We took a trip across the city today to go and see the flat we are buying in the summer - and wow, what a difference to last August, when the foundation was only just in. The building is up, as is the one next to it. We could actually see our flat! What was great, standing there at about 10am on yet another blue sky day in Tallinn, was that for the first two floors, the sun was not getting into the flats as it was blocked by the building, but from the third floor up (ours is on the third floor) it was catching the sun - so in the mornings in Springtime, the sun will be on our balcony and streaming into our lounge and kitchen area. Thank you Lord!
We took a went down to the sea, which we were able to walk on - it's still frozen! What was incredible to see was two large groups of swans just sitting on the snowy beach. I always wondered what they did in wintertime - it appears they holiday in Tallinn!
We took the bus back to the central bus station (only 10 minutes from where the flat is) and we're reminded how much easier it is to get around in a city like Tallinn.
I decided to call Leo, the guy we met on our first day here in Tallinn in Stockmann (read about it in BNG - 1 entry). We knew he worked in the shopping centre, and true enough, he was in one nearby so we made our way to see him. Once we did, not only did he give a chocolate bar to the two girls, but then did some free treatment on Rachel, as well as mine and Mia's hands. He's Israeli and sells a range of Dead Sea products (very well presented products but expensive!). He'd not long moved to Tallinn and his girlfriend is finding it hard here, without herself knowing any of the two local languages. He even suggested that I teach her some Russian! He's only young - 24 - but started his first business in New York at just 15. Since then, he's opened up branches in Sweden, Finland, South Africa and now Tallinn. He asked why we were here and I told him everything. Hearing Rachel was going out tonight (there is a ladies meeting on) he invited me to join them for dinner - which wasn't possible because of the girls. They want to meet for dinner and he even said if Rachel could take his lady out for a coffee, he'd pay for everything, if it helped put a smile on her face. It seems, just like in St Petersburg, here too we have a role in settling internationals too.
Not long after that, and while I was in the Sony shop getting the bad news that the motherboard had gone on the laptop and they are talking nearly 700euros for the repair, Rachel bumped into the wife of the US Ambassador to Estonia, and they got talking. She said how the international community is very well connected and suggested how we should get involved, mentioned that the British Ambassador was very new here. So we'll see how that goes.
This morning I spoke with Dave Henson back in St Pete's. He was just about to be collected to be flown straight to Cardiff, UK, where an ambulance and hospital bed was waiting for him. In the short term there is some local pastors who will help out at Hope Church, speaking occasionally and helping support Hansie and Slava. It was great to hear the guys passion that they are still feeling to press forward, and not just consolidate. With that discussed, it made the need for an immediate visit less, but the idea of me making one trip for a weekend was met with faith, so this is what I will look to do, probably in about May - though I'm yet to discuss this with the team there. We have our visa until 4th June, so assuming there is no issues with the University with me returning on this visa, I'll think about when to make this trip. A trip back would also work well with a call I received from New York as well this afternoon...
You might recall a few days ago I said how the US show House Hunters International had been in contact about possibly filming us in relation to moving to Tallinn. When we spoke before, they did seem to think a UK back story was easier for them to film - with that in mind, we really wondered if there was anything we could do, but before sending in anything, she called back today. I really thought what I would have to say would end things - but far from it. Stating that we really didn't see a UK back story working, as the move to Tallinn made much more sense when combined with our life in Russia (as indeed is the reality), so that we could only agree to it if it was about Russia and Tallinn. She seemed to get it, and in fact said that in May they might be able to get a crew to film for a day, so I could combine that with a trip back there....it all gets more interesting and bizarre, so watch this space.
So for a day that I thought not much would happen, lots has! And it doesn't even include what Rachel is getting up to tonight, but maybe more on that next time.
Tomorrow we should be meeting with an Estonian lady, talking about our plans etc. We really don't know where the conversation will go. It'll just be great to have another local christian contact so we wait to see what happens tomorrow.
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