….turned into Canadian. Or Estonian Canadian. Or just Canestian like we call ourselves with hubby 🙂
People ask where I am from because of my accent. Not as much lately, but still. I usually have to explain where Estonia is on the map, how many people live there and also have to explain that yes, we have our own language. Over the years I have come to expect these questions and I have answered them a million times.
Do you know anything about Estonia?
Estonia: 45,336 km² ; Capital: Tallinn
Population 1,3 million ; more than 2000 islands;
Estonia is a country in Northern Europe. We like to call ourselves more northern Europeans than Eastern Europeans because of our history with Russia – The Soviet Union. Sweden in the west and Finland in the north. The official language is Estonian, although there are people who never learned/never want to learn Estonian – the Russians who moved in when they invaded Estonia and their offspring. There has always been a question in my mind – when you move to a foreign country, shouldn’t you learn the native language? I find it rude they don’t do that, but I don’t want to dedicate this blog post to any of them.
Lots of forests and lots of greenery in Estonia. Over 50% is covered with forests. In the fall we pick our own berries and mushrooms in the forest which is very weird to explain to people here because nobody here does that. Forests here are mostly gated off and you can’t really stop on the side of the highway to go mushrooming. This is one of the things I really miss. Picking my own berries and mushrooms, not from a farm but out in the open. So much fun!
Estonia has two Independence Days. It first achieved independence from the Soviet Union on February 24, 1918 and again on August 20, 1991 after 51 years of occupation. The second date is known as the “Restoration of Independence Day.
To avoid pedestrians get hit by a car in the dark winter times, it is actually the law in Estonia that—whether you are biking or just walking—you must have safety reflectors attached, to make sure that people can see you. There are all different fun shapes for all ages. I think it should be law in every country. Especially in the little towns and villages, to keep people safe!
FUN FACT: In 2000, the Estonian government created a law that made the internet access (wi-fi) a basic human right in the country, which is, by the way, one of the fastest connections in the world. It is the first country to ever permit online voting in elections.
PEOPLE: Estonians tend to be polite, formal, and reserved during initial meetings.
Periods of silence are to be expected. Avoid interrupting someone while they are speaking. Don’t take it personally if people are reserved in the beginning, they usually warm up after time. It’s all about the trust. Once you gain that trust, you are a friend for life! If invited to an Estonian household, it is appropriate to bring flowers, cake, cookies, liquor, or chocolates which I have also carried over to this country. This is in my DNA, when you go visit somebody, bring something.
Being late and not calling to let the person know is definitely rude. I dislike when people are late. I feel it is very disrespectful . I am usually always early wherever I go. I don’t like to be late!
WHEN TO VISIT? I would say either winter, when Tallinn downtown is magical with it’s small Christmas market. Or in the summer when it’s warm and there is so much to do. So much nature to discover. Lot’s of outdoor festivals all over the country, and if you are lucky, you get to see the Estonian Song and Dance Festival!
*Song Festival Grounds, with and without people.
I think I have covered all my bases now 🙂 If you want to know more, let me know!