Answers to your excellent questions:
EPP - Why Estonia??? (Besides your lovely wife ;)
I have always been interested in the Nordic countries. When I was a small boy I used to read my brother's set of encyclopedias and I remember reading about the Lapps who used reindeer for everything. It seemed so cool. And everything is cute and quiet and in pastel colours - it's like the Japan of Europe. And underneath this cute exterior it has this menacing psychology of alcoholism and suicidal depression. Quite a combo.
EPP - Which countries would like to visit and live in?
To live? Of the places I've been I like Vancouver in Canada. I also liked Italy immensely. If I lived there for the rest of my life and was buried in an old dusty cemetery, I think I'd feel just fine. I also have strong urges to go to Brazil and Japan. In fact, I'd like to do a trip from Rio de Janeiro to Sao Paulo, then Buenos Aires in Argentina, and then to Santiago, Chile.
INGA - I have a question about Estonian language - I have heard that it's one of the most complicated languages to learn, is that so?
I haven't tried to learn many other languages so I don't know. I did take Spanish for a long time in school, but I was not particularly great at it and today I remember little. My Estonian is much better than my Spanish ever was.
Danish was hard to pronounce and I feel that Estonian pronunciation is easier, although the Scandinavian languages (aside from Icelandic) are pretty easy to read. Swedish is actually fairly easy to understand, if you have subtitles :)
The Slavic languages are very hard, in my opinion. I have learned some basic phrases, but it is so hard to remember words. Polish seems labrynthian. Russian is impenetrable and even harder because of the alphabet.
Italian doesn't seem to be so bad. I can understand that even with the subtitles switched off. Portuguese is also not so hard for me because I listen to Brazilian music all of the time. So I can understand some basic stuff in there.
The real trouble with Estonian is not the cases. The cases are only tricky when you are speaking it. It's the word order. You have to hear the whole sentence before you can digest it and understand it. In English you start from the very begining and ride the thoughts out to the end. But in Estonian the verb is often at the end. And Estonian sentences, particularly written ones, throw a lot of details into the beginning and then proceed to the action.
Another problem is all of those ü's, õ's, ä's, and ö's. I can't even make the õ sound. I sort of make it, but it's not the real õ sound.
The words are also quite tricky. Little changes in a root word can mean different things. For example, ei lähe means "don't go" while ei lähenda means "doesn't solve."
But altogether, it's not as hard as some other languages. Think about the people who have to learn Japanese or Korean or Chinese? Or how about even Finnish? have you seen Finnish lately?
Porvoon tuomikirkon sytyttämisestä syytteessä oleva askolalainen nuorukainen oli ilmoittanut aikeistaan kavereilleen hieman ennen tekoa. Sytyttäjä ja kaksi hänen seurassaan ollutta nuorta oli palaamassa toukokuun 29. päivänä aamuyöllä Porvoon keskustassa sijaitsevasta ravintolasta, kun 18-vuotias nuorukainen ilmoitti aikeistaan.
Ok, this has something to do with Porvoo's dome church ... I hear it burnt down. But still, Estonian is easier than Finnish. I'm glad I am not learning Finnish at this moment.
TATSUTAHIME - Kas sa tahaksid päriselt Eestis elada? Miks?
Eesti (praegu) on rahulik nurk maailmas. Mulle meeldib Hiuumaad, Saaremaad, ja Tartut. Me praegu elame New Yorgis. New Yorgil on palju kultuur - musik ja midagi mood - aga see linn on must. See küsimus on nii suur - mis koht elada ja miks. Aga tõde on kerge leida. Kui ühel kohal on pühas õhk ja tavaline elu - siis see on tervislik koht olla.
Millises riigis sa mingil juhul ei tahaks elada?
Kus meri ei ole.
JENS OLAF - Who cares about Estonia, who does?
I think Ukraine is the most important East European country for the North American and European foreign policy elite right now. There is this idea that the Baltics are too small and foreign for Russia to see them as a model, but that Ukraine can pave the way for Russian reform.
Estonia is a small, northern country. It is gifted with a small population and thus can distinguish itself by doing things that larger countries cannot. Estonia can have paper free government, and e-lections, and genome projects, and do many pioneering things because of its size and adaptability.
In that way it can distinguish itself.