Saturday, December 29, 2007

Final countdown

I am sitting here at our hotel room, trying to come up with a few more notes to mark our move. It's 11pm at night, and we are once again repacking our bags, because a few more things were left out. Mike's sneakers have to stay behind. So do our sheets. Who needs sheets anyway? We're totally maxing out all of our allowances, and will be showing up at the airport with four more bags than we have arms to carry them - five to be checked in, my carry-on, Mike's carry-on, my camera and Mike's guitar. We've gotten all the airlines to communicate to the airport and to send us several confirmations that all of our baggage can indeed weigh 32 kilos per every item, so the check-in should be smooth, minus the emotional turmoil.

I think i have to climb to bed now, the Uniquestay uber-bed looks too comfy to be true. We are so drained from running around all day that I think we might just skip out on the travel fever part this time.

Thursday, December 27, 2007


The last couple of days have been an emotional roller coaster, with feelings ranging from technology-driven frustrations to massage-induced orgasmic bliss. On Christmas Eve, we formatted my parents' hardrive, reinstalled windows, lost a bunch of data, recovered the files, reinstalled windows, realized that we had installed the wrong version, and then proceeded to reinstall windows one more time. Yeah, I know, perfect timing. Everything worked out though, thanks to our awesomeness and intelligence.

We finished packing today! We also checked in with all the airlines to make sure that there won't be any problems once we get to the airport. It turns out that because we are taking two different airlines, there may be a problem with the weight of our luggage. Both airlines allow a 32 kilo maximum limit, but for some reason, 32 turns into 23 when one uses a combination of flights from both airlines. We could really use the 5 x 9 extra kilos, so we decided to get the airlines to talk to each other and to communicate the whole deal to the dudes at the check-in-counter at the airport. So far, we've managed to get one airline to tag our booking to allow the 32 kg limit, so that the other one can add their confirmation, so that the guy at the check-in counter won't have anything to say. Other than that, the airport is pretty much prepared to have us show up with a bunch of extra stuff, so everything else should go smoothly.

I am blown away by Mike's ability to funnel his stress/adrenaline into researching his gear. I spent my day freaking out while he found peace in drooling over the vintage Allen&Heath Quasi mixer that he's been thinking about getting as soon as he gets off the plane. And yet he managed to get everything done, and kept me sane in the process! Is this like a man/woman thing or am I missing something?

One more day in Kuressaare! Coincidentally, it is also the day of a pretty big "underground" event here in Kuressaare, so we'll get to say bye to all of our hip friends in a cool setting. After that, we're off to one more final night in Tallinn, after which we're only two short and one long plane ride away from our final destination - Vancouver!!!!!


Saturday, December 22, 2007

Strange daze

The transitory period between moving out of our apartment and traveling to Canada has been magical, to say the least. We signed up for the ridiculously cheap spa package at the local "sanatorium", and I spent a solid chunk of the time at the water center tripping out on the sun reflecting off the water fountains. The jacuzzi was otherworldly, with the view of the glittering sea in the background. Everything seemed crisp, sharp, and dreamlike. I could literally feel my brain calming down, cortisol levels drop, and all the happy chemicals swirling around in my body. Ahh, the ultimate serotonin-allopregnanolone-oxytocin-etc smoothie.

Our new Canadian landlord sent us pictures of the view from the apartment's balcony. Needless to say, they were absolutely amazing. I can't wait to see them with my own eyes, and post some pictures of them during sunset.

I've had all sorts of weird dreams about different movie characters and newspaper celebrities interacting with me in my dreams. Last night I had to edit a movie for the Vancouver serial killer Robert Pickton. I told my boss not to take the job, but he responded that he's like any other customer and we couldn't possibly say no to him. The story later evolved into Pickton threatening to kill everybody at the studio if we charged him for the audio mastering and special effects.
Talk about work-induced PTSD...

Friday, December 21, 2007

Now officially homeless and unemployed!

We're finally done with moving from Tallinn to our temporary residence in Kuressaare!
It's 8:30 in the morning and I am sitting here in my parents' house. Everything is dark gray except for the glowing lcd screen, and I have to pinch myself to believe that the worst part of this cross-continental move is already over. Things really sped up in the end and I'm really proud of us for managing everything, so here's a short recap.

Our last workday on Tuesday happened to also be our boss' 40th birthday, so the day was spent drinking copious amounts of wine and doing very little to get any actual work done. We arrived late because we were busy redesigning Mike's demo DVD cover and sending it off to the factory. I had to leave our apartment before Mike, and was greeted by all of my coworkers already in party hats and foggy eyed, jumping on me to hug me. Mind you, Mike and I were far from hug mode that morning, as we had spent the night packing and stressing out. After everything was done, our apartment's door also managed to be slammed shut so that the surrounding plaster cracked from floor to ceiling, and was threatening to fall off and leave an extremely nasty sight. That, of course, added the worry about the damage deposit to the list.

My coping mechanism, naturally, was to dig into the cake and pour myself a glass of wine. And then another one. And then another one. That really worked wonders. I did a few minor final tasks while Mike took care of some additional bidders and his own migration matters. We left work early for the final crunch in the evening, and had our friend George come over and pick up a bunch of crap that we didn't want to throw in the trash. We got to bed at about two or three, but were too pumped with adrenaline to sleep, so we got up uber early to take care of any extra things.

We made the mistake of going in to work after our last day, because we agreed to finishing up our contracts then. That, of course, involved tears and more hugs, and getting presents from the boss. The goodbye was extremely painful and awkward, and I barely managed to catch myself from breaking down and bawling in front of everybody. We basically ran out of there. Being comfortable and close with your coworkers definitely has its pros and cons.

We then ran off to the bank to take care of business, and proceeded to go to another bank branch as the lady at the counter didn't speak much English. There, we were greeted by a happy starry eyed girl who was really excited about our case, and fun to deal with. By the time we left the place, we were 20 minutes from meeting up with our landlord, which was spent taking the bus back, freaking out, passing another package on to a good friend, mopping the floors, and running out the trash. And oh joy, the landlord even gave us our deposit back, despite the crazy crack in the wall. I suspect that it may have had something to do with the fact that we had previously mentioned the tax agency that we were going to contact if she tried to keep our deposit with no reason. Is this blackmail? Or just self-defense? Hmm.

Anyhow, after sorting things out with the landlord, we magically arrived at the bus station ON TIME, lugged our suitcases on the bus, and plopped down in the first available seats. What a RUSH! I think we must have been quite the sight sitting there hyperventilating, expecting something else to happen, some other challenge to pop up. The thought of being DONE took at least 30 minutes to settle in, after which both of us were overcome by a wave of surreal serenity, and proceeded to pass out for the rest of our journey across the mainland.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Moving madness

We're in the midst of the ultimate moving madness, accompanied by the madness preceding Christmas in all capitalist countries.

We've put most of our furniture up on an auction and got some decent bids on it. Our bed was picked up by a nice young couple and our cubbies went to a very nice fellow, who told us that we were a godsend as he really needed the storage space and couldn't afford to buy new furniture. We're still waiting to hear back from the people who won the auctions for our computer desks, but I have a feeling that those will get picked up soon as well. (Unlike our coat rack that went up to a ridiculous 55 dollars, even though it was originally bought for 20. The guy is simply ignoring my e-mails. Not all Estonians are great bidders.)

My parents helped us move by transporting most of our things to the town of Kuressaare for storage. We sent the last batch of random and unnecessary items off today, so we're left with only our computers, some pieces of furniture, and an inflatable mattress on the floor. The computer speakers are gone as well, so we're left with no means of audible entertainment, or television (as our 20-year old mute tv set is entirely dependent on the broken VCR we rigged up to funnel the audio from our cable connection, and the vcr used to be connected to the speaker system). That's alright though, TV's not that great this season. Of course, I'm only saying this because I want to prove to myself that I can live without all the wonderful and fun seasonal entertainment that's designed to trick you into thinking that all is still well with the world.

So the plan is to work until Tuesday, party it down with the coworkers Tuesday night, and then move to Saaremaa for the holidays on Wednesday.

Our "last Saturday in Tallinn" turned out to be a blast, even though we had to cut it down on the drinking, due to the utterly ingenious 9 a.m. moving date the next morning. It's kind of sad how I don't get to see my best friends until I threaten them that I will be leaving. Great times though, complete with beer, tequila, spicy food, moaning about how we all work too much, agreeing that we will all work less and enjoy life more, dancing to top eighties hits at a raunchy artists' club, dodging old people looking for sex, hugging, and breaking down in tears of sadness and joy. I love my friends.

I should cut this short because I have to play Santa for a while, before Mike gets back from geeking out with one of the Estonian gearslut friends.

Sunday, December 9, 2007


For those of you who want to know more about Tallinn, Estonia, here's an article that my friend Micha wrote a while back:

Saturday, December 8, 2007

The grass is...

The Old Town of Tallinn is gorgeous before Christmas. On my way to the acupuncture therapist every other day, I wander through the cobblestoned streets, lit with fairytalesque lights. First there's the "Sweet-Lovin' Monk"'s wagon across McDonalds, where a medieval beauty offers me sweet almonds. Up the street, there's the traditional restaurant Olde Hansa, which has set up several stands for chocolate-covered apples, handicraft, and regularly has choirs singing songs in front of it. Then I enter the Christmas market, made up of numerous little huts selling sweaters, wooden spoons and funky hats. In the middle of it all, there's a Christmas tree, more voluptuous than any of the trees in the past. The whole square smells of sweet, spice, and glögg, and is overlooked by the buildings surrounding the main square, Raekoja Plats. There's a stage, where there's regular performances throughout the day, so I often walk past a group of schoolgirls huddled together in skimpy outfits, panicking about getting up on stage next. On my way out of the plats, I get offered sweet almonds by a girl who looks almost identical to the girl at the "Sweet-Lovin' Monk".

Mike took me out to the Chinese restaurant Golden Dragon yesterday. I must say that I was extremely impressed. This was certainly the best Chinese food that I've had in years, complete with a super-friendly waitress, who made us the yummiest orange-blossom tea. Afterwards, we went to the candlelit Weckengang cafe, voted the best cafe in town, where Mike had the world's best mocha.
It's not all about the yummy stuff that can be stuffed in one's face in Estonia. It's just that prior to our departure, I'm really beginning to understand how real and true things are out here.

Why is it that your home starts to seem more beautiful when you open the door to embark on an adventure? You're left standing in the doorway, wondering why you ever wanted to leave, and thinking about everything that you might be missing if you go. The buzz at your favorite pub at 4am in the morning, the chai in the dungeon cafe, the topless drunks at the club, your favorite bartender, the opera singer friend who is always on strike, the bluntness of the people... Am I going to miss the sense of relief when spring finally comes? Is the temperature gonna drop down to -35 this February? Is it going to be too easy where we're headed?

I'm entering the phase where I am beginning to dream about missing the plane. Last night, I had to re-schedule my flight, because I was distracted by Bruce Willis trying to seduce me. The weirdest part is that I don't like Bruce Willis in any sexual manner. Go figure, Freud.

Monday, December 3, 2007


So here's a short recap of the acupuncture experience so far.
The whole reason I went to see a doctor was basically because the GP said that my blood looks like I've either been bleeding out of my anus for a couple of weeks or like I've totally worked myself to pieces and the stress has taken its toll. Since I haven't been slipping in puddles of blood lately, I figured it must be the stress and took her advice on seeing an acupuncture therapist.

The first guy I saw works in the radio building on Gonsiori Street. The guy was old and scruffy, but seemed to know what's up. He sat me down, listened to me moan about my job, took my pulse, and got me to show my tongue. He then told me to lay down and take my socks off, and quickly inserted six needles, two in each wrist and one in each foot. So I laid there for about twenty minutes, staring into the fluorescent light bulbs in the ceiling, listening to the traffic jam outside, and the doctor's wheezing breath while he was reading "Eragon". Interestingly enough, none of it really bothered me, and the longer I laid there, the more relaxed I became. After about 20 minutes, the doc got up, took out the needles, put them in a jar and gave them to me to hang on to. I paid him 200 kroons and stumbled out of the door and made my way home.

Originally, I didn't make much of the first session. "Relaxing," I thought to myself, and decided that I would try to find a doctor with a slightly more professional-looking office. However, on my way home, I was swept over by a wave of semi-psychedelic calmness. It was so soothing that I felt like laying down in the snow. I met up with Mike to go pick up some groceries and felt like I had been injected with a bunch of horse sedatives, to the point of not being able to make a decision on which carton of juice to get. The giggly light feeling lasted all through the evening and into the next day.

On Friday morning, I went to see the president of the Estonian Acupuncture Association for the next session. Again, same deal and same effects (+ traditional Chinese music and needles made out of silver, not copper), but this time the "high" only lasted for about two or three hours. Looking back at it though, my boss may have killed my qi that day. Also, the weekend was spent packing and moving, which is always very fun.

As far as I can tell, acupuncture definitely has its benefits, even if it's only a placebo-run endorphine high following the needle insertion. Highly recommended!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

At the Beach

Walked to the Pirita beach today and took some pix of the birds there.