Saturday, September 8, 2007

Official Days 1, 2, & 3

So this is hard. I’m one hour into my first night on my own in my first “living arrangement”, and I already feel sad. Hopefully it will help that the family I’m staying with is a) very nice, b) have been very assuring so far, and c) have pets. This way the only things I’ll really have to miss are my parents (I’m sure they’re glad to know this). The year in Germany seemed like an easier thing to live through, because it was still University and I had a life schedule similar to several thousand other students. Here I’m mostly on my own, in a place I know fairly well, in the real adult world, and it scares me. Don’t get me wrong—I have no doubt that I’ll make it through the next three months. It’s just that it’s something completely different from what I’m used to. It’ll be interesting to see how I get through it. I’m meeting with someone at the first internship site Monday morning; I had hoped to have started work by then (*gasp*I actually WANT to start?!), but I guess I’ll have to hold out until Tuesday.

This entire weekend the city center has been full of people from Ireland, due to the Latvia-Northern Ireland soccer match that was played tonight (Latvia won, 1:0 *EDIT: they didn't even score the goal themselves. Ireland scored it on accident). That meant lots of loud, half-drunk men dressed in soccer jerseys and generally green clothing/wigs/funny hats. Although my dad wrote me to say that because NI lost, the city center is a bit quieter tonight. Maybe they’ll make up for it by drinking their sorrows away!

If all goes well tomorrow morning I’ll find my camera charger and will start taking better photos of my surroundings. For now my cell phone has to do all of the work.

Although I could have “started” my first day on the “job” (hurrah for “ “ marks!) today, I opted to come in tomorrow to officially start. Today was spent meeting my contact person at 11 a.m., then taking the self tour+audio tour through the museum, which took me a little over 2.5 hours. I think I was the slowest-moving person on the entire floor. Maybe they all thought I was Estonian (apparently there are many jokes claiming that Estonians are slow [moving]). Most of the people behind the scenes at the museum aren’t much older than I am; most of them seem friendly, except the historian division, made up of three very quiet and not-so-social people (I was told not to really go to them if I have any questions, because they’re “kind of weird.”).

There are all kinds of depressing things going on in the museum displays. When I went there for the first time back in 1998, the only things I really remember are the model-barracks, the made-for-Siberian-weather face masks, and the violin someone had made out of attainable materials. This time I was struck by different things: a huge map with pins marking the grave stones and memorials for those who died during the years of occupation, along with pictures of many of the gravestones (the one that struck me was a simple dark grey stone with the man’s name, d.o.b. and d.o.d., and a single line that read, “Bija nakts”/ “It was night”), a mention of a Soviet children’s story in which a “childhood hero” was a little boy who turned in his own parents, and a story (and illustrations) of one woman’s experience, who with her daughter, because her neighbors (who were on a list to be deported for some reason or another) weren’t home, was taken in their place.

So I decided to call it quits for today, as it was all a bit too much for me. Tomorrow I’ll return to start translation work (they have enough guides), as well as some translation/dubbing for a third video the museum is planning on giving out. Excitement! The environment is supposedly pretty relaxed; people work at their own pace, etc. So it should be a good time.

On a happier note, I absolutely adore my first living arrangement. The family is nice, has a good sense of humor, do everything independently, and expect me to more or less do things as I see fit/on my own. They have pets, a good neighborhood, and *free* vegetables and grapes from family and friends. FRESH PRODUCE FOR KAIJA!!! This is probably one of the best things about it; I can partake in the consumage of fresh produce and not have to worry about price or quality.

There are two dogs (twins, one belongs to the people living in the upper floor of the house), two-no-THREE cats (one kitten was born, literally, yesterday), and a parrot. Along with the little girl, her parents, and the mother’s aunt, it’s a full house, but room for everyone. I’m tucked at one end of the house in the 4-season porch (or however you call them), so if I cry at night no one will hear me, ha ha ha. I’ll post pictures of most mentioned items in the coming days.

In a nutshell, I’m doing well, finding my way around well (heck, I found my way to Coffee Nation [coffee shop #1!!] with only one wrong turn [which led me, anyway, to a street I recognized, etc. etc.], so I’m not THAT disoriented as usual—perhaps it’s survival instinct), seeing interesting people (the Irish haven’t left yet, even though the soccer game was Saturday night and they lost horribly to Latvia [alright, so only by one point…]), and getting a bit further in my new-experience-life. On the way home I plan on stopping at a BB&B-like store to find some baskety things for clothing storage. Those I’ll leave mysteriously behind for the relatives like some kind of wicker fairy. It’ll be fun, just you wait.

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