Today, is the 100th anniversary of Estonian Independence and it truly is a magnificent feeling. It's so weird for me to think that even just 3-4 years ago, I really had no association with Estonia in the sense that, I really wanted nothing to do with it. I know it sounds cruel, but believe me, my whole perspective has changed two-fold in the past 2 years. When I first moved here, the overwhelming number of 'broken' English accents kind of irked me. I just was not used to it and with not knowing Estonian when I first moved, it frustrated me at times. Now, anytime I hear an accent, I can't help but wonder how many languages the person knows and be completely inspired. The US, unfortunately, has such an ignorant stance on language. I feel many believe that English should be the only language needed and while I agree that having a universal language is brilliant, regarding it as the ONLY language needed, is complete insanity. The amount of colour and vibrancy that languages bring, is incredible. Embracing as many languages as possible is such a useful and invigorating skill. Learning my mother tongue, Estonian, again has been one of the best things I could have done for myself. Despite the extreme struggle in the beginning and the still, daily, struggle each day is worth it. From knowing nothing to getting a very good daily usage still blows my mind and to be honest, I do not give myself enough credit for it. Congratulations, my dear Estonia. You have so much to be proud of and I am so glad I came back to you. I will never abandon you, again.
However, while this post was about the holiday, it is about something more. It's about the unpredictability in life and how so many things happen that are not planned and are entirely out of your control.
My life was such a specific way for the first 2 years of living here, I was intensely studying Estonian, starting my Bachelor's in English Language and Literature, and falling in love with the most incredible guy in the world. Things were stressful with starting university in a whole new country, whole new language, a whole new relationship, but things became manageable and life seemed stable as I got used to things here. School was going well, my Estonian got better every day, and I had found the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with.
But, about 6 months ago, life here got very different, very quickly. It made me realize that life is incredibly unpredictable and so many things happen outside your control. Issues in my boyfriend's life led to a very painful and unfair breakup. I always thought that relationships only end when love is lost or when one partner cheats, but little did I know that so many other factors can lead to an end. Things I never saw coming, things I couldn't stop, and things I could not fix for him. Things that had nothing to do with us or our love, at all. How do you leave when you both still care and love each other immensely, but you know deep down that it is for the best? How do you leave someone you are so dedicated and committed to? Someone you are so in love with? I am still figuring that out.
Throughout this whole process, I was forced to keep myself together and not fall apart. Old me would have given up and broken at the seams. I would pity myself and let it all consume me. Not this time. It forced me to take care of myself and put myself first above all else. I packed my things and left for a friends' place, I had no idea how I would manage or what'd I do, but I had no choice. If I would have had my family here, things would have been a tad easier. This is when I embarked on a journey to get my own place and find a job. Still being quite the foreigner in Estonia, this was extremely difficult. However, through many pitfalls and incredible mistakes, I finally found a place to live, 3 months later. I have only lived in the dorms for a little with someone I knew and then, the rest of my time here was spent living with my boyfriend so, I really had no idea what living with strangers was like. I was worried that my roommates would be terrible and we wouldn't get along, but luckily, they are kind and we get along just fine. I really like my room because the sun is on my side of the apartment the whole day almost. I watch the sun come up and go down and it beams into my room so vibrantly. It feels like magic.
I also needed a job and the thought terrified me more than finding my own place to live. While my Estonian language has improved significantly, I still have only been studying it for about two and half years and using it in small conversation is WAY different then actually WORKING in another language. I doubted myself significantly. But, due to life's unpredictability, I had no choice and had to jump head first. After some frustration, I finally found a job and while it is going to be a loooong learning process and I am going to mess up an embarrassing amount, the place is truly a gem. The people are so kind and patient with me and the whole atmosphere is warm and welcoming. (Kui sa loed praegu Krempel, suur tänu kõigile!) For this being my first job in Estonia, it truly is wonderful.
It's also wild to think that next semester, I have to start thinking about my Bachelor's thesis and graduation next year. I can't even grasp that. After starting and stopping University many times, I am FINALLY going to finish. I am already feeling quite proud and cannot wait for that moment. While I wanted to graduate sooner than this, life is unpredictable and we never know when circumstances can change. It's a little scary thinking that at any moment, something drastic could happen, but we have to acknowledge that when things do not go "as planned", it is okay. Planning is great and all, but so is being realistic. Life is so much less bound than we imagine it.
And through all this, the good people in my life, have made things seem a bit brighter. If you're reading this, you know who you are. I am SO grateful for you and for the new people that have come into my life. I think its important to build yourself a tribe whether it is two people or 10, it does not matter. Find people who care. Find people that make you laugh. Find people that understand. And find people that no matter the issue, they have got your back. You all are a wonder.
So, here's to 100 years of Estonia. A place I never imagined I would come back to. A place I fell in love with again.
Here's to living on my own and figuring it out.
Here's to my new job and to many mistakes ahead. To many falls and misunderstandings. But, to a wonderful new experience.
And this goes out my love, if you're reading this, I believe in you so much. I hope that you find it in you to believe in yourself too. I hope you find your place in the world because I know how hard that is. I hope you give yourself what you deserve and that you take care of yourself like you did for me. You brought out the best in me and helped me conquer so many things I never thought I could. You were always rooting for me and now, I am rooting for you. Each day, even though I am not around anymore. I will keep loving you until you do not need or want it anymore. Our lives are ever-changing and while we may never be on the same path again and will just be wonderful memories to each other, there's a chance we could start again. Again, I believe in you. Go do what it is that you have to do, go and find what makes you, you.