26 April 2015

Honourable mention: Supilinna lapsed

This morning I recalled that I left out one of the best parts of yesterday. I met up with a friend who mentioned that a little girl with a whole lot of hustle had tried to sell him some things, in English, but he had neglected to bring cash so he couldn't buy anything. Naturally my response was: Take me to this girl! She was seated on the ground in the fleamarket area and had a tiny setup with her wares on some cloth in front of her. I'm guessing she was about ten years old. She asked if we'd like to buy something in Estonian, so I replied yes, in English. "Would you like some tea?" "No, thank you, what else do you have?" "I have kirju koer, it's a kind of chocolate cake." "Okay, two pieces please. How much is it?" "It's one euro. It should be very delicious, because this year is the first time I made it with extra butter!"

And my heart melts. As if it were made with extra butter too.

There were numerous performances by children, but I loved this one's spunk. This is just a few seconds, but the whole song was treated to his energetic accompanying steps and giving the vocals his all.

And, finally, the big swing, which is actually the village swing (küla kiik), in action.

25 April 2015

Supilinna päevad

There's a district in Tartu that has its own website. It also has a flag. Maybe other districts do too, but anyway, Supilinn (soup town) is where I was today for their street festival. Something about it made it the best day in Tartu in two years. In part, it was definitely due to all the effort everyone put into their small stage performances and stalls for both selling and activities. Without a doubt the most gorgeous spring weather contributed. But then, these things are never quite objective, so it probably also had something to with my departure from Estonia that is drawing near (just under two months) and some kind of bittersweet nostalgia making itself known in advance.

If I hadn't already known it, today once again provided evidence: Estonians are urhipsters – original hipsters. They were hipsters before being a hipster was a thing. I mean, I suspect so. I wasn't here then, but the signs are clear. As a supporting aside, I should actually lead with the following story. Quite some time ago I attended a Spanish evening where an Estonian who had lived in Spain for a while talked about her experiences there, and her boyfriend, a Spaniard now living in Estonia, told us about his experiences in Estonia thus far. Of course Spain was the focus, but in the end it was a rather enlightening comparison, and both countries were treated with a 'home eye' and a 'foreign eye'. The Spaniard pointed out the pride Estonians take in their national identity, including the love of everything related to folk traditions and dress. He reported regularly seeing young people in Viljandi who look like folk hipsters, somehow managing to be mega cool and super folksy-patriotic.

Today's event was basically an embodiment of that wise observation in street festival form, with the qualification that you don't need a nation to be folksy-patriotic – a city district will do just fine.

We caught a Curly Strings rehearsal sneak peek as we arrived, so we embarked on some rounds before the performance.

The first ridiculously tasty discovery was some cabbage pie. That might sound weird, but trust me, it worked. This country is all about pastry/pie kind of thingies, including vegetable types, and they know how to do it. We didn't stop for chess, but I took a moment to capture some of the plein air painters.

The big swing. A must-have for folksy locations.

We returned to the stage to be entertained by the Curly Strings' Supillin song. So, the tally is: website, flag, song. And then there was Silver Sepp's performance that stretched the possibilities of what you can sample to loop for your accompaniment, and, by the way, the possibilities include the crowd. "Everybody! One more time!"

The river was a contributing action-packed zone – rowers, jet skis, short tours on old wooden boats – as I made my way back up with another friend to see everything and eat some more. Two thumbs up for the falafel wraps (not pictured).

Apparently we need to be able to fend off wolves and... goats.

Blacksmiths have mad skills. Two bicycles are better than one. Sequenced hats totally rule. And the police lion collected some high fives.

We toured up one street to see what Stencibility 2015 had delivered.

The Supilinn flag adorns a house in matching colours.

I don't think you can legally have this kind of event without some people slacklining (saw it, but not pictured) and doing some acro moves.

This conversation went something like: "You look like homemade." "Yes, I'm trying to show that I belong here in Supilinn and that I'm not actually from Annelinn." My thoughts: it's working.

P.S. Folksy-patriotism at the national level, as posted once upon a time when I wrote for the University of Tartu student blog: [ 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 ].