Top 10 Estonian Daily Life Matters Which Are Eye-Opening For Non-Estonians

#10. Where Do We Wash Pots?

So far, I have stayed in 9 different properties in Tallinn. All in all, the kitchen sink was somewhat too small, even in family houses. I honestly wonder where Estonians wash big deep pots and oven trays.

#9. No Microwaves

Since it is not a mainstream cooking appliance here, I can easily wow Estonians by boiling water in a mug, making crisps, or baking some cupcakes, all within 3 minutes in a microwave.

#8. Redefining Fast Delivery

Whoever is from Amazon-serviced countries, behold! When you see “kiire kuller (fast delivery)” on an online shop, don’t expect a same-day delivery. Here, fast delivery to your door often takes 3–5 business days. Collection from a parcel machine is much faster and cheaper if you can opt for it.

#7. Minimal Package

1 litre of milk and yoghurt come in a plastic bag. Minced meat is also sold without a plastic tray.

#6. Punctual

Busses come precisely on time, hurray!!

#5. No Feedback Still Means Well

When you pitch an important strategic plan, and if the CEO approves it with a plain “Yes” with no signs of feelings on the face, would you be confident to lead the company’s future with your plan? English speakers would interpret this as 20% of “Yes, I appreciate your effort” and 80% of “No, I’m not fully convinced yet”.

Or when your Estonian guests all go silent while they eat up your killer dish, you would definitely start convening a feedback session with your voices in your head, whispering all possible negative comments.

In both cases, Estonians meant well! Estonians are absolutely honest and they do not use frill words to decorate their statement. Speaking less is better. Silence is a peaceful joy. If they did not like your idea or food, they would probably say “huvitav (interesting)”.

#4. Where Is A Repairman?

Big name electric appliance manufacturers do not have repair centres in Estonia. So how do the locals get by? Impressively, Estonians repair most electric things by themselves. Eventually, you will also find a repairman in yourself. During my first year in Estonia, I already learned how to repair a Philips Sonicare and an electric kettle and to rewire electric cables to change or attach plug sockets.

#3. It’s A Small World After All

Estonians do not talk to strangers, but they are already connected with those strangers within 2 or 3 degrees of separation.

#2. Unbelievably Safe

Local channels zealously produce crime dramas while in reality there is almost no reported murder cases. Estonia is by far the safest country amongst 25+ countries I have been to. I can walk alone in the dark after 10pm, totally safe.

#1. Postmen’s Secret

I once went to deliver a letter to my friend, but the postbox was inside the locked door. So how do postmen manage to deliver letters? I just asked a passerby, and she kindly told me that Omniva postmen have the secret keys to access every building. I had to ask her, “tõesti (really)?!” again and again. This is a good indication on how safe Estonia is!