January 1 marked six months that I have lived in Estonia 🇪🇪

So here’s the ultimate thread of the things I learned.

Something beyond “startups per capita”, “everything is digital”. More little things that matter to me.

Dig in if you are interested in this magnificent country.
Dear Estonians. I hope this thread will not anger you — some of the takes could be naive and I’m writing this with the best intentions. I love this country and I will be forever grateful to it for everything it has done to me and Ukraine.

Estonia is not a post-Soviet country. Yes, there are some buildings that remind of that era, but everything else is just… different and better.

So forget this post-Soviet stamp — Baltic states have not even recognized themselves as part of USSR.
English will get you quite far — besides almost anyone younger than 30, I’ve talked to cashiers, doctors, hotel staff, and so on. All good.

Obviously, knowing Russian could be sometimes handy too, but I doubt anyone would be happy about that fact in 2023.
Learning Estonian is hard. Very very very hard. Everything is different and it’s too easy to use English. I will try more in 2023.
Tallinn is expensive. And I mean it. A delivery could very easily run into €50, a dinner in a nice restaurant will cost even more, the groceries aren’t cheap, really good flats starts at around €1000/months.

Partly, due to inclination. Partly because the economy is growing.
Quality of life is amazing. I can’t list all the things, but it’s just a very comfortable place with amazing nature, clean water and air, good infrastructure (for me), and good access to everything you need.
Tallinn is extremely safe. I have never ever felt even remotely as if I’m in danger.

In summer it’s also very clean. In winter there are problems with cleaning the sidewalks from snow.
Ukrainians are always skeptical about two things abroad: banking and delivery speed.

No problems here.
Once you have ID, you can open an account fully digitally and in about 10 minutes. At least in LHV.

The app is fully capable too. Never have any issues.
Never have any problems with the delivery too. A lot of parcel lockers everywhere, affordable prices and good speed (3 days at max, usually 1).
Health care could be hit or miss. If you are want to guarantee the best experience, just go private — I have a insurance with Confido Clinic and it’s just amazing.
The ID code is the best thing I have ever owned. It’s tied to everything and it’s super convenient. My banking account, my grocery shop account, my bookstore account — I can authorize into each of them using one simple and secure code which also stores essential information.
The shopping experience also changed me. There’s almost a 100% guarantee that stores have self-checkout option here. And there are no guards, no checks. Just scan, go, and don’t bother other people.
In six month I have never used a regular cashier line. Usually I use those handy scanners. I want this tech everywhere.
Regarding supermarkets.

Selver > Prisma (if renovated) > Rimi > Maxima.

That’s just my opinion.
Yes, everything is really digitalized. Prescription in the cloud, all the important thing are signed electronically and everything has a site. It’s amazing. But you probably know that already.
Estonia has amazing nature and hands down the best summer season. Super long days with (usually) chilly weather is perfect for me.
Estonians are not cold or stubborn. In my experience they are quite warm and welcoming, but they mind their personal space, don’t bother anyone and love to get straight to the point.
People here are productive as hell to. Again, anecdotal experience: everybody responds super quick and deliver in time.
Everything (I’ve seen and experienced) is super legal too. Everybody pay taxes, issue invoices and so on. Nothing special for those who live in the West, but a refreshing thing for me.
This is definitely a country for introverts and that’s why I feel so comfortable. If you want a loud party and a new rave place each week, probably better to keep looking. If you are into building a career, starting your business — Estonia is perfect.
There are a lot of smart people who do amazing things. The new wave of Estonian tech is mostly past usual SaaS business and into quite amazing stuff, such as new energy (solar, hydro, EVs), robotics, bio and so on.
It’s super easy to get connected. Everyone knows everyone and there’s almost no gatekeeping of knowledge or connection. Show positive attitude, bring something valuable and the community will get back.
The sense of community is very strong here. Estonians love Estonia and support each other. Simple and obvious observation, but I think it’s important to highlight it.

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