Landing In Estland
For supper, we had cottage cheese, potatoes and sour cream sauce, and salad. We ate outside on her patio and started to get to know each other. Madleen (6) and Robert (3) selected their personal play dates for the week. For dessert, we had kringle - an Estonian butter braid!
Strawberries For Days
Outside of working as the 4-H coordinator at the school and organizing Estonia IFYE, Reelika and her family grows strawberries and Christmas trees. We stayed at her place near the end of the strawberry season and got to experience several pieces of it. We picked rows of strawberry fields where I discovered muscles I didn't know I had before. Either that, or I was installing new muscles through this activity! Throughout the week and a half we were there, we helped pick strawberries, sort them, sell them, clean them and eat them. Needless to say, I definitely will appreciate every strawberry a little more from now on.
Another IFYE to Estonia from Switzerland, Michéle Grindat, also joined us one day for a swim in the river and pool.
It's funny that I have fly over two coasts to get to a beach (the first in Africa two years ago), but it's so worth it! The views here are unreal, and the water is so refreshing!
Janniõhtu comes from a tale of two lovers, Koit (dawn) and Hämarik (dusk). These two lovers see each other only once a year and exchange the briefest of kisses on the shortest night of the year.
Earth-bound lovers go into the forest looking for the flower of the fern which is said to bloom only on that night – and single people can follow instructions to see whom they are going to marry…
This holiday, held on the longest day of the year, is commonly celebrated with BBQs and bonfires.
And that's what we did! The Rüütli family went to a party at a friend's house to celebrate with a BBQ of all delicious foods.
I have discovered that Estonian potato salad is not only a staple party food, but it is also the best potato salad I have ever had!
When we weren't pushing the little kids on the kiik (swing), Maria, Mihkel and I played Heads Up - one of my favorite party games (really its my favorite game ever).
After coming home from a bonfire and picnic with my host family's friends, Maria and I picked nine different wild flowers and placed them under our pillows.
As the story goes, I was supposed to dream of my fella this night. It may or may not have worked, but I guess we will find out in the future!
The Food Though
And in-between the amazing meals and snacks, she also shared some very Estonian goodies with us. Topping the list of favorites are Kohuke bars. These are cottage cheese wrapped in chocolate that comes in all kinds of flavors - very yummy!
Any trip to the grocery store done right ends with an ice-cream snack in the car. And considering I live just blocks away from the Dairy Store in Lincoln and have done numerous quality assessments of my own, I have to say Estonian ice cream is some of the best ice cream I have ever had.