Marta Maria

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Location: Viljandi, Estonia

Monday, April 30, 2007

A special kid

In case you didn't know, my daughter is special. No, not 'special' in that way. Instead special in a myriad of other ways.

Last week at kindergarten she wore a yellow dress. I took her into the kindergarten room, and one boy yelled her name out: "Marta Petrone"!!! Then Marta walked in proudly and showed off her yellow skirt as the teachers went "ooh" and "ahh" She loved the attention.

Today, she managed to steal some of my Halls medicine candies. I went into her room and there were two sticky candies stuck to her table. "Do you want something to eat?" she asked. I decided to take the least slimy Halls medicine candy and eat it quickly. Later she tried to push another one on me, but I declined. Just a bit too gross for me, sorry.

This morning I became aware of something grabbing my feet. This goes way back, so long ago that Alexander Haig was secretary of state. The biting my feet thing is legendary. There was some sort of poltergeist in my childhood home long ago. But this time the little monster biting my feet was named Marta. She was giggling each time her little paws grabbed my foot and I screeched and recoiled in horror.

The little lady. Such a special kid.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Marta's long trip

Our long trip to the US began at 4 am on Monday morning in Tartu. We awoke, gathered our things, and took a taxi to the bus station. It was dark and cold, and Epp cradled Marta in her arms to keep her warm as we waited for the bus. And then it came. We boarded the bus and Marta and I drove off, waving goodbye to emme as we headed towards Tallinn.

When we got to Tallinn's airport I managed to pull Marta off the bus and grab our suitcase and make it inside. I opened my laptop and began to work, but Marta opened her pink princess suitcase and began to make a mess. Those e-mails I sent really paid off though. Because of them alone I was able to put together the week's issue -- due the next day.

On the plane Marta made friends with a nice Estonian lady that paid attention to her. This made me feel good. I didn't know how Marta was going to act without an 'emme' nearby, especially taking off in a plane, and it was nice that there was a 'surrogate' emme to pass the time as Marta and I flew to Helsinki.

The Helsinki airport is one of the main hubs of my existence. I have been there more times than I know. It is my Penn Station of Europe outside of Estonia. Marta was NOT tired and she wanted to play. There was a children's playroom that we were in, but later it was commandeered by two Estonian boys, Kaspar and Markus (I think) and Marta was scared to go in there. Hell, I didn't want to intrude on Kaspar and Markus. There was also a toy car that you put 1 euro coins in to make it go. Marta did this several times much to the annoyance of fellow travelers.

Our experience with Finnair was pleasant. They gave her free stuff - crayons and a stuffed panda bear - twice and Marta attempted to speak to them in Estonian, which was weird because they understood her perfectly well after some effort. When Marta said, "anna käsi" to the flight attendant she smiled and held Marta's hand. Behind our seat were a Latvian family. I am always struck by Latvians because I rarely meet them so I try to figure out just who these mysterious Latvians are.

Well -- all Latvians will kill me here -- but I thought they were speaking some kind of Slavic language. Yet I looked at the books they were reading, and sure enough those special Latvian letters were there, you know like 'skaitļotājs' (computer). At first they were quite friendly to my inquisitive daughter Marta but I think she started to wear on them after awhile. Somewhere in the US right now there is a very happy Latvian family crossing their fingers that Marta isn't on their next flight!

Anyway, Marta slept most of the way, only getting out of hand towards the end of the trip. She started climbing under the seat and spreading all the stuff she had accumulated -- dolls, bears, crayons, paper, hair extensions -- everywhere in our seating area. It started to even annoy me. Meanwhile, our plan was over Maine. I started to get really annoyed with the US states. I mean New Hampshire -- do you really need to exist? But eventually we touched down in New York, so far away from the place we had left. It was 3.30 pm New York time, and 10.30 pm in Estonia. That means we had been traveling for about 18 hours straight!

Marta was perky though. After hugs and kisses with Mimi, Papa, and Ian, we got home and subsequently passed out at around 7 pm, but not before I called Epp to tell her that we got in alright. :-)