In the summer of 1998, I found myself in Tallinn, Estonia, on a public service fellowship. I was an intern with the American Chamber of Commerce, Estonia; I read the English news for the Estonian national radio, and I was training for my first triathlon. It was my first time living abroad, away from home, and I loved exploring the picturesque old town of Tallinn. It was so beautiful I could hardly believe it was real. We spent time on the island of Saaremma in the Baltic Sea, and the sentience of the woods there was something I will never forget.
The art, culture, and community I found in Estonia shaped me profoundly. But the highlight of the summer was an accident. I stumbled into a concert one night, of the Estonian Philharmonic choir in the old Niguliste Kirk. They were singing Arvo Pärt's Kanon Pokajanon, the Canons of Repentance, which is written in church Slavonic. And before I really knew what was happening to me, I felt the music of the choir engulf me like an ocean wave. I could feel the shape of the architecture, and somehow smell snow in the woods.
Click on the button below to read the rest of Rita's post on our blog, "Going Deeper."