Canada’s “Forest University”: connecting to what is intrinsically Estonian - EW
Eestlased Kanadas 30 Nov 2014 Karin IvandEWR
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Canada’s “Forest University” – “Metsaülikool” in Estonian – is a cultural phenomenon. Find out how this year’s theme of spiritual health deeply touched the participants’ souls.

I knew the “Metsaülikool” (MÜ) magic had begun when Sirje Kiin came bustling determinedly toward me, wrapped in a big towel, on her way to the lake. “Come! I’m going swimming! I’ll wait for you.”

I had just arrived, but didn’t need to be asked twice. It had been a hot and dusty drive from Toronto and I had been dreaming all winter of the enveloping lake waters at “Kotkajärve”, home to Canada’s MÜ.

Metsaülikool means “forest university”. People of Estonian heritage have been coming here since 1967 to reconnect with their roots at this total immersion cultural camp in the deep woods of Canada, about two hours’ drive north of Toronto.

I rushed upstairs to the “peamaja” (main house) sleeping loft that would be home for the next week and quickly got into my bathing suit, grabbed a towel and hurried down to meet Sirje. As we walked companionably down the wooded path to the lake, I felt the hectic, electronic world we’re bound to so tightly every day slowly start to relax its hold.

“The water is like silk,” sighed Sirje as we slid into the smooth, glassy water. With every stroke, we began to assimilate into the remarkable week we would have here.

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