10 signs you’ve lived in Estonia too long


Last week, a post on swide.com entitled “20 signs you’ve lived in Italy too long” made its rounds of the social networking sphere. When you live somewhere for long enough, the things you thought were strange when you first arrived become commonplace, while the things you thought were normal back home have now become the strange things.

I had many relatives and friends visiting this summer for the Song Festival, which included many long dinners and late nights of catching up, basically two weeks of non-stop festivities. Many of our conversations were about “what’s different in Estonia”. This got me thinking that a similar list could be compiled for expats living in Estonia. If there is something I missed, please feel free to leave comments with your own Estonianisms.

1. You pay for everything with your bank card. You rarely have any cash on you and have been known to pay for things with your bank card that may even cost as little as 0.80€.

wifi2. You get really upset when there is no free wifi. Estonia may be cold and dark in winter, but at least you can get on-line in the middle of a forest. You become especially annoyed when you are waiting in a foreign airport and have to pay for internet usage. And you complain about this to people sitting beside you, saying, “in Estonia, we have free wifi almost everywhere”.

3. Wait a minute. If you are truly Estonian, you wouldn’t be complaining out loud at all. Estonians are, in general, shy and quiet.

4. You have developed a taste for fresh cheese curd products, and have been known to eat an entire tub of kohupiim.

5. You have also developed a taste for kama.

6. You are used to eating hearty breakfasts consisting of various preserved meat and fish. Or even leftovers from last night’s dinner.

7. You can identify many types of mushrooms.


8. The phrase “ühe sõnaga” has now become part of your vocabulary. “In one word”, as it translates to English, usually means that you won’t even say close to one word. Get ready for a long explanation.

9. Your apartment is filled with unlabelled preserves from your relatives. Or you make your own preserves at the end of the summer and share them with your relatives and friends. At the end of summer, you will also have an obscene amount of apples to get consume, and you will bring bushel-fulls to work to share with your colleagues.

10. You have a summer home outside of the city that you can get to with public transport, or you know someone that does.



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