BALANCING YOUR NEW LIFE IN TARTU – Gokhan (NETHERLANDS)
Did you move to Tartu recently, and have you explored all the great things this city has to offer? And have you come to realize that you are missing some basic structure or habits that used to be so normal back in your country? I’m here to tell you that it is possible to set up a similar structure here in Tartu so you can live your live with more ease.
Warm lunch, peanut butter, and bread shapes
Before moving to Tartu I had spent some years traveling mostly across Europe. The one thing I have always missed from the Netherlands is good quality peanut butter and ‘right’ shaped bread. After moving to Tartu I discovered that most people have warm meals for lunch and Estonian prefer the blackest bread possible in the supermarkets. A warm meal for lunch was no option for me, so I started my journey for peanut butter and bread. To my disappointment, I couldn’t find the Dutch peanut butter I wanted, which I had been eating for my whole life. After trying many different options the supermarkets had to offer here in Tartu, I came to the conclusion that the crunchy peanut butter of Rimi (own brand), was the winner of my peanut butter competition. The second challenge and disappointment were that I couldn’t find the bread shapes which I was so used to back in my home country. To stop my whining over this small issue, I started to make my sandwiches (‘boterham’) with the blackest bread I could find, listening to the Estonian wisdom that this was the healthiest bread. After two months with Estonian peanut butter and black bread (‘must leib’), I have to say that I successfully replaced my habit with an Estonian touch.
Have you ever visited an art house theater/cinema or were you a big fan of art houses? Personally, it was my favorite activity every week and I was passionately visiting art house films every week. At this point, you may wonder what art house films are. Arthouse films are movies that usually have a strong artistic expression and often deal with a certain real-life story. After moving to Tartu I wrongfully deceived myself into the idea that Tartu probably had no art house theater. It’s hard to describe in words the excitement I felt after doing a random search on Google on ‘art house Tartu’. Tartu actually has an art house theater named Elektriteater. They even have a great selection of films on every day of the week. The first movie I visited was a documentary about the Swedish filmmaker Ingmar Bergman. The interior of this theater was like I expected from an art house theater. There were no perfectly aligned seats or food and drink counters all around, but rather a room with an industrial look filled with couches, chairs, and beach chairs. This may seem very chaotic upon entering for the first time, but remember that you can sit or even lay down the way you feel most comfortable in. I am personally very delighted to be able to visit art house films here in Tartu, and maybe you will also become passionate about this after a visit to Elektriteater.
Botanical garden & biking
You probably have heard of the botanical garden in Tartu and you may even already have visited it. Although we already got snow and we’re moving into winter, a stroll through this beautiful botanical garden can relieve your mind, especially if you’re as fond as I am about botanical gardens.
Besides taking a stroll through the many beautiful places of Tartu, you can also make use of one of the great biking routes in Tartu. You have probably noticed these blue signs with a bike symbol and a number in a red square. These numbers show the biking routes that are in and around Tartu. You don’t have to follow them completely since some of them lead to other nearby towns. But by following them on shorter distances you can discover the amazing biking routes in this city and the beautiful scenery that accompanies them. If biking isn’t your thing, I would like to remind you that these tracks are divided in two: one as a bike lane, and the other for walking/running. Either way, you will be able to spend hours or even a day with the beautiful nature and peace that surrounds Tartu.
At this point, you may wonder about the habits that you miss or the structure you had in your daily life back home. Although you may not be able to continue to have the exact same habits or set up the exact same structure, you can start exploring the essential things you miss the most from your daily life back at home. Afterward, you can start thinking about what you should and can do here in your life in Tartu. Do you like yoga? Check out the many yoga classes that are offered around town. Do you like some food from your country which is not offered in Tartu? Invite some friends over and hold a cooking workshop. After implementing these things you miss the most here in your life in Tartu, you will find that Tartu starts to feel more like home and you’ll be more at ease with your daily life here in Estonia.