Sunday, September 30, 2007

Week and Future

Since I have seen a tendency that I seem to update the blog every weekend (or slightly after every weekend), I guess I can't break the tradition this week either. Every week seem to just fly by. I have tried to get into a rutine of working out again, and this week I tried a new form of training that I had a lot of faith in - swimming. For the first time I experienced one of the big drawbacks of not being a student any more.. You don't get the student discounts! Therefore, swimming does not seem to be something I can take up after all, it's one of the few things that are actually expensive here in Tallinn. But it's OK, it wasn't as much fun as I had expected either. Especially since I lost one of my contacts after 5 minutes in the water, and everything on one side just became a big blur...

I have also had time to practice my French a little bit more this week! Maybe the atmosphere of the little French cafe where we have the classes is doing it's tric after all - or at least it's so cozy that it makes it temping to go there and read.

On Friday I saw my first ever Estonian movie, Autumn Ball. It had gotten some prizes internationally, so I figured it was worth a try. It was a good movie, but very sad and depressing. So if it ever comes to Norway - be aware.

In addition, I have also started to think a lot about planning. That has never been my strong side. Usually I have trouble planning a week ahead, but I think I have done some sort of progress lately. I have at least been able to plan some trips, and my weekends ahead here in Tallinn. But then it suddenly became very clear to me that I have no plans after Christmas. I have always thought that sounded very good, but lately it has also seemed a little scary. Quite scary in fact. Since time is flying so fast, there isn't that much time to come up with a master plan either. So last night I started to look for an appartment to rent in Oslo. They were all scarily expensive. So if someone hears about a great job or a good place to stay in Oslo - send a pip my way...

Monday, September 24, 2007

Girls Trip to Riga

Last week end, Stine and I decided to explore one of the other Baltic capitals, and headed for Latvia and Riga on Saturday morning. As we had been thinking that we should get as much out of the day as possible, we booked the tickets for the bus at 6 am... Now, in hindsight, that was probably not the best plan. We got a few more hours in Riga that way, but were sleep walking through most of them.

Miracolusly, I had remembered to take my guide book along for the trip. According to said book, Riga should be the biggest and most cosmopolitan of the Baltic capitals. To be so big and cosmopolitan, it was surprising to find almost no people in the centre on a Saturday. Of the ones we did see, however, 80% were Norwegian... So many Norwegians that they actually provided an extra sightseeing bus with a Norwegian, recorded guide. So there we were, stuck for 1,5 hours in a bus with a group of middle aged Norwegian women who were sipping from their small liquor bottles, and listening to an over enthusiastic guide on the loudspeakers - who sounded more like he was telling a fairy tale than the story about Riga. But it was an interesting bus trip, and I learnt quite a lot about Riga. The rest of Saturday we spent in cafes, meeting trainees from Riga, and going to the movie theater. We stayed at the appartment of the Norwegian trainee in Latvia. With a lot more sleep than the night before, and the sun shining over Riga on Sunday - the impression of the city was also a lot better the next day. We walked around the old city, and we also hunted down what I think must have been the two things that made my guide book call this a cosmopolitan city. A miniatyre Eiffel Tower type building, and a bridge that on a good day might have a certain recemblance to the bridges in New York or San Fransisco...

Oh, and I shouldn't just make fun of my guide book - it also had an excellent tip: about a chocolate cafe that we just couldn't miss. After all - chocolate makes a girl happy, that is scientifically proved (and if it isn't, I'll happily sign up for an experiment).

It was a good, relaxing girl's trip to Riga - which is a nice city. However, it is not as nice as Tallinn. Objectivly speaking - of course!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

What's with all this Whipped Cream???

If anyone asks me if I want whipped cream on my hot chocolate, my obvious answer would be yes! However, if anyone asks me if I would like whipped cream on my coffee-to-go, my obvious response would be ??? Only problem is - they don't ask. They just put it there. Like drinking coffee with a ton of whipped cream on top is just the most natural thing in the world. Well, to me, it's not. It's quite disgusting in fact.

I went to a coffeeplace the other day, orderning a latte with Irish Cream to go. While they were making my latte I was more busy people-watching than actually supervising what went into the paper cup. So when I got it it already had the lid on, and I tried to start drinking on my way out the door. Only, no coffee came in my mouth. I took the lid off to investigate, only to discover that over half of my cup was filled with whipped cream. The other half apparently consisted of 3/4 Irish Cream syrup, and 1/4 coffee... I decided that this coffee chain was weird, and decided never to use it again. Then yesterday, I was standing on an information stand about Norwegian Develoment Cooperation for several freezing hours. So I decided to go into the shopping mall to get a coffee and warm up. I asked for a latte, and waited impatiently for them to make it. Unfortunatly, it didn't occur to me to point out that I wanted a latte free of whipped cream.

Mistake. Huge mistake.

Saturday, September 08, 2007


Today I decided to have a completly relaxing Saturday. And what better way to spend it than to sleep the first half of the day for then to bring a couple of fleece blankets and a pillow into the living room and spend the second half of the day on the couch in front of the TV? The only small catch is that the TV program selection is quite limitied. It doesn't help to have 70 TV channels when over 90% of them are either origianlly in, or worse still, dubbed into Russian. But as I was aimlessly flipping through the channels I stumbled across something truly great: VH1 has a "Smells Like the 90's"-theme week end, playing 90's music videos non stop! It has made me really nostalgic sitting here hearing all there songs again, laughing, slightly blushing, and remembering the times when I was a teenager and these songs seemed to be the greatest things ever made... Right now they are showing Ace of Base's "The Sign" which (I'm sorry to say) was one of my absolute favorites for a brief, confused phase of the very early 90's. But the worst thing is not (though it is really bad) the song itself - but the hairstyles! (With the clothing style in a very good second place). Blushing slightly, I now remember the times when I used at least half a bottle of extra-mega-hold-hair-spray and mega-mega-hold mousse every day trying to make my bangs as high as possible. Jeez, it that really what I looked like..?


Yesterday I came back from a two-day trip to Saaremaa (the biggest island in Estonia), arranged by the Ministry of Agriculture. We got to learn about windmill energy, organic farming and soap making, the challenges for the fisheries, and also eat a lot of good food, get to know some really nice people, live in a great hotel - and also to visit a biowaste handling factory where they use the waste from 40 000 pigs to make gas, electricty, and fertilizer. Although used for a good purpose, it was unfortunate that there was no way to take away the smell from the waste of the 40 000 pigs... Anyway, here are some of the kodak moments caught in Saaremaa

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


Yesterday ,Laura, Morten, and I invited people over for an applecake-eating-experience of huge dimensions. Inviting guests over for something eatable, however, also requires a few preparations - which in a foreign country can take a little longer than one is used to...

Laura googled apple-pie to find some tempting recipies. She found four very good ones, and, since I get off work first, my job was to go to the supermarket to find the ingredieces. Now, that doesn't sound too hard, does it? Well, it can be.. when everything in the store has some Estonian name very VERY different from the Norwegian one. Even though Laura had translated some of the igrediences needed into Estonian, and some helpful supermarket employees did their best to help, it still proved to be quite a challenge. Still, one hour later - I was on my way home; ready to bake, and with only two wrong things in my plastic bags!

Baking was fun, but not without it's challenges. Our kitchen doesn't have all the equipment that could have been desired for making four cakes - but Laura convinced me to see the possibilities rather than the obstacles. And even though a electric mixer would still be preferable for making whipped cream, at least I discovered that my upper arm strength is a lot better than initially believed; I made the whipped cream into butter by mistake...

But still, the cakes turned out really good, the company was great - all in all a very successful apple-cake-happening!