Tuesday, 29 March 2011

78th issue: Growing up as a multi-cultured in Finland part 1

Before Finland wasn't the place to move for foreigners, as it's location is not probably very heart warming. When I was in Japan in 2005 with a friend and we were speaking Finnish in the Shinjuku train station, suddenly one Japanese man came to us and asked in Finnish "what are you looking for". It was odd. He explained that he lived in Finland in the 70's.

The whole scenery about foreigner moving to Finland is quite new phenomenon. As I mentioned in the 70s there were some non-Finns living in Finland (and I don't talk now about Russians or Swedish people, I mean people globally moving to Finland), At the beginning of 80s there were just a bit more and beginning of 90s everything exploded. I always joke about this "yeah, they started charter flights and Finnish females went to see if the grass is greener...."

My other parent is not from Finland. I think my parent's decided to move to Finland as it is a bit better place to grow for children than that other country: free education is a very good reason to live in Finland. This was just beginning of 80s (I was born then in 85, but I have 5 years older sister). 

When I was a child I never though I am different from others, a child doesn't think that deeply "what I am and what I am supposed to be". I was just speaking two languages and visiting my grandma in Istanbul every summer, when Finnish families would go to their country houses. Some people want peace for holidays, my family wanted the city filled with over 10 million people.

I speak Turkish with a very strong Finnish accent. And with my father I speak a mixture of Finnish and Turkish, because sometimes I am too lazy to think the words and Finnish words come to my mind faster. I believe this is very normal for people who have grown multi-languaged. 

But how was it to grow in Finland with having a multi-cultural background? Well, my name is Turkish and it has been always an issue. Finnish rarely know how to pronounce it, though it is said "Esin", as it would be said in Finland too. Instead I hear: Essin, Eessin, Essi (this is a Finnish name) and Erin. Some people like to make joke out from my name by calling me "Esinahka", which means "foreskin" in Finnish. I answer for this: "If I was a male, my foreskin would be cut, as Turkish people do".

Now that I am grown up, people say it must be nice to have multi-cultural background, but for me it is just normal. Sure I have gone through very deep identity questions, because I have learnt also how to manage through situations in Turkey, how to react. Especially I think my mixture is one of the craziest: Finnish people are calm, and Turkish people are just so talkative and alive.


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