30ºC / 85ºF

I feel like I am boiling from the inside out. Coming to Thailand has been an eye-opening experience to see into another culture, but at the same time, it has solidified my awareness of my temperature limits. Anywhere over 30ºC / 85ºF for more than a few days, I don’t want to live there. I want nothing to do with that place. I would rather be in -30ºC / -22ºF than the opposite. Sweat is not my friend unless I am exercising.

I think the theory of having a circulatory problem is accurate. My body takes WAY too long to cool down and has a really difficult time at maintaining a decent body temperature. I’d rather be cold than hot, just saying.

My issues with the weather here are: (1) having to wash my clothing EVERY SINGLE DAY, which not only wears out the material faster but is a huge waste of water and electricity, (2) the humidity makes the air so thick that I have a difficult time breathing, (3) showering daily is annoying and again, uses a lot of water. Take me back to a place where I can wear a jacket comfortably again!

In the meantime, I am extremely thankful for this experience and for all that Jasmine’s family is doing for me. I am not looking forward to the UAE though due to the weather. I would say that I have adapted quite well to having a language barrier in most places and being here in Bangkok, Jasmine translates everything for me, so it is not the same as when I traveled around Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and Russia. In general, Thailand is extremely filthy (trash everywhere, streets are black from dirt and car waste, water is mucky, etc.) but the people are very kind. I don’t think the consumeristic culture in the US will be a shock anymore after this either. I am to the point where I would rather not have a choice in what I eat or do or buy because it is too much to think about. Sorry market people for taking so long to make a decision! Overall, the hype of things being cheaper here is false. It depends on the item but the price of something usually reflects the quality and if you want something that is of decent quality, be ready to pay a regular price or higher.

I am not a foodie and so cuisine is not something I focus on. Jasmine’s family is quite the opposite when it comes to this and has been having me try all sorts of dishes. The seafood here is very good but I feel like I am going to explode from the abrupt change in diet. My body is completely out of whack due to the drastic changes in diet, weather, and exercise. What people forget to tell you is that humid weather leads to skin breakouts, so if you are planning to vacation somewhere, be prepared for skin, hair, and digestive problems. I still feel like I eat too much here, especially since we spend a large portion of our time sitting in traffic in the car rather than walking. I went from walking at least 45 minutes in one stretch daily to walking at the most, 15 minutes.

Anyway, enough of the ranting. I am thankful for being able to spend this time with Jasmine and her family. I just won’t be venturing to anywhere that is this hot on purpose in the future. Oklahoma, your weather sucks too. Maybe I’ll move to Alaska or Canada or back to the Baltics or Nordic countries or Russia or someplace that the air is thinner and the sky is closer to the ground.

Moi, poiss!

The journey begins as I sit in the RIX airport to wait for my airline check-in to open up. So there is no better way to spend the next three hours than to work on a project for school (because group work never runs on time) and listening to Akon. Bam. Yes, I just brought him back. Not really but whatever. I will say that on the way back from Finland, I totally jammed to Miley Cyrus. So maybe it’s just a travel thing to listen to cheesy pop music.

But what I wanted to mention is that I have an upset stomach and am not sure if it’s just nerves or if I am actually sick. I tried to sleep on the bus because if I kept my eyes open, I’d feel queasy. And now as I sit in the airport, I am debating when to eat food because I still need to eat something substantial but it’s too early for lunch and too late for breakfast and the Narvesen doesn’t have anything I can eat… this could be like 2013 all over again. If I vomit on a plane, I may never fly again.

No one actually wants to read about what I am doing. Let’s talk about what I am thinking about! Nothing. Because I am still emotionally numb and it has been that way for almost 2 weeks. It’s like subconsciously I am suppressing the sad feelings so that I don’t cry and rather than feeling sad, I feel like nothing because for whatever reason, that is better than feeling anything. I have so many mixed feelings about leaving Estonia and about travelling in general and blah! But now I should work on this stupid project so that it is one less thing I will need to finish when I am in Thailand.

Home

I have been asked multiple time when do I go home. And to answer that, I don’t know because where I consider home is not where most people are talking about. I don’t consider America or Texas or Oklahoma home anymore. To be honest, I have never felt that I was connected there anyway. So where is my home, you may ask? I suppose Tartu is where I feel at home. As I was trying to figure out a title for this post, I remembered a plaque I have seen in many houses that says, “Home is where the heart is”. I had never given it much thought but it is rather accurate. My home is where I have the majority of my closest friends, it’s where I can be myself comfortably, where my life is. And the common root or base for all of this is me. As in, my physical body which includes my heart. So wherever I am, that could be home but there is more to it than just where I physically am. Most of the time I try to avoid making decisions based on what my heart wants because it’s usually emotion-based and dumb. But when it comes to relationships and true identity, my heart is good at weeding out what is not actually me. I want what I want because I want it. Not because someone else wants it for me. That’s where my head muddies things. I still respect logical and analytical thinking though. I just wanted to set things straight. I am not returning home. I was not just visiting Estonia for 10 months. I have been living here; I moved here. And my life is here. For me, my life revolves around relationships, independence, and connectivity. These are vague words that wrap up a lot of ideas and I don’t feel like going into detail about each of them either. I am leaving home for who-knows-how-long and am not particularly excited to do so either. But I will make the most of the situation and will keep a larger goal and purpose in mind until the day comes when I can return to Estonia.

Ramadan

With nothing else to plague my mind other than the upcoming change, I want to talk about a little mix-up I had when trying to book a place to stay for my layover in the UAE. I misread my ticket information and thought I was flying to Dubai. Nope. I’m flying to Abu Dhabi. I have no idea what I am going to do there nor am I that confident anymore about going. After talking to a few people that are living in that area, I have found out that I will be there during Ramadan. And to be honest, I had no idea what that is so I have spent the last hour or so reading about it. So there’s that. But since Ramadan will be going on, it is probably a good thing that I won’t be in Dubai since that is where most of the celebration stuff takes place. You know me, I don’t like crowds. So let’s hope for the best for those 21 hours while I am in that country. I am sure that whatever comes of it, it will be fine and I will enjoy myself, even through the fasting and heat.

Strangers with foreign accents

I think I have hit my peak for interacting with strangers. Not to mention, the shock I felt when I couldn’t even understand my own grandpa speak. I am not ready to go back to a world of southern accents and I certainly am not looking forward to my accent changing back due to my surroundings. No offence Southerners, your accent sounds kind of dumb.

But there is one thing I want to talk about since I am trapped in this awful camp place again and I am avoiding interacting with people right now. It is really hard to idly sit by and listen to people make fun of another person behind their back. And it’s not even that, but being uncomfortable around these people due to their so called “humour” based on bullying, racism, and negativity. We all understand that Estonia is not like America and that’s the point, so stop pointing out every little thing that Estonia is “missing”. My dilemma is that an elder of the group casually makes fun of others and everyone plays along. Due to this behaviour, it makes it difficult to say to the younger group that it is wrong, belittling, rude, and pathetic to do the same to another human being. Instead, I scream on the inside because of the hypocrisy. If these people are Christians, no wonder many see nothing particularly interesting about them.

I want to leave but can’t quite yet. And because of the baggage complications, I must stay until the American team leaves. This all makes me sick to my stomach.

The worst part is that after confronting and arguing with the younger team members that what they were saying was absolutely terrible, I had the realisation that I am guilty of such humour at times as well. So I want to apologise to those that I have said anything rude about behind their back. That includes some of the people I interact regularly with at church.

Fear

There is one topic that I really like to ask people about, and that’s what they are afraid of. In many cases, people do not answer fully, not because they aren’t afraid of much or are not willing to talk about it, but because they haven’t thought about it much. But, the reason I brought up fear is due to a conversation I had with a friend last night that happened to haunt me this morning when I woke up. Talking about the future.

I admit, I am scared of the future, more so now due to the realisation that I can’t control my life anyway so why plan it. I literally woke up shaking this morning and I can’t exactly put my finger on the source of the fear other than it possibly being that I know my time left in Tartu is short. Not to mention, I am supposed to meet with family today and that freaks me out. Absolutely terrifies me, actually. I’m not scared of my grandpa, I am scared of myself and how I will change around him. I am scared of that camp site he is on because of past experiences that were negative (I hate that place, to say the least). I am worried of the situation with my bags since I tried to make a plan but when you involve another person, there is less of a chance that the plan will go accordingly. Which it did not. And now I sit in my room, on my bed, with the pink walls that do not fit my personality whatsoever, in thought about this exam I am about to go to. If I don’t fail that exam, I will be surprised. Honestly.

From last night’s conversation, Elisabeth mentioned that I will have to do all of this over again when I go back. When what she said had sunk in, I was petrified. Enough so that I cried on my walk home a few times. It makes me sick to my stomach to think that I will have to repeat 9 more months of this hell. I am going to leave behind some really good friends that I am not ready to say bye to, and head to a land where friendship is based on how much school stress one has. I don’t want to relate to people based on that. No one should. I will miss Elisabeth, Jonathan and Julie, and a few others that are fairly new friends.

I am scared of moving back in with my parents because of the different baggage each person carries with them. I am not ready to be a part of that drama, not because I don’t care, but because I don’t think I can emotionally handle being around that environment. I am worried that I will feel isolated and that because of the weather and lack of sidewalks, I won’t want to walk outside anymore (which also means that I will become fat and die. In that order, of course). I am not ready to leave Estonia. That’s the truth, but I can see how different parts of my life here are over and that it is time for me to move on. Even if that means having to go through this horrid process of connecting with people and finding a place that I can truly be myself, even emotionally. And lastly, one of the most scary parts of leaving this place is that I am worried I might lose sight of who I have become from this. I don’t want to go back and people think I am the same and I don’t want to be that same person I was 10 months ago. Nor do I want to be the same person I was 37 hours ago (I made that number up, there is nothing special about it other than 3+7=10 and that’s pretty cool). Could time pause for a while so I can catch up?

Babies and Praise

As you all know, I am currently living with a young family. And within this family is a 2 year old boy. Babies cry. A lot. And not for any real reason other than being trapped in their bodies without the means to communicate in a humane way. Babies are smart but dumb at the same time. And we, as adults, are just as dumb at times. I always wonder what all Joannis understands when I talk to him. Because he tends to do a lot of staring, then pointing, and repeating of some words. Usually, it’s strange words. For example, today, he picked up a pair of pliers off of the table and kept saying, “Papa machen!” I had no idea what he was trying to say, then Anke piped in and said he’s saying, “Papa do” over and over. He was talking about working and using the tools to DO things. He knows words like “empty”, which seem strange for a kid to know already. But for the most part, he speaks in German and expects me to know what he is saying. Repeating the word in German six times does not mean I will necessarily understand it… I just realised that I do the same thing with him though,  by repeating words in English until he says them back. Whatever. Babies are weird.

Tantrums are annoying and crying about having to go to sleep even though you are really tired is just sad.

Yeah, I have nothing else to say about that right now, just some observations and thoughts I had about babies. Now for the second part, praise. I have myself on a strict sleep schedule in order to get all of these assignments done before next week. For each class as follows: Baltic Identities — 1 final paper, 5 discussion posts, 10 replies; Reciprocal Images — 1 final paper, 1 oral exam; Social Developments — 1 group presentation, 1 final paper, 1 exam, 5 assignments; EU-Russia Relations — 1 group presentation, 1 exam, 1 final paper; Project Management — 1 GIANT group project; Estonian Culture — 12 event reviews, 1 independent study, 1 final paper. Of all that I listed, almost all of that is happening within these two weeks. I have no idea why all of the classes decided to schedule their assignments for the same time. I love having to write three papers in one week and have two exams as well.

On top of all of that, I need to have all of my stuff packed up by Sunday morning so that Marko can take my bags out to Nuutsaku. Monday, I will finally get to see my grandpa while he is here and I am not sure if that means I also will have to help with the building stuff, or if I can just hang out in that technology pit of a camp.

But things are not all doom and gloom. In fact, life has a more positive spin to it since March or so. And relationships have been weeded through to the point that I spend time with people I actually like to be around. That’s surprisingly refreshing and doesn’t exhaust me so much. It is a little tough to admit that I leave so soon because now things have finally gotten in a swing that I enjoy. Not to mention, the weather is starting to warm up and everything is turning green. It does rain a bit too much for my liking though. If it were thunder storms instead, I would like that better.

I have two hours to burn now before leaving the house to meet up with a friend. Enjoy your Saturday.

 

Memories

I know that I should write about Russia or about the new semester, but instead, I want to write about this idea of memory. It’s funny because no matter how angry, upset, or hurt I may get, I can still miss the person that caused these emotions. And as I look back on photos, I am realising how I may never see these people, these memories, again. As the saying goes, Life Goes On. And in order for life to continue, we must meet new faces and make new memories, not dwell on past experiences. So here I say, thank you all for the memories, might they be good or bad, and say that I miss each and every one of you in a different and very specific way. You all have shaped me into who I am today. See you when I see you!

-Sav.

The Pit

Do you ever feel like you’re falling? Not just falling but as if you’re standing outside of your body and witnessing yourself fall? And there’s nothing you can do to stop this path? And rather than allowing yourself to fall, you grab ahold of anyone and anything you can on the path down? Not that this will keep you from falling, but maybe it will slow you down or distract you. But it doesn’t. It causes more damage along the way, distancing and destroying relationships that were once built. I’m watching myself fall, waiting to crash at the  bottom. Vomit.

New Chapter

I have officially moved, as in there is nothing that is tying me down to the dormitories any more. Also, I leave for Russia tonight. I have no idea how I feel about that, a mixture of nervousness and excitement. Tickets are all purchased and places to stay are set. Shelby is waiting for me on the other side of the water!

What’s been going on lately, you may ask? Well, I have been quite busy, but busy by choice which makes it more enjoyable. December was filled with Christmas parties and youth camp. New Year’s came and another party happened. I moved. Visiting Shelby is next. And something small that I will hide in this post, I may be staying in Estonia a bit longer than planned. I won’t speak about that quite yet though.

I honestly want to have a rant about what’s been bothering me but as soon as I come to type, those emotions dissipate and I am left with a flow of thoughts being put into words, some thoughts that were never actually solidified earlier. So I apologise if this is just word barf to you. I can say that I am anxious about this trip and I don’t know if there are other things that are bothering me lately (there probably are) enough that I have been having trouble sleeping. One example of this was a few nights ago when I couldn’t fall asleep until 6:30 and then woke up at 10:00. And last night, falling asleep at 2:00 and waking up at 6:00 and not being able to go back to sleep. So here I am, pretty much in sleep debt and exhausted, but trying to keep a positive attitude and get the tasks done that I need to do before I leave.

Shelby, this had better be worth it! As I type this, I am listening to a music group called “Sleeping At Last” (ironic, I know). Give him a listen, he’s quite nice.

A blog comprised of adventures and thoughts from a university student from Oklahoma.

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