I'm participating in a blog hop at Baptist Missionary Women.
The topic is...
"10 things I'd like people to know about my field"
Here is my list. Hopefully you will learn at least one thing about the field of Estonia. There is much more that could have been said about all that I've learned since living here. So if you have any questions - just ask. Or better yet.....COME VISIT!
We enjoy all four seasons. Some are short-lived, so we savor each day of the fleeting seasons. However, since winter is our longest season, we are usually glad to have it behind us by the time we get to spring.
In the winter our daylight hours start around 9 a.m. and are over by 3:30 p.m.
3. Medieval Castles
Over the years we've enjoyed learning about Estonia's history. Fortresses, castles, and swords are part of it. It is not only fun, but educational to visit these historic sites.
The Estonian's love of music and their country unites them in a unique way.
The Estonian Song Festival is held every five years in Tallinn. Able to hold more than 100,000 spectators, crowds flock to the Festival Grounds to hear the 18,000 voice choir. We were part of the crowd that attended in 2009 and again in 2014. It is an amazing experience and I love the passion with which they sing. You can read more about the Song Festival here .
|singers heading in to the festival grounds|
|spectators finding their seats and waiting for the song festival|
|our view at the Estonian Song Festival - July 2014|
Estonia is technologically advanced. They have been using online voting since 2005. They also have free wifi almost everywhere you go - even on the buses. Annual tax returns are filed on line by 95% of Estonians. All schools are connected to the internet and learning computer programming begins in the first grade.
Oh, and since many of us enjoy and use Skype, we have the Estonians to thank for that. Skype was born here!
|enjoying a Skype call|
Estonia has 2 American fast-food chains....neither of them are in our city of Kohtla-Jarve. McDonalds has been here for a long time and Subway arrived in March of 2013. Since the closest McDonalds is about an hour away and Subway is 2 hours away, we don't eat at either place very often. Recently I heard that KFC and Pizza Hut might be coming our way in the near future.
|our first trip to Subway in Tallinn|
|my favorite thing at McDonalds|
Estonian is the official language of Estonia.....but we don't speak Estonian.
So you may be wondering what language we do speak. The answer: Russian
Approximately 25% of Estonia's population is ethnic Russian. Large populations of Russians live in the capital city, Tallinn (as of 2011, 38.5%). Many Russians also live in the northeastern cities of Estonia: Narva - right on the Russian/Estonian boarder (82%), Silamae (82%), and Kohtla-Jarve (69.6%).
Since we live in a city (Kohtla-Jarve) with a large Russian population, Russian is widely spoken. We rarely even hear Estonian used out our way.
When we arrived in 2009 Estonia's currency was the Kroon.
The cost of living is a bit high here for some things, but a few things are much more reasonable than what we would pay in the states.
New Year's Eve is a big night for celebrating. Fireworks are heard exploding all through the night. We usually enjoy the festivities from our balcony. One year we walked to the center of town to get in on more of the action.
The truth is that it is quite common to hear fireworks at any time of the year. It is kind of fun and exciting to randomly see them. If the kids are awake, they usually run to the windows to find out if we can see them or just hear them. Thankfully if they are asleep, the noise doesn't bother them. It was something different to us at first. Now, we enjoy it.
Sadly, Estonia is a spiritually dark country. They pride themselves on being the least religious country in the world. In a 2005 poll, only 16% of Estonia's population believed in God. Religion is considered a crutch for the elderly and the weak.
The ministry here is tough and slow.....but the need is great. We appreciate your prayers!
Thank you for stopping by. Greenland is the next stop in the blog hop. Just click here to see what exciting things Carole has to share on her blog about her field at the top of the world.