For “Open!” the professional journal of EATE, the Estonian Association of Teachers of English
You came to live in Estonia in 2002 (is that right?)
I came to Estonia in 2002 to study on an English language Baltic Studies course at Tartu University. I came in search of my roots. My original name was Anneliis Meikar but I was adopted in the UK when nine weeks old by Emily and Harry Bird. I found the family of my Estonian mother in 1998, in Käsmu, Lääne Virumaa. My birth father was Lithuanian but that is all I know about him. After my discoveries, I wanted to know more about the Baltic states. The course at Tartu taught Estonian literature, history, folklore, politics, geography, economics and Estonian and Russian language and was a good all-round introduction to the region.
When did you feel that your Estonian was good enough to read literature for enjoyment, not just for language learning purposes?
An interesting question! I started reading Estonian, of course, in text books. I took my first steps in London with “Colloquial Estonian” by Chris Moseley and used “E nagu Eesti” by Mall Pesti and Helve Ahi in Tartu. Both books contain snippets of Estonian literature that arrested my attention so, I suppose I could say that I always read Estonian literature for enjoyment. I love the musicality of the language even in very simple children’s rhymes – I remember “Väike konn, väike konn, ütle, kus su kodu on? “ (by Erika Esop) to this day. Learning to be proficient enough to read Under or Tammsaare was, of course, a different matter! That took a very long time, (Read more: Estonian Life No. 18 2019)
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