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Location: Viljandi, Estonia

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

My Daughter is an Estonian

This is sort of my response to the post Epp has up at I saw that one and was inspired. When we were sitting in a cafe when Marta was less than one, Epp's friend said that Marta "didn't look like an Estonian" (Epp was in the WC at the time). But if there's one thing I remember from that trip, it's feeling that if there was one person that stuck out like a sore thumb in Tallinn, it was me.

I remember we had to meet Epp at her hairdresser in Tallinn and I had to drag baby Marta with me in a cab from where Reeli & Tiit live near Pirita, to the center of town. It was gray and I was lost when we got there. And cold. And I remember Marta looking at me with these little slanty blue eyes with a bemused look of "What, you don't know where you are going? Nobody can understand what you are saying? Ha!" I knew then and there that when we were among Estonians, Marta was one of them, and I wasn't.

And then there was last summer when I brought back some sült (jellied meat) and gave it to Epp who shared it with Marta. And Marta liked it. They ate the whole dish together. I couldn't believe a child with half my genetic heritage was eating sült. But they ate it all. Again, my daughter was different; she was one of them.

Then there's little photos like the one up above, because when the Estonians congregate in the woods they like to pick berries. And Marta loves "mammu mammu"s, her favorite. A nifty trick to get Marta to stop complaining about something is to buy some berries and keep shoving them in her mouth. And she'll keep asking for more. "Veel mammud. Veel."

And there it is. The language. Thanks to Marta I have learned the word "kõndima" (to walk), mullid (bubbles), and some songs like our theme song to Mõmmi Aabits "mina olen väike, olen alas väike..." Any way, she has taught me a lot.


Blogger Eppppp said...

...reallly important detail for readers "Epp was in WC at that time" ;)

I think you have never tried sült, have you? Mmm... Id like to have some... with vinegar or mustard.

And the song goes: "Ma olen väike, olen alles väike..."

6:10 AM  
Blogger andry said...

marta is marta is marta is marta

6:14 AM  
Blogger Helen said...

hee, i always thought how to explain sült in english, now i know - jellied meat :). although if you haven't seen sült in real life the word jellied meat might bring something like jellyfish into your mind :). Epp, how do you translate hakklihakaste?

6:25 AM  
Blogger Martasmimi said...

rebbane...about "jellied meat"
The use of "jellied meat" was a good term.
a jellyfish would be one solid mass.
...the Italians have a meat product that is called
"mortadella" the translation is "dead meat"
It is pieces of mixed meats in a jellied substance...
I am sure we will all be happier
"not" knowing how either of these products are made...

6:43 AM  
Blogger Giustino said...

I guess the "best part" of eating it is when you get the chewy bits of meat rather than the jelly - they are like the klimpid in the klimpisuup...

7:41 AM  
Blogger Eppppp said...

to rebbane
Hakklihakaste - I have translated it "gravy with chopped meat".
It looks pretty decent, compared to sült or pasteet (Justin has not been able to taste either of them)...
He does not mind verivorstid and hakklihakaste.

6:14 PM  
Blogger mia said...

about "pasteet"-you don't have it in NY? I thought it's common there as well.
i agree with martasmimi, that it's better to eat meat jellie and not to concentrate how it's made, though quite many people think that pork legs are delicious.

3:56 AM  
Blogger Eppppp said...

They have pasteet (pate) here as well but Justin has never touched it here either.

He says: looks like dog food, smells like dog food.. perhaps tastes like dog food.

6:35 AM  

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