This portion was written at 5 pm 6/23/17, before I went to prison, and before I decided what to do for Jaanipäev.
So I finally made friends my age who will be here for at least the next 24 hours! One is finishing up her MA in Holland, and the other dude is studying IT in Ukraine. They’re really funny people and I like our dynamic so far.
This portion was written at 8 am 6/24/17 after festivities in prison. Growing up in America, you always hear jokes and rumors about drinking in Eastern Europe. I am an American college student, and let me tell you, frat bois ain’t got shit on Eastern Europe.
I haven’t been able to sleep past 5:30 am since I arrived in Tallinn and I don’t know why. The sun rises at 4 am and I sleep right next to the window. Everyone in my room also snores. Sleeping in this environment takes some talent. I hoped getting a little buzzed (there’s no such thing as “a little buzzed” when you drink with someone from Ukraine) before bed would help me sleep longer. It did not help. For those of you who know my sleeping talents, your jaw is probably on the floor. The last thing I did before bed was convince a very drunk Finnish guy to let go of his fifth of Jameson he had been nursing alone all night.
I met a very young man yesterday snooping around for some cigarettes. It was evident that his Russian was more effortless than his Estonian though he’s an Estonian citizen. He tried to tell us he was 16. He was likely 11-13ish. He did not speak any English to us, Mr. Ukranian friend served as our translator. I was tempted to get to know him more, but I had some wine on board, and he was looking for goods that we didn’t have. I didn’t want to keep him from his friends just for the sake of my curiosity. I wondered if he’d be singing next weekend.
Some more concrete stuff:
- I took a touristy walking tour because why not?
- Explaining my project to Estonian people is a different ball game. I often don’t know where to begin. The things that make this a difficult feat are:
- cultural sensitivities
- language barriers
- And lastly, the fact that my nationality and country of birth misalign with my very evident East Asian ethnicity. I meet people and they ask where I’m from. I say San Francisco (shut up, MKF, I know I know I’m from the suburbs, but Estonians don’t know or give a poop about where Walnut Creek is.) Often times they’re still processing basic introductory stuff: a Chinese American girl cares about Estonian singing culture. My project becomes less significant, and I’m okay with that. I don’t feel ashamed, embarrassed, or angry about my situation, it’s just going to be part of my experience. It’s the nature of fieldwork.