Every Tuesday evening for the past six months I enjoyed the rewarding experience of studying the Estonian language. Little did I know when I enrolled in “Eesti Keel for Beginners” in September that my expectations would be greatly exceeded.
Instructor Piret Komi brought the language to life combining oral practice with personal anecdotes from her own travels to Estonia. Piret’s attention to each lesson and her ability to challenge students with questions that met their individual comfort levels made for an enjoyable learning environment for all.
Weekly 2-hour classes at Toronto Eesti Maja went by quickly with the first portion of each class being devoted to questions and answers from Piret and other students in Estonian. As our vocabulary and knowledge of the language increased, so did the fun in attempting to ask and answer these questions to the best of our ability. For example, during initial classes students learned essential questions such as, “Kuidas käsi käib?” and “Mis on sinu nimi?” It did not take long, however, for discussion to become more intriguing as our vocabulary developed to the point of asking, “Mis kell on?”, “Kas Sina oled kaine?” and my all time favourite, “Kes peseb sööginõud?” If only my high school French classes could have been as entertaining and inspiring!
When classes approached the Christmas season, students learned about Estonian holiday traditions not only through language, but also through food and song. The end-of-term pot luck parties in December and April tested our culinary expertise with each student contributing to a large spread of traditional Estonian fare. Dishes included open-faced sandwiches, kringli sai, pirukad, rosolje and kama, all washed down with Saku, of course!
The gift of gaining a working knowledge of the Estonian language and traditions along with cultivating new friendships with fellow students made for an enriching winter and will certainly make future trips to Estonia all the more meaningful. Between now and my next trip, the real test will be conversing in Estonian with my 18 month old daughter…Kas Sa saad minust aru? Palun korda
Teisipäev? Sorry, I’m busy. Teisipäeval on mul eesti keele tund! (9)