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HOME - an amazingly beautiful wake up wall to what our planet is facing

HOME - an amazingly beautiful wake up wall to what our planet is facing

Saturday, June 21, 2014

New Summer Adventure - first stop, Estonia

On Thursday, June 19th, 2014, I woke up to write my very last exam in the Chinese Language and Culture program at Shida University (NTNU) in Taipei. Four years, finished! Congrats to all my graduating classmates - we worked hard and have now wrapped up this chapter of our lives. : )

A few last minute preparations (like a shower! oh man, Taipei is getting hot and humid!) and I was off to Taoyuan International Airport, with three flights ahead of me before arriving at the first summer destination: Estonia! which my big brother's been calling his home for the last two years.

My flights looked like this:
1) Taipei-Beijing with Air China, 3h 30min - surprisingly good veggie meal, a bit of time to relax and wrap my head around one end and another beginning. Then a half hour before landing my neighbor started a conversation over the Chinese story I pulled out to read. It turned out he was a Taiwanese who's working in Beijing and we had a nice chat entirely in Mandarin about why we both happened to be on that flight. I guess I've learned something and earned my degree after all!

The Beijing airport was kinda shutting down for the night, as it was already 10pm. I had to go through security again and basically just walked through, but noticed that just about every man was getting scanned with the beepy thing. I guess us girls are just innocence incarnate. :P

2) Beijing-Frankfurt with Air China, 10h 20min  - went by surprisingly fast, all things considered. I had a window seat and an empty one between me and the man in the aisle seat, who just kept to himself. We flew over a good chunk of Mother Russia which would have been very cool to see from above, but it was night time and we were probably above the clouds anyway. I gave a half-hearted attempt to find something in the on-demand video selection, but then gave in to what I really wanted to watch - Hobbit 2: Desolation of Smaug. Hehehe... Of course I'd seen it already, but ah, Peter Jackson's magic, even on a wee tiny screen with washed out colors... so good! I think we're only half a year away from Hobbit 3... but who's counting... ;)

The Frankfurt airport is a behemoth... Luckily I didn't have to transfer terminals either there or in Beijing, so it was just another waiting game until my last flight. I treated myself to a seat at a nice airy cafe and a European breakfast - coffee and a croissant. Just trying to fit in, hahaha... Actually, it was the waitress' suggestion after I'd asked for a muffin, which they didn't have. ;)

I noticed each place and culture definitely carry a sense of their unique identity, easily noticeable in the food and souvenirs for sale, the design elements and people's style. Tea, rice and pagoda-roofed booths in Beijing with clusters of Russians waiting for flights and reeking of booze, smoke and perfume; pretzel-laden cafes and well-heeled, slightly more serious Europeans in Frankfurt, although the younger generation is definitely sporting piercings and wildly cut or colored hair.

Yep, this is in Germany
This is the way the Frankfurt Airport staff get around!
3) Frankfurt-Tallinn with Lufthansa, 2h 20min - I've definitely come to the land of dairy and artisan baking. Breakfast was a cheesed-up sandwich on dark seedy toast.

The airport in Tallinn is a cute little newly fixed up building that looks like a whole bunch of living rooms put together.

My brother and his wife came to pick me up - finally got to meet this lovely lady! We had a couple of hours drive to their home in Tartu, Estonia's second biggest city, a university town of a 100,000. Architecture here definitely oozes Europe, from every brick and door.

Nik and Mari's (and Olivia and Des') home is a lovely sunny apartment, with lots of color and space - another inspiration to cut down on the clutter when I get home. My niece is a super happy active little 1.5 year old who has a language all her own and always has something to say. Here's the whole fam, hanging out in their pad.

I slept for an epic 11 hours my first night here! Awesome. Then we got out for a grocery shop and even a walk later on.

All in all, a pretty full Saturday! Especially including all the good eating we've done. I'm being spoilt by home cooking already.

Mushroom quiche and raspberry cheesecake. Whohohoa!

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