20 October 2009


I have - we are all really blessed with - many families.

At Tapa Gümnaasium, I had a family of teachers - the usual crowd that got together for one another's birthdays or to eat fresh mushrooms from the forest - as well as a family of students - a group of affable kids who didn't think anything about speaking in English and liked to laugh or travel or play cards.

In Tapa, I belonged to a family of librarians - a talented bunch that acquainted me with Estonia's less publicized cultural and historical sites in exchange for wine-infused accounts of my own excursions around the country and across its borders. I even had my own surrogate family with an Estonian mother, little brother, and niece and nephew to celebrate Christmas, New Year's Eve, and Jaanipäev with.

Now that I am back in the USA and chilling back in my hometown for the first time in almost 10 years, back in the house I grew up in, I'm with my "real" family, escorting my inquisitive three-year-old niece to the public library on the city bus, shopping at Walmart, Kohl's, and Bergner's with my gabby seven-year-old niece, watching one straight-laced nephew play soccer and a warm-hearted one play football, walking with my cheerful aunt to "make strides" in the fight against breast cancer, talking to my tale-laden uncle who's called or stopped by for the heck of it, and drinking coffee and reading the paper earlier every morning with my sometimes abrupt but nonetheless indefatigable parents.