“I moved and left my family, friends and all my years behind me to be with you. Yes you! The love of my life! I know it is not your fault. I know you are not sure what you need to do to make me feel less lonely, more at home and feel accepted by our surrounding community. To be honest, I don’t know what I need you to do. I just feel that huge part inside of me is missing… missing my home, missing my laughs with my own friends, missing the feeling of being accepted in my own skin, in my own language, and in my own everything just as I am. I know my dear that you love me as I am too; but I don’t feel it all the time when I try to explain how I feel about something, and you think I am overreacting or being oversensitive. I don’t feel it when I walk outside alone. I want to feel that I too belong here with you with every small or stupid little thing I feel.”
Even though it wasn’t my business, I couldn’t help listing when these very familiar words were said by a person to their partner. They echoed in my head so loudly. I woke in me feelings that I thought I have forgotten for many years now. I know too, that my mother and family here in Finland loved me, but the rejection I received outside my doors was too harsh, and how my family members didn’t understand my little stupid feelings, and sometimes thought I was overreacting too. The system here in Finland works in a logical way, but I rarely met someone in any official offices, like TE-office, KELA, social workers that was able to show any empathy, they went, and still go by the book… “You are a Finn, so you are not entitled of Finnish language courses, nor integration program!” - Said the TE-Officer to me, when I said my Finnish is not good enough to be hired. Is it really my fault that in my childhood to my early adulthood I had to live abroad and didn’t have the chance to learn Finnish? Why am I treated as a foreigner, yet the system will not give my integration program like one? Why the system shouts so loud in my head “YOU ARE A FINN!” yet the world around doesn’t accept me as one, rarely felt truly accepted as a Finn in the Finnish community?
These feeling came all rushing up to my deepest bones when I heard those words. “I know you love me! I know you don’t know what to do to help me!” I knew my family loved me too, I knew too that they didn’t know what they could do to help me to integrate and understand Finland (MY OWN COUNTRY!) better.
I can’t express how happy I was to find out that Familia is starting an integration group to those who have fallen between the system’s cracks. The ones that need to understand the hidden culture, ones who need to understand their partners or family, the ones that find themselves between giving up their own identity to take another or keep theirs and suffer by trying to understand the other. Familia explained how integration must have both sides meeting halfway, how one doesn’t have to go through this alone but have a support system to support them through this road.
Thank you, Familia, for the new Duo Integration program.
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Ajatuksia ja kokemuksia elämästä kahden kulttuurin keskellä.
Reflections and experiences from the life of intercultural families.
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