Okay, there's something I need to discuss with you. You must remember my lamentation about my Hermeneutics paper last October - after submitting it I declared on Facebook that it might have been the worst Hermeneutics paper in the history of mankind. As soon as I had submitted it, I forced myself to forget all about it. And it mattered even less once I had decided to pull the breaks and not go back to Amsterdam any time soon. I was so done with this essay shame.

But this is what has happened. I have been contacted by both of these people who marked my paper, one of them is my colleague (both as a pastor and as a lecturer) from Tartu, the man who got me into this Amsterdam trouble in the first place. The second marker was the principal and he wrote me an email two days ago and sent the feedback to my essay. They both said the same thing and came up with the same offer. "Would you be willing to turn your essay into an article for the Journal of European Baptist Studies?" The principal continues, "This Journal is intended for good work produced by aspiring and developing scholars and we think your essay could be developed into a suitable article." WHAT!? I ask. WHAT!?

The first marker gave me 75 for that paper. I never once got 75 for an essay in Newbold.

So this raises a serious issue. Someone here is totally out of touch with reality. And as far as I can analyse this situation, there are only two options. It's either me who cannot evaluate my own work properly (and thus needs to reevaluate things on a bigger scale). Or. It's the IBTSC people who don't have a clue what a good essay looks like. I don't even know which option is scarier...

I told A. about this last night. A. said if I ever needed a sign about having to go back to academia, this would be the one.

What am I suppose to do now? Help me.


But as to things more practical, I have also had to reevaluate the whole moving apartments thing. I have moved it from the "annoying stuff that inevitably happens" box to "blessings and mercy" box. It's been only two weeks (and most of last week I wasn't even in Tallinn) but I already like this apartment and neighborhood a lot. The thing that surprises me the most about it is the peace and quiet that surrounds this area. It's so quiet there! I had lived in the middle of the city centre for 1,5 years and had forgotten what silence sounded like. But now I can just sit on my couch late in the evenings and do nothing and listen to the quiet. It is so nice! Or even today, just this morning I decided to work from home and to get my sermon for the coming weekend on paper (since it has been very crowded in the conference office this week and I have not been able to concentrate properly). And it took me only an hour to finish my sermon from home. The surrounding was just so inspiring.

I have also decided not to have Internet in my new home. I mean, I still have my phone so I can check Twitter and weather forecast but I can't write important emails after the office hours are over. So most evenings when I leave the office, I leave my laptop here, I don't even bother taking it home with me. It is a very nice feeling to be able to do that, very nice indeed. I intend to keep it this way. The only annoying thing is that my best blogging ideas hit me late at night and I have to wait until the next day to write them down. :)


Sometimes things work out well, like puzzle pieces falling into the right place. There were some pieces that fell exactly where they were suppose to last week for me. We have a church house on Saaremaa island which is being rebuilt and renovated these days. The guy who works there had sent couple of invites to pastors mailing list, saying that they'd be very grateful for anyone who could go and help them. I had had it on my heart for quite some time to go there but I always had too much to do, either in the office or in Tartu. But when I hit the bottom two weeks ago I knew I had to leave the city for a while, no matter what. I didn't care how much office work I had, I needed a break. So I let P. know that I'd come, and M., another friend a colleague was also there for the whole week so we ended up having a decent group there. Already when I got on a bus on Monday evening for a 4 hour bus ride, I had a feeling this was going to do me good. And I was right. I did me good. I got to spend three days away from my office table and laptop and emails and sermons. And I got to spend these days with great people. Jesus only knows how much I needed their company and how much I appreciated the homely feeling and fellowship. We worked upstairs for the better part of the day, then ate together at P's place and had the youth prayer week meetings in the evenings. Slept on the floor in the church hall. Such simple life! On my way back to the mainland on Thursday evening I welled up. Partly because I didn't want to come back to Tallinn, partly because I was so grateful for that precious time with my friends. I was like, Thank you, Jesus! Obviously, that time didn't mend my broken heart but it filled it with love the way I hadn't experienced for quite some time.

When it comes to P. and M., it's all a bit funny and complicated - they are my friends, they are my colleagues, and on top of that, they are my students. There's almost too many layers to these relationships so at times I feel slightly awkward as I'm not sure which layer is more important than the other. Like. We went out for some pizza on Thursday right before I had to leave and in the middle of laughing and other topics I had to ask them how they were coping with their homiletics practice they have this semester. They were, Oh no, Mervi has turned into a lecturer now! Lol. If I remember it correctly, it was the only time I asked about their studies. I prefer other layers taking precedence...

Insulating the ceiling with MM. "Capable young women" as we used to joke. :)

Pizza evening with MM, M. and P. Unfortunately, P's wife couldn't join us.


I have better people in my life than I deserve. Far better.

I moved out from my apartment on Thursday, dad came to Tallinn and helped me move. It was a sad and strange day, I felt like breaking down in tears the whole day. Then M. sent me a message on Thursday evening and invited me out to lunch the next day. And so it was that when I met her and we headed to the Old Town for lunch on Friday I hadn't eaten anything for 24 hours. I think she saved me from an eating disorder (it's probably not true but it sounds so wonderfully dramatic, lol!)

Then on Friday afternoon S. called me and he basically invited himself as well as H. and K. to my place. I wouldn't have thought of inviting them over because in my head I thought I would have to unpack and settle and get used to the new apartment before I can let anybody in. Fortunately they didn't think the same way so after I had sneaked out of Friday evening prayer meeting in the church (don't tell anyone) we all landed at my place. It was so good to have them there I could have hugged them the whole evening haha! And it was so funny. I realised that I had run out of moving energy on Thursday afternoon when I got to the kitchen so I had only grabbed a couple of plates and tea mugs and pretty much nothing else. So when they brought all that food we didn't have any place to put it. We had a bottle of some fancy fizzy drink on my table and next to it some bread (gladly I had the plates for salad), and as I didn't have a kitchen knife, we literally broke the bread as we ate. I was joking about us having our own communion service around my kitchen table. But as I walked to church this morning to preach I kept thinking about that bread. I think it really was a communion we had last night. I don't know what are the theological requirements for a communion service but it all looked a lot like the very first breaking of bread we read about in the Gospels. There was drink and bread and other food, there were the most important people around that table, there was the presence of the Almighty, and it all took place in the middle of life's inevitable pain and beauty. If this wasn't a communion, I don't know what is...

And five minutes ago I received a phone call from I., my senior pastor who just invited himself and his family to my place tonight.

So if God loves us through the love of other people, I've been soaked in love these past few days. Even in my misery, I am a very happy girl.

Breaking of bread.


Things have been going wrong lately.

There are some things over which you know you don't have any control - like long-awaited Newbold lecturer getting ill and not being able to visit Estonia. You may panic and may have to reschedule important things but in a sense you know you could not possibly do anything about it. But then there are things that go wrong and you know you could have done something about them or should have done. I found myself in the middle of a rather serious conflict a couple of weeks ago - there are some people who are certain I have neglected some of my responsibilities as a pastor. And they may be right. It's a terrible feeling, a nagging feeling. And then in the middle of it you realise your conflict solving skills are at the level of a five year old and you have no idea how to grow a skin a little thicker (I was in touch with Dr L. T. the other week as I'm trying to get him to come and lecture in Estonia next year, and when he asked how I feel I have benefited from Newbold education I told him the course of surviving conflicts and growing thicker skin is very unfortunately still missing from Newbold's curriculum).

I have managed to create yet another disaster in my personal life (it's actually the old disaster from last November but I have been so wonderfully smart to prolong it for another four months).

And I have to move out from my apartment. Tomorrow. Because the conference needs this space for other things now.

Bloody hell, I say.

But I find a lot of comfort in seeing other people do well. It's somehow so heartwarming and comforting - even more so now when I have hit the rock bottom myself - to see beautiful things happen and life moving on for good people. Like, I received a wedding invitation two days ago, U. and C. have invited me to celebrate their love and happiness with them (oh, I wish it was as simple as getting on a plane and flying to California!). My auntie told me on Saturday that my cousin got accepted for the PhD program... in Harvard. Some beautiful news from H. and S. And a good old friend seems to have bumped into the love of her life.

So good stuff still happens. Good things, good people.

But say a prayer for me.