Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Trip to Saaremaa

 This last weekend we took a trip to Saaremaa (the big island) the last time I had been there was 8 years ago when my family came to pick me up from my mission.  It was great to be back!  We spent time in the main city Kuressaare and Kihelkonna, which is a small village where Maris' aunt and uncle live.  I am pointing to Kuressaare on the map and Kihelkonna is North-West by the sea.  I saw one of my students on the return trip, her family has a summer home in the same area.  Also Elga was in the same area at about the same time as us! She is from Saaremaa and has friends and family there.  It seems as if that part of the island is pretty popular!

 In Kuressaare we found this awesome little street. 
 The Bishop's castle is awesome! Probably the best in Estonia.

 In Kihelkonna there was a pretty nice church.  It was very quiet and peaceful. 

 Maris's aunt and cousins, they were all very nice! Thanks for letting us stay with you. 
 We found some giant snails there! They were really big

 This is the main bus stop at Kihelkonna

This is a nice picture Maris took of Estonia on the way back.  You can see some wind turbines if you look closely.  Estonia is pretty big on getting energy from wind, especially along the Western coast.

All in all it was a great trip, hopefully it won't be another 8 years before I get back!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Interview and thoughts on politics

About a week or two ago an Estonian newspaper interviewed me about Mitt Romney and Mormonism.  Here is a link for those interested.  It says "A Mormon living in Estonia does not support Mitt Romney"  It sounds a bit weird in English, it may have been just as weird in Estonian too.  Anyway the paper just printed what I said, so nothing was taken out of context.  I was really happy with how it turned out.  At first I was a bit hesitant about the title, because part of me really does like Romney and just because I don't support him doesn't mean that I do support Obama.  Then I figured it was pretty good because A. I really don't support Romney, his foreign policy is really scary, and B. I think it is good for people in Estonia to know that what Mitt Romney says is not church policy. 

Also for anyone wondering I am voting for Obama because of a deal I had with my US foreign policy students, I promised them that I would vote for whoever they voted for in our class election, and they voted for Obama.  I'm not sure who I would vote for otherwise.  I would have to consider Gary Johnson from the Libertarian party, Virgil Goode from the Constitution party, or Ron Paul as a write in candidate.  I am scared out of my pants by what Romney has been saying (this would need another blog post).  I have also been very disappointed with Obama on the economy and not as impressed with his foreign policy as you might think (why did he surge in Afghanistan again?).  So that rules out both candidates.  You might be thinking that the economy is much more important than foreign policy, but the president almost has free hands when it comes to foreign policy.  He does have a large impact on economic policy, but Congress plays a major role as well, which is not true concerning foreign policy.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

jet lag and a bus that looks like a jet

The hardest part about flying to Europe is the  jet lag.  The first few days things were great because I took a sleeping pill at night, but then Saturday night I thought I would be ok and I ended up being awake for the entire night!  We had to wake up early to go to church in Tartu, so I did get to sleep a little on the bus there and back. 

The bus company bought some new buses while I was gone, so now the Tallinn-Tartu express bus looks like this!
 SEBE buss

Once you step inside it feels like you just got on an airplane.  Every seat had its own TV screen with an option of movies, TV, music, games, Internet and more!  It was pretty amazing.  It was Sunday, so we didn't watch anything but definitely next time. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Party in the USA!

 As you have noticed there have been no blog updates recently, that is because I was having a blast in the US for the last few weeks.  So here is the story!

 On the way over I got bumped up to first class! This was the first time it happened to me and it was awesome.  The chair folds out into a bed, they have nice food, and a super big  nice bathroom with windows!

One of the things that is great about America is water fountains, this one in the Salt Lake airport even had a water bottle refill option! Very cool.

 Most of the time we were in Twin Falls Idaho.  Twin Falls is a great place, very beautiful.  The Snake River Canyon is always a treat to see.

 We went Jet Skiing a lot, it was a lot of fun but it left my hands sunburned!  I had a rash guard shirt on and I forgot to put sunscreen on my hands. It was well worth it though. The best day of jet skiing was down at Thousand Springs.  My friend Bryant and his wife and sister came, it was a lot of fun.  
 In a visit to Pocatello I got a tour of the fire burned area.  66 homes were burned, this is the remains of one of them.  Only a fireplace.  Pretty sad.

In Salt Lake I got to see the new City Creek mall, it was really nice!  1.5 billion well spent, hopefully.


After seeing family, the food was the main highlight.  I got to see a lot of my Mom's family at a wedding and my Dad's family at a family reunion.  And our entire family was together (except Maris, we missed you!) for the first time in a very long time.  It was pretty awesome.  This is Jake enjoying a jug of home made root beet at a family reunion, I had about 4 or 5 cups, it was so good.  

 We went to both 9 beans and Cafe Rio, both are good and both serve large burritos.

 Super good chocolate cookies with a vanilla frosting on top at the family reunion.

 Jake's birthday cake was just as good as it looks, made by Lynne and Jeff.

 Peking take out, I love Chinese food.

 And of course a trip to the US wouldn't be complete without a visit to McDonalds!

 I had the double quarter pounder with cheese, 740 calories of pure bliss

 The last stop was the Cheese Cake Factory in Salt Lake on my Dad's birthday.

All in all it was a fantastic trip, can't wait until next time