And again I forgot my tune yesterday. Something must be wrong with me.

But here it is - Bobby McFerrin's song The Garden (here's the long version of it and here's the short version). It's one of the most beautiful tellings of the Creation narrative. I especially like the last line, it always makes me smile.

And there was day and there was night
There was dark and there was light

There was the earth, there was the sky
And there in the tree there crawled a lie

There in Eden, there was good
There in the garden where the Tree of Life stood

There the snake was, there the pain
And we're tryin' to get back to the garden again

There was fire, there was rain
There was talk, there was shame

They were moanin', they were cryin'
But there still is a glimmer in the Big Man's eye

If I could meet any musician in the world, I think the first one would probably be Bobby McFerrin, unless I have a sudden crush on, say, Josh Groban which isn't very likely to happen (although I think everyone should follow him on Twitter, the guy is absolutely hilarious). I believe B. M. is a genius who's only used his music for good. There's so much goodness and light in his songs, and he's one of those few people who can make a bunch of random people from the audience sing like a choir in about 20 seconds. Sometimes I just watch him making magic and I believe in the power of music all over again. My favourite videos of his performances are probably this one (the expression on those scientists' face is simply priceless) and this one (sometimes I actually sing this to myself when I walk on the street, the world is so much cooler that way) and also that one.


Sometimes the smallest things can make you happy.

When it comes to taking care of house plants, I've been a disaster my whole life. I think I've killed every single plant I've ever tried to take care of. We - me and plants - probably developed some kind of mutual resentment so I wasn't even overtly sad when I had to throw out another orchid because it had died. They probably weren't overtly sad either when they left the building. Feelings were mutual.


My uncle paid my mum a surprise visit sometime in the beginning of December, just a few days before she was taken to hospital. And he brought this big and beautiful poinsettia with him. After mum left and especially after she passed away I was the one who had to start taking care of the plants in the house, including this poinsettia. And for the first time in my life I was DESPERATE about keeping a plant alive. I got really worried when a leaf dried and fell, I made sure I watered it often enough, I even bought some fertiliser because I needed I needed I needed this plant to survive. But my main strategy has been staring. I stare at the plant every single day, sometimes with a concerned and sometimes with a stern expression on my face. (Girl Who Stares at Plants) And it works, I think the poinsettia just doesn't dare to die.

And that's what has happened to it. It's not only alive, the thingy is actually growing!

And my orchids have also resurrected. They looked really sad over the winter but now they're all blossoming and everything. That must be the first time in my life!

Orchid the Survivor
More flowers on the way!
I tell you. The smallest of things. :)


I had my last free Sabbath yesterday. It was just a tiny bit sad to know that it was the last time for a while when I could go for a long walk on the seaside and read a good book (John Ortberg - I like this guy more and more) and sunbathe in our backyard on a Sabbath. Ah, lazy life, you will be missed!

Next week this time I'll be dressed up and preaching in Tartu church.

But I was looking for hymns this morning that could go with my sermon next week and as I asked my dad about couple of songs, he was like, "What are you doing?" "Uhmm, I'm organising the Sabbath morning service for next weekend." And he's like, "No-one writes a sermon nor looks for hymns for next Saturday's service on SUNDAY morning." Haha! Then I realised that maybe I've been looking forward to working again a bit more than I'd like to admit it. Because it's true - usually I don't start writing my sermons on Sunday.

The only thing I can say in my defense is that I haven't preached for more than four months now. And there's this sermon in me that has been trying to get out for a while. So I just had to sit down today and put it on paper. It's about John the Baptist and the terrible tragedy of his life and his question about who Jesus was and Jesus' reply, "Blessed in the man who doesn't fall away on account of me." Or in my modern translation, "Blessed is the person whose faith doesn't depend on their circumstances, blessed is the person who holds on to JC, whatever suffering or confusion might come their way. Blessed is the person who doesn't walk away when the Messiah turns out to be different from their picture of Him."

I just have to preach this sermon.


You never know when you bump into a celebrity these days. #streetart


Wednesday's Tune

I was so excited about Easter yesterday I forgot to post a song. My bad.

I haven't posted much Christian music in my blog (only Take 6, I think) as if it didn't exist. But it does exist. So I think for the next month or so I'll share with you some Christian songs that have meant a lot for me.

I have to start with Josh Garrels (people who know me well know I couldn't start with anyone else haha). I've listened to him so much over the past years it's just nuts. I think I'm Josh Garrels crazy or something. Seriously. For example - I only have one album, his Love & War & The Sea In Between on my mp3-player. Which means that I only ever listen to J. G. when I go jogging. And I go jogging a lot. You wouldn't believe but that's what actually happened last summer - I usually started my run with one of my favourite songs, with Farther Along or Beyond The Blue. And when I had done that for long enough I realised I knew exactly in which location I would be when one song ended and the other one started (one would end when I turned towards the beach, the other one would end somewhere near benches in the park, the next one when I would turn back from the river side, etc). I knew how many songs I could listen to on my 5km runway. And by the end of the summer I could tell that I had got fitter and faster because the songs changed in different places compared to spring. I really am J. G. crazy.

But my favourite song isn't from that album. I think my all time favourite is his Zion & Babylon. Sometimes I just read these lyrics. There's almost too much truth in those 4,5 minutes. Awesome.


Happy birthday, S., õnne ja teisi ilusaid sõnu! Thumbs up for awesome older brothers. ^_^

We spent our Easter in a rather nontraditional way this year. On Sunday morning we armed ourselves with rakes, saws and axes, and drove to our summerhouse up in the Northern Estonia. We have a little old cottage there in the middle of woods. The thing is that no-one has had neither time nor energy to go there since mum got sick last August and it's not hard to imagine what such a long break does to a garden - it looked more like a thicket than a garden. So we spent two days there, fingers in the soil, fighting the curse of thorns and thistles.

And it gave me time to think about all kinds of stuff.

I thought about Easter. Just a few weeks ago I read a book where the author was wondering why on earth would Mary confuse Jesus for a gardener on that epic Easter Sunday morning. You know, it's not very likely that gardeners back in the day walked around with bright white spotless robes and shiny faces. So maybe Jesus looked a little different compared to how we usually picture him in this scene. Maybe Mary mistook him for a gardener because he looked, I don't know, messier than we think, maybe she thought He was a gardener because on that early hour he still got dirt under his fingernails. Dirt of his tomb, dirt of mankind.

As I was thinking about it, working hard in my own garden, with some literal dirt and some not so literal dirt under my fingernails, I liked that idea very much. It made me like Jesus even more (although I didn't think it was possible for me to like him more than I already did). And it made me like Easter even more.

Χριστός νέστη. Αληθώς νέστη.


Family Time

S. has turned into a backstreet boy. :P
S. & H. Lovebirds.
With K. Cafe date and identical haircuts.
Some sunshine!
H. on the beach.
Easter has brought our family together again which is great - it's been almost two months since we all saw each other. We've had some great time. And yet I can't wait until the day when I can show death my middle finger (I won't use that expression in any of my Easter sermons). But it's alright. That day is already on its way. Christ is risen, life has triumphed.


"I find that Holy Week is draining; no matter how many times I have lived through his crucifixion, my anxiety about his resurrection is undiminished - I am terrified that, this year, it won't happen; that, that year, it didn't. Anyone can be sentimental about the Nativity; any fool can feel like a Christian at Christmas. But Easter is the main event; if you don't believe in the resurrection, you're not a believer." - John Irving


Eat Pray Love

It's been a few days now since I got back from Newbold, from my Eat Pray Love trip. It's impossible to sum it all up in a few words but I'm going to give it a try nevertheless.

It was undoubtedly my most touching and emotional stay in Newbold so far. To be honest, I was astonished by my capacity to feel so much and by my boldness to actually go through all these emotions. Like I've said before, I felt a sense of great relief to see Newbold functioning so normally, almost untouched by my personal tragedies. And at the same time I couldn't (and couldn't have possibly) escape from encounters with the Great Darkness. I had a few - brief but violent - breakdowns which gave me an insight to a place so dark I can't even begin to describe it. (Now I understand people who do unexpected things because when you're in that place, all you can think of is how to put an end to that darkness. People find different ways of ending it.) I felt the sweet sensation of accomplishment. I felt unconditional acceptance. I saw some of my friendships soar, simple acts and words of love in a park or library enriching my life immensely. I could feel others' pain. I witnessed the life of one of my dear friends being violently disrupted and turned upside down just in a few hours. I experienced some people willingly open up their hearts and lives and letting me closer. I experienced the pain of seeing some important relationships slipping through my fingers, despite the best intentions to preserve them. And I felt the pain and joy of making myself vulnerable in a way I'd never done before.

In short, I experienced life in all its misery and glory. I lived. And I guess it's true what they say - that only in suffering we become really human. Only by losing our life we truly find it.


Claude Debussy, Claire de Lune. Probably one of the most beautiful piano pieces ever written.


So much stuff has happened over the past week, I haven't been able to catch my breath and write about everything yet. So it's time for some catch-up now.

I had my long-awaited nerd date with Dr A. N. in London last Monday. She took a group of church kids to the British Museum and invited me to join them. She told them I was her assistant - haha, I don't think I fooled anyone though, I walked around the museum with my mouth opened in amazement, clearly knowing nothing about archaeology. The highlight of that tour for me was definitely seeing the Rosetta stone, oh my, for a second I turned into a linguist all over again and gazed at the ultimate symbol of the study of languages with a blissful expression on my face. THE Rosetta stone, right in front of me. I almost got emotional.

And then we let the kids go and had a lunch at Wagamama and it was such an awesome time. We talked just about everything (nerdy stuff, that is). There was this moment when we were discussing something about orality and the Scriptures, and I was like, yea yea, I recently read this book for my thesis about the oral tradition. I mentioned the book. And she's like, 'Oh no, that is so outdated by now'. I wanted to cry. I tried, I really tried to impress her. No. Don't. It doesn't work. Don't ever try to impress someone like Dr A, you only end up depressing yourself. [sigh]

And then we were back to the museum and went to see the special viking exhibition. Naturally, she's got the museum's VIP member card so we got to walk in without even having to queue. Ah, like bosses! By the time we made our way through vikings' countless coins and jewels and swords, it was evening and time to depart. Such an awesome day.

But what impresses and touches me the most about experiences like this is the whole mentoring thing. Like, I'm no-one. And I don't deserve any of her time. And yet she takes time to hang out with me and to teach me and to give me priceless advice. It's like she invests in me as a mentor. And that is a priceless experience. Maybe one day when I'm much older and much wiser, I'll get to pay it forward, maybe I too will be able to pick some young kid and share my wisdom with her/him. Because, honestly, having someone mentor you like this can change your life, quite literally. Beautiful.


Yesterday evening. Me and B. have scheduled our last tea date in Stags before I leave. He gets to Stags a lot earlier than me, I'm late. As I come to the pub, I'm rather annoyed to see that he's sitting at a table with two strangers, having a lively conversation with them. 'I wonder when are these people going to leave' is my first selfish thought. But they don't seem to be in a hurry so I sit down next to B. who introduces me to them - to an elderly father and a son (in mid thirties maybe?) who've come to the pub for an evening drink. The young guy has clearly had too many drinks and that makes me a bit uncomfortable. When he hears that I too am a theology student, he has a slightly ironic expression on his face for a moment, then he continues his conversation with B. So I start talking to the father who turns out to be a wonderful and witty man, a life-long journalist and a devoted husband and father. And before I know it, we're engaged in a serious conversation about life and stories, history and marriage, life goals and theology. He seems to be completely taken aback by the quality of our exchange of thoughts (you know, who would have guessed - in a pub, with a random Eastern European girl...) as I'm getting more and more excited about our conversation. Then B. leaves for couple of minutes and there's this awkward moment when the son just looks at me and listens to me talking to his father. He's clearly drunk by now.
And then he shoots.
'How would you treat an atheist?'
My jaw just drops. What?!
'Yea, how would you treat an atheist?'
'Uhmm, like one human being should treat another human being.'
'So you've got no problem with atheists?'
'No, I don't have any problems with atheists, with people who've lived and made observations about life and the world, who've seriously thought about things, who've made up their mind and who've come to the opposite conclusion compared to me. But I do have a problem with people who go through life without ever making up their mind about matters of such great consequence. As our friend of old has said, an unexamined life is not worth living.'
Silence. He looks at me again. And smiles.
After that we we're best buddies.
An hour later, which means many laughs and serious questions and witty answers later, with the number of glasses (or tea cups in my case) rapidly increasing on our table, we depart with words most warm and friendly. They declare it to be a great loss for this fine country to lose me to Estonia in two days, I promise to be back as soon as possible and look for them whenever I come to Stags again.
As we step outside with B., we just laugh. It's this happy and surprised kind of laughter.
'I think these two guys restored my faith in human kind a bit tonight,' I say.
And we walk back to Newbold.
Beautiful encounters.


First of all, today's tune. Take 6, A Few More Miles. It was sometime last week when S. called and congratulated me for finishing my Paper and I told him how much I missed calling my mum and letting her know about it. Then he dedicated this song to me (probably the first time anyone has ever done something like this). And then on Sunday afternoon on our way to Reading he played it again. It seems like this song has become the soundtrack of my life these days. And I need it to be my soundtrack. I need to be reminded that there's an end to pain and heartache because Home isn't far away. Just a few more miles to go.


And now a few words need to be said about the last weekend. I think it came quite close to being epic. S.'s birthday party was great, and I felt honored to sit at the pastors' table. And then "after the party comes the afterparty"... Afterparty was truly memorable, it contained a lot of, uhmm, London. And there's something very special about partying with friends until the early hours of Sunday morning! You know what I mean, S. - thank you for organising such a memorable night! [rolling my eyes] And also, thank you for the Sunday morning and for honoring me with the responsibility of toasting bread. If I go back home and practice really hard in the kitchen, will you let me chop onions next time?

I need to stop now. Too much sarcasm, too much sarcasm.

But it's cool. We love you, S. :)


I submitted my dissertation yesterday morning. I had sent it to Dr V. the night before and by the time I woke up yesterday he had already got back to me and made his final comments. Man, I didn't even have time for breakfast or anything, I FLEW to the library to get it done. An hour later I clicked the Submit button on Turnitin.

It's still hard to get my head around the fact that it's finished now.

The first thing I felt I had to do was to write Dr V. I almost got emotional and stuff, I thanked him for his supervision and guidance and said it had been a pleasure working with him. He suddenly seems a lot less scary now that I know he won't be sending me any more comments, haha! After lunch he wrote me back and was so very nice. He finished his email by saying, 'I advise you to consider PhD studies'. Ah, if he only knew!

I sat in the caf yesterday evening all by myself (because B.'s so busy and important he doesn't have time to hang out with me any more) and got sentimental. I still remember my first evening in Newbold 3,5 years ago. Back then I had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into. And how much sweat and tears it would all require. But I'm here now. I feel I've conquered this place (and this I say without any arrogance). I feel I've won.


A random question - who's reading this blog from China? I'm just curious. :)


Happiest of birthdays S., my dear friend! You deserve a great day. See you soon!


Tuesday's Tune

Today's tune comes from an Irish guy with a name James Vincent McMorrow. It's his song We Don't Eat that I'm listening to right now. Listen to his voice. And the piano bit...

We don't eat until your father's at the table
We don't drink until the devil's turned to dust
Never once has any man I've met been able to love
So if I were you, I'd have a little trust

What does this even mean?


I'm not very good at losing, like, losing important people.