Sunday, November 20, 2011

Friday, November 11, 2011

Back to the future

I'm back in Estonia now... It's 10.36 pm here (3.36 pm in D.C) and the last time I had some sleep was 32 hours ago. Tomorrow I'll probably sleep till noon.

We left yesterday at 1.45 pm. Only Wafa and Maram were there to say goodbye because the rest of our group had already left.

It was cloudy and raining so we said that D.C. was crying because we had to leave. I felt really sad. The weeks had passed soooo quickly.

Our flight was at 7.10 pm and it wasn't as bad as I had expected. I happened to sit next to a guy from Colombia. We talked about our home countries and many other things. That really helped to keep sad thoughts away.
We arrived in Frankfurt at 9 am. And then something amazing happened - we saw Margaret and Zbignev. They were waiting for their flight to Poland and we were all really happy to see each other :)

 Our flight was delayed for an hour and we were awfully tired. Yet, it was very difficult to fall asleep.
Me, pretending to be asleep.

The flight from Frankfurt to Tallinn lasted only for two and a half hours but it felt like forever. It was nice to see my boys again :) They were eagerly waiting for me at the airport.

This definitely was the best trip in my life and being far away from other TEA fellows really hurts. I know we will keep in touch and this offers me some comfort. I truly need to get some sleep now. Good night and sweet dreams :)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I'm not good at saying goodbye

Here I am again... sitting in the hotel lobby, trying to hide in my bubble of sadness. There are people all around me, rushing around with their suitcases. Every hour there's a group leaving and we have to say goodbye again and again. That really hurts. Aida and Hugo and Soythip and Angsana, Rinna and Socheat and Lucky left early in the morning. Pablo and Jaime just left and Jahan, Maya, Valentina and Asiyat and Nazik are leaving in ten minutes. Margaret, Zbignev, Tatiana and Jazgul are leaving in an hour and we have two more hours to wait ... Wafa and Maram are the last ones to leave. I'm going to miss them all.


Last night we got together in Pablo's room. Again, we laughed a lot... but the laughters were mixed with moments of silence and sadness.

Here's a picture of me sitting in the lobby. The photo was taken a couple of days ago when we got here. 
Our flight is at 7 pm and it lasts for 8 hours. We arrive in Frankfurt at 9 am tomorrow. And the flight to Estonia is at around 12. I should arrive at 5 pm. I haven't experienced any culture shock here but I'm definitely going to have a reverse culture shock, so all the Estonians waiting for me... be warned :P

Now it's 1.13 pm and we've said goodbye to most of our group. We also had lunch and we've got 30 minutes before we leave. I feel numb... and tired. I remember that when we got to Boone six weeks ago and admired the colorful trees, Jesse said that all the leaves will be gone by the time we leave. And today I could see last leaves falling and dancing in the wind when I hugged my friends and said goodbye.

How lucky I am to have known someone who was so hard to say goodbye to...

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The very last day

Here's me again, still in Washington... We're going to meet downstairs in 9 minutes but I wanted to upload a couple of photos before I go.
Yesterday we had a cultural evening and here's our Estonian group. We read a poem by Artur Alliksaar and danced the Gate Dance (Väravalugu) by Vägilased.
Almost everybody had prepared a short performance. Here's a dance that the guys from Rwanda started :)
 Here are the teachers from Thailand :)

After everybody had performed, the DJ started playing pop songs and the dancefloor was momentarily full of people. We had so much fun and for a while most of us were probably able to forget the fact that we'll have to part soon.
 Here's Margaret and me. I'm going to miss her so much. She has an amazing ability to understand people and she's been soooo supportive :)

Today in the morning we had the last session where we were told about different grants that TEA alumni can apply for. Then we had lunch in a fancy hotel very close to the White House. And in the afternoon we went sightseeing as we had a free evening.
Washington Monument and Jefferson Memorial

OK, need to run now, others are waiting for me downstairs. I'll try to write tomorrow before we leave. It's definitely going to be a very very sad night...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Back in Washington

Greetings from D.C. again. It's  Tuesday morning and we're very busy here doing our micro teaching. I'm happy and relaxed because I have already done my teaching and it went very well again. I should be doing it right now but I volunteered to switch times with Asyiat and go first.
Me doing my micro teaching activity

Yesterday was a travel day again. We left from Boone at about 9.30 am. Both Sarahs were there to say goodbye and there were tears and promises to meet again soon. Seeing the streets of Boone for the last time made us all very sad.
 The breakfast I had for 6 weeks :P
 Charlotte. I took the photo on the plane.
 Our group in the airport in D.C. Can you see all the luggage?

We live here at Kellogg Conference Hotel on the campus of Gallaudet University. My room mate is Daniela from Bulgaria again. It was so nice to see her again :) Last night was weird - we laughed a lot but I think we're not actually happy cause we know that we'll have to part with our group in just two days. We all think that we had the best group and the best university :)
 Gallaudet University campus at night.

I know the entry is full of mixed feelings and not very well structured. I tried to multi-task again but wasn't very successful this time. I would like to write more but I need to go and have lunch now.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Last day in Boone

It's our last day in Boone. We're sitting in the lobby... again. Everyone has packed their suitcases and the dominant feeling among us seems to be sadness. This, however, cannot be said about Hugo who's sitting next to me, listening to old club hits and obviously enjoying it.

The weekend has been pretty relaxing. Yesterday I slept till 9.40 am, did some packing and talked to my family on Skype. It was nice to hear that they are organizing a homecoming party for me :) We also did the laundry with Tea and went to Walmart to get a couple of things we needed. In the afternoon there was a party at Sarah's place. John gave us a ride and of course we got lost. We drove up in the mountains and the scenery was just breathtaking again. When we finally got to Sarah's house everyone was already having chili and corn bread. She lives in a really nice place. By the way, she spent a year in Finland in 1981, she was an exchange student there.

In the evening we sat in the lobby again and talked but I was tired and went to bed pretty early.

Today I sent my lesson plans to Jesse and edited the video I'm going to use in Washington when doing my micro teaching. I also helped Maya with her PowerPoint presentation. Then I spent an hour trying to fit all the things I have bought into my suitcase. And I have to admit that I wasn't very successful. So we went to Boone Mall for the last time and I bought a new suitcase. We also had luch there - I had a tuna sandwich and fries.

At 7 pm we came downstairs to meet John and return the laptops we were given 6 weeks ago. I actually used my ASU laptop just once cause I have my own laptop with me.

We're leaving tomorrow at 9.30 am and our flight from Charlotte to Washington is at 1 pm. We're going to stay in D.C. till Thursday.

I just remembered I wanted to share a beautiful thought with you. A couple of days ago I saw a sign in a gift shop...

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take
but by the moments that take our breath away.

I've had so many breathtaking moments here and it's very difficult to part with the people I've met here.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Farewell dinner

Here we are again... sitting in the lobby in front of the fireplace. Hugo is talking to his friend, Nazik is preparing lesson plans, Tea is making friends with her new Nook, Margaret is lost in the worldwide web, I'm writing my blog and Pablo is listening to Hugo's conversation.

Today we spent the morning at the university, giving feedback. Jesse was curious about our impressions and the things we have learned here. I get really sad when I think that this was our last day at ASU.

Our group today :)

In the afternoon we went to Boone Mall and I tried to do some shopping but it mostly turned out to be just window shopping.
At 6 pm we had a formal reception at ASU. Everybody looked very pretty :) I was really happy to see my host family there and Ethel too.

Tea and me with our ICT workshop tutor - John Spagnolo

Many people gave a speech. For example Jesse, the Dean of the university, John, Jaime's partner teacher and Tea. Her speech was just perfect - sad and funny at the same time. And it made me cry. I don't like farewells.
Here's me with the Dean and Jesse, holding on to my certificate, swallowing tears. These six weeks have passed just so quickly and I have met so many amazing people.

Here's our whole group: Maram (Jordan), Tatiana (Kyrgystan), Kristel (Estonia), Margaret (Poland), Jahan (Turkmenistan), Asyiat (Russia), Wafa (Jordan), Maya (Turkmenistan), Rinna (Cambodia), Tea (Estonia), Soythip (Thailand), Jazgul (Kyrgystan), Aida (Argentina), Angsana (Thailand), Zbignev (Poland), Nazik (Turkmenistan), Pablo (Guatemala), Jaime (Guatemala), Samnang (Cambodia), Hugo (Argentina), Socheat (Cambodia), Valentina (Russia)

Here's me with Gerry, Jeannie and Ethel. I'm so happy that they had decided to come.
 With Jesse

Tomorrow is free, so I'm going to sleep and pack all my things and weigh the luggage. We got scales from Jesse and many people were really happy when they discovered that they actually have some room in their suitcases so they can do some more shopping :) I wouldn't mind buying some more stuff :P

Have a nice weekend :)