Remo Gramigna is an Italian-born PhD student of Semiotics at the University of Tartu.
My bike is still there faithfully waiting for me. I put my feet on the pedals and here begins my daily route that leads me from Kalevi Street number 37 to the crossroad with Riia Street. Here I encounter the first traffic light and its redness asks me to wait. I stop for a while. I look around. It’s quiet and peaceful. I wait for the green, then I go down the hill where the busy traffic of Riia Street starts. I avoid the cars and move onto the sidewalk where I come across the fist passer-by. It’s still dark outside. It’s a little chilly and it’s starting to rain. I should be in a grumpy mood, for this plumbeous sky is unbearable and this awful rain has now even started caressing my face with wet drops.
I keep biking. I turn to the left. The light is green now, and I’m already approaching Küüni Street. I speed up just a little bit, taking advantage of Riia’s slope. I go straight up to Raekoja Plats. Oh! I just enjoy this exact moment. The town is still sleepy. It’s still looking to awake. Only a few people are running around and I bet some of them are wondering where the hell that smile on my face is coming from. They must think I’m still drunk from the night before. Meanwhile, I continue cycling while the few people I meet run away.
I cross the ‘Kaarsild’ bridge. I watch the water flowing slowly while I pass by. My pedalling through the city is fluid. The next traffic light is waiting for me. I leave the city centre behind and I go home.
The path that leads me from Kalevi Street to the place I live is one of the best moments of the day. Here I give up the fast life. While I bike my spirit is calm. It is the moment in which I start realising that the world goes too fast out there and that it does not make any sense to follow this frantic pace but I have to start breathing. And slow down. Yes, slow down. When you slow down then you’ll see how fast and frantically this world moves around us.
Ülle adjusting me in Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana. Image credit: Vahur Sillaots
Ann Ideon is a geographer, who becoming a chef, enjoys challenges that expedition cooking brings. When not on the road, she runs her little catering business in Tartu.
“So where were you again? French New-Guinea?” asks a friend, who despite being a geographer gets the names and locations thoroughly mixed up. Although aiming diametrically off in geographical latitude-longitude terms, this question does capture the general essence of Estonians’ knowledge of French Guiana – which is close to nothing.
Yet, a certain number of Estonians are well aware of French Guiana and the riches her pristine jungles hide, which is also the reason the Doctoral School of Earth Sciences and Ecology recently held a multi-disciplinary expedition to French Guiana. And as a very important person of the expedition, I got to go as well – as a chef.
Expedition members taking a lesson in practical geology: looking for gold. Image credit: Ann Ideon
The odd charm of French Guiana
“So what’s it like?” my friend continues probing. A word comes to mind – bizarre. Sitting in a cosy pocket between Suriname and Brazil on South America’s northern coast, this little corner of the world represents a curious melange of people and cultures – here French croissants meet Amazonian rain forests, the best food available comes from Vietnamese pho soup joints, native Amerindians still live in their jungle villages, and a happy crowd of beer-drinking Creoles greet you every time you pull up to a local shop. And they do not miss a day. Continue reading
Posted in Career, Natural and exact sciences, Research
Tagged Amazonian jungle, chef, cooking, entomology, expedition, French Guiana, geography, geology, ichthyology, PhD, South America, zoology
It is well known that males and females differ in size, appearance, and behaviour. However, several aspects of this phenomenon, known as sexual dimorphism, remain unresolved. For example, it is not quite clear how environmental conditions influence the degree of the difference between female and male behaviour.
UT Professor Raivo Mänd, Head of the Bird Ecology Research Group, his students, and colleagues Elo Rasmann and Marko Mägi ran a behaviour experiment with the pied flycatcher. They observed how both parents took care of their nestlings.
Young pied flycatcher in a nesting box. Image credit: Miika Silfverberg / Wikimedia Commons.
Posted in Natural and exact sciences, Research
Tagged bird ecology, environmental conditions, feeding behaviour, female, gender, male, PhD, pied flycatcher, sex differences, sexual dimorphism
I am a foreign Estonian born and raised in New York City who came to study for a year at ‘Tartu Ülikool’ in 1992, just one year after Estonia had regained its independence. I had just finished my undergraduate degree in the US and was in the first class of foreigners studying Estonian at the University of Tartu. Everything was new and we all were learning as we went along. The old rules of the Soviet system didn’t apply anymore and the new ones were in the process of being invented. We were in the wild, wild west and as we crossed this unchartered territory we tried to enjoy every minute of it. What follows are some remembrances from that year.
Estonian conversation class with Tiina Kikerpill (first from the left). I love this photo since we are in our classroom and it shows the wonderful carpeted walls and groovy green chairs. I’m second from the left.
Narva maantee 25
The foreigners were all given dorm rooms at Narva maantee 25 on the 3rd floor. You could find us behind the ‘turvauks’ (security door) and ours was the the only floor that had one. I don’t know if they were trying to protect us from the locals or just keep us isolated.
The floor housed the western foreigners as well as one or two people from other former Soviet republics, but as they lived at one end of the corridor and seemed to be long term tenants, we didn’t interact with them. Our group was made up of Americans, Brits, Swedes, and Finns. Four of us were foreign Estonians and the rest had come to Tartu for a whole host of reasons. Continue reading
We’ve pulled together some cool student blogs and posts for you that we know of or were lucky to stumble upon. Many of them revolve around autumn…