kolmapäev, jaanuar 10, 2007

Tartu Linn

Dear friends, on January 30 my wife, my daughter, and I will board a plane that will take us to Tallinn via Warsaw. It is our intention to move to Tartu, and we should be settled in our new home by the first week of February. As you can imagine, our lives are quite hectic now.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that Marta's passport, obtained when she was a month and a half old, is still valid, and will be valid until 2009. Another interesting matter is that my child must apply for citizenship in Estonia, as she is not technically an Estonian citizen until she does so even though she was born there and her mother is a citizen. So Marta will enter Estonia with an American passport, as an American, then she will obtain her identity card, and then I'll have to figure out how to leave Estonia with her.

Should I present the American passport, as she entered Estonia with that passport, or the Estonian one, so I don't get hassled about how my Estonian daughter doesn't have a resident's visa? Ai ai ai. Anyway, I am going to put this blog on hiatus for the next few weeks. If you get bored, I recommend Finland for Thought. That's always good for some controversy. See you in Tartu!

43 kommentaari:

stockholm slender ütles ...

It's such a lovely town, so much nicer than Tallinn - we should have a pint at Püssirohukelder or Wilde's the next time we are over! (which actually for obvious reasons might now take some time...)

Jens-Olaf ütles ...
Blogi administraator eemaldas selle kommentaari.
Jens-Olaf ütles ...

Nice to know you in Eestimaa. Once I got to know that I was illegal staying in Estonia, but this is another story. I paid the fee and everything was o.k.. Long time ago ;-)

Anonüümne ütles ...

What made you decided to move? Why Tartu and not Tallinn?

Giustino ütles ...

Tartu has better Chinese food. And of course, the women are more beautiful, though not as beautiful as the women of Karksi-Nuia.

Anonüümne ütles ...

Bravo! I hope you eventually have atleast three kids, one for you, one for Epp and one for Eestimaa.

Martin ütles ...


Another interesting matter is that my child must apply for citizenship in Estonia, as she is not technically an Estonian citizen until she does so even though she was born there and her mother is a citizen.

That's odd. Your child would have automatically acquired Estonian citizen at birth if one of the parents was an Estonian citizen at the time of the birth. See the Citizenship Act of Estonia (1995, consolidated March 2004)
http://www.legislationline.org/legislation.php?tid=11&lid=2296
The legislation also states that no one shall be deprived of Estonian citizenship acquired by birth. The only way your child is not an Estonian citizen is if your child renounces Estonian citizenship upon attaining 18 years of age. So until then, your child has dual citizenship.

Anonüümne ütles ...

You are obviuosly going through some tough times.
And I don't mean the moving itself or the (relatively) new enviorement...

Ole tugev!

Anonüümne ütles ...

hm... enviorement

Estonia visitor ütles ...

God help you with the immigration folks at border control if you present anything out of the ordinary. I think the level of most services in Estonia is generally quite acceptable but these people are unreal. I have a 9-year old passport so its pretty old and battered, but the amount of scrutiny and double checking and questions takes the cake. "Do you have any other id?" "How you know estonian (when I got off a plane a little tipsy and said, 'tere', to the lady)? Were you living here?" "Why are you here? (can you even ask that now we're all in the EU?)etc etc -

OK some people would say its because my passport is old, but for example, over Xmas I flew in and out of Estonia, and both times: heavy scrutiny, poking and scratching at the passport, scanning under the blue light... but when I flew into Norway on my way home, just a couple of hours after I had left Tallinn, I had to pass through border control at Oslo airport in and out to change planes, and each time the amount of time spent looking at my passport was about... 5 seconds. Now, arguably, more people are trying to enter Norway illegally than Estonia(I say ARGUABLY because I don't want to arouse Estonian Woman's anger!) and if my EU passport was good enough to only need a quick check, then why on earth are the estonian border control on so much overkill? In the last year I have travelled to EU countries like France, the Czech Republic, Finland, Latvia and non-EU countries like Morocco and Bulgaria (non-EU at the time) and nowhere have I seen the level of overkill and borderline rudeness from the border guards.

I still remember the time when coming back on a ferry from Sweden the lady in the booth refused to accept an Italian military id from a guy in front of us who was coming back from an overnight cruise to a ship docked in Tallinn. The id had been ok for him to leave Tallinn and enter Finland, but suddenly to this lady it wasn't good enough. She actually called it "toilet paper" and when he argued, barked out, "Ole vait!" at him. Can you imagine??

I really think they need to have an overhaul of the professionalism of the Estonian border guards (and sorry to say this, but in my general experience, its been the women who are the worst - if there's a guy in one of the booths I tend to head for that one now, they're usually fine). Arriving at the airport is the first contact people have with Estonia and it's a shame when a bad experience sours their future view of the country.

No doubt estonian woman will be along soon to tell me how shamefully the "bloody brits" treated her when she arrived at the airport in London... :)

Oh about your daughter, considering the small population of the ethnic estonian group, and the low birthrate, I am pretty sure once you get past the bureaucratic crap, it'll be a snap for her to claim citizenship.

Andres Sehr ütles ...

Good luck with the move Giustino. Part of me is jealous. :)

As for the airport immigration people, I actually found them to be getting much friendlier. After passing through Ulemiste airport about 60 times in the past 2.5 years I noticed a change. They started saying "have a nice day" and "welcome home" to me, even with my slight accented Estonian.

Kevin Hogan ütles ...

I was in Tartu between Xmas and New Years for the first time in six years.
I'm an American. In August 2006, I moved from Chicago to Tapa to teach English.
I thought Tartu looked like another western suburb of Chicago: people moving out of the central city and into big cars and even bigger homes.
Where's the money coming from to support the new infrastructure these new subdivisions require? How are families making their monthly installment payments on Estonian salaries? Is Tartu a nice college town or a real tourist destination?
While I thought Estonia had the opportunitiy to pick and choose the best of Western policies and practices, it seems that in Tartu they have adopted American consumer policies and keeping-up-with-the-Jones practices lock, stock, and barrel.
There has to be a happy medium between Tartu and Tapa.

Estonia visitor ütles ...

"After passing through Ulemiste airport about 60 times in the past 2.5 years I noticed a change."

lol

Giustino ütles ...

My worst border experience was at Heathrow, where the Clive Owen-lookalike border guard decided to skewer this 'yank' with questions like:

"How much money do you have in your bank account?"

"Do you really think that you can support yourself on that sum in the UK?"

"Who are you visiting?"

[my answer, Estonian girlfriend, made him more curious]

"Where does she live?"

[She is visiting her aunt and uncle in Gloucester]

"Do you have the address in Gloucester?"

"Do you intend to work illegally?"

By the time he was done with me I could have owned up to be an ecstasy dealer, just so the bloody limey would let me through the gates to his prestigious isle of Hyde Parks, Ulrika Jonsson, and Harry Potter.

On the flipside, when I entered Ireland, I was given the usual inspection and bid a friendly "welcome to Ireland" by a portly happy-go-lucky border guard. It instantly made me like Ireland more.

Estonia visitor ütles ...

Fair enough, but they (UK border guards) always maintain their levels of courtesy. Never actually tell someone their passport is "toilet paper" or to "shut up". And I 'll take them any day over the officious passport control nazis at JFK!

But further on the estonian border guards... one estonian friend of mine came back into the country with an old passport and they still gave him a hard time and demanded more id... even though he is an Estonian born and raised, and is speaking to them in accentless Estonian. I mean, it's not the easiest nationality to fake being, is it?

So it's not like I haven't heard locals also complaining about their passport people...

Giustino ütles ...

Is Tartu a nice college town or a real tourist destination?

It's a nice college town with a lot of history. I liken it to Boston or Cambridge. Boston is not a "must see" in the US, but most people that visit enjoy their stay and feel they learned a bit more about the country than if they had just stayed in a tourist trap.

While I thought Estonia had the opportunitiy to pick and choose the best of Western policies and practices, it seems that in Tartu they have adopted American consumer policies and keeping-up-with-the-Jones practices lock, stock, and barrel.

Which America are we talking about? The city I work and live in wouldn't have invested all that money to fix up Tartu kesklinn. In New York, I can guarantee you that our "old town" down by Wall Street would not be treated with as much care as those brand new apartment buildings going up next door to our "old town" to house the children of the wealthy and their little dogs too.

One positive thing is that across from my office building they tore down a row of older buildings but kept the historical "faces" of the buildings to integrate into whatever building they plan to put there (office? sports club? starbucks? all of the above?). I hope that practice continues.

Giustino ütles ...

And I 'll take them any day over the officious passport control nazis at JFK!

Amen to that. They always give me a "warm welcome" whenever I get back.

Giustino ütles ...

I am interested in learning more about what passport to present.

For example, my friend is a dual American and Irish citizen. He left JFK with his American passport, but entered the EU with his Irish passport.

Should I present both passports at the border or use one sometimes and the other sometimes? How does this work.

Estonia visitor ütles ...

OK, I am talking from general knowledge here but...If your child enters on an American passport with you and during her stay gets her Estonian citizenship properly documented in the form of a passport or id card - and then when you leave you present that id card - why should it be a problem? Or do you think they're going to look up the details of her entry and question the different citizenship? And if your Estonian-national wife is travelling with you and your Estonian-national child when you leave, I would think that would present even less of a problem (as opposed to only a father travelling on an American passport and a child travelling on an Estonian passport).

Anyway, I found this site helpful in the past: http://www.mig.ee/eng/

Andres Sehr ütles ...

Should I present both passports at the border or use one sometimes and the other sometimes? How does this work.

DO NOT present both passports. Nothing makes a person more suspicious than having multiple passports. If you have 2 then they think you may have more. Easiest thing is to go to the booth with your wife and child and hand over your passports all at the same time, with her being born in Estonia it will make things a little easier imo.

pla ütles ...

Hmm. I haven't had a problem with border guards on the Estonian border. Of course i travel outside of the country like once a year but still. I have seen worse guards on Polish and Lithuanian borders. Once when we were crossing the border in a bus, one guy showed a really old passport too, the border guard woman almost started to laugh because he had changed DRAMATICALLY from that picture in the passport. She asked for a second ID, which he didnt have, and looked at the passport for some minutes with the whole bus giggling and she blushing. Then in the end she grinned, gave it back and let him through.

Another nice scene I remember also associates with female Estonian border guards when after a 2 week bus trip, she came in and said "welcome home" in such a voice that it just made my heart melt :P

So i guess you have had exceptionally bad luck with people :P

Tiia ütles ...

Let Marta travel with the American one, this time. She will not be in the country for more than the allowed time, so she won't have any problems getting back in the second time either. When you go in January, there won't be another option anyway. When you leave, it makes sense to use the American one, because they may ask for the visa anyway.

In any case for the next 15 years before she's 18, it's 100% legal for her to have 2 passports, so you can just lay all those bad boys in a row there on the counter.

Eppppp ütles ...

Hi, Im Martas mother and Im not worried.
She has legally the opportunity for both citizenships - only we have not had time yet to go and get the Estonian passport for her.
We will enter with her US passport and we will get the paperwork done there.
She can use both of her passports in the future for travelling, until she is 18. Obviously, Estonian passport for Estonian border and the US passport for the US border, everywhere else we can choose or show both.
But when she is 18... If Estonia does not change the law by that time, she has to choose. Right now the US allows dual citizenship but Estonia allows it only for people under 18.
Most likely, Estonia will change it, because most of the EU countries allow dual citizenships (I heard, have not checked).

//

The funniest story was when we left Estonia when Marta was 2,5 months old (she was born there and we lived there). The border control warned us that Marta would have had trouble owning only American passport and staying in country for longer than 90 days (visa free time in Estonia for US citizens)... Fortunately she was younger than 90 days! ;)

This was the day when I learned that she does not have her citizenship "automatically", she has to have the travel document from her country, the passport.
And I knew that we have to get it done when we go back and stay in Estonia for longer than 90 days. Which happens now.

Anonüümne ütles ...

I don't think you have *lived* (or stayed longer) in Tartu for a while, have you? A small university town lives from a good, well-working university, and there is none in Tartu anymore, although the Rector's elections on the 18th may change this. Right now, it's a Potemkin's village with neo-classic facades and a top-down, sub-academic nightmare inside. And life in Tartu is so dull, so boring, so empty compared to Tallinn that the street to Tallinn is really the best feature. This is why the general trend is away from Tartu, on all levels, and rightly. For a quaint visit, it's nice; for more, hardly. Nevertheless, best of luck, and I am sure one can come up with a good rationale for living there anyway - being determines consciousness, as some guy once said...

notsu ütles ...

Tartu is a provincial town in 19th c. style. Tallinn is a provincial town in 21th c. style. It's a matter of taste which one to prefer.

Giustino ütles ...

I am sure one can come up with a good rationale for living there anyway - being determines consciousness, as some guy once said...

One could say the same about Estonia in general. Here's some reasons I like Tartu:

1) People. They seem more "Western" to me, ie. they dress normal as opposed to the Tallinn "life's a party" crowd.

2) Family. My sister-in-law and her family live there. That's one of the main reasons we want to go there - so my daughter can spend time with her cousins.

3) Music. They always seemed to have more creative musicians playing around Tartu. I mean, Chalice is from Tartu. And that is the difference. Tartu is the city of Chalice. Tallinn is Vanilla Ninja territory.

4) I have already lived in Tallinn. It will be nice to try something new.

5) The Baltic Studies program is there. DUH!

plasma-jack ütles ...

hey, forget about Vanilla Ninja, Tallinn has a reputation of being an indie mecca for Scandinavians. There are countless good rock and indie bands in Tallinn's scene.
Sõpruse puiestee is from Tallinn. As are J.M.K.E., Röövel Ööbik, Psychoterror, Shelton San, Zahir, Agent M and Pia Fraus, to name a few. (Vaiko Eplik is from Kohila, but now he lives in Tallinn, which should make him a Tallinn's artist) Juuksur, Von Krahl, Levist Väljas and other bohemian bars are becoming more and more popular among alternative kind of tourists as well (I know that because I visit the places and there's always some American, Dutch or Venezuelan guy or girl to have a conversation with. The Old Town, the modern City, the green suburbs, wooden ghettos and "sleeping districts" of panel buildings are not the one and the same Tallinn.

stockholm slender ütles ...

Well, my experiences of Tallinn are quite sketchy really, mostly observations of my four legged compatriots invading the Old Town, bravely charging the weird no-man's land between it and the harbour, hearing Russian spoken maybe bit too often even to my Finlandized Kekkoslovakia ears, the certain impatience of the locals (especially with the Finns, understandably enough). Tartu in contrast has been a very welcoming, fresh town with the university and students giving it a nice, open atmosphere, one feels at home there.

Of course, I can well be wrong about Tallinn with such superficial experiences (especially as I have anyway been utterly brainwashed by my wife to value all Tartu related things and disparage Tallinn...)

Anonüümne ütles ...

Sorry for the last post (can't delete it, maybe you can?). It's supposed to read:

I think that it is Tartu that is all would-be and pretense; the cool student town is exactly not present, and to be unable to shop or eat out is a bit enerving after a month. The anti-Tallinn tirades, on the other hand, I find unfounded; Tallinn is pretty cosmopolitan in the end, in spite of the problems.

I think there are good objective reasons to live in Tallinn, or Estonia generally; I have my doubts about Tartu (and I have lived in both places).

That people in Tartu are more "Western" (if this is, then, a compliment) is certainly not the case; as far as partying is concerned, the students in Tartu (most from Tallinn of course) dominate so much that this is more emphasized there than up North. On Music, it obviously depends what style one likes; the Music (or intellectual pre) of Tartu is a thing of the past; if anything, it moved away in the mid-1990s.

On the Baltic Studies program, I very much hope and trust that this is not the one of TÜ. If it is, then good luck and may the force be with you, because you will surely need it...

Giustino ütles ...

I guess it's like choosing between Boston and New York. Except, I am choosing Boston for family and study reasons, not because I want to party better or see better indie rock bands. At least I'm not moving to Riga. Think about that. :)

Eppppp ütles ...

Giustino - never say never! (about Riga)

Plasma-jack - but is there a place somewhere in Estonia for bossanova live music?

Flasher T ütles ...

I am interested in learning more about what passport to present.

Use the Estonian passport to enter, and then to go claim an ID card.

The reason is that dual citizenship is a hack in Estonia. There is actually legislation that forbids it, but the Constitution says you can't strip birthright citizenship. So the civil service prefers to pretend the other citizenship isn't there.

If you get asked about the lack of an American visa in your daughter's passport, then you explain. It's not actually illegal in any way, just better not to overload the border guard's higher brain functions with something unorthodox.

Flasher T ütles ...

Where's the money coming from to support the new infrastructure these new subdivisions require? How are families making their monthly installment payments on Estonian salaries?

The money is coming from the booming economy (read: the ten bucks in your SkypeOut balance are paying for my pub crawl). While real estate prices have soared in Tartu over the last half a decade, we do have strict banking rules on who can get a mortgage. Legislation requires that the total finance payments (mortgage, car loan, student loan, credit card debt etc.) not exceed a third of the household's net income. Coupled with a minimum 10% down payment on mortgages, this tends to prevent negative equity and unsustainable loans.

The big problem now is the rising EURIBOR (European interbank offered rate, base rate for mortgages - roughly equivalent to the US concept of variable rate loans, except a lot more regulated). Since most mortgages have interest of EURIBOR plus a fixed margin, the rise of EURIBOR drives up monthly payments. But it's still a relatively small increase and unlikely to lead to a wave of defaults.

You can read more about this on my blog: http://www.antyx.net/2006/05/inevitability.html

Flasher T ütles ...

This was the day when I learned that she does not have her citizenship "automatically", she has to have the travel document from her country, the passport.


That doesn't sound right. She has an Estonian birth certificate, so she has an Estonian isikukood - she's registered in the Estonian population database - she's an Estonian citizen, documented as far as the Estonian civil service is concerned. Whether she actually has an ID card or Estonian passport is irrelevant to her citizenship status.

Flasher T ütles ...

Juuksur, Von Krahl, Levist Väljas and other bohemian bars are becoming more and more popular among alternative kind of tourists as well

Hah. Zavood beats them all, hands down. ;)

notsu ütles ...

Bossanovas... maybe in Illegaard? it is officially a jazz club and has live music some nights. Haven't been long there myself, though.

notsu ütles ...

Suudlevad Tudengid also has some live music nights, I personally am not very fond of the place, but music programme seems to be pretty good:
http://www.maksuamet.com/uus/index.php?src=tekst&parent=6&item_id=17
In Café Shakespeare it depends on the night, but you might find something there as well.
And Wilde advertises it's jazz nights here:
http://www.wilde.ee/uudised.php?kuvauudis=43
(Sorry, I don't know how to link properly)

Flasher T ütles ...

Illegaard is counter-productive - no space to dance. Hell, there's barely space to carry a pint from the bar.

plasma-jack ütles ...

@eppppp - café amigo? Quite lame plave, I know.

@flasher t - I love your optimism. Keep that up!

Martasmimi ütles ...

This post has been removed by the author.

How very nice of you to delete my post.....

Giustino ütles ...

This post has been removed by the author.

How very nice of you to delete my post.....


"Removed by the author" means that you must have removed it, since you are the author.

Martasmimi ütles ...

I don't know how to delete it..wasn't me....
and it's gone

Anonüümne ütles ...

To estonia visitor. Here is that bad estonian woman again :)
Bloody hell, how do you know I was badly treated by immigration officer:)in UK:)!!!My boyfriend was chocked of that experience, because usually brits havent seen that. Before me was one Chile girl.
so he saw immigration work in its beauty:)Only one he didnt asked was her number of bra:)My boyfriend was with me because it was in Manchester, small airport:)In the end the immigartion officer started to question him:).Because he dont live in UK either:)