29 June 2011

Estonian country house

After a full day in the city, it was time to head to Chris’s country house for the solstice celebrations. The drive was about an hour and a half from Tallinn, but it wasn’t really that bad (ok, truth bomb: I slept most of it). Once we got to the actual country side (which included TONS of trees!!!), there were no longer signs pointing us in the right direction: you just had to know the streets (or the landmarks) in order to get where you wanted to go. Supposedly most Estonians have country houses and most have been passed on through the generations. In fact, their house comes from Chris’s grandmother. The area near them used to be blockaded during Soviet times as a training center for soldiers but also where the wealthy politicians and military leaders could go and escape because it was near the seaside. There used to be a blockade of guards that they had to go through in order to get to their summer house, which he said was always a hassle but obviously worth it in the end…. And as soon as we arrived at the house (where he’d spent ALL of his summers as a kid), I knew why. There were 3 houses on the property that, once his grandma died, had been passed on to his father and his father’s two siblings. They house they were in used to be a barn and his father (who is an incredibly craftsman) had reconstructed it to be a house… and a beautiful one at that. There was no running water (the water was collected from the stream), and the outhouse was like doing your business in luxury in comparison to what I use in Moldova--- which really isn’t bad at all. But, listen. This place had a Styrofoam seat, a rug, and a light. To me it was awesome and I didn’t notice the smell, but I guess I was out of my rocker because others disagreed. Guess they won’t be coming to visit me here! Lol. But they also had a sauna that we went to the traditional way (only males then only females… in our birthday suits). It was after the sauna that we also took advantage of a bucket bath which, even though other PCV’s have had to use one, I’ve been lucky enough to have a host family that has a shower- and I am very thankful for that… because the bucket bath wasn’t so fun. I mean, it was part of the experience so that was great and all, but if I did that every day I would totally have short hair because it is very difficult to get all of the soap out of it! Anyways… moving on. So I forgot to mention the mosquitos… which is totally crazy because they are a very crucial part to the vacation because they were pretty much part of the vacation. The second we got out of the van once we’d arrived, the mosquitos were EVERYWHERE. I’d never seen so many together in my entire life! There was no wind and it was cool so they just stuck around. We instantly covered ourselves in bug spray which helped but there were some little suckers (haha no pun intended) that decided to push their way past the smell and bite us. The weird thing, though, was that the bites itched like crazy as soon as they were noticed, but after that they didn’t itch, and unless you were Seb, the bumps didn’t stick around either. After the grand tour and the loading up of bug spray, was time for dinner. Chris’s mom had made her famous potato salad, there was a cheese spread, and tons and tons of meat (supposedly 600 tons of meat had been purchased and theoretically consumed over that holiday weekend). The meat became our nightly dinner, which totally made it worth the almost 7 pounds I gained on this trip.

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