Learning the Language. Legit.

I live in an English language bubble–work is in English, Pete speaks English, our TV is in English. So basically, I have learned super random words in Estonian and Russian. Words that will never, ever serve me any purpose. Mainly I remember these words because they’re cute.

“Humidity” in Estonian: Niiskus. I want to name a pet this eventually. He/She will never need to know that his/her name is Estonian for humidity.

“Pinecone” in Russian: шишка (pronounced shihshka). I like this word.

I have learned other words but they weren’t cute enough for me to actually remember. When coming to Estonia, I was convinced that I would learn the language. I mean, who comes to a country and lives there for longer than a few months and doesn’t learn the language!? [Insert arrows pointing at me.] Before coming, I assumed that I would have to learn the language, and that it would be a waste to not learn the language. But, here I am, here for nearly 4 months, and beyond these two words, I know my Estonian numbers, necessary words for taxis, and that’s about it. I’m a little bit sad that I’m not learning the languages, it’s just that it is so hard to try to learn when I am always surrounded in English and everyone in Tallinn already knows functional English.

Pete, on the other hand, is around Estonian a lot more than I am and he actually practices. So he has been learning a lot. He does everything at the shops in Estonian and he’s even been complimented by people in line behind us with a hea eesti –“good Estonian”. At least one of us is taking advantage of learning a language!



Filed under Culture, Estonia

6 responses to “Learning the Language. Legit.

  1. Mark Benn


    I’ve bought ‘teach yourself Estonian’ while back in the UK and so we shall start our Estonian lessons in the New Year.

    P.S. I’m loving ‘Confederacy of Dunces.’

  2. so it is really reassuring to know that someone else is struggling learning the language in one of these scandinavian/baltic countries besides myself. i completely understand what you’re going through. and when people speak good english, it makes it 1000 times harder to learn a language. i almost wish you and i spoke like only bengali or something so we were forced to learn the new language! haha!!!

    ps: loved your story you put on my stupid travel mistakes post 🙂

  3. i keep trying to reply to your comments on my blog via email but it has no email address attached 🙂 soooo im responding here!!!

    ill totally take yall up on crashing on your floor sometime! that would be awesome…my boyfriend and i are hoping to make it to tallinn and helsinki sometime when there are normal daylight hours next year (isnt it sad we have to worry about that living in northern europe?! LOL) and same goes to yall if you want to head to norway! we can stay at his dads which is a minute away and yall can have our flat for your stay. we can drive you through the fjords and everything 🙂 it is really beautiful…when its not raining or only having 2 hours of daylight!it is pricy, but if you stay with us for free and we can cook norwegian food for yall and stuff, its not bad! beer and drinks are insane here, though! blah.

    also…i love that yall cook together too when possible!!! i think yall are my boyfriend and mine’s long lost twin couple (ok…that was lame but you know what i mean!)

    happy holidays to yall! hope you’re doing something special and making new traditions!

  4. Jaime

    I think I would be too intimidated to even try to speak to people in a different language, so it is good that you have high intentions at least!

  5. Natalie

    I won’t even lie, sometimes I think about traveling again and I get extremely jealous that you have been living all over Europe for months now. SO awesome. If I can buckle down I will be done with school in August and I might have to come to you for some travel tips! 🙂 You could totally manage the 13 books. Shoot for the stars! I think I’ve almost gotten too addicted to reading. I can’t decide if it’s actually a problem or not…ha.

  6. Oh yes, I understand you very well! 🙂
    You just chose a wrong country! 😉 If you moved to Russia one day (except St.Petersburg), you would be really forced to learn basic Russian: here so few people speak English!

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