There’s a suntanned little girl in me, still shell-shocked at finding herself in a country where it’s pitch-black dark for most of the year. There are insiders’ clubs and she’s not a part of them. Everything is upside down and no one else seems to notice.
As the years go by, she finally learns how to tie a scarf so it won’t keep falling apart annoyingly, and to accept that those summer clothes and swimsuits in her closet will remain unused, like objects in a museum. But, like trying to fit a round peg into a square hole, her stories still don’t fit in – and did she just detect a tone of jealousy in that non-reaction?
She doesn’t want to have to hide her background or apologize for speaking another language fluently. Where are you from – the answer to that seemingly innocent, ubiquitous question tells you so much, yet sometimes the person asking it doesn’t really want to hear the answer if it sounds too good. She feels like a stray dog in sheep’s clothing.
How could she not tell you that she learned to swim before she could speak Finnish properly? How much does she have to leave out? It took a long time for her to realize that others didn’t see her as she did. To them, she had a Finnish name and passport, end of story, end of identity. They didn’t see that in her heart, she was elsewhere. This girl-next-door had been listening to dancehall reggae since she was a teenager and had learned to recite the alphabet by watching Sesame Street in a checkered school uniform.
When I started this blog in 2015, my life had been all about traveling ever since I was a child. Moving around came naturally. But then life happened and I guess I settled down. I never imagined settling down in Helsinki, but it does make sense because my family is here.
I’m the type of person who is deeply affected by the weather. Some of you will understand, some won’t. Those who won’t should try living in Helsinki for a few winters and then you’ll see! It’s dark as midnight in the afternoon and it leaves me feeling crippled. I know I should get some fresh air but… it’s dark, cold, wet, windy, and slippery. That little child in me is going, No, I don’t want to go outside, do I have to?! Really?
This is the first time in my adult life that I haven’t regularly gotten a dose of real sunshine in several years and I’m no longer even working in the travel industry. So, that was great timing to start a travel photo blog, wasn’t it? When I get a moment, I’m going to adjust my blog’s tagline and my About Me – page to reflect new blogging goals: this is now more of a casual photo blog, with some just-for-fun writing. I don’t want to turn it into a Helsinki-blog, but most of my photos are from Helsinki since this is where I now live. And I have lots of photos.
I was going to do a sequel to the post about my tropical childhood, on arriving in Finland, the little culture shocks and feeling like an outsider. On finally realizing I was more or less like a third culture kid. But after having two amazing babies of my own now, I’ve come to realize that it doesn’t really matter. It’s not about me anymore. I’m no longer the star of my own show, and I’m totally happy with that! My priorities and dreams have changed into new ones.
I love writing and the tone I seem to drift towards in my writing is nostalgia for a nice dramatic effect or to create atmosphere, so you can still expect some more of that in my coming posts. Just less of the travel theme.
My boys are going to grow up as Helsinkians, and they are going to fit right in. The locals love it here.