I treat music as a journal of sorts. I’ve made playlists for every semester of college for the last few years, for trips I’ve taken and the big moments that have happened in my life. To me it’s better than writing because it directly ties together the emotions I was feeling when I heard the songs that were playing. Take my time in Narva for instance, when “самая самая” comes blasting through the speakers I think of the numerous impromptu karaoke sessions with Rusty, Connor and Laird in our room when homework got to the point of being unappealing. When I hear “La, La, La” by Jenna Friske, It takes me back to our 3rd class ever in Narva where Victoria showed us one of our first pieces of Russian culture. Back to a point where this whole experience was beautifully new and we were blissfully unaware of what was in store for us in this country. I remember cranking “Chicken Fried”,the epitome of good ole’ American music, while in an Estonian Castle literally a stone’s throw away from Russia after launching fireworks off the Castle walls while all the American’s sang along. Music captures the human element of life so perfectly and puts it into a language that everyone can understand. At the bottom of this blog post is a link to some of the Russian music that we have been exposed to on our journey around Estonia if are interested on taking a listen!
Going out to bars and clubs around Tallinn, Narva and Tartu there was always the language barrier hanging over us. Even towards the end of the trip where we could communicate decently well with the locals it was still hard to bond with them over the small talk some of us were limited to, however when certain songs came on it all changed. I sang along to Macklemore in club Hollywood with a group of people from Finland. We had a dance off to “Санта лючия” in Atlantis in Tartu (that we won). These are interactions that I hope I never forget because, language aside, they were the times I learned the most from. I came here with the goal of learning as much as I could that I could not learn in the states. Music brought me closer to people that gave me the ability to do just that. The interactions with the people of this amazing country has been an unquantifiable blessing and I just hope that I can keep the learning process going on my further adventures in life.
Seeing that this is my last blog post of this journey I feel like I need to send out a few regards to those who got me here and gave me this opportunity of a lifetime. Thank you to all of the teachers (Olga and Oksana) who put up with me butchering the Russian language over and over again until I finally got it right. Thank you to Kelly and Kristian for putting up with our shenanigans as a class and for making our transition into a new world a comfortable experience. Also a huge thank you to Dr. Seckler and the remaining Pittsburgh Project GO staff for making this a possibility and for giving a group of 18 cadets the experience of a lifetime. I can’t believe the finish line is only a mere 6 days away.
Here are a couple of pictures that have been taken since my last blog post: