Old Town

Old Town
Tallinn

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Grocery Stores in Tallinn

The grocery stores here are on something else. The cashiers get to sit down and you bag your own no matter what. If you ask me I can dig it, I guess cuz I am a wholefoodsmarket "team member" and I am a cashier well I don't know about going back to that after being here. Back to the store they have good stores and they have bad stores. I been fortunate enough to only have been in the good stores for my main shopping, I mean u can get candy and redbull or whatever anywhere but for produce and cheese and meat it's better not to roll the dice with that stuff and pay the extra .50€ or whatever. It's set up like most stores in the west produce in the front and bakery in the back... I been getting a lot of tomatoes out here cuz well they taste better than the ones at home just about erything is organic and less is more. The bread here is about 3x's cheaper than the bread at home, and I'm talking bread without high fructose corn syrup. Which if you live near a food lion in the states can be hard to find and when you do find it you pay like at least 3 bucks for it. They have grocery stores in their malls in Tallinn which can be a good idea but of course it's gonna be a lil more expensive than buying it at a stand alone store. I just kinda walk around and take note of what they have that we don't have or what we have that they don't have one thing we have is size like our grocery-stores seem like warehouses compared to these I mean the size is comparable but they don't have aisles full of cereal from end to end. A good thing about here is that you can get liquor wine beer in the grocery stores. You guys are probably saying "Senghor you can get that at home" yeah if you live in the south like Virginia and I don't think you can buy a bottle of rare Hennessy or Moet or Red Label in those stores down there. Anyway the grocery stores do lack the snacks we have at home and maybe that's a reason for just about everyone looking like they are in shape. The thing i love about the grocery stores here is that you have to explore them and see what they have overall before you just start throwing stuff in the basket maybe if I had a gf she would probably have a better grasp as to what to get to eat and all that but for now it's just me and I shop for me not what's here or there or on sale well I do look for deals but for the most part I am expanding my culinary skills and taking them to an international level. I gotta go catch a movie so I'll see y'all.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I can't believe I ate all those tacos

I fucked up and ordered 4 tacos and I ate every single one of them, so typical. But hey I was due in for a pig out session. Today was pretty rainy like the rest of the week thus far... Go figure I went to DK bac in 04 I was hoping the weather here would be a lil different but I was wrong. I got my rain pants this time tho so I'm good. Well good for the rain anyway. I like how these little euro eat out joints come and get your plate from you after you finish at least that's how it is in the Baltics. Back to the Flat situation yeah somebody saw a place with 6 rooms furnished and all that and they wanna do it. My thing is there is a big problem living with 6 people 6 problems and 6 points of view. This can cause problems and when one person has a problem it can rub off on others oh yeah there's one bathroom not so sure about that 1. I found a 4 bedroom unfurnished with 2 bathrooms but it would be better cuz u can kinda make it your own. Like u can add stuff here and there. + it's in the center of town which means you can party all you want and be good to get home. if it's gotta be with 6 it's gotta be with 6 but I think I might roll out if the opportunity presents itself. I'm just the type that may need a little more privacy than others, I'm not trying to as my boy Tiger would say"have my nose strait up in the air"but I just wanna have a bathroom that doesn't have that much traffic and I'm not fighting to get my bathroom time in or having people dipping into my food or thinking everything is community. As I said before if it's gotta be 6 then hey 6 it is. It's just not too cool to be with peeps who I don't really know and they don't really know me either. Welp looks like I'm bout to go back out into the rain and take the walk to freedom square-- scroll down there's a picture of it. The wifi in this city is pretty cool 90% of the places have it so I'm good to go for the most part but when I get a place I'll prolly have to drop a few bucks on it but I do miss cable and everybody knows my shit Jeopardy not to mention Judge Judy...

Americana

I'm back at that taco joint and yeah they have duff beer for you duff beer for me, I'll have a duff you have one too! Classick episode of The Simpsons if you don't know you better get on top of that. I'm searching with a few peeps for a flat to move into it's getting to be too much living in the dorm it's too far and I'm dropping stupid€ on cabs cuz transportation stops at midnight. So moving down there will save me much money in the long run. I went and got some insurance it was like 400 for a year, yeah America is still on that bull shit all you need Is a lil coverage for this or that start walking and staying in shape. I'm making most of my food so that's good gotta minimize eating out... But sometimes you gotta treat yourself right? The weather had me a lil sick but I'm back on top now and here are the tacos I ordered too many tho...

Monday, September 19, 2011

Back on my nokia...

I'm back after some tv control room editing

Yeah so back to the lovely women of the Baltics...I just can say hey you never know, I have been warned as to why the guys here will hate you. For one simple reason they think you are here to steal ALL of their women away. I got a message for them "Dudes the ratio is 3:1 which means there is more than enough to go around" get over it. I had a feeling one of the tutors was out to kill me because of this that or the other but when explained some part of the situation I was put at ease. I'm still a little on edge cuz there's no weed here for anyone to chill out just drinks I can get a shot of J├Ąger on my lunch break at school make sense...no not really all I'm saying is a lil bit of bud never really killed anyone unless it was laced and here they take that stuff way too serious for my taste. So why even go thru the hassle having to worry about doing as much time in jail as someone with a gram of coke. I'm not gonna turn this blog into pothead paradise so I'll stop there. It still has me on edge and a lil bit more uptight then I probably should be, but it is what it is and I guess I'll just have to deal with it and hope for the best. I feel like Jay -Z on some true" hustlers always look down on potheads because smoking keeps you asleep" and on many levels it does. Hopefully I'll find some nice Baltic chic and I can get comfortable with her and show her my relationship side which can be a gift and a curse. All I can do is take it one day at a time and keep a level head about things. I gotta let the Facebook kinda die down a bit so send me a message if you want but keep the wall traffic to a minimum for the time being too many peeps want to know about this or that and in some ways I know someone is watching names need not be said. I think I'm gonna get something to shut down this cold or maybe take the day off tomorrow if I'm not feeling it I'm just not feeling it. Other than that safe travels my friends and it would be nice if there was some more feedback or questions people may or may not have about being in a place where you're the only one who looks like you.
I met a few black dudes at this party we had last week it sucks cuz they are from France or Finland and all the brothers back home know that shit don't count no disrespect or anything but they just ain't the same all pretty much clean cut and boring European types who don't seem to have that blackness I'm used to, that's part of the problem with our race I hate to say it but we ain't going to do anything really until we can accept each other for who we are. People say oh but you're black he's black nah man it's a difference and a good example of that is Africa how is anybody down there gonna get their stuff together when they are still killing each other over next to nothing some tribe did this 100 years ago so we gotta kill all of that tribe it's the same thing as gang violence on a much bigger scale all I'm saying is so what if we are different our skin color is the same and we need to start looking at each other the way we would our Brother. Look at the Koreans in the USA those mofos are always together at least 75% of the time and it doesn't matter they date Koreans for the most part and that's just the way it is. I went to Florida before I rolled over here and my man broke it down for me "I don't even look at black girls..." "all they want is a free ride and for you to be their baby's father" which in his case might be true honestly unfortunately he is right on many different levels I can honestly say I haven't dated a black girl since before the Towers dropped I'm not glamorizing it in any way but hey there's no black chics in the mid Atlantic that really look twice at a guy like me I worked in a grocery store and when u work somewhat lower jobs you attract chicken head hoes... Sad to say but white girls give a brother like me more play cuz they see who I am I guess instead of judging a book by it's cover they want to open the book and read all the chapters for good or bad. I'm gonna close it off like that I gotta get some food or something to knock me out so I can sleep good and feel better than I do today the weather is crazy right now out here like one day it's windy the next it's calm then it's raining then it's a mild evening like no wind 55-60 degrees like real flu weather. Oh yeah I almost forgot(there he goes again) I had the pleasure of going to a reggae party in the center of Tallinn and it was pretty dope they had a black chic come on stage and perform and it was good to see a sistah doin her thing she really ripped it, they had these Estonian rappers and they were getting mad love from the crowd I felt like being at the twilight zone back in Maryland in the late 90s when Blackstar performed they had a helluva show but there was a lot of that Baltimore hatred if you're not from there then u have no idea they really hate on anyone trying to come up in the rap game its sad but true. On that note back to the dorm I'll see y'all. BTW I got my Estonian phone number and I'm making moves...

The weekend that was or was it

Well I been here for two weeks and bam some dude on the bus with a bunch of drunk Estonians drops the N bomb. Oh well you gotta be like MLK out here and not the Brother Minister Malcolm. That was pretty like disturbing but in the back of my mind it had to happen sometime or another. Besides I been called Nigger since I lived in Florida so its always been there lingering around. I found out a day or two later that Nigger is a word for black in Estonian language...At the end of the day racism is too big of a problem for me to worry about it. A few days later I was in the computer lab at school and a guy came up to me and was like ''...so you're a real American?'' and I'm like yeah I guess. I automatically thought of the Hulk Hogan theme song ''I am a Real American''. I started hanging out with my tutor and a few other tutors from school, its good to hang out with some people a lil closer to my age, they seem nice and inviting for good conversations about relationships and well maybe a little gossip too, but its fun to know who is into who and what is into what. Other wise it would be sort of boring I'm not one to gossip really and people know that I go to my wits end to find out the truth before I say anything and if it isn't true then I don't mention it.
Now about the girls: being black does'nt really hurt your chances in the Baltic States, the Lithuanian girls are pretty nice and the Estonian girls love to stare and give a little smirk, the only trouble I'm having is finding out when it's appropriate to cross the line into-- like do u wanna go get some food or something? At the same time you do not wanna ruin a good thing when you have it going, so I'm kinda at a crossroads, the guys are gonna be jealous of you no matter how you act. I have had some good times in the bars with the girls dancing, that's another thing, the way we dance in the states is like basically sex on the dance floor, which is not how they do it over here unless you are actually with the girl you are dancing with. So your best bet is to just follow their lead and dance with the flow. I have found a ffew bars that have a dance floor and have a pretty good DJ Embassy Bar is one of these places, the only thing is that the club does'nt really jump off til about 12:30 or 1 am so going out can be cool but its best to do it in groups. The club doesnt literally end until about 4 am and at that point there is no Public Transportation and if you dont speak the language good luck with the cabs. You can call them and the price will be about half of what you will pay if you take a standing cab, go figure but some cabs will totally rip you off if you let them. Either way being black you should probably be in a group of people after a certain hour because it can be a toss up for your safety and your humility.
After my last run in with a cab driver I tried to give my address I got frustrated and totally walked home which from the city center is an hour long wake give or take 10 minutes but it gets shorter every time you walk it. I was just informed that its time for class sorry to leave ya hangin but you get the point.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Freedom Square

This is a major landmark in the center of Tallinn. I can feel it getting colder and colder...

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Here goes nothing

Another week is underway here in Tallinn and I gotta tell you guys this place is growing on me slowly but surely. I am starting to take different busses and getting around town is getting easier and easier, if you ask me simplicity is the norm out here. Other than the free wifi which is just about everywhere in the city center it seem like people have a good grasp of what they need.  Overall its more about what you need and not what you want.  I still dont have TV and I'm just about done with this Jay-Z book so my reading selection is about to be resduced to the suggested readings of my professors, I hope they are good books but as long as its media related it should be good for me, I dont read much but when I do it is books that I can relate to or am interested in but I will tell you that I havent read this much in my life back home I only really read books on the toilet or skimmed thru something here and there, but here time is of the essence and I got a heluva lot of it on my hands.
I don't wanna turn this blog into a movie critic blog which those of you who know me, know I can do that pretty easy if I wanted to. But I saw  Lars Von Tier's newest  movie last night called Melahoolia with Kirsten Dunst, Keifer Sutherland and the kind of ugly kind of sexy chic from The Science of Sleep, visually it was pretty stunning, the sound was great and the actors performances were pretty remarkable.  We had a group assignment to watch the film in a group take a picture with your group and write a short review about the movie.  I was the only American in the group and I was also the only one who didn't really like the movie overall.  If you are planning on seeing the movie then you should probably stop reading this right now and flick back to Facebook or something. I was not thrilled by the tone of the film which as you can tell with the title Melanhoolia (Melancholy)it would be pretty sad, well that's exactly what I got from it, Kirsten Dunst plays some depressed chic who brings everyone around her some form of depression, she's like a parasite eating away at anyone trying to have a good time, add to that the whole end of the world theme and there's your movie. It just was long and dragged on to me and I just couldn't get into the movie like that.  There is no explanation for her depression other than the possibility that it could have been hereditary based on the actions of her mother.  Add to that she is the only person in her family with an American accent and you can kinda see where I'm going with this.  Bottom line is if you wanna see a movie with good visuals and sound go for it, but if you need more of a story with some explanation and tying of loose ends then you probably should just go see something else, oh yeah BTW the movie is like 2.5 hours long which is too long for my ass to be sitting in the theater waiting for more to happen.  My group members saw different they could relate to certain parts of the film as with the wedding in the first act and they liked the style-- Danish Minimalism style on a larger scale with actors they were accustomed to seeing in this or that or the other.  The girls I think were more entranced with Kirsten Dunst who bared all with class I might add and of course''Jack Bauer''. But for me I just needed more you have all this going on and at the same time nothing is really going on.  Overall it was an interesting take on the end of the world and for that I can say hey it was OK.
That picture up there is my dinner from a few nights ago tomatoes with Mozzarella and olive oil peper and some slices of turkey, it turned out a lot better than I thought it would.  I think I'm gonna go check out Mullholland Drive tonight at the theater and see what the deal is, its always good for me to see a David Lynch film over and over again because each time I see one of his films I get a different take o it, that and the fact that I am totally in love with Naomi Watts...Until next time y'all be cool.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Weekend came and went without a hitch

It was a good weekend I guess overall aint much happened, just trying to keep it level headed with the news I been getting from people around the world but I wont go into detail.  The place seems to be getting easier and easier to get around.  The center of town is usually full of life and action.  I went out Saturday on my own...yeah not the best idea. I went back to a bar that I had been to the night before, to find them playing hip hop music and fortunately there was no Weezy which if anyone knows me I couldn't ask for much more, just tired of hearing that shit is all. I'm no hater well for the most part I'm not whatever you do is what you do, but lets face it the guy kinda lacks a certain content I am used to something other than money and drugs or whatever, I'm just fed up with hearing that shit, the world is bigger than what he is talking about, but enough about him. The bar was alright my only mistake was coming out too early like 11pm is early, the bars don't get going till like 12 or 1 which where I come from is coming up on the end of the night + I been not going out at hOMe so I could afford to do this.  So going out here couldn't be possible if I went out all the time at hOMe. I just gotta get used to the whole way they do things here, like staying out till 4 is normal when at hOMe we are back at the crib by like 2.30-3.00 on the average I guess. But since I was't going out this is all a refresher course for me.
Soon enough I should have my BFM(Baltic Film and Media)ID card which will let me get into movies for free, well of course not all movies you idiots, but certain art house theaters let students go for free. The movies are usually a lil bit old but if you know me you know I'm down to see just about erything. The computer lab has been my savior without it I would be extremely uptight and worrisome, today for the first hour I was here I was watching NFL highlights of course on www.NFL.com cuz that  effing espn.com is such a rip off when it comes to highlights I mean c'mon man 30 seconds for highlights are you kidding me? I kinda boycott espn now, they gotta step their online highlights up and would it hurt to put a few shows on your site for the Americans abroad? I miss PTI and tuning into Sprtsnation from time to time or even a little bit of that show before PTI, I cant remember the name of it and it's killing me right now, but lets face it that show hasn't been the same since Max Kellerman left, oh yeah ''Around the Horn''.
They printed our class schedule and split us up into sections but its confusing, whats so hard about printing out a schedule for us that says hey this is when your class starts this is the room number this is your teacher and this is when the class meets instead there is some spread sheet with days and times and then it says except for this day or that day, its really confusing, one of the professors went to Lithuania to teach in a cross educational program so he gave us a project to complete on our own and its like pulling teeth to get the group members to do the project all we have to do is go to the movies watch it talk about it take a picture and write a 3 paragraph evaluation of the film, of course I get stuck writing the shit cuz I'm American but I'm really thinking about muffing the whole thing up and being like ''sorry guys, I guess I just suck at writing in my own language'' and that will be the end of me writing for everyone... Until next time yall be good fellas.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

drinkin the night away

Anybody who knows me knows I don't drink.  But last night there was a Pub Crawl for International students and I couldn't resist the temptation to finally see what Estonian night life was all about...It was filled with funny and intriguing tasks our group lost to another group but if you ask me it was rigged. We had to crawl and dance into bars get phone numbers and other stupid shit that the drunker you got the funner it was. I drank at about 90% of the bars but I know my limits and I was at capacity, you know tipsy but not stupid drunk.  Some of my friends back home well theres no nice way to put it they over do it, theres a difference between getting drunk and slobbering on yourself and well I was at neither level. I don't like the feeling of the room spinning or feeling like I'm gonna throw up shit man I'm 30 years old I don't have time for that shit anymore.
After the game was over I hung out with my tutor and some of her friends she was hosting for the night in her place, we went to a few other bars and shit and one of them had  youtube set up where if you requested them to play a song they would youtube it and play it I walked in and ''Black and Yellow'' was blasting, say what you want about Whiz but a motherfuckin hit is a motherfuckin hit no matter how u suckas slice it.  After that we went to a karaoke bar and I gotta tell you I listened to some pretty horrible renditions of some classic American Songs, I was tempted to get up there and do a song by Madonna(Borderline) but by then the alcohol wore off and I was not about to go on stage and make a fool of myself on my first true night out in Estonia. I couldn't get a cab so I crashed on the couch which was alright I couldn't get to sleep cuz my stomach was empty and the first world in me wont allow me to go to sleep hungry call it what you want. The night was fun and I had a blast, I just cant do it every night like that only lets say once a week max twice. The bars were cool here and the atmosphere can be pretty inviting, we did walk down a few seedy side streets where there seemed to be some not so nice action going on out there like people about to fight or just some drunken bull shit that I am definitely not gonna be a part of.
After I woke up I got some much needed McDonalds 1€ items which hit the spot just some nuggets and a coke, came back to my room and crashed.  It seems as though I might start going out a lil more especially with this light class load after the first week, and oh yeah I'm still working on that resident permit which will determine whether or not I'll be here or back home in time for the NFL playoffs, about 90% of me wants to stay but if I don't get the permit then it wasn't meant to be and at least the NFL season will be at home waiting for me, yall be cool cuz I know I am out here in the Baltic's...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

The days are getting shorter and shorter...

Hey all. Another day has gone by here in Tallinn and it seems as though my professor sure as hell was not lying about losing about 15 minutes everyday.  The weather is getting more and more Danish as with the grey skies in the morning and brief rays of sun beaming through at various points in the day.  I walked and took some pictures through out the town and I am getting into the swing of things slowly but surely. I had an in front of camera interview today which was pretty interesting I was asked to recite a poem that I could remember and I went with my man Langston Hughes' DREAMS:
                       
                       Hold fast to dreams for if dreams die
                       Life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly
                       Hold fast to dreams for if dreams go
                       Life is a  barren field frozen with snow.

Its stuck with me since the 5th grade, it holds true to this day follow your dreams who cares about the rest of life without dreams there is no life, well that's my opinion anyway. If you don't like it then hey you just don't get it. It seems as though I might have a little more experience working with cameras and editing and so forth than some of the other kids but I know my skills need some polishing. I just wanna be able to make quality videos and movies and stuff who cares if I never get a job I'm doing what I love screw the rest.  I haven't been out much only to school and to the dorm and maybe thats for the better at this point but as I get more in tune with all that there is around me I'm sure I'll be hanging out in bars and clubs or what have you.  Here are a few pics I took over the past few days just walking around finding interesting shots to take here and there I'm no professional photographer or anything but I have been told I take some pretty good pictures...

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Classes smashes blashes passes

Classes started and its on. Visual conception seems pretty interesting the professor reminds me of Mick Foley the motivational speaker played by Chris Farley on Saturday Night Live back in the 90's.  Today we had a class and my man Obama came up and the kids seemed pretty respectful maybe cuz I'm the only black dude in the class, but its really nothing new coming from Howard County MD, that was pretty common especially if you had an honors class or two...Anyway I'm still waiting for it to get cold and shit but for now I'll enjoy the weather the way it is. I'm walking everywhere and I should be in excellent runner shape for my return to that Charmie Life(Insider term) last night we had an Estonian dinner which was pretty heavy a lotta meats and potatoes, they told me to make an American dinner next time and thats cool Im just gonna fry up some chicken wings and some collard greens if I can find them.  Overall it might not be such a bad idea if I never went home again(just kidding)I miss Ben and Jerrys and late night runs to Wendy's but most of all I miss my family and friends too much to stay away, I really don't miss Weezy being played 10x's a day on the radio or The debacle that is Whole Foods Market&of course silly ass Fox News still thinking its relevant for anything more than laughs... We had a cross media class today and it was pretty insightful mostly shit I knew but just didn't know the technical terms that were being used all I could do was take notes and listen the teachers don't seem to seek me out but that should all change once I get into the swing of things. I'm trying to keep a low profile in the classes for now-- no need to draw attention to myself for the time being, I feel like Mao just sit back and wait for a comeback for now. I went to the store today and as my professor stated ''Just going to buy butter can be an experience'' I still gotta get my ID cards and all that shit in order so I can start taking advantage of the benefits that come with the cards like free movies and discounts on the public transportation and all that good stuff.  If anyone reading this knows me I'm mainly concerned about the free movies.  The language is getting more normal to me but when u get here at first its Ewok talk buddy Ewok talk... Until next time signing off from Tallinn.

Monday, September 5, 2011

I made it

So  I made it to Tallinn and let me tell you this place is on some other ish.  The transportation is sick and the town is alright, its gonna take some getting used to and some documents need to be sent here or there or wherever before I am granted the Estonian Temporary residence card.  I got to the airport and there was no customs at all really. I was greeted by my tutor and went to my dormitory where the room is small but manageable.  I am supposed to get a roommate soon but I wouldn't count on it not too many foreigners would be thrilled to see a black guy living in a room with them especially if they aren't used to seeing my kind like ever. Its cheap to go to the movies which is good for me cuz I'll see just about anything, I already saw Midnight in Paris which is a pretty solid movie to see first in a new country, I had second thoughts but when I saw the poster with Owen Wilson all alone in the city of lights I thought to myself I'm alone in Tallinn too so why not!  Apparently its gonna get real dark real quick in a few weeks so I'm prepping myself for that.  Other than that the food is alright I had some french fries and fried chicken balls for like 4€ and that included the coke.  Here's a hint if you order a coke you get one coke don't go guzzling it down cuz each one you drink costs...I learned that in Denmark BTW. Get your coke and chill with it til the food comes, a lotta people wanna know about Mc Donalds well I'll tell you about it, the WI FI is free and the Mc Chicken is a slam dunk its almost made to order which means you are eating Mc Donalds the way it was meant to be eaten-FRESH to Def, its always busy and the people on the register almost always speak <english.
THe Estonian language sounds like something out of a Star Wars movie but its alright and bearable to listen to once you get used to it.  My only problem is that most of the girls are extremely attractive which can be a serious distraction, during some of the orientation I said to myself they need to get someone fugly up there so I can pay a little more attention...
Signing off til next time be cool and dont get so frustrated with someone who does not speak English in the states asks you for some help be nice cuz you never know when your'e gonna be a stranger in another country.