As we've bored you with on Facebook, we've just had two weeks in Estonia. We went to Laulupidu, which is this:
As amazing as the video is, it doesn't do the enormity of the involvement of the population justice. It feels like half of Estonia is there, with at least a third of them in national dress. I wore my Mum's national costume which she had never worn in free Estonia and I met up with siblings from mum's first marriage, which was cathartic and important and genuinely life changing for me for details that I won't bore you much with.
I had practiced my Estonian hard before I went, but even then it is such a difficult language to master. The trip has made me determined to continue to learn and practice. The trip also made me determined to apply for my citizenship. For all the times I have visited, this time something clicked deep in my innards and I felt an Estonian ET style finger reaching out to mine.
One of the best parts of the trip was the visit to the south of Estonia to visit the grave of my grandfather who I never met. He is buried in the most dazzling, dank, dark, green cemetery covered with tree canopies. Finding it was half adventure, half panic - I had only ever seen a picture of the gravestone and we looked round the area that he was reputed to be in for what seemed like ages until we turned a corner and there he was, with, to my surprise, my great aunt and uncle and cousin, who I also never met. They were buried in the same plot. My cousin had what looked like a very old candle, so someone had been, but not recently. I know I have relatives all over Estonia, and I was holding on to a hope that someone would rock up and look at me and wonder what I was doing there and we'd both then draw a family tree to explain who we were.
We tidied up the plot, and were faced with the question - how do you clean old graves? I had no idea what you should use on them, and we were looking up "how to clean a grave" with increasing worry that we might damage things. In the end, we just wiped the fronts down with water and a soft cloth, and peeled some moss from the inside of the lettering. We pulled grass off the names that were covering my other relatives then weeded around the strangely large piles of fox shit. We finished off with some cornflowers, and then lit some candles and opened the champagne and sat and hung with my folks. It was a lovely, sunny day and we could have cheerfully put out deckchairs and nodded off under the bobbing branches.
Can't wait to go back.
You come at the Queen, you best not miss.
Dr Markus wrote:
Someone in your line of work usually as their own man cave aka the shed we're they can potter around fixing stuff or something don't they?