The pull of heritage is a powerful magnet. People of Estonian lineage have had the opportunity now for 15 years, since Estonia regained independence from under Soviet occupation, to visit the land of their ancestors hassle free. That magnet is ever so much more special when the draw works after a century or longer away from Estonia.
Consider the following, discovered by chance in a medical publication Doctor's Review [July 2006]. Their cover story featured MDs on holiday. The magazine had asked doctors for their most memorable vacation moments.
The issue begins by noting the truism that travel is about discovery. Among the 100 winners published of astounding and even horrifying tales as selected by the editors was this heart-warming story, penned by child psychiatrist Judy Ustina, of Edmonton, AB. The title: 'Three generations in Estonia.' The subtitle: 'A multi-generational visit puts the old country in a new perspective'.
"My grandparents were born in Estonia but lived all their adult lives on their homestead in Stettler, Alberta. As a child, I listened to my grandmother's stories about the beautiful coastal town she grew up in and the healthy spas that were there.
In 2002, I took my mother and my two children to see the magical land of which she spoke. It was a real treat to discover the beauty of my grandparents' home country through the eyes of three subsequent generations. Haapsalu was a particularly beautiful destination. Tchaikovsky spent a couple of months there and was inspired to write Swan Lake..
My children felt totally at home and my mom was thrilled that the locals understood the Estonian she had learned in the '30s."
Estonia through Canadian-born eyes (4)