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Update from Estonia
Old 05-03-2008, 02:06 AM   #1
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Update from Estonia

I haven't posted in a while so I thought I'd give a little update from this side of the pond.

As many of you know, our daughter was born in mid January so she's about 3 1/2 months old now and doing just great! She even started swimming lessons splashing around in the pool with the aid of mom & dad after a safety training course a couple of weeks ago and she just loves being in the water!

Being ER'd has just been fantastic for us with the little one. I haven't had to miss any of her milestones at all. From her first laugh and discovering how she spins in circles in her crib to taking her for her first dip in the pool. I can't imagine if I had to work all day and miss her growing up, which she is doing so fast!

I think we've been quite lucky as she sleeps well through the night (6-8 hours usually) even though she's teething already and when she does get a little cranky (usually gas related) we can both take turns looking after her so neither one of us feels overwhelmed.

Outside of that, we have our apartment in the city for sale and are planning to move to a smaller town in the southern part of the country. This way we can buy a house for the same money as we'll get for our city apartment here in the capital. We could use the extra room and a little yard will be a nice place for the kid(s) to play.

The ER budget is holding up well despite the new addition to the family. As mentioned in a previous post, in order to encourage population growth and help to foster a better work/family life, the government gives all parents a monthly family benefits payment. The sum involved differs from family to family depending on your situation, but we get the equivalent of around $500 USD per month for our one child. This is more than enough as it need only cover things like diapers/wipes, clothes and toys. All medical/dental is free of charge for children as well as most child hobby classes, such as the swimming classes I mentioned above.

I haven't been affected much by the drop in the dollar as I moved about 90% of my assets outside of the U.S. and into Estonian EEK & the Euro before the exchange rates tanked. With interest rates here doing decent at the moment I'm able to get 5.6% on my CD's in local currency and around 4.2% on the Euro.

It's been a little over a year since I moved over here and I haven't been back to the States at all in that time. I can't say I miss anything as pretty much everything is available here that I'm used to. I drive a Ford (Euro model), eat Honey Nut Cheerios for breakfast and watch Monday Night Football (albeit replayed on Tuesday night here). It's really the best of both worlds. I can still have all the things I'm used to in the States, yet there is so much more available here that isn't available in the States.

I can also watch Swedish TV shows while eating some Azerbaijani spiced lamb, then listen to some Italian pop music on the radio while headed to the Russian Theater downtown for a show. Top the night off with a nice bottle of Romanian merlot and get a good night sleep before hopping on the high speed ferry for a 90 minute ride to Helsinki, Finland for an afternoon of sightseeing. Not that I do those things all the time, but the point is that the cultural options I have living here are seemingly endless. I'm discovering so many new things every day and learning so much. I also have to say your perspective on the world really changes when you live "outside the box" and are exposed to so much more of the world.

Anyway, things are good, we're all very happy and look me up if any of you are ever out this way!

Trek

For the geographically challenged, click this link to see where Estonia is located in the world.
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedi...ic_Sea_map.png
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Old 05-03-2008, 03:11 AM   #2
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Hi Trek. Congraulations on your daughter and the happy family you are creating. It sounds very nice to me.

Ha
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Old 05-03-2008, 03:57 AM   #3
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Glad you are having a great time....

But still to far north for me... and to cold!!!

Maybe it would be a good summer place... but where to go for the winter?
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Old 05-03-2008, 09:39 AM   #4
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Congrats on the new baby! I always read your posts with great interest. Your life seems so idyllic.

Sorry, I must say this: I had to stop reading your post four times because it gives me the willies. Dear friends of my parents were driven out of your city in the '50s, the husband spent several years in a Russian concentration camp, they re-found each other and moved to the U.S. Mid-West. A line from "Cashing in on the American Dream" kept popping into my head as I read your post, misremembered as "It's always better in the third world." I think the real line was, "it's always cheaper in the third world." Anyway, I have to remind myself of why its so nice there now.

Don't remember if I mentioned this before, but the Estonians of my home town did an elaborate celebration of the 50th anniversary of "Estonian Independence," of course, in exile, when I was a child. It was a fun, sad event. They never went back.
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Old 05-03-2008, 10:38 AM   #5
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Thanks Trek for the update, the diversity of your days reminds me of what we enjoyed about living in Europe.
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Old 05-03-2008, 11:47 AM   #6
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Sounds great! Estonia is on my list of places to visit some day.
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Old 05-03-2008, 04:46 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trek View Post
discovering how she spins in circles in her crib
you've a few years yet before she starts experimenting with the hard stuff.

thanks for the update. good job on early swimming lessons. it is a pet peeve of mine when parents don't do that. it must be awfully cold for her though since you have to cut a hole in the ice to get to the water for swimming. she must be a very resilient baby. she'll need that when she starts spinning out of the crib.

glad to hear life going so well for you. enjoy.

ps. since you are up by the arctic melt, have you noticed the seas starting to rise yet? any advanced warning would be appreciated.
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Old 05-06-2008, 03:23 AM   #8
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Trek,

It is good to hear from you again! Thank you for bringing us up to date.

Thanks to you, I have a file on Estonia that is growing thicker.

Be well, man!

Cheers,

Gypsy
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Old 05-07-2008, 06:19 AM   #9
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Trek,

Congratulations on the birth of your daughter! Sounds like she will be a future swimming champion

You are probably wise to move the majority of your wealth to the region where you reside and hedge your living expenses with respect to the greenback. I have not done so, but then the Thai baht is not the Euro, is it? (Stability reference)

I have always wanted to visit the Baltic states, so do keep us informed, ok?

Al the best,

Lance
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Old 05-07-2008, 11:59 AM   #10
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Thanks for all the well wishes and congrats! I'll keep ya'll updated as life goes on.
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Old 05-07-2008, 03:06 PM   #11
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Well, I'll have to track down your previous saga(s) because I'm curious how you ended up in Estonia... Since your family qualifies for a $500 benefit for the baby, I'm guessing your wife is Estonian and is employed.
I'm sure the prices of real estate in Estonia and esp. in Tallinn have shot up so high that as a local you must have an impressive career to afford a dwelling there. My assumption is based on my recent trip to Vilnius and what my friends told me how it is in Lithuania. Since I'm Lithuanian I found interesting to learn how quite a few foreigners enjoy living in the Baltic States. But boy it can get cold there. April is still a cold month in LT when I compare to NC.
I'm on this side of the pond, but I do miss Europe, esp. the cultural side of the continent. Maybe we'll afford to retire back to Europe .

Oh, and congrats on the baby!!
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Old 05-07-2008, 11:19 PM   #12
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Well, I'll have to track down your previous saga(s) because I'm curious how you ended up in Estonia... Since your family qualifies for a $500 benefit for the baby, I'm guessing your wife is Estonian and is employed.
My wife and I are both Estonian citizens. My wife doesn't work and need not to get the parental benefit payment. All parents get it, the amounts only differ depending on your circumstances.

She does plan to finish college this year though and start her own business after that. She's much younger than I am.

Quote:
I'm sure the prices of real estate in Estonia and esp. in Tallinn have shot up so high that as a local you must have an impressive career to afford a dwelling there. My assumption is based on my recent trip to Vilnius and what my friends told me how it is in Lithuania.
I'm FIRE'd thus no career. Comparing Estonia to Lithuania is comparing apples to bananas. Doesn't work. They are very different places in every way from their culture & language to their economies and real estate markets. While Tallinn has some very high priced housing, like any city, there is also a wide selection of affordable housing for the regular guy/family.

Quote:
But boy it can get cold there.
It can, but lately it hasn't been. Much worse winters in the northern regions of the U.S.

Quote:
Oh, and congrats on the baby!!
Thanks!
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