Maarika Teose and Robert Krumhansl.
Pühapäev, 09 September 2012 14:22
Estonian Life No. 36 2012
The wedding on July 22 marked milestones in the lives of Maarika Teose and Robert Krumhansl. Their wedding celebration was also the most festive event for the Portland Estonian community since hosting the West Coast Estonian Days last year. It was furthermore a significant gathering of the widely distributed relatives of the Krumhansl and Teose family and of Robert's school friends. The occasion was marked with dinners, picnics and, of course, Maarika's and Robert's taking wedding vows at the First Unitarian Church of Portland, Oregon — Maarika wearing her grandmother's and mother's wedding gown.
The wedding ritual was of the couples own choosing. It included breaking a loaf of bread and feeding each other. Bread, of course, is a symbol of all that sustains us. To share bread implies the sharing of all that matters. Over the millenniums it has been ritualized in many ways. In Estonian folklore putting your bread into the same cupboard signifies the joining of the couple. Another source from Estonia adds to this: at the wedding ceremony the man and woman break a loaf and who ends up with the bigger part will be the provider from there on.
The reception was attended by about 140 people with attendees as far as the arctic in the north, Stockholm in the east, and Argentina in the south. Of course one of the performances was the traditional Tuljak danced by the Portland's "Tulehoidjad" folk dancers. As the words to the dance say "...the whole county was invited..." Tuljak is a song and dance written for weddings, and thus here the dance ended with Maarika and Robert polkaing off the stage.
Long before the wedding both were on the path that would eventually bring them together. It had to do with music and baking bread. Both Maarika and Robert attended Cornell University. Maarika had her own apartment and she prepared her meals. Her main event of cooking was baking bread. This was relaxing and almost ritualistic activity for her, which freed her mind from her duties and studies. It requires forethought: choosing the ingredients, preparing the dough to the right consistency and then timing. Robert, perhaps because living on a farm in his formative years thought often of the meaning of food. In fact as a nine-year old he wrote a story which dealt with searching for the world's perfect loaf bread.
Maarika is the daughter of Erik and Liina Teose, mainstay of the Estonian folk dancers of Portland. Liina gives private piano lessons. Erik is employed as a computer engineer at Tektronix. At Estonian festivals, which occur in regular intervals in various West Coast cities, Liina and Erik provide folk dance music, Liina on accordion, Erik on guitar often accompanied by Maarika, and son Alar and others.
Maarika, besides attending school (graduated cum laude) has been active as a performer singing, playing violin and mandolin and folk dancing. She has visited Estonia numerous times. At the 1995 ESTO, as an 11 year old, she sang solo 'Mu esivanemad' to an audience of about one hundred thousand at the Tallinn music festival grounds. She studied for a time at the Tartu University in Estonia, but then found Cornell University in upper New York State as the place that met her needs. She graduated last spring with a master's degree in applied mathematics.
Robert is the son of Peter and Ruth Krumhansl who live in New Hampshire. Peter is a geophysicist dealing with finding and extracting minerals. Ruth's profession is science education and research. Robert completed his undergraduate studies at Colorado College and then created an organic edible landscaping business in California. After a few years he discovered an interest in urban design and went to Shanghai, China for one year to work for a city developer. Robert is now pursuing dual master's degrees in real estate and landscape architecture at Cornell.
Both liked music and so it was not by pure chance that they met at a folk music concert. Soon they fell in love and realized that they are soul mates. One time when they were walking, Robert proposed marriage to Maarika near a waterfall and then sang her a song he had written. After Maarika accepted he removed the strings from his guitar and fashioned out of it an engagement ring.
The couple has found jobs in Washington DC and will make their home there. One thing is clear that they will continue to bake their own sour dough bread. Some time ago they found that this was a very satisfying activity. Preparing the dough requires starting the fermenting with a starter piece from a previous batch. Thus every loaf of sour dough bread contains a little of all the sour dough breads from its past. The baking thus takes on a meaning greater than the present, it part of a continuum of life, permanence, continuity... May they bake lots of loaves in their life together!
Arved Plaks, Texas, USA