Our first half year in Estonia is already behind us and my wife and I are starting to feel at home here in Tallinn. We have had lots of practice in our career in settling in quickly and learning to adapt. Summer has been busier than we expected. That’s just fine. We like to stay busy as much as we value some private time as well. Together or separately, we have visited many, but not nearly all corners of this beautiful country. From Tallinn to Tartu and from Viljandi to Narva; to the islands of Saarema, Hiiumaa, and Abruka; my picture of Estonia is becoming fuller. We have sailed in the Baltic, enjoyed opera and classical concerts, and moved to the music of Buena Vista Social Club at the Nokia Center. We shivered in a beautifully frigid winter and learned to visit Old Town Tallinn late in the afternoon during this tropical summer, after the cruise ships have again returned the city to its residents.
I am finding diplomatic activity here productive and professional, and U.S. and Estonian policy in great measure in “violent agreement.” We have had a good first half of 2010 dealing much with Alliance and security issues. I look forward to some added focus on global economic recovery, energy and cyber security, and other global issues in 2010/2011. This first summer is beginning to draw to a close as my Embassy prepares for the new business season. In July, I had to say farewell to my Deputy Chief of Mission, but I am now looking forward to the arrival of her successor, who will play a central role in helping me manage our Embassy and our partnership with Estonia. Our staff is also growing overall, with the soon-to-be-announced arrival of another U.S. Government agency joining our diplomatic team in Tallinn. Looking forward to an active time ahead.