I forgot to tell you the story about how I went to book heaven. It was a few weeks back when my senior pastor told me someone who used to be our church member long ago wanted to donate part of his library to our church. Oh, that's very nice of him, I said and didn't give it a second thought. And then two days before I left for England all the office guys went to pick up the books. And I still didn't think much about it, even when they told me later that they had run out of boxes and they needed to go back the next day. It was only the next day that I realised they were talking about a LOT of books. So then I smuggled myself into that old man's place with the other guys to help carry the books... and I almost fainted. I think it was the biggest private library I had ever seen in my life. The whole apartment was just full of books. And he gave a small part of them to our church, which meant 3000 books. Like, three flippin' thousand books. So I sat in his living room in the middle of books and boxes and my senior pastor drew my attention to the fact that I kept saying 'Oh my days, oh my days' over and over again. I didn't even notice it myself haha. And man, there was everything. Just name it, it was there - Kierkegaard, Merton, Niebuhr, Schweitzer, Bonhoeffer, Karen Armstrong, Hybels, Lucado, early church fathers, Bultmann, Moltmann, Tillich, Hebrew lexicons and text books, Greek lexicons and text books, couple of sets of decent Bible commentaries, everything, everything. Madness. So now I have about 50 boxes with theological literature (mostly in English) on my attic, waiting for decent rooms and shelves. I feel like I never have to go to the library ever again haha!

But my rendesvouz with the attic library was interrupted by my Newbold visit and the books I got from there. I read two of the books last week which Dr A. N. gave me in England and I was very pleased to realise it was - phew! - real adult stuff she had given me. Some tough reading (one of them a terrible & terrific book about Vietnam war, the other one good ole G. G. Marquez). I'm glad she takes me seriously enough to recommend me such literature.


I've started noticing some moments in a very special way lately. Sometimes I have a tendency to define myself through my losses and failures. I think it's very human. We think too often about things we don't have any more or not yet. That's why I'm glad for moments which remind me how enormously much I still have in life. Over the past two weeks I've really been surprised by joy and by moments like...
- having an Operation Ice Cream with my senior pastor's 10 year old daughter
- sitting in my kitchen with my Bible and a cup of tea early in the mornings
- eating crepes with my cousin's family in a French cafe
- reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer's prison letters and wanting to marry him
- listening to my dad play the biggest organ in this country
- trying to trick my senior pastor to my living room with my office colleagues for a surprise birthday party
- having a surprisingly deep conversation with my little brother
- receiving a long and sweet letter from Dr A. N.
- starting a little writing project with a friend I thought had forgotten all about me
- getting the first sermon manuscript from my homiletics class student
There's a lot to thank the Almighty for.


And here are couple of bad quality pictures from my vacation. I haven't missed my camera as much I missed it in England this time.

The Isle of Wight in the distance
Lepe Beach
A postcard view


I'm back home after an epic week in the UK and in my head I'm doing all kinds of calculations as to how everything went and how I can sum up the whole experience. I might exaggerate here and there just a little but this is how my week in Newbold looked like in numbers.

It was:
- 1st time to visit the National Gallery with A. N.
- 5th time to preach at The Experience
- 76th time to go to Stags with a good friend on Friday afternoon
- 1st time to visit Downton Abbey
- 634th time to eat fruit salad in the caf on Friday evening
- 1st time to see a musical in London
- 786th time to take a beating in table tennis
- 1st time to sit on the Sabbath Sofa
- 100 000th time to sit at my desk in the library
- 1st time to give a public lecture
Not bad for one week, I reckon.


But the lecture then. I think it went well. I had never given a public lecture before and that made the whole preparation process quite long and exhausting but the event itself was thoroughly enjoyable. There were so many good people there, some whom I had invited and some I was hoping would come, plus some I didn't even dare to dream would/could show up. Like, just a little less than an hour before the lecture I ran into... B.! He just stood there, in front of the library, looking like young Cornel West with his big hair and white shirt. Man, I almost cried. B.! All the way from Norway! And on the top of my best friends there were a whole bunch of my old lecturers. Dr M. P. said to me afterwards it was the first time he's ever seen Dr A. N. showing up to the diversity lecture. It was really really touching. I truly felt their support. And yeah, that was it, I spoke for about 50 minutes and enjoyed myself. But as soon as I was finished, I was finished. The Q/A session afterwards was a bit too much (that happens when you go musical-ing in London the night before and get to bed way too late). There was a moment during the Q/A when I literally forgot the main term I had spoken about (cognitive linguistics), I actually tried to go back to my notes and find the term because it was totally gone from my head. That's when I realised I wasn't sharp enough for those questions. But thank goodness, A. N. and K. (bless them!) came to my rescue more than just once and helped me out with answers...

Some really good conversations happened after the lecture. Serious ones.

And when we finally finished talking (it was about quarter to eleven) and made our way out of the Smith Centre with S. and B. and H. and Dr M. P. & The Lady, for a brief moment I felt like I had really come home and had truly been myself. I hope the memory of this feeling will stay with me for a long time. I'll need it.

And in the end, when I went to bed after a midnight tea with S. and B. I thought about the whole day and couldn't think of one thing I wish had been different. It pretty much ended up being a perfect day. Wow.

Midnight tea with S. and B.


It's unbelievable how quickly one can get use to Newbold awesomeness. It's my third day here and today I've sat in the library working on my lecture, read a book in the student centre, had some counseling with The Lady, some chats with Dr A. N. and G. R. and also with P.K.B. who happens to be here today. And it almost feels like I never left this place... Home.

And one can get use to nerd dates rather quickly as well. It was our (mine & Dr A. N.'s) third or fourth outing yesterday and it seems like we've become professionals by now. The meeting place differs but the rest of it stays the same, and as far as I'm concerned, I hope these things never change. So yesterday we met up in the National Gallery in London as A. remembered I had mentioned something about my interest in French impressionists the last time we met in Oxford. And as it happened that there was a big new impressionists exhibition opened in the National Gallery, we naturally went there. Gosh, I have seen enough impressionists to last a life time, it seems. They were all lined up there - Renoir, Monet, Manet, Rodin, Cezanne, Pissarro, Degas, etc. Pure awesomeness. It took us about three hours to see the whole thing. Plus a quick visit to the permanent exhibition upstairs, just to see van Gogh's Sunflowers. I think I can die in peace now. Lol!

And after lunch in Soho, our next destination - bookshops. Too bad I hate shopping, I got tired of it way too quickly but still I had a chance to raid bookshops with the only person I know who reads 60+ books a year. Priceless! So all in all, with the books I bought yesterday and with some she brought me today (she said she had bought some, thinking of me - I found that terribly touching) I have six new books. And there's no-one whose reading recommendations I'd take more seriously than hers so I'm very much looking forward to start reading them asap.

But most of all I just enjoy talking to her. There are some things I can share with her and know for sure that she understands. Because she too is a theologian and a teacher from a far Nordic corner of the world, doing her thing and making an impact and serving God the best way she can. (and all that in the world ruled and dominated by men - I couldn't help adding it) She has no idea how much she inspires me.

I guess I want to be a little bit like her once I grow up.


They say pictures speak louder than words. So I let pictures speak for themselves today.

Only one thing I want to say - it's amazing what one day with children makes you do. :)

And one more thing. Christ is risen! He's alive!

Uhmm. Let's just say the Lent is over.
The pencils weren't sharp enough.
It's not every day that you get a picture of you drawn.
My Easter egg.
Coloring is the most calming activity in the world!
An Easter card I received.


My flatmate E. is leaving this weekend. She came to work as the conference president's personal assistant a month after I had started working in Tallinn church and it was quite obvious that we would share the church's apartment. But she only agreed to work here for a half a year before moving on with her life. And so it is that she's packing these days and visiting her family members for the last time because she's off to Scotland on Sunday. And it makes me really sad because it's been a fun time being here with her. I think we've influenced each other in a good way. She has made me eat properly. I got her hooked on Don Miller's books. Sounds like a good deal. :)

I don't know what will happen in downstairs office now. Like, stuff really got done thanks to her. And she made the whole office livelier and louder. I will miss hearing her and the conference president arguing and laughing next door. They always had something to argue about. Always. So I think until the new secretary arrives we'll have a chaos and anarchy in our office. And silence. So sad.

So yesterday evening we wished her all the best and had the last supper with her. My senior pastor (aka conference president), his wife, our new Bible worker A. and the Russian church pastor R., me and E. headed out and had some quality time together. Then later in the evening we played some indoors golf. But probably the sweetest thing that happened and stuck with me was us walking through the old town to the train station almost in the middle of the night, and as my senior pastor got on the train (his wife had left a few hours earlier), the rest of us formed a line outside the train and we got our handkerchiefs and tissues out of our coat pockets, and I guess we tried to revive a scene from an old romantic movie so we waved goodbye and farewell, but we all laughed so hard no-one could have ever guessed it was a bunch of pastors fooling around late in the evening. And I thought to myself, gosh, such people! I could die for them!

[And here's the funniest thing. None of them had any idea. They had no idea they saved my life and sanity yesterday evening.]

Too bad all the golf pictures from yesterday are in someone else's phone. So this one picture from last week has to do. That's E. We had lunch together in our favorite place.

All the best for your journey, E. You'll be missed around here.