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Location: Viljandi, Estonia

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Marta's World/Upside Down

So in about eight days we heave ho for Marta's birthplace, Estonia, the small northern European country that people can't put their finger on. It's either nordic (lots of blondes on skiis), baltic (lots of brunettes in casinos), eastern european (lots of vodka), or some town in upstate New York, as many New Yorkers are prone to think.

Going back, I remember how we left. Marta was just an infant then. A tiny, cherubic baby, loaded like carry-on luggage onto the Czech Air flight to New York. Now she's a much larger human with a delicate life. She has a room, she lives semi-near her grandparents and two great-grandmothers. She has friends in daycare and people she knows. But, inside, I think my wife and I both feel that Marta's life will be more rich if she is able to have first hand contact with both cultures. Marta knows America, but does she really know Estonia? And, in a situation where there are only about 1.1 million Estonians in the world, if we kept her away wouldn't we be divorcing another Estonian from her culture?

Instead we have a unique window - a handful of years to send Marta to school before she goes to elementary school, to have another baby, for me to get a debt-free master's degree, and for Marta to get to know her mother's relatives better. It's a precious window and I think Marta will do fine. But still, it's so sad to pack up another apartment and leave another life behind. I am looking forward to when we are settled in our new place in Tartu and Marta can go to her new daycare and make new friends and see her cousin Simona, and live in the town where her mother went to school. It's important for me that she knows both of us, that she knows her mother's life just as she knows mine. Marta knows the beaches of Long Island. Now she will know the forests of Estonia. As hard as these next few weeks will be for all of us, I think Marta will benefit in the long run.


Blogger Eppppp said...

I have thought about it - a child from a intercontinental family is like from a divorced family... Not able to be at the same time with her mother(land) and father(land), and we as parents must give our best that she would not feel allianeted from either.

10:10 AM  
Blogger Martasmimi said...

I bet Ian can tell you what it is like to be a child of divorce... hard as I tried to make it perfect as possible everyone suffered ...especially him...

3:13 PM  

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