"I am never moving out," said 35-year-old Taivo Kroonberg of the 40-square-meter apartment he shares with his mother Hilde. "Even when I marry we're all just going to move in here. Mother does her thing. I do mine." Kroonberg's thing is contemplating the beauty of complex algorithms, which he does in the daytime hours when his mother is away working at R-kiosk to support the two of them. But Hilde doesn't mind.
"Taivo created a wonderful clock on the base-seven number system, and he has computed pi by hand to the two-millionth place to the right of the decimal on the wall over there," said Hilde, directing a journalist's attention to tiny, hand-scrawled digits filling the wall's surface. "Some say he's wasting his life, but those people just don't understand Taivo." She resists criticism that Estonia coddles its men and says this is simply the way of a patriarchal culture.
Hilde says her routine rarely varies. She cooks for Taivo before leaving for work, returns on public transport to cook him lunch, then returns promptly at six p.m. to prepare his dinner. On weekends she does his laundry in a plastic tub in the bathroom and changes the rags used as doormats in the stairwell. "I'm doing it for Taivo, of course," says Hilde. "But I'm also doing it for Estonia. I want to see our country become great."
Hilde Kroonberg (above) says she keeps Taivo "right and regular."