Baltic-American
Freedom Foundation

Participant Blog

Hello America!

Hello there, readers – past, present and future BAFF
interns, and others.

I have happily arrived in the States and had a busy three
weeks here. I’ve survived everything the country has offered and ready to take up some new challenges.

To be honest, I was pretty sad to leave my family and friends behind and
thought, what am I doing, when I sat on the plane from Tallinn to Riga. The
second flight from Riga to Copenhagen was the same but from Copenhagen to
Washington D.C. I had already got used to the idea of leaving and exited to be
on a big plane (TVs and stuff). When I finally arrived in the States after a
long flight I also had quite a long ’welcome party’ in the airport where at first I
had to stand in a line with other travellers around the world for another 2
hours to give a security man my fingerprints and look into his webcam (he took
a picture of me) and then, when I thought that I’m good to go I had to stand in
another line where there were 3 security men who worked very slow and wanted to
see my passport again. All together 4 hours. Maiken, another Estonian girl
who’s also in Hyattsville came to pick me up in the airport and it was really
good to see a familiar face, finally.

IMG_0726

(the first picture taken of Maiken and me in Washington
Dulles airport)

So after that I began americanizing – opened my bank
account, got a phone number and started looking for a home. I guess I was lucky
and found a room in a nice house on the third day of my search. Now I’m living
in Riverdale Park with two girls and a guy in their late 20s and two extracute
dogs J.

DSC_0973

I
also got myself a cool vintage bike to ride around with. For the new arriving
interns: www.craigslist.org is a good
page – I found both, my room and my bike from there.

DSC_0923

I began my internship on the 1st of May. I’m currently
associated in 3 projects: one is a promo project in Glenn Dale. It’s an
abandoned tuberculosis hospital that was closed in the 80s because of asbestos.
I’m working out possibilities how to enliven the area and give it a new
purpose. The second project is working in cooperation with Garth (my employee),
Maiken (another Estonian BAFF intern) and Hooman (PhD in Architecture) from UMD
on a green wall concept and the third one is working together with Garth on
Minnesota Zen Center. I’m really exited and giving my best!

As Washington D.C. is very close to Riverdale Park I’ve
visited it many times and although I thought in the beginning that it might not
be my kind of a city (being extremely political and stuff), it’s nothing like I
thought. I like D.C. very much, the buildings aren’t too high, there are trees
and other vegetation which makes the streetscape very nice and comfortable to
be in. In addition, there are a lot of big parks and small green areas which
makes the city and view variable and interesting. One area that I love in D.C.
is Georgetown – it’s a kind of bohemian/arts district with nice houses and cool
people. Would definitely recommend it to everyone.

Here are some pictures of my house, Riverdale and D.C.

DSC_0932

DSC_0848

DSC_0864

DSC_0988

DSC_0994

DSC_0993

Ok, I’m closing up for today. To conclude, I would say that
everything about the States is like shown in the movies, it’s funny actually,
but I guess once I’ve got used to it, it’ll be normal. But until that it amuses
me.