Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Tallinn University

Tallinn University  just got done filming a promotional video that shows our library, students and some of our classrooms.  For all of you wondering what I do in Estonia this gives you a good idea.  For anyone interested in studying International Relations or European Studies Tallinn University is a great choice.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Eurovision 2013!

Eurovision was awesome this year as always.  Unfortunately I didn't get to watch it.  One of my favorite things to do is watch Eurovision with Maris, that is my favorite date  night of the year, this year didn't work out though.  We got to watch the first semi-final round which was awesome.  Estonia made it to the finals!  We missed the second round because we were in Finland, and then I had to go to Tartu on Saturday night so I only saw a little bit on the train and then had to read about who the winner was.  The biggest part isn't seeing who wins (they usually correctly predict who it is going to be every year) but enjoying the show.

Eurovision is kind of like thanksgiving, it is a nice feast but what is even better is that you can enjoy the left over Turkey for months!  The same goes with Eurovision, I usually hum the songs around the house for a few months.  So here you have my favorite Eurovision songs of 2013!

This is Estonia's song.  It was nice and sweet.  I liked it more than Maris did.

Denmark won, and I think it was the right choice.  This is a really great song.

Maris really liked Ukraine's song.  And yes that is a real giant who carries the girl on stage.  He is 7'8" and had some type of gland problem that caused him to be so big.

I loved this song, perfect club song.  I think Cascada kind of looks like my cousin Emily Hales! (more so in the official music video)  So if Emily ever is ever looking for a second career Euro-pop might be the answer.

The Netherlands had a super creepy song.  This is the Tim Burton of Eurovision.  After the first 20 seconds I said I hated it and by the end of the song I loved it.  That is what Tim Burton will do to you

Malta had a really nice song.

Russia's song wasn't as epic as last year's song but it was really beautiful.

Enjoy the music!

Final 4

Another round for name voting! Daniel beat out Liam and Logan beat out Luke.  Markus barely beat out Erik in a very tight race.  Rasmus beat out Allan.

  • 14. Daniel
  • 5. Logan

  • 1. Markus
  • 2. Rasmus

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

LDS Church open house in Tallinn

This week is LDS open house in Tallinn branch (on Saturday 1 p.m). I made a trifold for it. They printed 12000 copies (some of them in Russian) and the missionaries and members are handing them out during the week. What is happening: a concert (kids, youth and others), snacks, a tour in the building, crafts workshop for kids and families, movie clips, family home evening and strengthening marriage workshops etc.

Who ever is in Tallinn this Saturday - you are welcome!
There is a nice concert planned as well.
See you!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013


For family night we went to the new Star Trek movie (it opened early in Europe, probably because this weekend is Eurovision).  I almost died waiting for 4 long years, but it was worth the wait.  Words cannot describe the greatness of this movie.  It took all the best parts, themes, lessons, styles, and characters of the Star Trek universe and turned it into one beautiful masterpiece.  A beautiful masterpiece filled with hope, love, fear, courage, terror, tragedy, triumph, shock, despair, and glory.  Not only is this the best movie I have ever seen, it is most likely the best movie that I ever will see.  I can't wait to go see it again, and I am excited for the third movie, hopefully it won't be a 4 year wait!  

This movie is any Trekkie's dream come true.  And the weird thing is, I think those who are not Trekkies will like it even more.  But beware, if you go you will leave the theater a Trekkie.  

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Round 4 revote 1.0

There was a problem with the blogger polls, and some people didn't get to vote so we are having a revote for round 4!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Live below the line challange

Yesterday I started the live below the line challenge   We are doing this as a class (participation is voluntary) in my Basics of IR course.  We talked about global poverty, and the North-South gap last week.  It was a perfect time to do the challenge.  The challenge is simple, spend $1.50 or less on food for 5 days in a row.  Over a billion people have to live off of $1.50 a day, the challenge is only food.  I didn't think it would be very hard because we don't spend very much on food (already eliminated drinks from the budget, and we don't eat a lot of meat).  When I went to the store and started adding things up it was a little tough.

So here is my food for the week:  In Euros it is 1.15 a day and 5.75 for the full 5 days.
Oat flakes: .42
Corn: .55
Pasta: .24 (it is super cheap I know)
mini hot dogs: 1.50
Milk: .50
Sour Cream: .69
Strawberry Jelly: .89
Apple: .20
Banana: .23
Potatoes: .19 ( I actually bought 6, but then I was over budget so I had to set 2 aside).
Bread: .35

Day one was pretty good, oatmeal takes a lot longer than cold cereal to eat.  I was at work for most of the day, there was a reception for a journal so I did eat some food there but only a little bit to be polite.  Otherwise I had 4 slices of white bread, a potato and 4 little hot dogs for a late lunch and then a late dinner.  Today I will have my famous sour cream pasta (without the meat).  Fast Sunday will come at a great time.

It really is sad to see the world produce so much and then to see so many who don't even get enough food to live.  Now is a good time to think about how much we have and is there anyway we can help others.  There are many great places to give, local food banks and soup kitchens, church fast offering funds, international organizations like the United Nations World Food Program.  I also like LDS Charities, they cover the costs of overhead, so 100% of donations actually go towards helping people.  They don't only deal with hunger relief, but their projects are all good: wheelchair donations, clean water projects, emergency response and disaster relief, food projects (see video below),  vision care, neonatal resuscitation training, and immunizations.

Here is an article about what you saw in the video 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Old man Matthew

I recently had a birthday and am now 30 years old!  Time flies pretty fast. We had a great day celebrating together.

 I woke up to a special birthday breakfast with lots of cold cereal   Normally we buy cheaper chocolate müsli and then put oat flakes in to increase fiber and decrease the cost.

 Maris made me a nice cake, it didn't have frosting balloons on it, but it did have really tasty cream cheese frosting that was spread on thick.

 We went out to eat at Lidos, possibly the best thing to ever come out of Latvia.  I have a huge cup of Borsh over flowing with sour cream, a glass of multi nectar (a Baltic special) a chicken filet with cheese and pineapple on top, some grilled pork and a waffle with whipped cream and a strawberry sauce.  It was awesome.

We went to the movie oblivion, it was really good.  They also had a display for the upcoming Star Trek on May 17th!  We are super excited.  Amazingly excited.

Now I thought I would give some interesting thoughts about being 30.  It's been a pretty awesome 30 years. The things I've been able to do is really crazy, the study abroads, internships, family vacations, mission, marriage, and everything else has been great.  I'm very thankful to have lived such a blessed life.  I'm also excited for the future, I have a great wife, a kid on the way, a great job, beautiful apartment and live in a really nice place called Keila!  Hopefully I'm a better person now than I used to be.  I think to a large part I am, but I look forward to trying to become a better person as well.  Another interesting thing about me is my change in taste.  When I was young I didn't like anything.  Life is really hard for a picky eater, so I have had to change my eating habits.  Here is a list of some foods that I didn't used to like but now do: almonds, mushrooms, kiwis, cabbage, beats, and lettuce.

I have thought a little bit about the future, what kind of life will I have and of course who knows.  But I do know what I want to see happen in the world.  I want to live until I am 92, that would get me to 2075.  I would love to know what the world would be like in 2075.  When I think back to 1983 the world was so different, no cell phones, computers, internet, DVDs, the Soviet Union still existed.  Mao had only been dead for 5 years and so on. The world certainly has changed.

This is a top 10 of what I want to see by the time I die (hopefully 2075):
10. I want to see Belarus in the European Union
9. Helsinki-Tallinn tunnel/train.  Some think that by 2050 or 2070 (Finish feasibility studies have been carried out) they could construct a tunnel under the Baltic sea connecting Tallinn and Helsinki.  This would mainly be for cargo, which could then go onward via the Rail Baltica to the rest of Europe.  This might be far fetched, but it would be pretty cool.
8. UN Security Council reform.  Something along the lines of 25 members (up from 15) 10 permanent members (up from 5), with no veto (majority of permanent members).  Who knows when if it will ever happen.
7. Russian president visit to Baltics.  Yes it is true, no Russian president has ever visited the Baltic States.  At some point people will have to get over the past and act like neighbors, hopefully it will be before 2075
6. A unified Korea.  North Korea is a tragedy in every sense of the word.  People there live such a crappy life, it would be great to see a unified democratic Korea
5. 50 million members of the church and a stake in Estonia.  Right now we have 15, (officially, in reality the number is lower).  Hopefully the church will continue to keep growing
4. High speed trains in America.  California has a plan to do it (and they should) but it will be way over budget and we'll have to see if it actually works out.  But before 2075 it should be up and running. (I love trains)
3. Man on Mars.  That would be pretty awesome to see.  I imagine it was pretty neat back when Armstrong landed on the Moon, but Mars! That is pretty far away.
2. Fission energy.  Fossil fuels are bad for the environment anyway you look at it (carbon emissions, extraction methods, and so on).  If we could have a break through in fission energy the world would change as we know it.    
1. First contact.  I know those aliens are out there!  We certainly won't be able to get to them in the next few hundred years, but maybe they are able to travel at the speed of light and could come visit us.  Even if they were able to send a non manned aircraft with information it would be pretty awesome.  I wonder what their worlds are like, is it like Avatar? Or some thing else?  You can tell that I am getting a little excited for the new Star Trek movie.

But even if I don't live to see any of those things, I'm excited to experience and see what ever comes my way.  Life has a habit as being as beautiful as we want it to be.