Monday, December 28, 2009

Merry Christmas!

We had a fantastic Christmas this year. It was great to have so much family here! Blake and Jared have grown so much! I hadn't seen them in a year and a half. Santa was good and brought some nice stuff, I got tickets to a Jazz game for the 6th of January, they are fantastic seats and I can't wait. After we were done drooling over my Jazz tickets we all went to Miracle Hot Springs and went hot tubbing! nothing like family hot tubbing on Christmas day. The water was hot hot hot and we all had a great time. I think family hot tubbing is something everyone should do on Christmas.

Home sweet home

I came home for Christmas, and it is fantastic! The trip over was a little rough, it involved some lost bags and an extra night in Chicago, but it turned out ok. Luckily Maris came with me, so missed flights and lost bags did not seem so bad. We also met a Belarusian who didn't speak English and we were able to translate a little for her. We were very glad to get to Twin Falls. Since being home it has been fantastic We went snowmobiling a few days before Christmas, the snow wasn't the best, but since I haven't been in a year it was great to get out and ride around a little bit. We even wore retro 1970's snowmobile suits to celebrate the first snowmobiling trip of the year.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas in Tartu

Tartu is always a beautiful city, but you will never find a prettier place than Tartu Estonia during the Christmas season. At night when it is lit up it is incredible! I only have pictures of the center during the day, I will have to take some more at night. It shouldn't be that hard because it gets dark before 4. They always bring in a huge Christmas tree and put it in the middle of the town square, this year we got an extra surprise they brought in a full size Christmas barge!!! What says Christmas more than an old wooden barge? The only down side of being home for Christmas is knowing that when I get back all the Christmas decorations and lights will be taken down :(

Beautiful Tartu

Here are some good pictures of Tartu. There was a baptism a few weeks ago that took place on the 13th story of a building, it had a fantastic view! There has been a lot of construction over the past 5 years, especially in the center of the city. Right now there is some snow on the ground, but overall it has been a very mild and nice winter.

Monday, December 7, 2009


This is the law building, the tall pink one. I had a human rights in Russia class here last year. This is also the view I have from my apartment! It is a great view, I live on the 3rd floor and I love it!

Euro College

This is the Euro College building, it is where the Baltic Studies, European Studies and my program (European/Russian studies) are held. Most of my classes were here in 2005 when I participated in the Prometheus program. It is right off of the town square and you can see it from almost any picture of the town square, it is off and to the right of the main town hall.

Language Center

I thought I would show you guys some pictures of where I go to school. The first blog is of the language center, it is a very old building, it is where all the language classes take place. I have my Estonian and Russian classes there. Last semester I had Russian, and in 2005 I had Russian as well. The picture of the classroom is where I have Estonian this semester and was the same room in 2005 for Russian. Some of the classrooms have a sink in them, I think it was for washing the chalk board. They don't have erasers in Estonia they use a damp sponge. Now most of the classes have dry erase boards, but the ones that don't still use a sponge.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Estonian food

I love Estonian food. It is simple and beautiful. Estonia is known for its amazing dairy! Here is a picture of some of my favorites! On the left you can see two bags of Piim that is milk. Milk comes in a bag!! Once it is opened you have to keep it in a pitcher so it doesn't spill everywhere. It also comes in a carton, but it is way cheaper by the bag. If you buy the cheap brand in a bag it comes out to $2.16 a gallon, it would be cheaper with a stronger dollar. The milk is 2.5% fat and it tastes amazing!

Next you see a blue bag of Hapukoor, that is the sour cream, I love it! I put it everywhere. It comes in 250g or 500 g bags, I always get the 500 g bag of course. I use it to make "hapukoor pasta" which is a cheap take off of mom's famous curly noodle casserole. It is pasta, ground beef, corn, an amazing spice mix called vegetta and lots of sour cream.

The yogurt here is also wonderful, it comes in a bag if you get the drinking yogurt or a carton if you get the normal yogurt. After the yogurt is the black bread! It took some getting used to, but I really like it now. The last item on the row is juice in a box! They don't have super sized packaging here, the biggest size of Juice you can buy is 2 L, the biggest size of Milk you can buy is 1.5 L but since I live alone that is OK for me.

On the front row you can see a "kohuke" which is a cheesecake log. It is covered in chocolate and has a cheesecake like filling, it is great. Then there is ice cream! Estonian ice cream is very good and more fluffy than American ice cream. The flavors can be interesting also, like green apple or pear.

Even after all the great food and wonderful dairy products I am staying skinny, I am just below 150 lbs, so just in case you were wondering no double chin just yet.

Friday, November 20, 2009

My new microwave!

I bought a microwave today! It was on sale so I thought it is now or never. It is only 700 W but that is still enough to get the job done. Some people like to buy shoes, clothes or even electronics, well I like to buy cheap kitchen appliances. Two weeks ago I bought a sandwich maker for $10! Here are some pictures of my apartment and the new microwave!

Saturday, November 14, 2009


Good work Niners! they took down the Bears 10-6 on Thursday night, which was 3:30 AM friday morning here in Tartu, I watched the whole game and boy was it worth it! Lets hope they keep rolling next week against the Packers. Here are some pictures from the 2008 preseason game against the Packers. It was a great game, I can't wait to go to another one!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The magical place called Tartu

I live in Tartu Estonia, the greatest city on the planet. A perfect mixture of modern, medieval, top technology and ancient architecture. Tartu is beautiful and wonderful. It has a 4-D attraction, water park, medieval town square, indoor ice skating rink and my favorite the Anne Kanal!!

It's blog time!!

As I looked out the window a deep sorrow came over me, a fresh snowfall had blanketed everything in sight. A slight wind would make the rather mild temperature seem cold and within a few hours my feet would be wet with slush. To think that all those people in California and Arizona will never see snow is almost more than I can bare. Yes I woke up today to another day in paradise, another day to be lived in the magical city of Tartu. I realized today that my life is too glorious to be kept to myself, too fricking fantastic to not share with others. And so my friends I have started the blog. Not a blog that I will use as a journal, or a blog to make my mother happy, but a blog to make the world a better place by telling them about how great my life is. Yes this is a blog of celebration. A blog of the marvelous adventures of Matthew Crandall. Enjoy!