. Once in a while, if the wind blows just right, you can smell the sea walking back to the flat. The walk to my school is only about 15 minutes or so from the appartment I live in now. If it is a really cloudy day yet no rain, then usually you can hear the seagulls too.
In the stores here, I have found some types of salsa, tortillas, beans, tortilla chips, and a British version of cheddar cheese! Ah the power of cheese. I was so excited when I finally discovered the cheese! I have so far made for my host family now, bean and cheese burritos, fajitas, tacos, and tostadas. All of it, surprisingly, turining out quite tasty! The weirdest part is, I have no idea what I am really doing in the kitchen most of the time.
Right now it is quite cold. Some days are warmer than other of course. Last Saturday we had yet another snow storm blow in so there is white stuff still around. My host mum and I were talking about how it really was so that I came to Estonia of all places: it is one of the most diverse places from New Mexico I could have chosen. My host mum has a hard time imagining snow on top of cacti, yet I tell her it IS real and happens every now and then.
There is an Italian guy in town and we went to this Italian resturaunt together in town. Because Estonians aren't used to spicy foods, they usually don't serve spicy things. However, this Italian resturaunt is run by an American with Italian roots (to my Italian friends dissapointment, the owner doens't speak Italian), so he gave us some chili peppers that you get in those little packets in America! Both of us were really excited to have them and between the two of us, we ate them all! There is also this little windmill in town that has a cafe in it. At the moment, the top of the windmill isn't open (much too cold!) and so in Spring I hope to go there with a few friends and see the whole part of Kuressaare's city center.
School day is usually 8 classes from 8am- 3 or 4pm. Not bad considering it would be the same if I had stayed in NM. Currently, I have a book that translates from Russian to English so I am learning little bits in my Russian class! Really interesting lanugage actually. Also, it helps me for a little bit when I go to St. Petersburg in April. I have quite a bit of friends; some inside the school, some in this vocational school, and some just around town that I run into all the time. At school there is a dorm for all the kids who wish to sign up. I go to visit some friends there when I feel like it and it is really awesome to see that it is so much like college life! They have a television room, a kitchen, a hang out room, community bathrooms ("the good showers" are downstairs), and then they live literally thirty seconds from school.
There is a night club in town that doubles as a cinema once a night too. Recently there has been a Russian film and a Lativian (I think) film. Of course there are subtitles at the bottom, yet I don't go that often. If it looks funny, then I will go with friends. One of the things that Saaremaa is known for is its' spas. Many people have told me that the city is packed full of tourists (mostly older Finnish ladies), so I still won't fit in, yet surprise them with my Estonian! There are three that are down by the port, and then more scattered around the city center. A grand total of seven are in just this little city. Crazy, I know, yet some shut down for winter too.
Every day I go to check and see how the American dollar is holding up against the Estonian kroon. It is exciting, like a toned down version of the stock market! If I had to say the mix of stores that Kuressaare has is clothes: no mix at all. There are these little grocery stores, a few tourist shops, some pubs, and then there are clothe stores. They have to dress warm of course- and they need to here! All of the stores of course have the scarf, shoe and make up sections yet it is so interesting that they have so many stores.
The library is wonderful! There is an entire section devoted to American things! I started laughing when I saw it and then realized that they had some really intriguing books: ones that I wanted to read while in America before I left yet didn't have too much time. Now,it is quite a different story (no pun intended 😊). Since I have discovered this section, I have checked out about five books and counting, read a number of different magazines, and then check out some small kids books for nice translation practice.
Most of the stores close really early though. I know almost every times too: the library at 7pm, the grocery store at 9pm (those being the latest), and then the handicraft store and post office at 4pm, most cafes around 10 or 11pm, and then the school closes at 10pm as well (mostly because so many people have clubs they go to in the school). Sunday, everything is closed. Nice if you think about the fact that everybody has Sundays off.
That is just a quick some up of some things that have really caught my eye in about three months.
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