Projekti "Muudame noortega töö nähtavaks" toetab SA Archimedese noorteagentuur Euroopa Solidaarsuskorpuse programmist.
...before leaving Estonia – that’s what August was all about. Haven’t done your projects yet or seen any national parks? Well, one month is surprisingly less time to do finish up your todo-list. But guess what, in the last meters I definitely sprinted to reach most of my goals…
I have to admit that the first part of August didn’t look so optimistic for my plans. The sunny weather was substituted by rain and a cold autumn breeze, one of my best friends left Estonia, I was exhausted of Malev and very unsure how to finally do the balcony makeover in Tsirgu. But then Matvii and I put our energy together and with help of the youthworkers we finally brought the pallet furniture to Tsirguliina and built it up there. I went at least 20 times shopping to buy some plants, seeds and building equipment and then we started to make our plans come to life. Amazingly, several youngsters were eager to help us and together we crafted a vertical herb garden out of a pallet, which we already filled with greenery. Therefore, we also painted stones with the names of the plants. From an empty space, the balcony turned now into a green living area! We have a sofa+pillows, a raised bed, a vertical garden, trash bins, a tub to collect rainwater, flower pots and an apple tree! standing there. Also, we included a table and chairs, which are part of Ronjas (last volunteers) project, which she couldn’t finish. When the youngsters sit outdoors now, they will hopefully think of us 😉
As you have read correctly, in August Youngsters started coming to the youth center again. A lot of them!! It was crazy, finally I knew what Elina talked about when she said that “normally” the house was filled. They waited for us already at the entrance door and in general many of them, especially the girls, where so happy to see me. Lol. Who would have thought of that… On the one side I am sad that this wasn’t the whole year like that, but on the other side I am just really glad that I got to experience this mass of people. Oh and another thing changed in the youth center: I got a new tutor. Just for two weeks, but still… Yep, time has come for Elina to go into her pregnancy break and instead Mihkel is now the boss of Tsirgu Ank lol.
This poor man (and poor Elina, too) had to suffer with me and my need to fulfil my tasks – not only they had to care about the gardening project, but also I had the wonderful idea to do a last-minute “Miniproject” with the Tankla money. Within a few days we bought food, organized transportation, filled papers and at my 3rd-last day of work we realized it: A hiking trip to Sooma national park. I always wanted to go there and now I could discover the beautiful nature with my favourite youngsters and very motivated youthworkers. We went to Hüppasaare, walked over the bog and had a big barbeque afterwards. It was a really nice day and I am very happy that it worked out so spontaneously.
(Fun fact, on my 100 things to-do list is also the point to be more spontaneously- I guess I can tick that off now?)
Concerning national parks- Sooma wasn’t the only one I visited this month… I noticed that I had a pretty sad resume of “famous hiking places”, I mean I hiked quite a lot but I haven’t been to Sooma, Lahemaa and not even Karula ravhuspark! Time to change that! As my friend Clara from Viljandi came to Valga, we decided to take the bus to Rebasemöisa and do a 5km hike from there. In the pouring rain we made our way through the hilly landscape and oh surprise- I realized that I’ve already been cross-country skiing there… Well, now I can definitely tick of Karula from my list. A few weeks later Lahemaa was targeted. On my holiday in Tallinn I drove one day to the Viru-Bog to escape the city – and what should I say… This hiking trail was the most beautiful I ever did in Estonia! Lakes, bogs, Blueberries- what do you want more : D
Btw, the other days of my last holiday were not less eventful: Mylene, Dasha and I came to Tallinn to challenge ourselves a bit. On the first day, we joined Dasha to the tattoo artist and met afterwards our dear friend Sidrit again. On the next day, I was the one to be nervous: We drove to Rummu quarry where I could finally redeem my Tankla birthday present: A diving lesson! I was shivering a lot, but mostly because I had to wait 3 hours in a semi-wet swimsuit in the pouring rain, before actually going into the water. But the waiting was worth it: Seeing the old buildings and experience to breath under water made me feel very happy. And thankfully a whirlpool waited afterwards for me… XD
Since this action wasn’t enough, the following day wracked my nerves a bit: We got into a confrontation with a drunk Russian girl (at 11 in the morning), met some nice but slightly persistent Italian guys and I made the decision to book myself a room in a mixed shared dorm since the girls were leaving earlier. Especially the “mixed” part made me a bit paranoid lol. Oh and btw, we also went to the piercer and I got a nostril. Definitely the smallest thrill of that day. The rest of the week I spent alone in Tallinn, got to know nice people from the hostel (it was better than expected) and fulfilled myself a dream: For one day I went to Helsinki!! A very cool city, my highlight was a multifunctional library (even with 3D-printers), about which I had to write a text at school once… I was surprised that this place really exists!
After coming home from Tallinn, I made my way to Hargla and into a party weekend. We celebrated Dashas birthday (which was actually in winter) under the motto “España” and with Sangria and dancing it became “ una noche increíble” On Saturday, Mylene and I went to the concert in Valga, where 5miinust and Smilers played. Thanks to Malev I knew quite many songs of the first band and I also saw a few girls from my group there haha. Afterwards we celebrated Mylenes farewell and then the founding member of our Valga Gang left the country : (
Then my last week arrived and it was not only about packing…
I always wanted to learn how to pickle or marinate vegetables, because in Austria those traditions kinda got lost and I’d really like to know how to preserve food without freezing it. Sadly, I didn’t have time to learn those skills, but instead Maarja took me with her and her family to go mushroom picking at the weekend. Honestly, I didn’t know that so many mushrooms were edible… Still fascinated by the variety lol (My family only collects chantarelles, so they don’t have much knowledge haha) At the end Maarja gifted me a jar of pickled mushrooms, so now at least I know how they taste and maybe I can try to do it on my own at home ; )
After the trip to the forest, I got surprised at home: Dasha visited us and my two favourite Ukrainians started doing “Piroski” (Pirukas) with me. Then also Samuil stepped by and we had a small goodbye-party for me. Sad, but also great to see your friends again and do some tasty traditional food together… really gonna miss that.
The last of August was also my last day in Estonia and also the last day of holidays for the youngsters, before school starts. Therefore, the Valga Ank organized a “Tere kool päev” on the main square, where different organizations showed their skills (eg the firefighters cut a car). I somehow ended up doing face paint again and I was so happy that a few of my youngsters from Tsirgu also visited me there. At the end of the day, Rasmus came with my Youthpass and it was time to say goodbye…even though I didn’t really realize that this was the end…
… but as the saying goes: “You always see each other twice”…
…so let’s hope we’ll see each other again once.
Thank you for that incredible year.
Especially I have to highlight:
RASMUS AND ÜLLA: Without you two I would have never made my way to Estonia… I am glad that you gave me this chance and I hope I made something good out of it. Thank you for your support, the reflections and the vegetables of your garden! And Rasmus, I am so sorry for all my delayed signatures!!
ELINA: the first months I would have been a bit lost without your help. I somehow thought you were also my mentor, and well, you kinda did that job, too :D. You answered my thousand questions, prevented me from being too chaotic and showed me great TV shows and books ;) When I needed something, you were there, so thanks for that!
Ja nüüd ma pean tänama oma KOLEEGE VALA ANKIST: Without you my Estonian skills would be way worse than they are now 😉 Honestly, it was a pleasure working with you! I learned so much about teamwork and Estonian lifestyle, even though I didn’t understand you all the time. You supported my ideas, even though it meant to eat expired food in the eco month and to get annoyed by text messages at night times. You trusted me even your car sometimes and invited me to private activities like mountain biking or sauna, which seemed not to be taken for granted. All in all, working in Valga Ank gave me, especially due corona times, many more perspectives and ideas about my service. It was fun having you as colleagues.
Last but not least: The Valga Gang. Without you, this year would have never been so great!
MYLENE AND SIDRIT: My first friends in this small town. Before knowing you I felt a bit hopeless and lonely. You made even the greyest winter day in Valga bright with your positive energy and party enthusiasm :D
AYSEGÜL: The end was rough, but thanks for your enthusiasm, your tea and the introduction to your Estonian friends.
XAVER: My bro. At the end we even looked quite alike, maybe its because we spent so much time together XD You are a great travelling companion, consultant and always a mood booster (except in the morning). You took care of me and of course you also helped me not to forget my german :D Danke!
DASHA: My emotional support;) We always had great talks and you understood me perfectly. Your encouragement made it easier for me to take decisions and to listen to myself. I know; after this year we both became what you always told me to be: Strong and independent women.
MATVII: The best flatmate. Not the one I wished for at the beginning, but after all, I wouldn’t switch. One weirdo found another and I think that’s good. Living with you made my life way more adventurous and fun. Keep your head up, even though your best psychologist is in Austria now ;)
Finally, I also have to thank all the other volunteers, youthworkers, acquaintances, friends that I met that year. I am sorry that I can’t write down all your names, but I hope you know that it includes you ;)
Every encounter influenced my time in Estonia and made it special. I think this year I experienced more than in half of my previous life and my personal growth was immense. It was an honour for me to experience Estonia like that and I will never forget those 10 months.