I arrived into Tallinn's International airport around 1pm this afternoon. The first thing I noticed was the snow. The feet of snow. Apparently in my attempt to avoid any information regarding Estonia's history I foolishly avoided the weather forecast as well. Very foolish indeed.
After the initial shock of the weather I made my way to the main terminal. Having no knowledge of my current surroundings my mind went into overdrive trying to liken the people, the language and the atmosphere to some past experience as a means of trying to make sense of everything.
From Tallinn I began my four and a half hour journey to Mooste. Mooste is a tiny village of 500 residents, 35 km outside of Tartu and can only be reached by the occasional bus. From the very moment I entered into the country hours ago, one thing has been painfully apparent. There are no people of color. Living in London for the last year and a half I've become accustomed to hearing seven different languages and seeing nine shades of brown during the short trip from my front door to the closest tube station.
However, this lack of diversity became somewhat comical when I finally reached Mooste. Siiri, the program's coordinator met me at the bus stop from which the facilities are a brief ten minute walk. During our walk back the local children, clad in coats, snow boots and scarves all stopped in their tracks as they saw me and Siiri approach. I can only imagine what a mystical creature I seemed to them with dark skin and an easy grin. Siiri laughed at their expressions and we continued on our trek.
Once we reached MoKs facilities Siiri began showing me around the beautifully restored historic building. As we made our way room to room we began to notice children peeking in the windows at us, following our progress throughout the first floor. Siiri again, almost as apology explained, "for many of them, they've never seen someone like you." That's when I knew I picked the perfect place to have a residency.