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suvekodu2013(L-R) Haley Segura, Alexa Thompson, Mari Käärid and Hanna Laanemaa Berrytree.  Seedrioru Suvekodu 2013.


As I was christened on the porch steps of my grandparents cottage at Seedrioru on July 11, 1970, I instinctively knew I was home.  My older sister called this place Eestimaa, the smell of warm wood and the song of high birds tell me how fortunate I am to have such a place in my life.  I wasn’t born in Eesti.  I have travelled to Eesti once, back in 1994.  Something about Seedrioru always tells me that I am home.

From my first memories of being held by loved ones, to swimming in the pond and participating at many evening lõkked, I began to realize how unique this utopian 64 acre patch of rolling hills and valleys was.  I know every inch of it; I can feel my way around there.  As a child, I would anxiously await the long travel each summer so that I could join my grandparents at the cottage for the summer.  We had no hot water, no heat, no telephone or television, but my anticipation of arrival grew with each passing year.  My family and friends played with me, held me and cared for me in a manner that instilled three important factors in my life: safety, security and love.  Everybody knew everyone and if not, you were welcomed by others.  Doors were left open, you could always find someone to play with or visit with other cottagers who would graciously feed you ginger ale and lots of good treats. (Thank you Tädi Luule!)
As I grew older, certain friends I made at suvekodu are people I consider integral part of the Seedrioru family - my family.  Although we lived miles apart, all of us always knew that when we came together again each summer, our friendships would grow around this constant place that was always there for us.  This gave our sõprusring a cherished bond in each of our lives.  My wish is that my children and future generations have Seedrioru instilled in their hearts along with the happiness and joy that my “home” continues to bring me.  
My heart grows heavier each year as I depart because it will take another eleven months until my return.  The banks of the Grand River call to me as a mother calls to her child, waiting to embrace me with her warm swift current and golden sunsets.  
My parents', grandparents' tenacity and hard work of many individuals are what keep Seedrioru alive.  I feel their sprit within me carrying on the traditions and culture of Eesti.  They helped to establish this home for me.  I thank all of you; this place is the greatest gift I have received in my life. I do believe in this somewhat over used cliché - “Home is where the Heart is.”  Seedrioru is where my heart and soul are firmly planted as strongly as the cedars that rise high above the ground, touching the sky and shedding the light of Eestimaa.  


Anneli Mari Segura
Salt Lake City, Utah


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