After being away from home for a year, I got to visit Estonia again. The whole trip was just wonderful, beautiful and emotional.

It is very hard to sum up everything that happened. Some highlights (not in any particular order):

  • Nature. On our way we (me and Sarah) had a stopover in Amsterdam and saw rabbits running around on the grass next to the airport. Thats when we fully realized we're not in Dubai anymore. After one year in the Middle East you really start to miss all aspects of nature - (real) trees, grass, flowers that smell nice, wild animals and forest mushrooms.

    Estonia is mostly covered with forest and all the cities are green also. I couldn't stop admiring the beauty of the nature. We spent 3 days in my family summer home in the forest and just listened to the wind in the treeleaves, bird sing and .. silence. We swam in cold river (pure spring water), picked wild strawberries, talked to the trees and stared at the sky that is never so blue in Dubai.

    I didn't get nearly enough.

  • Freedom. Another nice aspect of being away from Dubai was that we didn't have to worry about showing affection in public. We could hold hands, hug and kiss whenever we felt like it. At all times I felt I could do whatever I want (within reason) and shouldn't be worried about judging looks or police.

  • Cheap and good beer. This is a combination that is impossible to find in the Middle East. Enjoying a pint of beer in an outdoor cafe (yes, its wonderful to sit outside) can be a (very) rewarding experience.

  • Family and friends.
    It was so so nice to see again people dear to me. The time was not enough to have quality meetings with everybody, but it was touching anyway. At one point one of my friends told me "it feels like you've never been away". True - when we were having fun with my friends it was like the "good old times" again.

    Its interesting since I feel that I have grown a lot, experienced a lot and my world has changed in many ways, but I guess these are the things that will mostly remain in me and won't be directly visible to the others. It will mostly be that part of my personal iceberg that is under water.

  • Nice weather. We had beautiful weather every day, 25..29 degrees C. You can enjoy walking around (without sweating) and truly take the most out of being outdoors. No humidity. Summer in Estonia is just wonderful.

  • Women wear what they want. Estonia is full of beautiful women and short skirts. Refreshing. Girls don't have to worry about which clothes to wear and wether all men will stare at them and think they're prostitutes.

  • Estonian food. Pork, sour cabbage, baked potatoes, black rye bread, sprouts, herring, kohupiim to name a few... I must certainly have gained a couple of kilos. Its just so good!!

  • Old buildings. In Dubai something that is older than 20 years is almost prehistorical. Walking in a city full of medieval buildings and atmosphere is just something else. You can feel the soul of the city.
There would be much more to point out, but I don't wanna make this blog post too long. Some people asked me "so what has changed in Estonia?". Not that much had changed in 1 year in apperance, but my persperctive on some things did. Estonia seems even smaller than before. Tartu streets seemed so small, empty... it actually didn't look like a city. Although I did enjoy that it was so calm, peaceful and quiet. It was a very nice change to Dubai. Same thing applied to Tallinn - it seemed small. In Dubai I sometimes have to drive more than 50 km to reach a client or just go to some club. It can take much more than an hour inside the city to get from point A to point B.

One thing that was quite shocking was the level of customer service. In quite many times we encountered cold and even aggressive treatment (with few very positive exceptions). Having been away from home for a year I had another perspective to customer service compared to fellow countrymen who live inside this all the time and might even be used to it. I'm planning to write about it in some estonian newspapers.

Now back in Dubai. In my thoughts still at home.


Annar said...

Like reading my own thoughts. First thing to do when coming back home is to take a backpack and go somewhere into the forest with no civilization around - truly relaxing.

True, customer service can be shocking while being away.

Almost a year in London and when i visited home in June i was astonished when barkeeper asked me "what?", instead of "hello, how may i help you?". I just stood there for a while, bet i had a pretty silly face on.

Seif said...

hey Peep ! welcome back to dubai . am happy u enjoyed ur trip to estonia . the weather seems wonderful there . i know how it feels when u get back to work from a beautiful and lovely holiday . hope u'll meet all ur beloved family and friends soon again ;)
c u soon

Liisi said...

Really nice story. I am glad you had a great time!
One thing I miss more is the fresh air.
And I´ve only been in Cairo for two weeks. Another 50 to go.

Mututykk said...

tähelepanek - kohupiim on ingl. keeles "farmer's cheese" :-)

ali.shirazee said...

wat on earth are u cooking a little puppy on a stick hahaha cool pics