Hello again!! The past two weeks have been jam packed with visits, travel, and work. The weather has been pretty great lately, getting all the way up to the 50s (in fahrenheit obviously), and the sun has been out and shining bright most days! In fact, the sun is now rising just after 5:00am and setting at around 9:30pm, and its only going to rise earlier and set later as the summer approaches, its crazy!!
Since I last posted, I have been to Latvia (twice), Finland, and had some friends visit! Here are all of my updates:
I hopped on the bus to head to Riga, Latvia to meet up with two other fellows in my program, Aryeh who is serving in Riga, and Samantha who is serving in Budapest (and who I have known since high school through BBYO). We spent the night in Riga and then Friday morning we drove to the beach town of Jurmala, which was described to us as "The Hamptons of Latvia", for the Baltic Jewish Network Conference. This conference has been happening for five years now and it is a weekend where young adults (in this case from around 25-40) from the Baltics (Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia) come together for a weekend of networking, and idea-sharing. I had a great time getting to meet more people from the Baltics and of course, spending time with Sam and Aryeh!
After the BJN Conference, we went back to Riga where we met up with two other friends- Jude who is also serving in Budapest this year, and our friend Ryan who is not a fellow but lives in DC and came to visit us! Aryeh gave us a great tour of the old town, we spent the night at his place and then the next day, Sam, Ryan, Jude and I left for Tallinn.
Story time- I'm not so sure how funny this will be but it became a very important part of our time in Tallinn so I have to try and re-tell it (and its where the title of this blog post comes from). So we get to my apartment and I think this whole thing starts with my friend Ryan finding some paper cups that I did not realize I still had, Ryan being very quick-thinking makes a joke asking if I even live in Tallinn. Well this joke quickly escalates into how I don't actually live in Tallinn, in fact this is my first time visiting and that I just went all out to impress my friends, getting a nice AirBnB, and even hiring people to act as my friends, and coworkers. So the entire time we were in Tallinn if any of my friends asked me a question and I hesitated for even a second they were very quick to say "oh right I forgot you don't live here". Anyways I had a great time getting to be a tourist in the city I live in (that one was for you Ryan), showing my friends around, and even discovering some new parts of Tallinn. At the end of our time in Tallinn, Jude left us to head back to Budapest and Ryan, Sam and I got on the ferry to visit our friend Jake in Helsinki.
This was my first time taking the ferry and also my first time in Helsinki! The ferries are so nice and basically like mini cruise ships with lots of drunk people, and some drunk Finnish Karaoke. Our time in Finland was spend eating exclusively Asian food (aka lots of sushi), and wandering around since the weather was amazing. If you remember me writing about my time in Prague at a Moishe House retreat, two of the people I met there live in Helsinki so I also met up with them which was fun! Jake showed us around and even took us to a little island that is around a 20 minute boat ride away.
I left Finland early to get back to Tallinn because I had a busy week ahead of me! I spent my week in Tallinn preparing for the weekend which was spent back in Latvia (never in my life did I think I would spend three separate weekends in Latvia of all places), at the Kadima Leadership Seminar. Kadima is a weekend in which all of the Madrichim (teen leaders) from the Baltic countries come together to prepare to be counselors at Olameinu (the Baltic Jewish Summer Camp) this summer. There were about 70 madrichim there ready to reunite with each other and learn from the guest educators. Aryeh was also there and we led a couple of sessions together as well as one evening program, and a session that I led on my own. Overall it was a great weekend, I enjoyed getting to see some of the teens that I met at IC in February and getting to meet everyone else!
Yesterday officially marked the beginning of my EIGHTH month in Estonia, which is truly crazy. I have some more fun things coming up over the next few weeks- I'm getting ready to head to Israel for the Forbes 30 Under 30 Summit, then a few weeks later to Milan for the Junction Annual Conference!
Thanks for keeping up with my adventures!