Estonia – aka The Summer Holiday Review

Right…. Well this post is about 4 months overdue but ta-daa! I’ll warn you though, it will probably be 5 times the length of a normal blog. More like a short book? Anyhow…. just when it’s getting all cold, wet, dark and horrible outside why not think about the summer we had and oh the longest ever heatwave! Normal people would just call it “summer” but in England it’s clearly a rarity to have hot weather during the summer months so hey ho, heatwave it is then!

Anyway, in July we had our first ever trip with the baby – to Estonia, to see my parents. Quinn was 8 months old back then and dealt perfectly well with travelling. Pheeeeeeew!!! In fact, he was a right charm pretty much everywhere we went. Smiles and giggles for everyone and slept during both flights yaay!

It’s extremely tough not to have my parents live in the same country as myself and their first grandchild. This is the way though life has ended up and other than being away from my tiny little family, I can’t really complain. So that’s why I decided to let them have some proper quality time with Quinn this summer, so we went and stayed for nearly a month.

Tallinn, as well as the rest of the country, is absolutely beautiful in summer and it was so nice to see my friends. This time I hadn’t seen them for over 1.5 years! I normally used to go home 2-3 times a year but last year we put most of our money into almost re-building this lovely house we bought and by the time I could have afforded it I was too pregnant to travel. Priorities hey! Yet I’m glad because I felt the massive time gap didn’t really matter because every time we see again we just pick it back up where we left off the last time. So I guess I’ll see you again in a year’s time haha!

But I did want to talk a little bit about Estonia as a country as well. Until this trip, I have always got the feeling that “ah it’s so good to be back here and I love it here” etc. But this time I felt rather disappointed and a bit angry.

Before I get to my longest rant ever though, I would still like to point out that I still love the country. It’s green, has got beautiful nature, it’s got beaches and come on – I’ve grown up there and I loved it. And winters! The actual winter wonderland sort of winters, yes please! I would have not wanted to grow up anywhere else. I’m from Tallinn, which is the capital and even though it has become very touristy now it still has got its beautiful Old Town with its gorgeous little streets, cafes and people. And talking about summer in here, I forever treasure the closeness to the sea! I used to love going to the beach, tan, swim. I’m pretty sure my parents called me a seal as a kid because I just never wanted to come out from the water. But now I miss it, there’s no beaches around where I live and when it’s 30C outside, all I would want is a beach, but the closest one is like a two hour drive so it just doesn’t seem to be worth it. Sooo overall – it’s a beautiful country so if you haven’t been, definitely go!

However, to continue on the negative side of things now….One important factor to take into consideration is definitely the fact that I’m a parent now and looking at the overall prices – I honestly think (as it stands) I couldn’t afford to raise a kid in Tallinn. I just don’t get it! I lived in London for years which should be one of the most expensive places in the entire world. Yet I keep seeing my lovely little Estonia making it so much more expensive in so many things. It’s such a tiny country and oh if you could see their social media pages and advertising they do for themselves, they make it feel and look like it’s the best place in the world! To live, to love, to work and I don’t know what else. However, the reality it’s much sadder in my opinion.

Average salaries just don’t add up. I honestly don’t understand how this government expects most people to live a normal life like that. Not everyone has fancy jobs in media, advertising, fashion or marketing or are CEO-s and other high level professionals. A lot of people are doing more simple jobs, which should be fine as well. But firstly they are not being treated nice by their employers (some of them are real psychopaths – hello to my mom’s boss by the way!!!!!!! – or just treat their workers as scum) and that often SHOWS in return.

In here for example, in the heart of England basically where I live (AND the same goes to anywhere else I’ve been in this country) When you go to do your grocery shopping, the shop assistants are nice and friendly! And people respect them, everyone is nice to each other. We sometimes have a chat, whatever. Back “home” I was pretty much shouted at, given nasty looks, hardly ever got a “hello” or “goodbye” out of them, all because I DARED to go to the shop and buy something?? And maybe asked a question when their self service tills weren’t working?? It just really made me feel like saying a big old “F*** you!” to almost all of them. So much aggressiveness! I haven’t seen people being so rude in years. I also think my tolerance has gone down massively, given I’ve been living in one of the most politest countries here, but regardless I shouldn’t be treated like this as a customer. This is specifically meant for food stores and some retail establishments. I have to say that the service in cafes and restaurants is much better and my generation is pretty amazing at it to be honest. It’s the generation before that you need to be afraid of! You smile and you get looked at like “what the hell is wrong with you?”.

And the overall picture on the streets of Tallinn (not including young folks in here, you’re mostly cool!!) – miserable AF! People looking on the ground. Everyone is scared to make eye contact, if you do manage to make an eye contact it’s most likely an angry stare. I remember this lovely summer day for example, we were walking through the city centre with my two boys, baby in the carrier on my belly looking at the world (and I dare to say he’s quite cute) smiling at everyone. I don’t think he got a single smile back. In England the reactions would be sooooo different! Older women most likely would come up and say hey to him or wave at least. And no, I wasn’t expecting that in Tallinn, but come on – a little smile?? A little friendly look? Is it really that hard??

But still, the prices though… The inventors of Skype, the country that has e-election, yes, you’re awesome and so advanced in some ways, but hey – Where’s Amazon, where are the cheaper wholesale options for families etc?? Or am I not seeing anything? Am I missing some information? I mean if I do, please do let me know. On day two for example I went to buy new baby wipes and I use WaterWipes in here…. Fair enough, no WaterWipes in Estonia, but I found some others….The prices ranged from €2-€6 (!!) per pack! Astonished was not the word! Are you joking! Given that the rate between a pound sterling and euro was basically flat then, that was waaaay too expensive. Or oh yeah, I wanted to buy a little hooded towel, let’s just say, in here you pay £12 for 3 towels okay? Not that it was like mission impossible anyway, I felt like I was looking for a golden turd from American Dad! I finally found one, on sale………..wait for it….on SALE got it?? €20. Twenty euros for a baby towel. Have you lost your marbles!?

Honestly, I am done lol. Over the years I’ve always been thinking I’d go back at some point, even if temporarily but I’d like to live there. Or maybe few months a year, whatever. Now it’s become clear that unless I have a swimming pool full of $100 bills then I think it ain’t gonna happen!

There are other things I could probably add like HOW hard is for young families to buy their first homes for example. Yes. This is hard everywhere, but when in here there are so many deals available going down to offering 5% deposit options for first time buyers, then I haven’t heard it’s been lower than 20% in my lovely Estonia. It’s harsh. If you maybe have a baby as well and both you and your partner have let’s say “average” paying jobs. People who have kids will know how much money they “swallow”. So yeah… But I’ll just leave it. This post has already got way too long for anyone in their right minds to read it until the end. My apologies!

If you did make it to the end though, hurray and thank you very much! I think it was just different this time than when I normally go for like 6 days and play being a tourist… You notice more. Also, just because maybe this post made someone angry, then you know – deal with it. This is simply what I saw and experienced. But it will still be my home and I will still treasure it in my heart. Simply for now, I am happy to live where I live!

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