After my grandmother passed away, I was devastated because I always wanted to record her memories and recipes, and I missed her so much. So I decided to interview and photograph 100 grandmothers and turn it into a book which will represent the memory and wisdom of my granny’s generation.

Within a year, I accomplished just that!

A week after the 480-page book (“The secrets and stories of Estonian grandmothers”) was published, I saw my grandmother in my dreams. She knocked on my door and stood there with her arms open wide. She hugged me dearly and I forgot for a minute that she had already passed away.

The other morning I told the 7-year-old daughter that I had a dream about nana. She told me: “Hey, mommy, I also saw nana in my dreams!”. I was surprised and asked her what did she see.

“I saw that there was a Christmas Eve and you and granny (my mother), you both gave embroidered slippers to nana. You embroidered those yourself!”

When I told about our dreams to my mother she replied: “Did you know that nana wore my embroidered slippers in the coffin for her last journey?” I didn’t, nor did my daughter.

But I guess that was a sign from nana that she is still with us and she is happy that she is forever remembered.

My grandmother was a true saint for me. She blessed everyone – poor ones, rich ones, crippled, those in need, those who were successful, strangers or family – it didn’t matter, everyone was her family

I never heard any complaints or anything negative from her. She was the sunshine of our family. I always wanted to record her memories from the times she lived in Siberia and how she managed to get back to her home country Estonia after her husband was murdered and she was left with 3 children.

I really wanted to know the recipe for her famous meat pasties which I adored, but I always thought that there is enough time

It’s the biggest lie we all live in. In 2015 she had a stroke which was misdiagnosed for 3 times when she went to an ER. When the ambulance took her for the fourth time, she raised her hand and gave her blessings for the last time to the doctors that surrounded her. She forgave everything. The next day, she was gone.

I still cry when I think of that. I had so many regrets – why didn’t I do that? Why? I decided to grow something from this regret

Two years ago I started a journey to write a book about Estonian grandmothers – their stories, old recipes and tips from old ages.

I missed out my grandmother’s story, but I still could write other grandmothers’ stories

Grannies who will also be gone after 20-30 years. I can collect their memories for their families, take pictures for them. I can do it to honor my grandmother’s memory.

So I decided to drive through the whole country of Estonia and visit 100 grannies as this year is our country’s 100th birthday

I did it for grandmothers and for the recording of the history for my homeland. These are the places in my home country which I visited past 9 months. These are the places where those grannies live, some dots represent the home of 2-3 grannies.

First I had to find the contacts, then think through the schedule, then drive wherever my grannies were, then I interview them, take photos of them, go back home to photoshop and to write

It was a daily job without any day off for 9 months. I hardly found time for eat, I had no other life besides my grannies.

I met 100 beautiful grandmothers, and one of them was a 100-year-old woman

I heard the most devastating stories You can not even imagine. About war, about women who went blind or deaf, about women who spend their old age taking care of their handicapped child or grandchild, about women who lost their children or parents in an early age. And yet, they all said – today is the best day to live!

I cried a lot because most of the stories were really hard and painful

I tried my best not to cry along with grandmothers, but when I was alone, I let it all out. Sometimes I arrived to meet the grandmother and then she suddenly said no and sent me off. I went into my car and cried there.

I started to see wars and killings in my dreams, because most of the stories were about World War II

It was emotionally wrecking, but every time I felt I couldn’t do it anymore, I told myself: “Do it for nana!”, and that was enough. “Do it for nana!” was my mantra for a whole year.

I learned so much from them. I learned about me, about this generation, about woman’s heart and soul

Everything I have earned in the past two years, went into this project

All the work from yoga teachings, workshops, publishing work, every earned penny went for this book. “Do it for nana!”

“The Secrets And Stories Of Estonian Grandmothers”

After the book went for printing, we realized that we forgot to mention my name on the cover. I was okay with that, but my colleague demanded for reprinting the cover. So we did, but here is the memory of the deadline craziness.

P.S. During this journey, I found a granny who shared a recipe of meat pastries which was exactly those my nana used to made. How I managed to find it, was a miracle itself, but that is yet another story.