“I’m going on an adventure!”

Have some pi!One adventure is over. It’s already September and I haven’t made my final blog post here, even though I left Brussels on the first of July. It was difficult to find the words to say. Or rather write. Leaving was one of the hardest and best things at the same time. It was terrible to leave, because the kids had made a nest in my heart and I cried uncontrollably when saying goodbye to them. It was also great to leave because I knew I was starting a new stage of my life, living on my own and with the man I love. It’s going to be a new adventure!

That new stage of life is still under construction. The apartment we’re going to live in needs a LOT of work and Matthijs doesn’t know yet when exactly can he move. In the meanwhile I’m occupied with adapting to university life again. My days are filled with lectures, seminars, getting to know my coursemates and taking part in the media club and robotics club. And if there’s any free time at home that is not filled with doing my physics and maths homework, I practise controlling my computer by voice commands and typing with a different keyboard layout (out with Qwerty, in with Colemak). If all goes well, I’ll have higher education in programming in three years.

I still have to decide what to do with this blog. Should I change the blog name and just do updates on my new life in Estonia? Should I make a new blog about IT-related topics? Or is this the end of blogging in English for a while? I’ll try to figure it out at some point when I have free time again. Goodbye Brussels, welcome Tallinn!

of christmas trees and snow

Head uut aastat! Happy new year! Gelukkig Nieuwjaar! Bonne Année!

fireworksI’m back in Estonia for my christmas break. New year has arrived, tons of fireworks photos have been taken. But last year’s posts have not appeared here yet, so I’ll first introduce you to the monstrosity that posed as Brussels’ official christmas tree. Some may start thinking about pharmacies when seeing that. You’ll see why:

Brussels' christmas tree

Apparently this is the first year Brussels has been experimenting like that with the official christmas tree. After the reception from the general public, I’m not sure they will want to pull stunts like that again. It really does look horrid, but it did provide me with some entertainment: just stand at the edge of the square and chuckle at the reactions from random tourists who have just noticed the giant apothecary sign pretending to be a tree. Hilarious, I can tell you. In comparison, I can show you my family’s lovely christmas tree in my Tallinn home:

christmas treeNow this is a christmas tree! And yes, there are tiny elves and not-so-tiny mice on the tree. All handmade by my awesome mum (who, my the way, decided to knit me a cardigan before I have to return to Brussels. I’ll link her blog once she finishes it and gets the photos up). I have been enjoying my time with the family and I celebrated returning to my home kitchen by making this festive pumpkin cake:

pumpkin cakeIt’s wonderful to be back home, but there is one thing I definitely did not miss in Brussels: snow. I have never been a big fan of winter. It shouldn’t really be surprising – it’s a miracle if you can still enjoy it after spending your entire life in Estonia and having to dive into knee-deep snow every day for five (sometimes even six) months every year to fight your way to the bus and then finding that the next bus has been cancelled and you are forced to wait for 20 minutes in -20 degrees. Yeah, I’m not that fond of winter.

christmas tree

Nearly two years ago, when I had a trip to England in January, I kept exclaiming “It’s so GREEN!”, amusing Matthijs with it. He didn’t see anything special in finding green grass in January. I didn’t even know it was possible for grass to stay green throughout winter! In Estonia it gets brown and yellow and ugly near the end of autumn and then disappears under the snow, so seeing the first green patch of grass when spring arrives is always a very happy day for me. Having lived in Brussels for a bit now, I can see why it was so amusing to Matthijs. Even if there is snow on the ground for a little bit, the grass stays green! What is that sorcery!? I miss colours during wintertime. Jumping back to the topic of that England trip… this is what greeted me the day I got back to Estonia:

January in Estonia

Yes, it can be pretty. But for now I’ll just enjoy knowing that after my lovely vacation in Tallinn, I’ll return to Brussels where temperatures should still be at +10 degrees and the grass is green. I love Estonia, but I can’t stand winter.

how to deal with being homesick?

The flight is in ten days. I have less than two weeks to pack everything and say goodbye to Estonia for a while. Half the time I’m thinking about all the amazing things I can see and do in Brussels, but the other half I’m thinking about things I will miss as soon as I have left. I will miss the long conversations at home about random things, spilling everything to parents as soon as I get home from work or sitting up until 3am with my sister just because we have too much to say and discuss.

I will miss seeing the seaside every day when I go to work or just to meet up with friends. I will miss seeing the sea change every day, creating a whole new Tallinn every time.

I will miss the nature, light nights of northern countries and seeing the sun go down and rising almost immediately again during summertime. I will miss going out with my parents to take photos of everything and anything we see on the way and jokingly competing for  best shots when photographing the same places.

I will miss too many things to list them here, or at least I think I will. It will take some time to figure out what I will miss the most abroad and how to cope with it so it doesn’t take away the joy of being on my own in a foreign country. I know a lot of people have gone abroad for a longer time, so I would like to hear something from you.

What did you miss the most about home when moving abroad? What did you do to deal with being homesick? And at the end of your time abroad, what were the things you wish you had done during your time there?

Ewert and the Two Dragons

Taking a break from trip-related talks to introduce an amazing band to you. Ewert and the Two Dragons is an Estonian band, but it’s easier to catch them live abroad since they have very few gigs in their home country. Check out their tour dates – if you live in Western Europe, I’m pretty sure there’s a gig somewhere near you.

Their music is difficult to describe for me. Music isn’t made for describing, it’s made for listening. So instead of telling you what their genre and style is and other boring details like that, I’ll link a video instead:

I managed to catch one of their rare Estonian gigs in Pärnu yesterday and I was blown away. Can’t remember when I last smiled through the entire gig. The venue was beautiful, there were small kids dancing in front of the stage and having the time of their lives, the audience was singing and clapping along, the band was happy and I was even happier.

In addition to keyboard, guitars, bass and drums, they also had some extra instruments like a xylophone:

Ewert and the Two Dragons

My favourite thing about the stage was the lighting – they had light bulbs hanging in the air and the bulbs switched on and off through the gig.

Ewert and the Two Dragons

Seriously, listen to them on Youtube and then go see a gig. You have my guarantee that they are awesome.