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“Similarities and differences between two small countries” A journey of understanding Estonian society, through changes and familiarity

“Similarities and differences between two small countries” A journey of understanding Estonian society, through changes and familiarity

When I travel and see new places, I frequently get the need to go back—as if there is something alluring about that location that keeps me coming back, but the sense of belonging is absent. Coming from a little country in a part of Europe that the rest of the world doesn’t know much about, or if they do, the aspects most associated with it aren’t so positive, you strive to fit in with society and make the best impression of your own.  I remember learning about the Nordic countries in geography when I was in primary school and Estonia was the easiest one to remember, little did I know that after a few years, I would be living here!

So here is a breakdown of a Kosovar living in Estonia and her observation of this country as similar as it gets to her own.

I feel like one of the things that were always part of me, even when I didn’t want to, was our past, coming from Kosovo, the story and the remaining of the war. Happening to be born exactly in 1999, when the war was ending, I felt that the connection with that part of our history was always with me, no matter what I did or where I went, but I didn’t want to always have to tell people about it, and especially not those who didn’t know about my country. When visiting foreign lands and meeting people who haven’t heard much of the part of the world that you come from you learn to stick to one simple version of your story, and make sure to make the best representation of your roots.

History has always its ways of remaining alive, in us, the society we are part of, and our country.  Getting more into the culture and society, as much as I’m allowed by this Nordic society, I see that the culture remains are also present. After watching a documentary which describes the Estonian point of view of their second independence “Singing revolution“, I could see from the stories of people who have lived in Estonia and their ways of being exploited.
So being more of a person who believes in the values of history and also sees its costs, this was one of the first things that got my attention when I started my journey in Estonia and I saw similarities with my country.

It sounds interesting to even think of the similarities between my home country and Estonia, nevertheless it is quite possible! I have started to see the similarities going back to the history of this new country I’m calling home temporarily, the thing that stroke me the most was the way the second independence was gained in Estonia, in a peaceful way.
The way people were in that together without having the proper gatherings and talk about it before, it reminds me of the situation in the 90’s in my country, those times when people were standing strong together to protect what is theirs, the land, the language, the culture, everything that makes us who we are. The idea of togetherness for the good of the country and the idea to be separated from the Soviet Union.

Similar to Kosovo, Estonia is a little country that often gets overshadowed by larger, more powerful nations. Despite this, Estonia provides several delightful getaways to those who are inquisitive enough to travel there. It made me appreciate my country even more since, for such a little country, I have to say, it appears to be incredibly cohesive and one that values what is its own.

It has beautiful nature and people really appreciate it, love and protect it, some Estonians have told me that Nature is the true God for Estonians, which is something you don’t hear everywhere!

We have a similar flora in Kosovo; beautiful mountains are for sure one of the things that I find similar in both countries, only that Estonia’s relief is much more flat.

Our differences remain the same, the values of this society can be different from my own, but learning to respect their perspectives and learn from them, and what describes them as a culture of another part of the world from mine, has been an interesting learning process.

 

Krenare Buzhala

October 2023

Estonia

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