Tuesday, January 31, 2012

How low can it go!

A cold fron has come, keep track of the weather by looking at the top right corner of the blog, it tells you what the current temperature is! When I am writing this it says minus 20! At 6 in the morning in southern Estonia it was -27!! Crazy. Dozens have died across Eastern Europe. This means that it is time to wear my shopka, that keeps me really warm.

Update: It's still really cold and it snowed today. Here are some pictures from CNN across all of Eastern Europe, enjoy!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Winter came

I thought I would also add some pictures from the nutcracker, we went on Maris's birthday, it was great!

Maris wore her special dress from Turkey and I wore my cuff links. It turns out that my suit jacket is a bit too long for me, so you can't see them. But I knew they were there.




President Boswell mentioned that they were thinking of creating a Baltic stake! That would be very exciting. They have plans to build a full sized chapel in Riga! It is two stories, with a full sized basketball court behind the chapel on the second floor. That would mean it could fit 600-800 for a stake conference. This is a picture of the chapel to be built. They actually have three exterior designs, this was one of them. The interior will be the same for all of them.

Well winter has really come. It has been minus 10 or colder for the last few days. It looks like it will be pretty cold for the next few days as well. I knew the nice warm weather couldn't last forever. Tomorrow is the start of a new semester! The first half I will be teaching a class on international organizations and trying to finish up some articles, then the second half I will be teaching a class on US foreign policy and basics of political science and governance. Exciting!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I missed the Vengabus

I thought I would share an interesting fact. The Vengaboys came to Estonia and performed on New Year's Eve! They were one of my favorite bands in high school. Well, I loved one of their songs. We ended up missing the Vengabus, we decided not to go. It was much cheaper to go to the New Year's Eve party at the church, and much easier to get up Sunday morning. We also missed the King's Singers back in October. The Red Hot Chili Peppers are coming in the Summer and Maris already got tickets to go. I will probably be out of the country and I am not a huge fan, so Maris will go with her brother. But when the next band I like comes to Estonia I will be ready. No more missing the bus.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Worth the wait

(49ers Vernon Davis crying for joy after catching the game winning touchdown. He had 180 yards receiving and 2 TDs. 180 yards is an NFL record for most yards caught by a TE in a playoff game).

On Saturday something magical happened, the 49ers won a playoff game! It had been 9 years since they were in the playoffs, that too was an awesome game when they beat the Giants. I was on the mission and of course didn't see it. The year before they were also in the playoffs but they lost and I only saw part of it on a small TV at DT (freshman year of college). Before that it was 1998 when they were in the playoffs. Anyway it was a long wait but I've stayed true and faithful to the 49ers through the thick and thin. There were some good moments, like when they drafted Brandon Doman and there were lots of bad moments, like when they decided to start Just Turnovers O'Sullivan at QB over Alex Smith. Those all are distant memories now.

Alex Smith has had a rough 7 years in San Francisco. He has had 7 offensive coordinators in 7 years, and he has had head coaches that have treated him like garbage. He was called a bust, a game manager and probably worse. Unfortunately the fans also didn't treat him well. Edgar and I have stood beside him the whole time. We saw in him the potential to be a pro bowl QB, the talent was there and for us it was clear that all he needed was respect, help from his teammates and a system to fit his style. We've seen him win games before, we've seen him make the throws before but he has never put it together for an entire year. This year it all came together. He had a QB rating of 90.7 and had the greatest 4th quarter of any QB in the NFL. He out Joe Montana'd Joe Montana.

I have never seen a game this good in the NFL. There have been some pretty crazy college football games but this game was tops among NFL games. Here are some of the highlights.

The 49ers were the underdogs against the high powered Saints. The 49er's offense has been a problem for the last 9 years. This season it has been the defense and special teams getting the job done. In this game the defense and special teams did great, getting 5 turnovers. But with 4 minutes left in the game the 49ers were down 24-23. All the pressure was on the offense. The offense went 80 yards and scored a TD on a 28 yard run by Alex Smith. It was magical.



To see Alex score on a game winning drive like this after all those years was just magical. I admit I got a bit teary eyed with all the emotion. There was only one problem, there was still 2 minutes left in the game. Last season the 49ers played the Saints and were in position to win only to see the saints score in the last seconds of the game. I was hoping it wouldn't happen this time, but it did in spectacular fashion. The Saints scored a TD in only seconds on this amazing catch and run by Jimmy Grahm.



I was pretty stunned at that point. This meant that our offense would need to score again. Could our offense really do it twice in a row? That was asking too much, or at least that was what I thought! Alex Smith and Vernon Davis promptly picked apart the Saints defense and scored a TD with 9 seconds left to win the game.



This is the final drive, if you only want to see the last play see the next video.



To see Vernon Davis and Alex Smith connect to win this game was magical. It was worth the wait.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Birthday!


Today is Maris' birthday! We opened up presents right at midnight and had some ice cream. Maris didn't want to eat too much late at night, but I was totally fine with it. Today we had cake, went out to eat at a Chinese restaurant and are going to the Nutcracker tonight! So far it has been a great birthday. I didn't get her very much for her birthday so I made sure to wrap everything seperately and to put it in bags so it looked like there were lots of things. We also reuse bags, so the 49er bag was really a bag I got a long time ago. Maris got a lot of DVDs, a clock and a Tallinn University T-shirt.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Winter

So far this has been an awesome January. Things in Estonia are great, winter finally came. We have lots of snow and everything is beautiful. There are no classes in January, just lots of grading and getting ready for the new semester. Tallinn University seems to be pretty international. There is an American couple who live in Tallinn, Pete is getting his MA here at Tallinn University Kimmy is teaching English. They came over last week. Also a nice guy from Cape Verde just moved in, he is doing a post-doc. He came over for FHE last night. It's nice to have an international feel to the branch. We also got a new branch president on Sunday.

We have been watching season 7 of the office, it is great. Maris has a birthday on Saturday and the 49ers are playing in the playoffs on Saturday! The Jazz have a winning record so far. The Red Wings are tied for first in their division.