On importance, and on balance

I sometimes get asked if I miss home. As in, Estonia.

Usually I reply that I miss the people.

It's a hard thing to get someone's head around, but... the biggest lesson of the last year to me has been that, I think, everything's about balance. I cannot think of a single thing, actually, where something is so positive it has no bounds. Like:

Oxygen? Good. But too much oxygen - not good.
Exercise? Good. But too much exercise - not good.
Cleanliness? Good. Too much cleanliness - not good.

I've found that it's like this with pretty much everything

Like, actually everything.

And it extends into my being away from my birth-home to a point where I haven't even visited Estonia since 2010. My mother has seen my kids once. My brother hasn't seen any of them. I haven't seen any of my family - except for my mother for she visited New Zealand last year - for 6 years.

And the apparent ease with which I take this distance is the fact that I've learned that almost everything in this world is about balance, and in order to keep what I have in balance in New Zealand, I've let Estonia go.

Last year I stopped talking in Estonian to my children. Until then I had brought my son up in a similar bilingual environment to which I had been brought up in a Soviet Estonia in the 80's, where my mother's family had talked in Estonian to me and my father's family in Russian, plus the occasional Ukrainian by my grandmother and the English studies I started at 6. But then last year when I found out that The Kid had sustained a birth injury to his brain and that it was to be expected that there would be some developmental delays, I dropped Estonian. It had already become strained by that point, with The Kid still not really talking by the age of 3, but when I found out that there was that, too, then I just dropped it.

Talking in one, I thought, beats not talking in two.

Several years before that I had stopped sending birthday presents over, and generally making a deal of birthdays full stop. With my own birthday being such a small deal to me, and generally the concept of celebrating birthdays with presents full stop, it felt that I was doing a disservice to myself in trying to retain a cultural habit with which I didn't really agree, personally, and so I stopped doing that. It's not that the people didn't matter any more - they did, and they still do - but I didn't feel comfortable making a gesture with presents when I felt that I didn't really know what the people were like any more, and sending something over just for the sake of sending something over? Kind of... yeah.

And lots of things gradually changed over time. Had I had the money, and the time, to go over and visit Estonia, I would've gone over and visited. No question about it! Would've visited, and hugged people, and sweated in a sauna, and done all those things that visiting Estonia mean to me, but...

...things had changed.

With the kids coming 'round and our income dropping to one, finances were one thing. Then the fact that with working full-time all year long and not really having the time to explore New Zealand where we lived it actually felt a bit like cheating to spend all the time off on going away - and not that we really had the finances to do that anyway. And now with keeping on putting money aside towards a house deposit so we can buy a home...

All through that time I could've made decisions that would've made going to Estonia possible and easier. We could've rented a smaller house, could've not had a dog, could've worked (and earned) more, could've bought a cheaper car, could've... many things.

But it's a balance. Everything's a balance.

I've shelved the idea of going to Estonia not because I don't want to go to Estonia, but because something else has been more important than that. Talking Estonian to my kids and having them understand Estonian - I don't, because something else became more important.

And it's like this with everything.

I always balance on top of the many things I would like to do, and choose the ones I will decide to do. It doesn't mean that the other things weren't wanted - it just means that something else was wanted more.

And it's like this with this Invercargill move. Not in ten years I would've expected that I would - willingly - move to New Zealand's southern coast like that, and yet for the moment this is exactly what it balances out to be.

The things that are important, and then the things are a little more - or less - important.

PS. These guys are cool :)


  1. It sounds quite sad for me. But I think, I understand you.
    For me personally (it's really my subjective opinion) it's clear now (after 15 years living abroad but in Europe - and with two kids at similar age as yours) that I couldn't never live in NZ or Australia permanently. I want to be able to travel with my kids to Estonia 1-2 a year and to have the grandparents regularly here too. Yes, it's a matter of priorities - you have in NZ a breathtakingly beautiful nature and a relaxing, laid-back atmosphere. I don't have it in Middle Europe. My priority was to have my kids an intense relationship to Estonia. Both ways are absolutely fine if you can live in peace and balance with this decision.

  2. Ma ei hakka siin nagu Piiakene inglise keeles etteheiteid tegema (päris passive aggresive, eks ole) kuid olen arvamusel, et iga perekond peab ise otsustama mis neile sobib.
    Hukkamöista on alati kergem kui möista.

    1. Mina Pia kommentaaris etteheidet ei näinud. Lugesin just uuesti üle - ikka ei näinud.

      Aga ta ütleb väga õigesti, ja täpselt nagu sinagi kirjutasid, et igaühe jaoks on see tasakaal erinev asi. Minu oma on siin, tema oma on seal.

  3. Minu jaoks pole siin midagi kurba. Hoopis hästi selge ja loogiline. Nagu rahu ja selgus oleks saabunud. Sest nii ju ongi.

  4. "I cannot think of a single thing, actually, where something is so positive it has no bounds."

    How about money?

    1. Oh hell no! :D

      Definitely not money. Money, I think, makes most people... lazy. I know it does that to me. I suspect it does it to a lot of other people, too - most people, in fact.