From Home To Home 2017 -
There’s no other,
place like this
till I lost a sight
I close my eyes,
to see your burning sky
I thought about this for so many years. How would it be like? What would I find there? Where I’m about to go? It’s been so long now since I’ve last been there. I felt a bit tense when I thought about the trip. Also, I have this stupid thing that I plan my photos and would not give space to my free mind.
There’s a text written on my home page ’’ My full biography is coming soon ’’ for about five years now. The reason I haven’t written anything is, I didn’t know what to write or where to start. I didn’t have the patience to take the time and start to search. I think I blame myself the basic ’’I’m not, a good writer’’ or ’’ nobody would read it’’. I was even a bit scared to tell who I am – I think. But now I have been here five days and got so many answers already. So what you’re going to see is my history.
My childhood and where I’m from.
This is my second home.
The night before my boat left I was excited and a bit scared. Do I find what I’m looking for, I asked from Jenni. She said, just go, and it will come to you.
It was 1994 when we packed our stuff and moved to Finland. ”Country of thousands of lakes” they say. I was so young that I can’t remember much about that time. I remember that I knew all the car brands in Estonia. My father was working in car store. I liked bananas as much as today. I remember the sea. A bit from here and there. About the rest of our life, I have to ask from my mom. I’m sure it was hard times after the Soviet Union collapsed. But I’m sure and grateful I had a safe childhood. We had a great family together, and people around me loved me. I was healthy and a kid who could run around on the backyard. We weren’t rich, not even close and if you know anything about life in the Soviet Union you can imagine. Yes, that came to me as a surprise as well around four years ago when I got Finnish nationality. I was born in the Soviet Union. I didn’t remember that. But when you have love, health, home and right people around you, you have everything you need to live a good life. Sure, you need a job as well, but you get my point.
Then life happened. My mom and dad got divorced. Probably that was a huge turning point in my life now when I look back at it. She was so brave to go to different country and start over with a kid. Everything was new. Finland is so close to Estonia but still so different at that time.
I remember how I wondered why nobody didn’t understand me. But as a child, we learn fast, and it didn’t take much time to learn the new language (even when Finnish is one of the World hardest) and get some new friends. After all, on the playing field, the language is the same. Everything started to settle and now when I look back, everything was ready for me. I had a start and it was possible to start dreaming. That’s a huge thing and I appreciate that. I’m forever grateful to my mom that she took such a leap. She gave me a chance and brought me here where I’m now. At that time I also got a little sister in my life. One of the best things what happened to me. Now I had somebody to take care of as well.
Thank you, Mom I love you.
I have sometimes thought that how my life would have gone if we stayed in Estonia. How would it be? What would I do? People and the place around you affect your life a lot. It’s exciting to think, but I’m not putting much time to figure that out. I’m in the magical place right here right now.
I said earlier I didn’t know what to look for from my trip, but I found something significant.
A reason why I’m taking photos.
I was close to realizing it when I sat down in my grandmother’s place. We spent the whole day together. We went to eat real homemade Estonian food – still missing that. Some potatoes and small chicken stakes. Not fancy restaurant thing, real stuff and so good! After our meal, I bought her flowers, and we went to park for a walk. With ice cream of course. We sat in beautiful round park where people were running, and old people did some exercise. We watched cloudy sky where the Sun played hide and seek. Without too many words we knew how great that moment was. I haven’t spent time with my grandmother like this in 20 years. In that time a lot can happen, but there we were, sharing my childhood memories and life.
We got back to her apartment, and she wanted to show me some pictures. They where 25 years old. Photos where I’m in. Where my mom and dad are, and we’re all together. Even my parent’s wedding photos. I can’t describe my feelings when I saw them for the first time. It was unreal. You can imagine, it was like ’’you have been in a small island alone 20 years, and then somebody comes to say hi and tells you amazing stories about life’’. At the same time, you don’t believe them, but you’re too excited to think about that. Grandmother gave few photos to me as a memory. One of the greatest gifts what I have gotten in my life.
Few days went on, and I had to step out from photography. I wanted to live in the moment for a while. I can’t remember when I did something like this in Estonia. Maybe 2002 or 2004. Well, long time ago. I went to watch some Estonian stand up with my cousins which was great. I realized that I hadn’t forgotten the language almost at all. Words are somewhere deep in me. Sure if I start to talk with my accent, every Estonian can hear the difference, but I understand damn well.
Days went on again, and I visited the place what I remember pretty well. My great-grandmothers place. When I was a kid, I remember how we swam in the small lake in her backyard. The Sun was always shining. We did some short walks around the lake. She had on her little spot in the kitchen where she sat and watched outside from the window. She had a small garden in her yard, and she worked with that till the end. She lived for 94 years and was always a confident woman. My mom got her name from her, Helo. I’m a bit sad that I didn’t take photos earlier in my life. She’s the person whom I wanted to shoot the most. Such a brave woman who lived during the hard times. I hope I got that positive thinking from her. After that, we went with my cousin to eat some lunch. Again I was trying to find some food what you can only eat in Estonia. This time we found some special from Russia, Solyanka soup which is one of the best soups in the World.
Since we left from Estonia -94, we have never been close with my father. Life took us apart, and when I’m looking back, maybe it was a good thing. Sure, I wanted that my father would have been more in my life and me in his. When I was a kid, he was a bit.
I remember one particular birthday. I think I was eight or ten when I saw it from my window. I was playing inside with my friend, and my mom said, I have a surprise, but you have to wait a bit. I waited and waited till I forgot it. We just played with my friend and one moment I looked out of the window. I saw my mom walking with my dad. MY DAD, coming for a visit to our home! I remember how I almost started to cry. My dad is here for my birthday!! We had a great week then. Still remembering how I came from school and he sat on porch asking ’’how was school’’. One of the greatest memories of my life.
But never is too late to start to get know each other again. At that trip and day, I spent a whole day with him. I drove us to his new place where he lives. The small village in eastern Estonia. We talked, he cooked for us, and we just hang out. You know, I think those little things are the most important. Not some big fancy restaurants stuff. Only two of us and spending time together in his place. Which could be more real.
We sat together on his couch when he gave me this box full of photos. There was the big and heavy album of my father from the time of Cold War. He served in a submarine for two years without any questions of holidays. Desperate times, I think.
I continued to explore the photos, and I found photos of our family together back then. More pictures of my parent’s wedding and about their life. I looked at them and realized; this is the thing.
This is why I’m here.
This is what I’m searching.
I’m capturing photos of my and others life because I knew deep in me, how important the memories are. I never had them, and there’s a massive hole in my history. Even if I try to remember, I will not get the moments in my head. That’s why the photos exist to me. Our life and time are running so fast. We do so much and especially today when we can travel, learn, and meet new people so much easily. If we don’t stop for a while, we’re going to ask from ourselves after 50 years, where the time has gone? What I have done or achieved in my life.
I want that I have answers to that question and I have if I continue what I’m doing.