the family


After about three hours of driving we (the exchange students who were going to live in the southern part of Estonia) finally arrived at our destination.

It had been a longer drive than I had expected but we passed the time well. We sang an Estonian children song (with gestures) that we had learned on our arrival orientation camp we ate and talked. I also slept for some time because I had not slept much the last night. Through the window I could see woods and fields, sometimes houses, once I spotted a deer (or something similar I am not sure). I had expected that the bus would drive us to Tartu since that is the second biggest city in Estonia, so I was surprised to see that the bus halted in a slip road in front of a house somewhere the landscape.

It was the house of a host family. All exchange students and their families ate in their garden (in a very big tent, because it was raining outside). After some time and first (, good) conversations the families slowly went home and in the end we did as well.

We arrived at a big house with fields, woods and some other houses around (not very close). We went inside and my family showed me my (and my host sister’s) room. After I had unpacked most of my stuff my host mother showed me the rest of the house and explained some general things (e.g. who has to do the laundry and when they usually eat dinner).

At first everything I did without asking felt strange. I had to wait and watch my family prepare food just standing in the kitchen because I did not know what to do. Often when not sure what to do I felt like I was balancing on a thin line trying to do what I wanted/needed without doing something wrong (in the end that was a baseless fear). Every time I thought of an excuse for doing what I did though knowing I did not have to explain myself for things like toasting bread. But even asking was sometimes hard for me. It took me some time until I asked for the internet password a second time (this time for my laptop and not for my phone). I had to ask for it because I wanted to publish the previous article and it was – of course – no problem.

The uncertainty from the beginning faded after a time. My family is very friendly (the whole uncertainty had nothing to do with the family rather the new environment) and now I can take food from the fridge and empty the dishwasher like a normal person again. I begin to feel warmth as well; when we go somewhere or simply just cook or watch TV together, I start to feel home here.

The next two weeks I became acquainted with the neighbours (they live one kilometre away from us), went several times to Tartu (it is a very nice city), met other exchange students, cooked marmalade with my host mother, collected blueberries in the woods with my host sister and our neighbour, made a trip to the largest lake in Estonia, Lake Peipus, which is the fifth biggest lake in Europe and we visited many different people who are in different ways connected to my host family. I also met four people who will go to the same school as I do. They are my host sister’s friends and were invited to our home two days ago. They seemed friendly and we had something you could call conversation.

In my first post I wrote that it probably would not matter what county I choose, but now that I am here with my host family and everything, I would not want to change anything.