President Ilves on Estonia

“For the visitor unfamiliar with Estonia, the smallness and flatness of the country can be deceptive. Like the taciturn and reticent Estonians, the subdued landscape, with its absence of emotionally dramatic vistas and panoramatic heights, recalls in the late 20th century an earlier time, quieter and more spare, where there simply were fewer people in the world, where things were quieter and nature, rather deceptively, more pervasive. Nature in Estonia does not intrude on the consciousness through drama, but through its sheer presence. One does not need a Mont Blanc, a Grand Canyon or the Rhine river valley to be struck by Nature. A quiet meadow, a primeval forest, a spawning island for Baltic Sea seals, all quietly assert the primacy of Nature over human artifice.”

President Toomas Hendrik Ilves, quoted in the Regio Road Atlas, 1998.

International Trafficking

I’m surfacing again after a long communication hiatus to let you all know about a prayer request we’ll be offering up for the next few weeks.

While driving outside of Tallinn with a friend of ours two weeks ago I came upon a police check point. They warned me about a broken tail light but in checing my papers they doubted the validity of my intenational drivers license. They gave me a temporary suspension of the license until the issue could be clarified so I’m currently relegated to the passenger seat – a minor inconvenience.

What is much more worrisome is that we’ve discovered that while the document normally expires a year from issue, in Estonia it is only valid for a year from issue of the holder’s residence permit. After this point, an Estonian driver’s license is necessary. Since my residence permit was issued in January of 2008, I was essentially caught driving without a license. While the situation seems understandable enough, we are quite worried because the police have been leveling large fines in order to make up for budget shortfalls. The largest this ticket could be is roughly 1,500 USD.

Please pray that the ticket will be as small as possible and that my preparations for the Estonian driver’s test will go quickly.