-She was wearing yellow shoes. Brogues, they’re called. It wasn’t the fact that brogues are basically men’s shoes what made them different. It was that they were bright yellow.

-So she likes colours…What’s the big deal?

-Everybody knows that Estonians do not wear bright clothes, let alone yellow shoes. I mean, the brightest colour in our closets should be beige, right? Right?

-Well, I guess…

-Or am I wrong?

-Nah, come to think of it. You’re probably right.

-What if every stereotype turned out to be a blatant lie, an outright fabrication? What if everything we know about Estonians or any nationality turned out to be…wrong? What if the English actually had nice teeth and Americans weren’t fat at all and Russians didn’t like vodka and the French were bad cooks? And what if Estonians wore colours and turned out to be really nice and open people?

-What on Earth are you on about?! Have you been drinking?

-Take the clothes and colours thing. Name one person you know who wears only black, grey and white. Go ahead.

-Ermm….

-Not that easy, right? Now name one person you know who only wears plain clothes with no pictures or decorations or thing like that on them.

-Why?! Umm…

-You’re struggling again, aren’t you? Think about your own wardrobe – name all the colours of your clothes.

-Well, I do have coloured t-shirts… And stuff….

– Aha, you see. You could make a decent rainbow out of your clothes. Or a double rainbow.

-You’re right! All the way….

-And now, name one plain, boring  and emotionless Estonian. Go on. Think. Think harder. Go on. There is at least one… Or is there?

-I can’t…I mean, there must be… I just…. I don’t know any…

-Again, you’re stuck! You can’t name on, because there isn’t one! The stereotype doesn’t fit! There is no such thing as a boring, colour-hating, emotionless Estonian! And I’ll tell you why.

-Why ?

-Because the nation, we, Estonians, are constantly changing. We go with the times.  We kissed the Soviet Union good-bye, and suddenly – the colours! The freedom! We can still be Estonian while clad in every colour imaginable. And look at our national dress! The vivid colours, the patterns. And look at us at Laulupidu… The emotions! And look at me. Emotions! Look at my litte speech now – the emotions… The sheer emotions. I’m smiling. I am Estonian and I’m smiling!

-You’re right! You are right, so very absolutely right!

-Can you believe it?

-The points you made were impressive, my friend. You are right, absolutly right. But tell me this: the European Union, will it let us stay Estonians?

-Yes, it will. Because although we go with the times and accept changes, the national identity, that undescribable feeling that makes us Estonians, is just so deep inside us, so inherent.

« »