February 24, Sunday. Estonia’s birthday. In 1918, Estonia became independent on that very day and now this day is a holiday when the main TV channel mostly broadcasts parades and patriotically-minded shows and films. As it was a Sunday, it didn’t mean an extra day off for the working people. However, people were still in a festive mood. At least, judging by the masses who gathered to the flag ceremony which always happens at sunrise and the masses who went to the evening concert (light installations on the Foreign Ministry building, etc.), it seems as if people did care what was going on. Oh, and social media was obviously full of people posing with blue-black-white colour combinations, either in their clothing or as the background or even in the food. Photos of waving flags were also quite common.
What did I do? Woke up, ate breakfast, read and digested, went for a 2-hour run far away in South Estonia, met 0 people outdoors (it was grey and foggy), took a long hot shower, died on the sofa for some time, got dressed, went to the inlaws for lunch, ate and watched loads of TV with one eye and read a book with another, ate dinner, drove 6 km back to the other house where we were staying, stretched and watched some more TV. Anytime the TV was on, it was on ETV (Estonian Television, like our own BBC). I was out running when they showed the parade or the film about becoming a nation. I was in when they were showing the classic Names in Marble. It is good but I have seen it numerous times already. Nor did I care too much about watching the deep, but hard to understand birthday concert-show or the ceremony of giving out medals and awards or the president’s endless handshaking ceremony, which, at least according to the media, is more about the dresses the women who were invited wear. Let’s be honest, I didn’t really care too much about all the things they were showing on TV but someone was always watching, so the TV stayed on. We were visiting after all.
I love living in a free country. I was born in the Soviet era but don’t remember much about it because I was 3-years-old when it ended. I have lived abroad but I chose to return. I don’t particularly like the harsh winter and the dark November because it makes running so hard but I wouldn’t want to be away from Estonia in spring or summer. I love the fact that we can fill in our tax declarations, found companies, vote, do most of our banking online. E-state! I love the blue-black-white colour combination. I wear a bracelet with this combination and “Eesti 100” on my wrist all the time. But I don’t feel like shouting it out loud how much I love Estonia. I don’t want to watch all the special TV programs on independence day. I don’t think that we should fill the country with more and more children. The parliament elections are coming (on my birthday, ugh) and most parties talk about education and producing loads of children to preserve our nation. There aren’t many parties that have promised anything relevant to me.
I love Estonia but in my own small and quiet way. When I was studying in Cardiff for 3 months just last year, I wrote stories about my home country. I was proud of it. I wanted to share my experience with the Brits. But I won’t go marching on the street and banging fists on my chest, declaring that we should close our borders, close our hearts and become very isolated. No. I love the openness of the world. Let it stay like this. I also get quite annoyed when people keep saying “congratulations!” all day long. Let’s just eat the salad and the cake and shut up about it. No need to get pathetic about it.
1. Own and live in a house.
National holiday. Long run. Visiting family. Obviously not working. Did listen to an investment podcast while digesting my breakfast. I really didn’t want to turn on the TV.
2. Write AND publish a book.
Didn’t write but continued reading Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat.Pray.Love. I want to study its style because I am working on something similar. My adventures also took place in Asia.
3. Win a major race.
A long run. 25km. At first, it was supposed to be 20 km, but I told my trainer that I had registered for a marathon and he told me to run a longer distance. South Estonia, unfamiliar roads, foggy and grey day – not the perfect start for a long training but it went so well. 4.53 min/km pace. Wow! That sounds almost like my summer runs! The roads were snow-free so it was rather easy. Some photos from the run now also on Instagram.