Ten things Estonia does better than Germany
1. Trains and busses are on time. Needs no explanation for anyone who ever took Deutsche Bahn.
2. Snow doesn’t mean that there are traffic problems. Busses and trains are still on time.
3. Hugs. Estonian hugs are often hard to gain, but when you receive one, you know you’ve earned it. They are long, honest, and full of love.
4. Food. Ok, I’m not talking about blood sausage and fish for breakfast here. I’m talking about seasonal, regional vegetables. I don’t have to double check if it’s organic – if it’s Estonian, I know it’s good. About going to the bogs and collect mushrooms and berries. About restaurants who put all their love in the food they prepare. How organic is everywhere, and soy milk can be bought in the tiniest supermarket. And of course my favorite chocolate in the world…
5. Hot wine. What can I say? Estonian hõõgvein tastes just so much better than our Glühwein. And who could reject the one with Vana Tallinn that has 21% alcohol and comes in a regular cup anyway?
6. Political interest. Yes, Estonians are really interested in what is going on up there. And since it is such a small country, meeting the president isn’t too unlikely. Also, political decisions actually matter for these 1.3 million. So when they talk about politics, they don’t do it because they ran out of interesting topics, they actually care. Also, when a decicion is made, things will get done – it won’t take years like in Germany.
7. Silence. Ok, I may suck at this, but at least, walking around with a friend in silence doesn’t bother me as much as in the beginning anymore. “We even have this term awkward silence” said an American to me when we talked about this. It doesn’t exist in Estonia. When there is nothing important to say, you don’t have to feel weird and look for something to talk about.
8. Demonstrations. There has been one violent riot since Estonia regained its independence in ‘91, which included three fires and one death. The other demonstration people recall was for Jaanus, the guy from Tartu who told some young people to stop kicking over trash bins and got beaten up for this in front of his little daughter. About 200 people supported him.
9. Yogafunc. “What?” you ask now. Exactly. The rest of the world hasn’t even heard of it. But let me tell you, it’s an awesome new way to do yoga. Have fun, stay fit, never quit.
10. Music education. When you go to school in Estonia, you can choose to learn an instrument (or many of them) at your school. The classes are free and you can take the instrument home as long as you need it. Basically, you will return you guitar or cello or violin once you graduate.