Saturday, August 17, 2013

Der Countdown läuft

The next adventure is waiting around the corner already. In one week it's time to leave the Netherlands behind and start another Baltic project, this time as an exchange student in Tallinn, Estonia. This is part of my two year Master program in Journalism and Media Analysis which I follow at Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas, Lithuania. I'm very curious what Tallinn University has to offer me and what kind of nice trips I'll be able to make during the upcoming autumn semester. Slowly but steady I notice that the activities of the previous three months come to an end. I finished my internship at the communication department of building cooperative Domesta while receiving compliments from my kind colleagues. Also my last gym visits are in sight. Quite interesting how my attitude towards sports has changed. I never practiced sports much, however, since the beginning of June I've been going to the gym several times a week and I furthermore have been exploring the rural Dutch north on my mountain bike, accompanied by my neighbor Bianca. The fact that we had a long winter in Kaunas during which I was glued to my seat in front of my laptop made me realize something had to change. I hope to continue this good habit in Tallinn too. 

 Estonia, pretty much up North!

I'm really looking forward to leave to Tallinn but at the moment I don't experience the excitement (yet) which I had when leaving to Riga for the very first time, or when starting my Master degree in Kaunas. Am I getting used to this globetrotting/Balttrotting? During every semesters' start I'm a bit skeptic about the behavior of all students who participate in an exchange program for the very first time. On the one hand they can be very curious, ready to grab every travel and culture-acquaintance possibility there is. However, on the other hand I know from my own experience that the majority of all students are keen on drinking and celebrating an average of six parties each week. It's always interesting how those kind of people react on partypoopers like me. Some state I'm boring because I don't want to get wasted, but some, which I give a thumb up, respect my disinterest and do join for an exploring walk with me, or a train ride to a random place with Soviet leftovers. As I've noticed through social media there will be incredibly many foreign students in Tallinn this year so I'm pretty sure there will be some new friends there as well.

During a dark day in 2009. My first time in Estonia!

The above concern doesn't take away that there are especially many small things I'm looking forward to to undertake again. Some examples:

- Food shopping. I kind of like going to supermarkets. Now I can decide on my own again what to eat and when.

- Picture hunt tours. I've been in Tallinn many times before but I'm sure there are a lot of places still to be discovered. Especially since I own a new camera I'm looking forward to shoot some not so tourist like snapshots, especially in the suburbs.

- When in Tallinn I really like watching the huge cruise ships from Sweden and Finland. I'll live very close to the harbor so I'm pretty sure watching the boats will be a pleasant activity during for example a little study break.

- Finland is only a two hour boat ride away. I'd love to have a look in Helsinki once again or to take the train to Mikkeli and visit my 'Finnish mom' Anu. Another thing on my wish list is a trip to Finnish Lapland.

- Going out for diner. I always loved this in Kaunas since it's almost just as expensive as cooking your own food. I hope there will be some student budget proof places for tasty meals in Tallinn too. Cozy!

- I'd love to discover more of Estonia. I'm planning to visit a friend in Rakvere and it would also be nice to say hello to my former colleagues from the Institute of Baltic Studies in Tartu. Hm, I should maybe also have a look at Saaremaa island since I've never been there yet.

- Maybe I can be an election observer in Narva once again? That was a true adventure previous time in 2011, Russian style!

- I would love to show Estonia to my father, maybe even in winter time so he can experience how fascinating yet cold it can be then. 

- It will be so nice to see my Estonian ballooning friends again which I met in Riga earlier this year. Who knows, maybe I can join their team a bit. 

- I'll share my room in the student dorm with Marika from Latvia. We know each other already a little longer since she also studied in Kaunas. She's a non-party animal roommate with regular 'living hours', so that's a delight.

- Oh, and of course I should not forget about the actual reason why I'm going to Tallinn: studies! I picked some interesting courses I guess, so hopefully my time at Tallinn University will be well spend. I'm looking forward to the courses like Globalization, Identity and Communication, Consumerism and Related Social Problems and European Union and Media. I'm not really sure about the exact courses I'll take yet. I might even want to take a language course. Maybe a German one? It would be an asset to get this difficult grammar fixed so I might expand my job search field to Germany too.

As you can see, enough to do, enough to like. I think everybody should always have things to look forward to, especially when you're getting a little older I could imagine that those kind of desires make you live longer and age more happily. I cannot imagine myself without bucket list items.

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