Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Proud to be Estonian

My father always made my siblings and I feel extremely proud of our Estonian heritage. We belong to a small, unique group of people known for their strong will and ability to survive during times of peril. Many Estonians fled their country in 1941 when the Soviets invaded for a second time. The Soviet army was much more brutal than the German Wehrmacht. The Nazis wanted to enslave the Estonian people but the Soviets actually wanted to destroy them. Life would have been unbearable back then and I'm glad my family made the decision to leave when they did. I only discovered recently that my family never meant to stay in Australia for more than a few months; their plan was always to settle in America.  Unfortunately that didn't eventuate and they ended up staying in Australia. I know my grandmother was never happy about this but for my generation and my father’s it worked out for the best.  Australia is a much safer, cleaner and freer country compared to America. I have visited the USA many times and each time I left I felt relieved. Australia is a much better country in which to live. And of course I feel at home in Estonia too which is why I visit whenever I can. I love walking down the street and hearing the language spoken by my father and grandmother. I love going to the shops to find familiar foods and walking through the countryside enjoying nature like all Estonians do. I am proud to be Estonian because we are a peaceful and resilient people with much to look forward to in the future.