Jan 252013

The end of a double rainbow is right on our apartment building. This photo was taken last fall.

Juri is already back in Florida.  I am also following him.  To recap, my last days were a combination of still making new acquaintances, packing, feeling sad, and nostalgic.  Somebody mentioned that they are sure I feel good about returning home.  It is true.  At the same time leaving is bittersweet. I will miss Tartu, my colleague Hele Everaus, friends and other colleagues, the University, the lab members…my trips to Tallinn.

I realize as I look at my blog that I had not shown you our Tartu home. When I got here, I was given a rug

Continue reading »

Jan 242013

The Young:  Tartu is a city of young people.  I feel that here I have seen many more young people than I have seen anywhere else in Estonia.  This mostly is because not only Tartu University is located here, but also Treffneri Gümnaasium is here.  Treffneri is a school that is known for the quality of its teachers and for attracting top students from all over Estonia.  Treffner used to be for male students only, but now is co-ed.  Miina Härma (MH) Gümnaasium is also well known in Tartu for the quality of its education.  This high school used to be for female students during the first independence period.  Matter of fact my mother went to Miina Härmä and afterwards graduated from Tartu University in Economics in the early 1930’s.  Miina Continue reading »

Jan 132013

Happy New Year!


I am coming close to the end of my stay in Tartu on the Fulbright Fellowship.  It has been a wonderful experience to live and work here.  It has certainly reinforced my tremendous admiration for this small country – its people, the innovativeness and hard work that is being put into rebuilding this country after the Soviet times.  I have thought lately of how to end this blog.  I have decided to cover different topics and what I have heard in conversations with many different people, as well as reflecting on what I have seen myself, and my experiences.  I will divide my thoughts over different posts. What I write is also with a perspective on the comparisons of my first experiences here in 1987 during the  last period of Communist days and the present.  I have not wanted to be political in my blog, but I cannot help but add some thoughts on what I view Continue reading »

Jan 012013

View from the road leading toward farmhouses in part of the village.During the holiday break, quite a few social visits were made to homes of new friends that we have met while living here and of old friends that we already knew previously when they had visited the U.S. or had been part of exchange programs, or as postdocs. The holiday season has been an enjoyable time.  After New Year’s Day, it will be back to work.  This being New Year’s Day, unbelievably I am now in my last month in Estonia.


After Christmas, when we took our daughter back to the airport in Tallinn, because of her early morning flight, we again stayed overnight.  Since our bus back to Tartu was at 16:00, we decided this time to take a trolley to the outskirts of Tallinn to Rocca al Mare where the Estonian Open Air Museum is located.  This museum is another “must see” place for anybody planning a visit to Estonia. It is designed as a village with buildings of the 1700,1800 and early 1900’s brought to this site from all over Estonia.  There are old farm houses built with logs with drying barns and other ancillary buildings, a church, schoolhouse, a tavern, windmills, all brought to this location to depict Estonian’s past. Years back when I was at a conference in Japan, Juri and I visited a similar museum village and to me, surprisingly, the architecture of the old farmhouses in Japan was very similar to what we see in Estonia.P1020224


An old windmill.

An old windmill.

This museum village is set on a high forested-bank on Kopli Bay. At an area near the water, a small fishing village is located. Here one can get nice views of Tallinn with its high church spires that can be seen in the distance across the bay. In the summertime all the buildings are open and there are a lot of events going on that one can find out about on the internet.  In the winter, only a small handful of the buildings are open, but to see it all snow-covered is special in its own way.  We very much enjoyed our day there. At lunchtime we had hot, spiced wine and a nice meal at the tavern that is open year round. On the way out, we found out we could have taken a sleigh ride at some point during our day, but it was getting too P1020310late now to do so.  As dusk began to set in, we made our way back to the Metropol hotel at the Rotterdam Quartel to pick up our bags and made it to the bus station just in time for our 2.5-hour ride back to Tartu.

Slideshow of other views at Rocca al Mare.          


Dec 232012

As soon as we turned the calendar to December, signs of the Christmas season began to emerge around Tartu.  First the two biggest department stores changed their window displays and decked out the building facades with Christmas lights and large bows.  Soon lights of all types began to appear on the streets.  Then as I hurried home in the evenings across the Raekoja Plats in the steadily cold temperatures below freezing, I noticed men working on platform lifts high above the square putting long strings of lights up.  A couple of days later a large tree appeared in the middle of the square.  So it went with new additions seen on a daily basis.  Everything is in place now and the Christmas festivities have begun!  And it is very cold!!  Even the locals are remarking how cold it is.  I won’t even mention what the two Floridians think!!  Today it was 10o Farenheit ( around -11o C). If you have noticed, I have added a weather widget on the blog in the right hand panel.  This widget is a sign among others that my very computer savvy daughter Liisi has arrived from Washington DC to spend Christmas with us.  Liisi took a two-week vacation to spend Christmas with us here in Tartu.  It is so nice to have her here.

Square  decorations are now complete.

Square decorations are now complete.

Continue reading »