Instead of sleep, I watched Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Something About Mary (I know, I had never seen it), The Office, New Girl, and How I Met Your Mother. You can accomplish quite a lot when you forgo sleep!
I accomplished even more on my next flight, from Frankfurt to Tallinn! I made friends with the super nice Estonian girl sitting next to me, Karin. While Karin taught me how to say hello and thank you in Estonian (that took at least half the flight), my faulty camelbak leaked all over the German couple in front of me. Schiesse!
Upon landing, Karin very kindly offers me a ride to the “naked woman statue” in the city center, my prearranged meeting spot with Gea, my Estonian friend.
Saving much time from getting lost on a bus, I arrive a few minutes early to the meeting spot. I head to the nearby mall, plug into one of Estonia’s many WiFi hotspots (a note about Estonia: there is WiFi everywhere and the water is drinkable…you should vacation here for those reasons), taking frequent breaks to the naked woman statue.
20 minutes after the arranged meet time, I begin to wonder how wise it was to travel halfway across the world to meet a fellow backpacker I met for two days, while volunteering in Peru, two years ago. As I’m debating life choices, I look up to see Gea’s friendly and familiar face. Hooray, I haven’t been ditched and dismissed in Eastern Europe!
We head to Gea’s very cute flat, fire up her adorably rustic wood oven, and have a “traditional” dinner of flatbread, Estonian cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, soup and wine.
The next day, I wake up to a traditional breakfast of eggs with tomato, lamb leaves (which I am convinced is spinach), rye bread, and Kama, a sour milk/yogurt drink mixed with powdered grains.
After fueling up, I get the full 411 on Tallinn, as Gea is a segway tour guide by day. We cycle to Catherine’s Park, break at a cafe, segway through the Old Town, hit up some WWII underground tunnels, and round up the day by cycling along the Baltic coast to Lasnamäe, the neighborhood where Gea’s family lives.
Gea’s mum makes my favorite kind of dinner: two parts savory food, three parts sweet foods. Gea’s mum feeds us cake, her dad feeds us liquor, and my love of both the Hallen family and Estonia is confirmed.
We bid adieu to the family at 9pm, and begin the ride home as the sun is still illuminating the sky, an incredible site!
As we bike home, I inquire as to the living sitch while Gea lived with her family:
Me: “Which room did you have?”
Gea: “When my younger brother was born, he slept in my parent’s room for a while, and I shared a room with my sister.”
Me: “And when he got older?”
Gea: “Then my sister and brother shared a room, and I had my own room.”
Me: “But that takes up all of the rooms in the apartment. Where did your parents live?”
Gea: “In the living room…it’s the traditional Estonian way!”
Me: “I can’t believe you kicked your parents out of their own room!”
Gea: “Well, now I feel bad.”
Me: “You’re just like Regina from Mean Girls!!”