Change (sometimes welcome, sometimes not) is an inevitable part of life and is etched in our histories.
I live in Australia and have extended family on four continents. We were all born and raised in Africa and in our lives there, as well as in our migrant lives, have experienced our fair share of change.
My husband and his siblings grew up in Africa, too, but his maternal grandparents, mother, and uncle were migrants from Sweden, where they had previously landed as refugees after fleeing from their homeland of Estonia (Australia would refer to them as boat people), when the Russians invaded Estonia in the 1940s. In their family, migration and change is epigenetic: my husband now lives in Australia, his middle sister in Sweden.
We have long wanted to visit the birthplace of their mother and maternal grandfather—the island of Hiiumaa off the coast of Estonia—and finally got to do so recently. Change is not always as good as a holiday, but a holiday often brings a welcome change of focus and pace, and we had wonderful trip.
Our journey first took us to Copenhagen, where we spent a convivial weekend catching up with dear cousins of mine over delicious home-cooked meals and copious amounts of wine.
And then we had a wonderful two weeks with my husband’s sister and her husband (a Swede, who she met when he lived and worked for a time in Africa) in their beautiful home in semi-rural Sweden, an idyllic place.
Stockholm was next for a few days, where we experienced the charm of the cobbled streets of Gamla stan, the marvel that is the Vasa Museum, and the strange art in the Stockholm subways.
We caught the overnight ferry from Stockholm to Tallinn, worth it alone to experience the beauty and vastness of the Stockholm archipelago.
Our few days in Tallinn left an impression of an aesthetic mix of the medieval, the modern, and the Soviet Brutalist. And the memory of the best coffee we had on our entire trip.
And, finally, we reached Hiiumaa – a place of wild beauty, ancient history, and, currently, peace.
Long may it remain unchanged.