Just when this gray weather has me contemplating suicide, some little soldier inside me convinces me to go on. I have been struggling, both with cultural differences as well as physical challenges. I think people misinterpret the Estonian ideal of stoicism as being somehow Germanic, but I have after many years here begun to appreciate the populace’s farther eastern links. (Ask yourself this, could any Estonian ever give a rousing, Nuremberg-like speech?) They aren’t some warlike tribe from the central European peneplain, no, they are from the silent, distant east, like blond Yupik or something. So I can forgive myself for feeling lost, as lost as any Westerner would feel in, say, Japan. My eldest daughter’s obsession with Japanese anime hints at recognition of that island country’s mentality, the warrior-poet Art of the Samurai corresponding roughly to the stiff-backed, impersonal manner of Swedbank customer service, or the static reception you get at Eesti Post. There is a woman who works at Eesti Post who is most fetching, but whenever I give her the eye, she shrinks and wilts, as if she has never seen the sunlight.