Sirje Karis, Tartu City Museum director and wife of president-elect Alar Karis, confirmed that she had a few sleepless nights after her husband was elected the next president of Estonia because they had to be apart at a time when each other's company could have been good.
Sirje Karis says she is a museal person because she has worked in museums for her entire life. She was the director of the Estonian History Museum for more than a decade and has been the director of the Tartu City Museum for the last three years.
Before he was elected as president, Alar Karis was the director of the Estonian National Museum (ERM). A new director must now be found, but Sirje Karis said she is not a candidate. "I think the Estonian National Museum would put too much on my plate," she admitted.
"In that sense, it was very nice when [Alar Karis] was at ERM because we talked about museums a lot when we were at home," Sirje Karis said and added that after her husband was put up as a presidential candidate, she told him to think it over for a moment.
"They did not give him too much time to think, but he has gone many places, I have trusted his choices and think they have been correct and I always support him in his choices," the first lady said.
She said she did not pay too much attention to the presidential elections because a project connecting eight Estonian museums called "Attention! 1991! Start!" was ongoing at the time. Alar Karis was not elected president in the first day of elections.
Karis said she came out of a meeting the next day and could not even take a look at election results before her colleagues swarmed her. She did receive a call from her husband. "He told me very quickly that this is how it is now and that I must know. That was it, he was not given much time to speak, but it was very nice of him to call me first," the first lady said.
After the big news, Sirje Karis went through a sleepless nights. "He was all alone in Tallinn and it is not easy for a person to be alone. The situation was different and the times were tough, but he was so calm, did not have any issues," she said and added that their marriage has lasted for 44 years. "I do not need to talk to him too much, we understand what the other is thinking."
The first lady does not plan to move out of their Tartu home yet. "I will do all that I need to do [as the president's wife], but I am still Sirje Karis and I am the Tartu City Museum director. I am also the grandmother of five children and the mother of three and so on and so on," she said and added that she will make the next decision if she can no longer manage her obligations.
Editor: Kristjan Kallaste