Sunday, July 8, 2012

Weekend Vacation: Part 1 Estonia

This week we earned our first vacation outside of Lithuania. Myself and eight other female participants (don't know how that came to be) left Friday, July 6th early in the morning for Estonia. We had a pretty tight schedule lined up for the good first half of the day.

After rounding up at ISM University to meet with one of our professors who was accompanying us on the trip we took three taxis to the Vilnius airport. At the Vilnius airport we all checked in and waited for a little over a half hour to get on our first flight. Once we boarded we were going to take a quick stop in Riga, Latvia to catch another flight out to Tallinn, Estonia.

The whole flight from Vilnius to Tallinn is only a little over an hour. Having had no sleep the whole previous night due to an intense night with the Lithuanian night life I was ready to get a nice long nap in. That never occurred. A half hour later we were in Riga, Latvia. When we got there me and a couple of the girls were starving so we decided to try the only food stop available at the location, Latvian pizza. It wasn't that bad surprisingly. A hour hour later our flight began boarding for Estonia.

We landed in Tallinn and made our way out to the arrivals area to catch our ride. Our professor Maike hadn't planned our transportation out all that well so we ended up grouping up three taxis again after a little negotiating and made out way to the student housing of the university there. Once we reached the housing Maike told us we had a half hour to get ready for our first assigned tour. So much for being able to lay down and catch a quick nap. We reformed at the base floor a half hour later and began trekking to the Estonian Technical University where we were to get a tour of the school and gain a little knowledge about the Estonian culture.

We couldn't find the international department for a good 20 minutes due to misinterpretations and miscommunications, but finally found the woman we were looking for. We were taken to a little classroom where another lady, a pixie looking older Estonian woman was to give us the Estonian culture presentation. Never have I met a woman who was so expressive about presenting a culture and emphasizing her English accent with every little verbal tone she could. Having to watch an Estonian gospel concert video for half an hour was really making me wish I had never left my dorm room in the first place. After the dreadful presentation and a slight tour we were finally taken to the cafeteria. Hallelujah!

Once we had finished eating we were headed to our Skype headquarter visit. I was really pumped to see the headquarter since many never got a private tour of the very impressive company. We walked to the site location and very greeted by once again another pixie looking blonde Estonian woman. Her name was Heidi and she was the director of all operations of Skype. She informed us that she was known as the mother of the Skype family, so we definitely knew she was someone of great importance in the company. She was very enthusiastic and informative during our tour which made it more enjoyable. The Skype company environment was very well planned out as they were actually in the middle of expanding the building when we were there. She had oversaw all the designs and architectural planning that was already completed and of what was currently going on. There were vivid colors, nicely decorated rooms, very well thought out details around every corner, and creative ideas brought to life everywhere throughout the tour. It was definitely a modern design concept where comfort of the employees and an exciting environment were taken heavily into consideration. This is the kind of office you hope to one day work in yourself or construct for your own company (which I aim to have). The tour lasted almost an hour and we said our goodbyes. At this point we were done with our tours and were free to do our adventuring of the city. My dorm and my sleep was all that was on my mind at that point and that's what happened for the next few hours till we would later go out again.

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