Me jamming to tunes during a painting session.
It's hard to believe that my short time here in Mooste is coming to an end. Today was my last full day in the town and strangely I am very sad to leave.
The day started like any other, except when I left my bedroom I found a number of artists and Moks members in sleeping bags in the lofted area outside my door. The sea of tie dye and the lingering aroma of green tea reminded me of Occupy Wall Street or St. Paul's. I noiselessly made my way downstairs to make my morning porridge where I was greeted by a few of the girls from last night's dinner who'd spent the night.
The morning and afternoon came and went without much event, until Patrick (an American who has lived in Estonia for the past several years) asked if it was okay if a reporter came to see my paintings. Since I set up my pieces last night there has been a steady stream of people to come see the works I've produced during my residency. Unanimously, they seem taken aback when I reveal that I have created all nine paintings over the past week and a half. When I confirmed this to the reporter he too seemed impressed, but I am always aware quantity does not necessarily mean quality.
A little later I decided to take advantage of my last day and took a walk "around town." The walk lasted 20 minutes, walking slowly. There is something so charming in this untouched part of Estonia. During my walk I saw one girl and a small dog- independent of each other. Though the day was overcast, everything around you is bright with white crisp snow and if it were not for the trees on the horizon you wouldn't be able to tell were the fields ended and the sky began. The isolated nature of this tiny town makes it seem that all time is suspended and the world outside of Moks doesn't exist.
Like clockwork Margeri paid her daily visit. This time bringing me peanuts- not sure why, but I opened them graciously and we shared them over our English/Estonian conversation (occasionally assisted by Google Translate). When she left she gave me a big hug and said what I gathered as "bye and take care," in Estonian.
As the afternoon melted into the evening I busied myself with finishing my book. As I sat in the kitchen trying to remember the three simple steps to using a French Press to make coffee Siim came in. Not one for many words, I was a bit surprised he stopped by. I offered him a cup of coffee, which we had to drink black because of the lack of sugar and milk- luckily He was a sport about it. Last night at the opening I gave him the name of an graphic/graffiti artist that he might be interested in. Over the next hour we talked about art, work and other interests. It was fun to have a nice evening chat and the perfect end to my stay.
Though I came to rural Estonia in an attempt to capture the potential racial tensions of entering a place which such a lack of diversity, I have been met with nothing but warmness and generosity. Yes, people were curious about me because I looked different, but never felt uncomfortable or unwelcome. Siiri would often relay to me what some of the locals would say after I'd met them. She'd laugh at their comments of how "tall and pretty" I was. When I asked her candidly about their comments, never did she report back any ill comments or impressions even when I pressed her. This experience has been wonderful to learn about a different culture, be able to paint during every moment of the day if I wanted and to make good friends during my stay. I only wish to stay longer next time.