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My thousand days in Eesti Vabariik

By João Lopes Marques (Eesti keel)

Distracted by some life bureaucracies and unnecessary concerns, I forgot to signal properly my first thousand days in Estonia. Doubtlessly, it is a beautiful and round number. Considering all the natural ups and downs, it has been quite exciting: when I debarked in Tallinn with a heavy suitcase on 11th June 2006 I had plans to stay for not longer than one year.

For some reason, time went by faster than my sweet inertia. Hereby some assorted impressions I have gathered since then. Since an article in Eesti Ekspress every two weeks is not enough to share all reflections, I've decided to select nearly one topic per month I have lived in this homy country:

1) Local girls' favourite name is "Laura";

2) Cakes are too creamy;

3) Solarium is as important as sauna;

4) Egypt is even more important than solarium;

5) One hears the name Narva usually related to a joke;

6) Locals love to quote a specific passage of Ernest Hemingway in his book To Have and Have Not: "In every port in the world, at least two Estonians can be found" (I haven't read this book, but I was told that wrote insted "No well-run yacht basin in the Southern waters is complete without at least two sun-burned, salt-headed Esthonians");

7) Men are more silent than women;

8) Lots of people boast they never pay on the tram;

9) "Margarita and the Master" by Mikhail Bulgakov is the favourite book of almost all my friends and acquaintances;

10) Estonians younger than 26 years old don't speak Russian;

11) Estonians older than 26 years old speak some Russian;

12) In my network, it seems something wrong goes very wrong every time I pronounce the word "Savisaar";

13) Residents in Läsna Mäe prefer not to mention they live there;

14) There is more Polish blood in Estonians than the autochtonous estimate (not necessarily Jewish);

15) Georgian food is the tastiest I've tried in Estonia;

16) Lately, wooden houses have became quite trendy again;

17) Because of the global warming, Summer in Pärnu became a tremendous bluff;

18) As good-yet-silent observers, Estonians are more acquainted about foreigners than foreigners are about Estonians;

19) Aladin restaurant is a lost oasis in Kopli neighbourhood;

20) Nail spas are the only business that will survive the credit crunch (never underestimate the look);

21) Estonian people have a fetish by Australia and Brazil (arrivederci Italia);

22) Lennart Meri is God, and He reigns especially for the local majority of Atheists;

23) Jaanipäev is by far much more relevant than Christmas;

24) One in every four (or maybe three) Estonians souls believe the supreme harmony will be achieved via the formula half-year-here-half-year-in-a-Thai-island;

25) Old habits die hard: Soviet canapés are still competing with capitalistic tapas;

26) Odessa champagne provides the worst hangover ever;

27) Estonians never ever travel to Latvia (well, perhaps for a conference or two);

28) Most mixed Estonians I have met tend to have Estonian father and Slavic mother (and they are usually adopt mother's tongue as their mother tongue);

29) The most repetitive question ever: "What the hell are you doing here in Estonia?";

30) Posting is cheaper than in other European Union countries;

31) Porsche Cayenne is a very popular vehicle indeed;

32) Even abstemious people admit Hell Hunt is one of the Top 10 national institutions;

33) "Come on, João, are you going to speak about the Bronze Soldier again?";

34) Orkut is Estonia's Yellow Pages;

35) The massive response to my last article "Viimase aja tabu Eestis: 'Maarja läheb ka Eestist ära...'" just proves gender gap is a perfect topic to trigger a harsh discussion in Estonia

Uff, I feel more relieved now. And yes, last but not the least, I also ackowledge Estonians love to know what foreigners thinks about them...

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