Alyona is a 29-year-old from Russia, who is a volunteer at Food Bank in Tallinn. She decided to become a volunteer to try something new in life, to change the scenery and perspective, to live in another country and to be surrounded by international community. She likes volunteering because it’s the best way to feel independent, to learn about tolerance and loyalty, to empower and grow oneself. She has been in Estonia for 7 months. EstYES did an interview with Alyona about her impressions of Estonia.
What Estonian food would you like to introduce to your family?
I like Estonian cuisine because I’m a big fan of kartul like Estonians are. And for sure heeringa-kartulisalat is my favorite one. Also, I like kissell vahukoorega and kohukesed, which I offer to try everyone who comes to visit me here.
If you could have a dinner with one Estonian celebrity, who would it be?
I’m not that familiar with celebrities, not only Estonian but in general. But maybe I’d like to meet with the persons created e-Residency. This is one of the first things I have learnt about Estonia, which I think is a smart, generous and truly modern idea. Also, I would like to meet in person with the founder of Let’s Do It! Foundation who initiated World Cleanup Day.
What is your favourite word in Estonian and why?
I do not know a lot of Estonian words, but there are some words that sound like feminine names, which is a really surprising and interesting fact. For example: Alla — down, Anna (andma) — to give, Nina — nose, Olgu — very well, Lisa (lisama) — to add, Luba — authorization. I also heard about Inna and Katja but couldn’t prove it.
What do you like about Estonian nature?
I live in Tallinn and I’m in love with the sea. I could observe the movement of water forever, it keeps my mind calm. Every day I reminded myself how lucky and happy I am to live near the sea, even though the sea could be a reason for variable weather. I also love coniferous forests around. I grew up surrounded by pines and the northern type of forest reminded me about my childhood. The forest and the sea are truly my power places, so I am grateful that I have it here. Else, near my workplace there is a magpies (harakas) area. I think they are very beautiful birds. I’m a little bird-watching lover, so I am very pleased when I could see them.
Which place in Estonia would you like to visit and why?
I didn’t have a chance to visit Saaremaa or any other islands yet. I think it might be an interesting experience. Moreover, nature is quite different there, for example in Saaremaa there are high cliffs, which I guess is not that common for Estonian landscapes.
What surprised you about Estonia?
As I am from Russia and I’m familiar with Soviet history, also I did research about post-soviet era. So, what I found interesting in this case is how Estonia became developed (socio-culturally, economically and technologically) compared to other countries. This is really impressive.
The voluntary work service is funded by Archimedes Foundation Youth Agency in collaboration with European Solidarity Corps.