How can spring be enjoyed in Estonia while the coronavirus restrictions are still in place? The Estonian Institute and the "Found in Estonia" podcast have some recommendations for you.
Ada Hisunova came to Estonia from the glorious city of Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, and has been living in Estonia for over 2,5 years. She says, "Even though this country is relatively small, it never ceases to amaze, and I am sure that in five years there will still be some secluded corner that will make me shout "Wow!" and get the camera right away."
Here are Ada's recommendations:
1) Start or keep learning Estonian!
For those who doubt, are lazy or don't know which courses to enrol in for studying the national language of this country, then there is a pretty good alternative. I'm talking about free courses that are organized by the state, namely the Integration Foundation (Integratsiooni Sihtasutus). Learning is well organized, there are interesting topics to discuss, including Estonian history, geography, curiosities and much more. It was very important for me to find a competent teacher there. These courses did not let me down. At the moment, classes are, of course, online.
2) Release your inner beast
It is worth clarifying that I'm talking about creativity and not about practicing ominous glances from around the corner. Self-isolation taught me not only to allocate time to streamline my thoughts, but also to devote myself to what I like and what I wanted "to try one day". Thus, I began to work with acrylic paints and now it brings me great pleasure, peace of mind and satisfaction. You can start doing whatever you want: origami, sculpting, drawing, painting, modeling, embroidery, beading or threading, papercraft… it is truly an inexhaustible source of ideas and inspiration. Even if the specialty shops are closed, all creative materials can be ordered online and will be delivered in a few days. I love Estonia for this possibility.
3) AI Dungeon
If you are an adventure lover, a passionate treasure seeker, but you don't like to go outside your room, then I have good news. There is an app that, without any high-quality graphics, only with the help of your own imagination and creativity will take you to the world of fantasy, zombies, apocalypse, cyberpunk and other locations. This is a multiplayer/single-player text game which uses artificial intelligence to generate unlimited content. Yes, sometimes the connection between events during the game is not clear at all, but who said that it should be simple?
4) Board games
This is a fairly simple idea, however, many people forget about their existence or have never come close to this kind of entertainment at all. I'm sure that every house has a deck of cards lying around, an "Uno" game lonely collecting dust in the corner, or "Catan" taking up space on the top shelf. Board games develop memory, strategic thinking, critical thinking and simply cheer up. It is ideal activity for a cozy family evening with children, for a circle of friends and even for a 1 on 1 game. New games can be selected both in the store and online.
5) Watch and understand
Estonian films are also noteworthy: not only are they wonderful language practice, but they are also key to understanding culture, history, jokes and habits of Estonians. "Ukradena!!" – do you know where this famous quote comes from and what situation is it connected with? I recommend that you watch the trilogy based on a very popular books about a small village school by writer Oskar Luts – "Kevade" ("Spring", 1969), "Suvi" ("Summer", 1976) and "Sügis" ("Autumn", 1990). Also do not ignore such films as "Seltsimees laps" ("The Little Comerade", 2018) and "Tõde ja õigus" ("Truth and Justice", 2019). A good source for many Estonian films with English subtitles is Netikino.
There are well-equipped hiking trails all over Estonia. These places are notable for their picturesqueness, where you can breathe easily and freely, the pure forest air fills your lungs and clears your mind of heavy thoughts. In any season, you can go to look at the swamps and lakes: in winter you find yourself in an incredible fairy tale, which is difficult to believe until you see everything with your own eyes; in summer you will find a variety of herbs and berries, as well as birds.
I recommend: https://www.loodusegakoos.ee/
For those who want to surprise their dear ones, there are not only bouquets of flowers and sweets. All over Estonia there are stables, farms, riding schools that offer horse riding services. It is an indescribable feeling of joy, freedom and awe when you sit on a strong and obedient horse, which takes you through lavender fields or green forests. This is a complete relaxation of the soul, in such moments you feel the happiest. A list of places where you can go riding is here. Worth to note, there are several Estonian horse breeds, some of them very rare. You can read more about them here.
This article was first published on the Estonian Institute's website.
The institute is currently developing its web environment at Culture.ee to make integration and cultural exchange more accessible.
Editor: Helen Wright