Day 755: Estonians and Religion

On March 26, we left our hotel (Alpinus) in Acoteias and started the journey back home. First, an Uber to the Albufeira-Ferreiras train station, which is not at all conveniently located. It’s nowhere close to the main resorts where tourists typically go. But Uber can solve that problem. Then, we got on a train to Faro. Not even half as pretty as the trains we have in Estonia (I think, Estonia bought them from Spain) but at least the train got us there within 36 minutes. So far, my experience with Faro has been that it’s not very impressive. If you read descriptions written by travel agencies, they go on and on about the beaches around Faro as well as the amazing old town. Well, it’s in fact a quite small town. We’ve always visit it in March, on our way back home and it has been fairly empty. Not that I care much about nightlife or bustling towns, but Faro looks rather sad.

But I didn’t want to talk about Faro. Something that happened in Faro triggered a train of thought. While looking for a place to eat, the following dialogue (more or less happened).

A smiling American woman: “Do you support the police?”
Me: “??”
Woman: “These colors on your bag, blue-black-white, symbolise the police.”
Me: “It’s our national flag.” (mentally rolling my eyes, cheers to the stereotypical American who doesn’t know anything about European countries; but… I couldn’t actually place their 50 states on the map either, so I think it’s fair enough). “Estonia.” (I wiped my hair away from my shoulder, so she could see that the strap of my bag actually had “Estonia” on it – it’s a good bag, the same that Estonian athletes who went to the Rio Olympics used, it was also sold to the public).
Woman: “Oh! Estonia!”
Me: “Blue is the sky, black the ground, soil, and white means hope.”
Woman: “OK. What’s the religion in Estonia?”
Me: “Estonians are not very religious.”
Woman: “But what’s the official religion? By the way, we are Jehovah’s witnesses from America.” (In Estonia, I have managed to avoid them on the street. In Estonia, they don’t really talk to people either.)
Me: “We don’t have one. Nobody really believes in anything.”
My husband: “Estonians believe in nature. All the other religions were brought by invaders, they were forced upon us.”
Woman: “But how did we come to be?”
Me: “The big bang.”
Woman: “But who created the big bang?” (She was getting a crazy look in her eyes, she was about to start preaching. Oh no!)
Me: “I don’t know.” (Nor do I care, please leave me alone.)
Woman: “But what did your religion teacher say?” (My what?)
Me: “We don’t have such a thing. Estonia is really not religious.”

Somehow, we got away from them and could pursue more important matters like where to eat. Talking about religion, I don’t care what other people believe in as long as their religion doesn’t tell them to kill me or they start to force it upon me. I really don’t like to be approached on the street nor in the supermarket. In Estonia, supermarkets are full of salesmen, trying to sell you a better pension plan or a faster Internet connection. Most people just avoid them. When I pass them, I pretend I have lost my hearing and rush forward with utter determination in my eyes. I don’t react to their calls: “Miss, hey, Miss, do you have a moment?”. This is so not Estonian. I don’t want to change my pension plan or Internet provider in a supermarket. I don’t want to change my pension plan at all. If I wanted something new, I’d browse the web and compare offers. Stop harassing me in the supermarket! The same goes with religion. I don’t change my beliefs in the middle of a street. I don’t need a god. Estonians are one of the least religious nation in the world, with only 14 per cent of the population considering religion an important part of their life. I wasn’t raised with it nor do I care.

What do I believe in? Yes, I do remember going to Sunday school but I did it mostly because we drew pictures and sang there. I also remember 9/11 when, overcome with emotion, I stood on the balcony, crying and praying to God that he would save the Americans. I was 13 years old then and this act of terrorism really shook me. I don’t pray anymore. It’s just that silent prayer that I say each time I’m in a plane. I ask for my late father to protect me on the flight and bless my life. That’s all. In everyday life, I believe in the power of man. Everyone has it in them to conquer the world, to be their own best. If you don’t succeed, it’s largely your own fault. Maybe your thoughts are too negative, maybe you are not doing enough, maybe you are with the wrong people. I thin that people need to take the responsibility for their own life and make the best of it.

If you do believe in God, good for you, go for it. Possibly, you need this. I don’t. I really don’t see why I would need to know how we came to be. How would this change my life? I can live on without knowing whether it was the big bang or God. Doesn’t matter, really.

Progress Report

1. Own and live in a house.

Travel day.

2. Write AND publish a book.

I didn’t work, but I got back to the reading bit. During our travels, I got an idea for an airport-related short story as well. I could hear the sentences inside my head, the character’s voice. The airport really did wonders for me.

3. Win a major race.

An easy run first thing in the morning. Considering how I had failed just the day before, I can be really happy with the 5.38 min/km pace with the heart rate of 130. I wasn’t that tired after all, my body had recovered from it all. Training camp total: a bit more than 300 km.

Photo of the Day

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