Early nyõnks

We’ve been in the country a little over two days now. It’s been one of the most serene times of my life, and even the flights from Australia seemed to pass in an instant.

This is in some part due to intense derealisation, but as uncanny as life has seemed for months now, I can’t say I hate it — I’ve been able to do so many things without crushing anxiety killing it, whether due to COVID or whatever else. (Not that the skin on my face is recovered yet from the 30 hours of wearing an elastomeric respirator.)

Some fun moments and things I don’t want to forget:

  • We had 6 hours to kill between getting out of Tallinn airport and our temporary accommodation becoming available to us. We walked around the Old Town after storing our bags, still wearing the clothes from our flights. I had on a plain blue dress and black knee-high compression socks, and didn’t realise quite how I looked until we spotted two men, bottles in hand and visibly drunk, who spotted us in turn and called out to me, “Гермааааания! Айайайайяаа!”, and all four of us were laughing.

  • This guy.

  • This girl.

  • Beer and cider at 3pm in an upstairs nook of a café with no-one in it but us (still waiting for our accommodation to become available). The owner came up and gave us some cake that was left-over from a birthday party.

  • Walking to the Rimi express on my own first thing in the morning to get cereal and milk oat drink. I feel so calm here.

  • Bike riding to Rocca al Mare :) We took panniers and had probably the nicest and most “successful” shopping experience of my life. (warm clothes for the new climate!)

  • Vapiano vegan chicken pastaaaaaaaaa, next time I will take much more bread

  • Going from straight-up pre-emptive “Inglise keel?” at the beginning of exchanges with service staff to full Estonian in the course of a day, and just hoping I was guessing the questions right when I didn’t know the operative words. (usually assuming it’s “do you have a membership with us?”, since “ei ole” seems to get me through …)

  • We were having a sit in the square after exploring the new town today, people-watching, when we noticed a group of younger Russian girls having fun, chasing pigeons, etc. After a while, I began to notice the most adventurous one tracing out a circuitous path from their spot under the town hall over to us, inverted phone in hand, ready to record an exchange.

    Without much ado, she finally came over and sat down right next to me, holding her phone up and asking something in somewhat-shy-and-therefore-mumbled Russian. I just said “Что?”, and even more embarrassed she repeated her question. I got the gist of it and first said “Я не знаю русский.. English?” She haltingly replied, “m-maybe?”, and so I finally answered her question and said “Half-half”, using a gesture to reinforce the meaning.

    The question was if I was a boy or a girl, which is a pretty common one when I’ve been overseas. She then apologised and said she didn’t mean to be rude, and that she thought it was a totally fine thing to be different and not at all a problem here, and I made sure she knew I didn’t mind the question at all! It was pretty daring of her to just come over and ask; I think she and her friends must’ve been observing us two as much as we had been watching them. It was a really nice exchange across cultures and generations.

    (I only realised once home that I was wearing a Trans Justice Project T-shirt underneath my coat! Missed opportunity.)

Tomorrow we take a train trip out to Narva so I can renew my ID card, explore there for a day, and then get back in time for an evening inspection of what might be our future home. Fingers crossed :)