If I hadn't had so much to do this week, me and this creeping crud I brought home from the conferences in Brussels would have stayed home yesterday and today. But alas, not only did I have too much to do, but it was all stuff I really wanted to do.
Yesterday it was the NUKU puppet theatre and museum in the Old City. Silly me, I forgot my camera, because they have REALLY COOL stuff in there! They currently have a production going on of a Japanese puppetry play from the 1700s, and are building the puppets (and gargoyles! Did I mention I have a gargoyle that I won in a white elephant party as a doorstop...and that I actually bought him at a thrift store for said party and then did my best to win him?) for a vampire play. I am so going to that!
And today was the kickoff of Pärnu America Days. It was my first trip to Pärnu (though I expect the first of several over the coming two weeks). The Ambassador spoke to students and teachers at the local library to kick off the event, which includes films, a teepee in the center of town, a car show, pumpkin carving and lots of other stuff. It is organized by a local American, and we support the event. It is pretty awesome.
And the town is really beautiful, or what little I got to see of it. I hope to see more. But what got me right off the bat was that as you cross the Pärnu River into Pärnu, they have a monument of five flags of the city. But they had taken down the center one and replaced it with the American flag.
After the event, we drove quickly back to Tallinn to present a screening of Boys Don't Cry, the 1999 movie starring Hilary Swank based on the true story of Brandon Teena, a female-to-male transexual who was raped and murdered. I think the movie touched a lot of people there tonight (there were 50 or more in attendance), many of whom thanked me and some of whom left the theatre with tears in their eyes.
I used my introduction of the event to say a bit about my own background as the victim of bullying, and about the It Gets Better project aimed at combating teen suicide by the victims of bullying. I said that while the stories of teens who take their lives as a response to bullying and the story of a young man who was murdered are not identical, both stem from a lack of societal acceptance of LGBT people.
Because it does get better, and I think the most powerful story I can tell to illustrate that is my own.