Yesterday I walked to a nearby park that was surrounded by thick, tall trees grouped together as though they were the oldest of friends.
And they all seemed to be stretching their arms towards the sky as high as they could go.
I wondered to myself where they were reaching to, and whether they would ever arrive... And then it came to me.
The sweetest scent you could ever dream of. A scent of those tall trees, and of the mossy grass below. It was a smell so reminiscent of Estonia that instantly my heart felt warm, as if the forest itself was hugging me.
The scent was so strong, that for a moment I forgot that I was in Vancouver.
Last year after much dreaming and wishing, this Vancouver Estonian girl finally took the step and moved to Estonia. I was ashamed of the many times when some of you would speak to me in Estonian and yet I was never capable of speaking back.... nor was I capable of understanding what you had said in the first place.
I felt like a fraud. How could I say I am Estonian, when I did not even speak the language?
So I decided it was time for me to pack my bags and go discover my roots.
And like a good friend once told me, he didn't care where he was going...as long as he knew where he was from.
I decided to move to Tartu and study Estonian at the University there. I will admit, the first month and a bit was extremely difficult. Being the first time that I have ever been on my own, away from family.
But what's more is that I found myself lonely because I could not see the same friendly faces of our Vancouver Estonian community. The faces that always bring a smile to my lips.
I cannot help but love this community and everyone involved. If only I could have packed you all in my suitcase and brought you there with me.
It was a dream I had had for the last few years and I cannot tell you how good it felt when it finally came true. It took a lot of time and much strength but with enough power, and enough determination any dream can come true.
And that is exactly what Estonia did 90 years ago. To survive through such darkness and come out of it brighter than ever...no wonder why Estonians are so proud.
So for me, one day is not enough to celebrate Estonia's independence.
I will celebrate it every day, because it is who I am.
I was born from Estonia, I will die to Estonia, and each day in between I will love Estonia.
Mu Südamemaa, Mu Kodumaa, Mu Isamaa.
A speech for Vabariigi Aastapäev (3)