As I write this, I am ‘sitting back, relaxing and enjoying’ my flight from New York to Helsinki…. The cab driver who dropped me off at the airport, asked me if my trip is for business or for pleasure, to which I quickly replied that it is for both. Later, I thought to myself: wow–that’s a bit of an over-simplification, isn’t it..? I hardly think of concerts as business, and “pleasure” does not come close to describing the rest of my planned trip, which I’m expecting to be as emotionally challenging as I’m hoping it will be fulfilling…
Last summer I wrote in my blog about building a renewed personal relationship with New York; connecting to the city through its nature; through museums, streets, parks… Now, I find myself also wanting to connect to Finland and Helsinki, the country and the city where I’m from, in a new way.
I have lived abroad for over 15 years now, (almost half my life(!)) yet in some ways, to me it feels like I haven’t been away at all. In many aspects, I feel so utterly Finnish! Though I’m sure that once again, in a few hours, I will be confronted also by those aspects in which I no longer fit in at all…. Even though it pains me, I can’t change the fact that in Finland I am often treated like an outsider these days.. What is in my power though, is to control my own perspective and my own relationship with the country and my heritage.
I can easily name a thousand extraordinary people, things, places and foods right now, which one is only able to only experience in my home country. Some of them can only truly be appreciated by a Finn, (due to language barrier, cultural barrier, taste barrier, etc.) That said, I AM a Finn, and I CAN truly appreciate those things! On this trip, among other things, I am reclaiming my emotional and spiritual citizenship, and can’t nobody do anything about it! Perkele!