Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The best 10 years

I got my new passport today! The embassy here was pretty quick.  I am still amazed at how fast 10 years has gone by.  It was pretty exciting, I had to get extra pages in my old passport because it was full!  It is interesting to think about how the next 10 years will be?  Where will I be in 2022?  How close will I come to filling up this passport?

And now for the top 10 memories from the past 10 years from my old passport.  I looked at the stamps and old visa stickers and came up with the top 10 most exciting memories.

10. January 19, 2006. Brussels airport.  This was when I flew to Brussels to do an internship at the European Parliament, I was hoping Brian Beard would be there to welcome me and take me to my apartment.  He had taken the money and disappeared.  There was no one there. I checked my email to see if he had sent anything, and then I asked a taxi driver to take me to a cheap hostel.  There was a nice group of French students so I decided I could sit in my room depressed or go out clubbing with them.  It was a fun night and a crazy way to start an internship.  Everything eventually turned out great (except for the lost money, sorry Dad).  I did learn my lesson though.

9. July 17, 2004 "US Immigration Chi Admitted" This was when my mission was over and I went home.  It was a sad time, but a good feeling to hear "welcome home"  It was nice to see family, walk on soft carpet and eat all the great foods that I had missed.  The welcome home was not enough to keep me happy and I had to go back to Estonia.

8. May 6, 2006. Lietuva.  This was my first time to Lithuania.  I took a bus from Tartu to Vilnius with my friend Merry, we went just for a day and walked around their old town and went to a huge mall.  It was a last minute trip and I'm glad I went.  I got some really cheap ties from a Maxima store! I think they were about 2 or 3 dollars if I remember.  They are still some of my favorite ties and have held up really well over the years.

7. February 3, 2009. My first trip to Turkey.  There was a good deal on Air Baltic so I went with my friend Andres (also from Tartu).  It was awesome to get away from the Estonian winter.  Istanbul is an amazing city.  I had no idea that I would get to go again in 2010.  Hopefully it won't be my last time.  We stayed at a cheap hostel where you had to pay more if you wanted to rent a towel!

6. Visa Russian Federation. May 14-August 8, 2007.  This was the Visa for my St. Petersburg study abroad.  I had to get additional pages for the visa because they would only put the Visa on pages marked Visa.  It makes sense but I figured that the empty pages at the back would have been fine.  I flew into Estonia and then took a bus to St. Petersburg.  My luggage got lost so I had to go to church in street clothes and I got my luggage an hour before I had to get onto the bus to go to St. Petersburg!  The study abroad started off poorly, I didn't like my teachers or the strictness of the program but it turned around after my parents put my name on the temple prayer role.  Right at that time we took a fantastic river boat Cruise up to some huge lakes north of St. Petersburg.  It was really amazing.  The rest of the study abroad was great.  It helped my Russian skills and I am very glad that I went.  I am still on love with Borsh!

5. April 14, 2008 YKPAIHA (Ukraine).  I was living in Riga at the time and took a break to go to Odessa Ukraine.  Thank you Air Baltic again for super cheap tickets! This was really awesome.  I went to a really neat castle in Belgorod Dnestrovski which is 80 km outside of Odessa.  It was probably the best castle I have been to. 

4. February 14, 2006 Koprivnica (Croatia).  This stamp looks pretty different from the others.  While doing the internship in Brussels there was a 2 week break where they didn't need me to come to work.  I took a Hungary-Croatia-Slovenia trip.  My Croatia stop was in Zagreb, the Capitol.  I went to a club and met some nice people, they went to this other place that was a crazy mix of a small club and outdoor bar.  It was one of the few times where I didn't feel safe and was thinking to myself (you idiot!).  I still have no idea how I ended up in that place.   I didn't know how to go back to my hostel so I waited until my newly found friends were ready to go then they showed me the way to the right bus stop.  This place was really one of a kind.  Cement floor, people were throwing beer bottles and just letting them break on the ground.  There was a gypsy band playing.  There were some crazy people there of all ages.  I'm glad that it all turned out ok.

3. May 16, 2005 Россия This was my first time to Russia.  I was doing a study abroad in Estonia at the time, I had applied for my living permit but had not gotten it yet (there was a problem with health insurance).  I was over the 90 day limit for being in the country and I wasn't sure if I would be let out of the country, or back into the country!  Luckily everything was just fine.  It's nice to have a US passport sometimes.

2.  June 18- 16 September 2009.  Japan Immigration inspector.  This was a sticker that I got when going to Japan!  The sticker gave me the right to be in Japan for 90 days, I was there only 2 weeks.  It was an awesome trip to visit my sister and her family in Tokyo.  My favorite was the crazy water park with fish that would eat the dead skin off your feet as well as tea, coffee and wine pools!  I got to stay the longest out of everyone because I came right from Estonia.  I think Jeff felt bad so he 'lost' his passport, missed his plane found his passport again and then got another flight for home a few days later.  I totally understand, it was an awesome trip!

1. August 21, 2002.  Eesti Vabariik (Republic of Estonia).  My first time in Estonia, I came on a bus from Riga Latvia on my way to Tallinn.  I passed the Ikla border crossing.  I remember the green trees and the open fields.  Little did I know the enchanting powers of this mystical land would bring me back and that 10 years later I would still be living in Tallinn.  Right now my apartment is just a 5 min walk from my first apartment I lived at back in 2002. 

Check back in 10 years for another top 10 update

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