Caution: This text is all about my love towards Finland, if you do not wish to know more then please skip this post. ;) Though I wish everyone can feel similar pride about their country.
For long, I had a attitude problem towards the Finnish language. So different from any other, isolating us from rest of Scandinavia and Western cultures, also making it more challenging for us to learn foreign languages and vice versa. Bla bla. Here, I have started to enjoy having our 'secret' language. Watching the reactions of others when I record and listen to whatsapp voice messages is amusing. PJ always told me that Finnish sounds like singing. Can't be too bad then. I also enjoy the fact that I can write notes to my notebook that no one here would understand. ;)
The world is so connected today. It feels like it becomes smaller and smaller the more you travel, meeting a total stranger and so often turning out that you know same people. I personally think the six degrees of separation theory has become much less. Thus, belonging to such a small community, having our own unique language, space, ways of doing things and traits is really comforting. I wouldn't change it for anything, to be a Finn, having a home base there. I love that we are only 6 million people. I never thought about it this way before moving abroad, but we are unique, exotic. Finland is a huge mystery to most people in the world, yet a fascinating one.
Our nationality is valuable in concrete terms as well. I have got this feeling endless amount of times during the past years, both at home and abroad. I will never forget how incredible amount of effort we had to do in order to obtain a chinese visa in Hong Kong for my friends from other countries, and how easily they gave me one. Just like that, without asking any further questions, just because I was a Finnish citizen. In these kinds of situations I realise how valuable my passport is. I aim to not become attached to possessions, and I can honestly say that I do consider my passport my most valuable belonging. It is my identity, and the stamps and visas only build up on this.
Even more have I learned to appreciate our country. Yes, it is cold and dark there for a slightly too long period. Thus I encourage everyone to travel. Last year, a four day escape to Barcelona just before Christmas made miracles for me, and the rest of Winter was easy to handle again. Time or money are no excuses, the employers will understand and even a destination like Barcelona is a totally different story regarding the amount of light and warmth.
But only thinking about the good sides makes me smile. Our nature is stunning, there's no way around it. I'm sure everyone has their favourite places and activities. I personally find my mom's hometown Punkaharju one of the most beautiful places in the world with its crystal water and narrow eskers. There our huge, international family will always reunite for summer celebrations. Levi will always have a special place in our family's heart. Also thinking about flow festival, Hanko weekends and Tahko getaways make my heart beat faster. Helsinki is the dearest for me, I simply love exploring and wondering down my favourite streets. Cycling from Arkadiankatu to Mestaritalo in Punavuori every morning for months and seeing how the seasons change... Being in Cape Town now, unable to cycle anywhere but instead having to uber or drive everywhere, these rides have now become a great memory. I know how much I'll appreciate my bike and being able to cycle across my home city again next Spring. It's all about the little things. And yet there is still so much too, at least for me. I am inspired by my sister and some friends who have packed their bags and traveled to North instead of always escaping to the South. Exploring Northern Finland, doing a Summer road trip and doing a proper summer weekend in Turku are high on my bucket list.
I can only speak for myself, but the more I travel, the more I learn to see the beauty of my own country. I could continue talking about this topic forever, but I'll stop it here for now.
Wishing an inspiring and beautiful week for you <3