My years in Finland

Finland celebrates its national day today. This year it is 100 years of independence for Finland so it is and has been big festivities in Finland and abroad. Yesterday the president of Iceland published a video with his celebrations in Finnish. Today friends of Finland pay their respect in different ways but especially by attending the formal celebrations organized by the Finnish embassy in Reykjavik, Iceland.

I have strong feelings to Finland. I was living in Finland for seven yearsduring the 1980s and early 1990s and those seven years were some of the best years in my life. I thoroughly enjoyed living in Finland. I was only 20 years old when I moved there to study journalism in Swedish at the University of Helsinki’s soc&kom and I adjusted fast. It was a wonderful time and great experience. Helsinki is nowadays the city I know best outside of Iceland. Finland feels like home to me.

It wasn’t easy though at the beginning with everyone around me speaking Finnish and me not understanding anything. It was dark, cold and snowy that first autumn and my room was far away from the school. But in the spring I got a new room and had learned some Finnish Swedish. The year after I started learning Finnish at the University of Helsinki. I finished my university education, worked as a correspondent for the Icelandic national broadcasting radio RUV during the late 1980s and moved back to Iceland in 1991 when the trade with the Soviets had collapsed and the economy had a severe downswing.

In 1991 I was with my husband on my way to celebrate the Independence Day of Finland in the Nordic House in Reykjavik when my son decided to come into this world. That was a wonderful coincidence and the main reason why I am always so busy on December 6th. Anyway, Finland is special to me. I love the Finnish culture and language, the Finnish history and Finland’s people. I learned so much in Finland and I’ve always enjoyed visiting Finland ever since. My Finnish grammar is a bit “rusty” as we say here in Iceland but that’s not strange, it’s 26 years since I moved back with my family.

Congratulations Finland!