Sunday, 5. aug. 2012. We caught up with our household purchases after a leisurely morning breakfast. Then in the late afternoon decided to take a boat
trip upriver on Emajõgi. It was a beautiful summer’s day. As we left town, there were several small beaches along the way. Way out of town upriver are new, relatively large homes visible along the river. The river can overflow its banks after heavy winter snows, so the homes are built away from the edge. In general one sees mostly fields and
birch forests. In many areas large pine (mainly Pinus sylvestris) forests can be seen. This is typical for the Estonian and Finnish landscapes. The white bark of the birches is rather striking, especially when they are the predominant species. The Estonian word for birch is “kask”. When they grow together in a region, it is known as a “kaasik”.
After going upstream for a hour, we turned around and headed back. Just before embarking, on the left one can see our apartment complex near the river and at the foot of one of the bridges crossing the river.
Monday and Tuesday, 6-7 aug. Spent the two days catching up with my research-related tasks and my email. I’m still working on a NIH program project that has a September due date, so I have been very busy with that. On Tuesday, I gave an overview of my research to my new lab members on the project that some of them will be working on with me. I am quite excited to get started on this stem-cell related project! I’ll tell you more about the lab members and what they are doing in a future post. It is a nice group of young people. One of them, Triin, who just finished up her Master’s has a background in DNA and chromatin chemistry. I am quite intrigued to read her articles that she has published based on her Master’s dissertation – apparently she has 4 papers published! That is quite impressive.
My 5-month Fulbright officially begins in September, so right now I am primarily working on my NIH grant and getting used to the new routines and way of life. I am glad the 6-month sabbatical allows having this one extra month. In the world of research, five months is a very short time.
Thursday and Friday, 9-10th, aug. Last night we went to hear a concert that was held at the outdoor amphiteater (Sound-Fest Stadium) in Tartu. It was
held to honor a well-known singer (Vello Orumets) who recently passed away due to health problems. The concert was a 30 minute walk for us through an old part of town. It started at 8 PM and at 10 it
was still going strong. It got pretty cold in the evening. I had on a fall jacket and felt I could probably have worn my winter jacket to be really comfortable. The days are pleasantly warm around noon, but by late afternoon, it turns quite cool and the evenings and nights are what I would call “cold”. Maybe it is my Florida state of mind…but everybody is telling me that this summer has been quite cool, even for the locals. One person jokingly said to me, “this summer has been bad skiing weather”.
Today, Friday, I met Robert Gilchrist the Charge d’Affaires at the US Embassy and his assistant, Jane Susi, who were visiting Tartu from their home base in Tallinn . The Dean of the Medical School Dr. Joel Starkopf and Dr. Everaus joined us. As a Fulbrighter, one is considered part of the Embassy “family”. It is nice to be in touch with the U.S. Embassy and I especially was glad to hear that they will facilitate getting our absentee ballots and voting in November’s election.