Kallis Eesti, so that was it…
Thank you! Thank you for this experience. Thank you for 11 adventurous months filled with difficult but also indescribably happy moments. Thank you for all the beautiful places you showed me and thank you for all the things you taught me. Thank you for letting me meet great people who made this experience even more special!
But first of all: Thank you for an interesting and fun July!
While the thought that everything I did might be the last time doing it kind of made me sad, I still could enjoy a lot of cool stuff: In the beginning of the month Tankla (i.e. Rasmus and Ülla :D) took all of the volunteers (i.e. Gabriel, Vili and me + tutors) for a day trip to a secret destination, which turned out to be the region around Peipuslake where we visited Madli’s home (including fruit wine testing :D), and some cool castles and a museum.
The next week included some of the last normal days in the youth centre, a visit to Võru to celebrate the birthday of a volunteer friend and say good bye (☹), and a trip to Tallinn to the Laulupidu, the biggest Song Festival in Estonia, with some friends, which was super beautiful and I had a lot of fun (even though I can tell you what is not a lot of fun is trying to find your friends in a crowd of 100.000 and without any phone battery, but instead with a very, very heavy backpack) aaaand the start of Malev.
I didn't take any pictures at the Laulupidu (like I said, I had no phone battery), but I guess you can imagine how it looked (and if not, just google it - there you'll see more beautiful pictures than I could ever take anyway :D)
Malev is a 2-week working camp, where together with a group of youngsters and group leader, I was doing all kinds of farm/garden work. Most of which included raspberries – planting, picking, cutting, digging, weeding, EATING – so I definitely have enough of them for the next 2 years :D I had the luck to have a pretty cool team by my side (even with a group leader who speaks German!!), and some volunteer-luxuries that the youngsters didn’t have (like a real shower and 2 extra free days), but I was still pretty exhausted when I came home. Especially because in our free time we usually also did some activities, like for example an Escape Room, going swimming (and finally jumping from the highest platform in Tõrva!! :D), visiting another Malev-group, bowling, etc.
Therefore, afterwards I was happy to have some days to rest before my next – and last – bigger adventure started: Viljandi Folk Festival! I worked there as a volunteer, guarding the team house, which was a quite boring job and thanks to my night shifts I didn’t get much sleep. But outside of my shifts I could visit the festival for free, see some really cool concerts, dance, spend time with friends and other people I met, chill at the lake (which was great, because it was super, super hot) and just enjoy a great ending for my last month in Estonia.
So, ühe sõnaga (vocab of the month :D), July’s been a rush, a haze, a blur. Malev, which seemed infinite when I got there – 2 weeks, that’s much longer than I usually plan my life in ahead! – is over already. The Laulupidu in Tallinn and the Viljandi Folk Festival – two events I’ve wanted to go since I first heard about them in autumn and which seemed so far away, I mean… “July! That’s not until another 10 months, that’s like an eternity”, my naïve self thought back in September – are also over and done. Holy shit. Now the only thing that’s left is leaving. But before that I’m planning to spend some final days here with my family, see some more places, have some goodbye parties, celebrate my (and my brother’s) birthday, enjoy the Estonian summer for a bit longer - look how pretty it is! 😊
The description part of this blog is over now, but I’d like to say some “Thank you”s to some of the special people who accompanied me during those last 11 months and made my time here so memorable. So if you think you’re one of them keep reading, otherwise you can stop now, haha.
First of all, thank you to my tutors: To Rasmus who introduced me to Estonia, to Estonian culture and history and to youth work. Thanks for helping me settle in and always giving 110% for me, even if it would cost you hours of your sleep! And of course also to Madli: Already right after I met you, I felt like I had found a new friend rather than a new “boss” and I really enjoyed working and spending time with you! PS: Don’t worry about the youth centre feeling too empty without me: I’m sure the youngsters will make enough trouble to keep you busy :D
Thanks to all the youngsters I got to know and work with: Te olete super super lahedad ja armsad ja mulle väga meeldis teiega aega veeta, mängida, räägida! Ma tulen ikka külla järgmisel aastal! It might not always have been easy, but they showed me how rewarding and even magical working with young people can be.
Big thanks also to Ülla (aka my Estonian mum, as we joked) for making me overthink and overanalyse everything at the reflections :D, for being as small as me, so I could borrow your clothes :D, for fun times and good advice but also for challenging me from time to time, it really helped me to develop and improve myself.
Danke an dieser Stelle auch an Jandra: Es war schön, auch jemanden hier zu haben, mit dem ich Deutsch sprechen konnte. Danke für deine Geduld in den Tanzstunden und danke für all die Einladungen zu euch nach Hause, wo ich mich jedes Mal sehr daheim gefühlt habe – fast wie eine estnische zweite Familie 😊
And finally a big, big thank you to all the other volunteers and everyone else I met (impossible to name everyone here, so I won’t even start). Some of them stayed just people who I shared a nice but short time with, and some of them turned into real friends. I went through ups and downs with them, experienced unforgettable adventures, talked about anything and everything, and I wouldn’t want to have missed getting to know them. You made my time here a whole lot more special and I want to thank you all! <3 (ps: if you feel addressed here, then I’m probably addressing you :D)
Oh, und nicht zu vergessen: DAAAANKEEEE an meine Familie und Freunde daheim, dass ihr mich auch von so weit weg immer supported habt und für mich da wart. Ich freu mich schon extrem, euch alle seeeehr bald in echt wiederzusehen!!!!! Zum letzten Mal heißts „Virtuelle Bussis aus Estland“ anstatt der echten Bussis, die ich bald wieder geben kann! 😊
Aitäh Eesti, ich bin dann mal raus, peace!