A couple of weeks ago we had our big day, a day in a long path that has changed us both and will change our lives forever: a path of responsibility, commitment, respect, and – most of all – love. On 25 July we tied the knot and it was a sunny day of happiness! It was a moment that we had planned and imagined for almost a year, but had been very much threatened – until the final weeks – by the global pandemic and the unprecedented uncertainty related to it. The forced lockdown and the limits imposed by the state of emergency throughout the spring only increased this feeling of powerlessness.
That’s why when we eventually said YES, despite all these challenges, we felt all the warmth of that summer sun, along with the feeling that for us 2020 would forever be a very special year and – luckily – not because of COVID19. We also felt that there was such an urgent need for good news this year and that this is our big one! The small-sized intimate wedding ceremony took place in the beautiful venue of Modena’s City Hall – in northern Italy – but this is very much a Tartu story.
Anna grew up in the Latvian town of Jelgava, south of Riga. Many centuries ago, Jelgava served as the capital of the Duchy of Courland and Semigallia. After completing high school in her hometown, Anna moved to Bradford, in the UK, to study international relations at the city’s university. After moving back to Latvia for a short period, while working at the US Embassy in Riga, she started a new adventure in Estonia’s university city of Tartu, where she moved to continue her studies in the master’s programme in “European Union – Russia Studies”.
Stefano grew up in Modena, in central-northern Italy. A few centuries ago, Modena was also the capital of a small Italian duchy named after the city itself. After completing his bachelor studies at the University of Bologna, Stefano moved to Siena for his doctoral studies, which he completed some years later. As with many Italian academicians, he flew first to Oslo, then to Istanbul, and eventually to Tartu as a post-doctoral researcher.
This is our common denominator. The University of Tartu is where we first met more than six years ago, it is the charming and welcoming town where we fell in love, and the place we are proud to call home today.
Today, Anna is Manager of Online Learning Projects and Stefano Associate Professor of European Studies and Programme Director at the Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies.Continue reading