So here's the deal. I was thinking about how nothing really exciting has happened since I was in Berlin with my pals, but then I remembered that I literally am living in Estonia and that in itself is pretty crazy. It might sound funny but I often have moments where I forget that I'm living thousands of miles away from what's "normal" (for me at least), but then I walk into work and the security guards try to have a conversation with me in Russian and I am back to the crazy reality that is my life- halfway across the world in Tallinn, Estonia. Maybe that means that life is becoming more "normal" here? I'm not sure but sometimes when I think about it I just laugh, because who would have thought this is where I would be? I certainly NEVER did. If you would have told me a year ago that this is where I would be, even just that I would be living abroad for a year, I would have laughed you off and told you that you were insane. A year ago I assumed I would be living somewhere in Atlanta with a friend of a camp friend working as a Jewish professional, but you know what they say about assuming...
Okay sorry that I have ignored my dramatic blog title up until this point, but here we go-
After a one week hiatus, I returned to the Kindergarten. This weeks lesson as requested by the principal was that I teach the chorus of the "Dreidel" song, since Hanukkah starts one week from today. She wanted me to also teach them some movements with the song because they are supposed to perform this for their parents next week. I was a little apprehensive about this request because its not the easiest song and teaching it to 5 year olds that have minimal english knowledge would definitely be a problem. SO, I wasn't left completely alone with the kids that was a little dramatic of me (but if you really know me, you know I love to exaggerate for dramatic effect), but the teacher that was assigned to me did not speak any english, so she couldn't really help me with my lesson. BASICALLY, it did not go over so well. The kids lost interest after I played the song for them THE FIRST TIME, and I still had about 28 minutes with them. I tried desperately to get them to repeat after me, but that did not totally work so then I just kept playing the song over and over for them in the hopes that it would stick. It didn't. I'll let you know how the concert goes!!
In case you were wondering- my Russian lesson are moving along kind of well. I have never been the best at studying (shoutout to all of my friends who would spend long nights with me in the Rollins Olin Library!!) because I have always relied on my good memory and last minute cramming to pass all of my tests and well, I graduated so it worked! But combine the fact that I'm not the best at studying with the fact that its been a year since I have HAD to study... basically I need to be better. So currently I can read Russian which is pretty cool! I mean I read like a 5 year old (probably a little worse), and sometimes I mix up the letters that look like english letters- FOR EXAMPLE:
In Russian the letter that looks like an "H" is really an "N", the letter that looks like a "p" is an "R", and the letter that looks like a backwards capital "R" (я here is the letter for reference) makes the sound "ya". SO you can see why my brain might hate me.
The best part of it all is my Russian instructor is starting to tell people that work at the community center "Alana can speak Russian now", so there are a few people (mostly just the security guards mentioned above) that are only speaking to me in Russian. I can understand maybe a third of what they are saying (even that is a little generous), but thats better than nothing!
I've been here for two months now, which sometimes seems crazy that I am already in my third month and other times it seems like it should be month 5 or 6 already. Things are moving along! It is getting darker (it was dark skies and a full moon out at 4:30pm the other day), colder, and wetter (the other day there was a light snow shower in the same way that it drizzles for a few minutes back home) and as much as it pains me to admit it, I am SUCH a Floridian. It's not even technically winter yet which is the most concerning part, so please send warm vibes my way.
The sun did come out for a whopping 10 minutes yesterday so naturally, I had to take a picture for proof:
Lots of exciting things happening in the next few weeks!
-My friend Becca (you may remember her from our trip to Berlin) is coming to visit me for part of Hanukkah!! And we may get special guest appearances from two other fellows- Jake who lives in Helsinki, and Aryeh who lives in Riga (it is only a 2 hour ferry from Helsinki and a 4 hour bus from Riga)!
-I'm meeting up with my FAMILY in PARIS for TEN WHOLE DAYS!!! That's right get ready for the whole BZ gang to be back together in less than two weeks
-THEN I'm heading over to visit Becca in Copenhagen for New Years (let's hope we don't get sick of each other!!!)
Thank you times a million for keeping up with my adventures