Only a few things are better than sitting alone on my bed in front of an open window in my tiny studio in Amsterdam, watching the sun set behind the railway and a countless number of aeroplanes descend behind the three wind turbines, listening to crickets singing outside. These are moments of peace, serenity, and reflection for me. They truly make me appreciate the journey I am on, the opportunities I have seized, and the experiences I have had. But if this is all so nice then how come my heart still wants to return home to Estonia?
For the past two years, I have been living abroad. First in the Netherlands, then in Sweden, then in the Netherlands again. Spiced up with trips to numerous other countries. For example, Portugal for summer school, Finland for volunteering at the Slush conference, or Spain for meeting up with my international friends who are scattered all over Europe. Not to mention the Eurotrip to Hungary and Romania through Germany, Slovenia, Croatia, Slovakia, and Czechia. Not to brag (okay, maybe a little), but this is all I could have ever dreamed of and more.
Ever since I was little, I have been wanting to explore the world, live and travel abroad, far away from home. When I packed my bags two years ago, I did not know when I would come back. I was determined to finish my studies in Sweden and then work in Germany or France or Italy or Norway or any other country as long as it was abroad. I imagined being a young professional exploring a new country every year. Changing locations like underwear. Meeting new people, working for new companies, living in new cities. Oh, what an international multicultural creature I would be!
But as I sit here in my overly expensive metropolitan studio, listening to people commuting home on bicycles and mopeds, watching rats and seagulls tear apart the garbage that people fail to put inside the garbage cans, I feel that I am also ready to go home. I have had my adventures (for now), I have gained my experiences, I have seized my opportunities. I have no regrets. But there is nothing keeping me here anymore.
For now, I yearn for stability. A place that truly feels like home, not another temporary living space where I arrive with my two suitcases only to leave again a year later. I yearn for my Estonian friends and family. I yearn for being able to buy bread in my native language and receive back 1- and 5-euro cents that no one in their right mind uses anymore. I yearn for the low population density of Estonia, for the forests and fields and bogs and nature. I yearn for the streets of Tallinn where it is nearly impossible to ride a bicycle. I yearn for being able to fall asleep and fight for the blanket with my loved one. I yearn for my country, my people, my home.
As the dusk settles and the sky turns from orange to dark blue, peace does not fall onto Amsterdam. The trains keep passing by my house, the planes keep landing, the wind turbines keep twirling, the cars on the highway keep driving, the mopeds and bicycles in the street keep going, the crickets keep singing, and the neighbour keeps making unintelligible noises. But as the sky turns dark and the first stars peek through the light pollution, peace does fall onto me because I know that this is one of the last sunsets I will witness here, in my tiny studio apartment in Amsterdam, for I am coming home.