Seven Days Below Zero: Week One in Tallinn, Estonia


Seven Days Below Zero: Week One in Tallinn, Estonia

It’s strange to think that it was just one week ago that we touched down onto the snow-dusted runway of Tallinn’s city airport, complete with our worldly possessions in tow.

As with any move, the hours have been consistently filled with things to do. And so that’s why it feels as if we’ve been here far longer than a week; perhaps a month would be more fitting.

If I compare how I felt that day to how I feel now, then the difference is palpable.

The first day, particularly, was a little testing in some regards. Arriving, locating the apartment, signing contracts, staring at boxes full of things waiting to be unpacked, thinking, “bloody hell, have I made the right decision?” on a constant loop in my head.

That slight hit of anxiety soon passed though. Sunshine and pastel skies the next morning probably helped, as did filling the apartment with strong whiffs of coffee. Arriving somewhere in darkness is always a bit disconcerting, I find. So to have daylight and to see how it filled our new apartment and to see what lay outside our windows was a joy. It might not have quite felt like home that first morning, but I sure felt a lot better about things than I had the previous night.

And from there, I’ve made a concerted effort to be on the lookout for these quick wins; the things that make you feel at home and make you feel a part of the new city you’re in. So whether it’s been strolling the unforgettably pretty old town, joining a gym, finding the new local coffee bar, grabbing a drink with locals or successfully completing a food shop in an unfamiliar supermarket… I’ve found that it’s important to rack up these mini-victories in order to keep your spirits high and to quickly immerse yourself into your new city. Because, on the flipside, there are always tricky scenarios as well—in my case I don’t know the language, I’m struggling to complete a few administrative tasks and bureaucracy is slowing down things such as bank accounts, residence permits, etc, etc.

But, wherever you are, hindrances are a fact of life. There’s no escaping them. And so the best you can do is to counter them as fiercely and as forthrightly as you can with the good stuff.

So as I transition into my second week here, I plan to continue gathering up these little wins and to savour them and to cherish them. And in a city like Tallinn, there are plenty to be found on every corner. 

Piers McEwan1 Comment