The Estonian American Experience > Multiple migrations=several languages (Part 1)

Last evening I had written several sentences already and then a computer gremlin made it all disappear. Tiuh! I hoped it would reappear later, but it did not. Sorry, about the glitch. Now I decided not to wait for EANC instructions, but to try to recreate the lost part of yesterday's writing about languages in a new posting.
I remember Estonia as a trilingual country. That probably was true in all urban areas.
I was a little girl when my parents and I left Estonia. We were able to go to Austria. (Had we stayed, my parents would have ended up in the Gulag.) In Vienna I began to forget Russian. Sadly, my parents never bothered to continue speaking to me in Estonian. On top of that, I was put into a boarding school.
As the Soviets were about to enter Vienna, my mother and I fled, going west. There we lived the French occupation. After my father found us, he decided to go as far away as possible from the Soviets. (He had had it.) To any country that would welcome us.
I spent 17 years in Argentina, where we learned Spanish. My parents, busy with creating a new life for us, continued to neglect the Estonian language with me.
At first I remember going to the Estonian Society (Eesti Selts) a few times. By then I had lost my ancestral (almost 75%) tongue. Then, my mother began her business, where I also worked, and we stopped alternating with Estonians, except those my parents knew from back home.
I hope you have read the part I wrote last evening. I do not remember where I had taken you. (I hope not to repeat.) You know my experience with researching my ancestry.
In 1966, with my husband and little son, we were able to immigrate in USA. Now the 3 of us learned English.
Yes, the Estonian language is important. I wish, I still knew it. But, it is not all there is to being an Estonian. I am proud of my Estonian peasant foremothers and forefathers. As we learn history, we understand the difficult life they had. But, they persevered, they survived and then their descendants fought for our independence. I am proud of my Estonian and my Bavarian roots.
We all are human beings and none of us are perfect. Each of us express our national feelings in a different way. Some by dancing typical Estonian dances, others by singing our ancient melodies and others research our language. I express those feelings by researching my foreparents and learning about our countriy's history. We all together are trying to be part of the same. To know where we came from, who the people that came before us were, and to pass this knowledge on to our future generations.
I also write about my family's memories. When my parents followed us in 1974 to USA, I began to ask them about their memories, their parents' lives, their own lives, etc. I wrote it all down. All of us should do that. Hold on to those memories.
I suppose, you have had enough of my ruminations. (I hope no more computer gremlins show up and erase what I wrote.) Best wishes to all from Sigrid Maldonado, nee Amber(g).

March 16, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSigrid Renate Maldonado