“Estonians are so rude! They pushed me again!” That’s what I basically heard every single day for the past five months. Whenever my flatmate at the time came home she had some new story about why Estonians were rude that day. And while I agree with the “Pushing is rude” thing – I still don’t get why you can’t just walk around me or ask me to move – I changed my mind about Estonians being rude in general.
I mean, they look scary at first, I give you that. And it took me a veeeery long time not to be intimidated by their resting bitch faces. Sometimes I still twitch when an Estonian stranger addresses me in public. “What did I do wrong this time?” But I think they are usually even more scared than I am – talking to strangers doesn’t seem to be their thing.
I realized that foreigners’- including my own – perception of Estonians is off when I traveled from Tallinn to Brussels a couple of weeks ago. On the bus to Riga I was sat next to an Estonian who didn’t seem too excited about being alive. I mean I get that sitting next to somebody you don’t know for four hours is not the most pleasant thing, but come on. I’m not that bad. When she came over to sit down the only thing she managed to say was “YOUR PHONE!” – Apparently it was in her way. All I managed to do was to roll my eyes and murmur “Typical Estonian”
A couple of hours later, thanks to a 16-hour delay of our flight to Brussels I found myself on another bus, next to the same woman. And believe it or not, she chose the seat next to me. And it only took her five more minutes to tell me all about how she met her boyfriend and to show me pictures of her dog.
All of a sudden it dawned on me: They really aren’t that bad. What we interpret as being rude is just their reserved behavior. And that is just the way it is here in Estonia. That doesn’t mean they are not capable of feelings. As Sirli said last week: “Estonians may look scary but they do have a heart inside”
For a long time I was just trying to accept the fact that they are not the warmest people out there. But to be honest, I don’t think I have ever gotten a warmer hug than an Estonian one. For obvious reasons. How many Estonians do you see hugging every day? Exactly. So if they do, they really mean it. (At least that’s what I tell myself to feel better.)
Estonians, I really do love you a lot. Even with your “reserved” personality. That’s all I’ve got to say for now.