I grew up In Estonia until I was 18. For first 13 years this was spent under the Soviet Union until Estonia was freed. Life then changed, slowly but surely and now Estonia has surpassed economy of many Western countries, is part of EU and as my grandmother Astrid writes to me in every handwritten letter that there is so much stuff, so many things, and that stores are filled with unlimited product, to her this is still novelty or something that she is not used to.
My childhood in former Soviet was not by any means lacking.
Life was simple and filled with mainly necessities, but in noway did we not have enough. It just seems as everything was cherished and appreciated and celebrated more. We had our primal needs met lets say, starting with food.
Most families had a garden, if they lived in an apartment they had a spot at a joint garden in the local town, people had a garden because it was necessary, not to be cute or as a hobby, but to generate produce and to preserve it for the winter. We had a cellar and we stored – potatoes, apples, all kinds of canned goods that my mother and grandmother canned together.
Most families went to pick berries and mushrooms in the summer and fall in the forest. Depending on what is in season. Wild blueberries and mushroom as well as raspberries were picked throughout the summer and fall. I was always looking forward to those days with my family.
Looking back I think it truly made me appreciate food and the food source, it was very much respected, food was not wasted, especially if it was picked by hand by the whole family, grown and watered and harvested. It was delicious and precious.
I am super thankful for the way I grew up eating. We barely ever went to a restaurant, I don’t even remember having restaurants around, we had mostly bakeries. Fast food was non-existent, I am the most thankful for that fact alone about my childhood. Our treats were baked goods and chocolate, lots and lots of chocolate. Estonia has it’s own chocolate factory Kalev since 1806 that makes the most delicious chocolate. Bakeries were filled with the amazing treats and you can smell a bakery a mile away.
All of my primal needs were perfectly met, and left just enough room for wanting more. I always dreamed about more, having more and doing more, but in hindsight today I am thankful for what I did NOT have. It has made me who I am and taught me to want more but also be OK with having what I have. I also saw everyone around me work hard for what we had, even the children.
I can not express in words that I would not have wanted it any other way, only my heart can feel it. I would not know how would it feel, to be given everything to you without it being earned. This is such a new concept to most people in today’s Western world, but not to the generation before us, they know this type of life, the grandparents know the struggle. But in one generation it’s been changed. Our children are handed everything on a silver platter, and for us to teach them the primal way, we have to work hard, against society.
I believe it’s necessary.