My name is Paola, I was born in Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico in 1979, a birth that was somewhat chaotic for my beautiful mother since she had to be hospitalized three months before because I already wanted to be born to see the world, although my mother says that in the end, it was like a much-needed calm and quiet vacation. I currently live in Somero, a small city situated in Southwest Finland coastal area.
I never had in mind to make a home outside of Mexico, despite the problems that are happening today in my country. However, the chosen path has led me on an adventure where I live with migration and the experience of being an immigrant in a country very different from mine; an adventure that I took with my eyes closed and without prior research. I had no idea how challenging it could be, but in August 2019 my daughter and I moved to Finland.
My integration into this country has been very challenging; because of the language, the system, the integration process, and my financial situation in Finland and in Mexico. Having a working life that I enjoy is one of my pillars for my emotional stability.
Challenges such as having an economic independence and facing limited job options due to living in a small town such as Somero hinder my career progression. I feel insecurity entering a desired working life, even when having the professional level to carry out the requested activities.
Learning the Finnish language is a great challenge and of great importance to be able to integrate into the working and cultural life of the country. Not being able to speak Finnish can be a big limitation for my professional and personal development if I do not pursue it.
Although it is important to be within the way of life of the new country, it is very enriching to learn from other cultures to have more tools to understand cultural diversity and generate a more empathic environment
Moreover, I think it is extremely important that the system can recognize my daughter’s other mother tongue. I believe it is a valuable heritage and a crucial tool for communicating with others. I want to be able to give that great gift as a mother to my own daughter, and all multilingual families should have that right.
On the positive side, I have come to accept my circumstances and live with my own reality. At the same time, I am working on strengthening those parts that I need to improve to achieve my personal and professional goals.
I have a strong network of my extended Finnish family. My in-laws have provided enormous support emotional, and financially. My integration process has also been accompanied by my daughter’s father circle of friends. Back in Mexico, my mother and sister can sleep easily, knowing the family and friends my daughter and I have here.
My social life has been strengthened primarily through the Finnish lessons. Here, I met new friends with whom I can share my own experiences living in Finland. We give each other tips, or just let off steam. I also joined different peer support groups that support immigrants in Finland. It has been a tremendous help-making me see things from a different perspective. I have encouraged myself to teach salsa dance classes and organizing craft workshops. This has also been helpful to practice the language and interact with native Finns. Ultimately, it gives me the opportunity to get to know the culture in a more fun and relaxed way.
Professionally, I accepted the fact that there is a process to be able to do things. After my Finnish course ended, I started my degree in audio-visual media in the city of Forssa. This opportunity is helping me to update my knowledge, and getting to know different organizations and associations that can guide me through the integration process. I have also searched for courses in my own language to keep me occupied, and thus have a more positive energy.
On the positive side, I have come to accept my circumstances and live with my own reality. At the same time, I am working on strengthening those parts that I need to improve to achieve my personal and professional goals
Growing up next to a resilient mother has given me the strength to look for the tools and actions to be able to surf those waves that life has given me and is giving me. I don’t know where life will take me next, but I would like to contribute my share to the creation of a society more sustainable, empathetic, flexible, multicultural, versatile, and fair. After all, we are all human beings sharing the same world, with different sounds and colors.
Editor and producer: yvette ahonen
Haluamme kertoa juhlavuotemme kunniaksi 35 tarinaa kahden kulttuurin perheistä
ulkaisemme 35 viikon ajan 35 erilaista tarinaa, jotka kuvastavat monia haasteita ja mahdollisuuksia, joita kahden kulttuurin perheet jokapäiväisessä elämässään kohtaavat. Haluamme näiden tarinoiden heijastavan todellisuutta ja tarjoavan vertaistukea, voimaannuttavia kokemuksia ja inspiraation lähteitä sekä lisäävän tietoisuutta kulttuurienvälisyydestä ja monikielisyydestä Suomessa.
For 35 weeks, we will be publishing 35 different stories that reflect the many challenges and opportunities intercultural families face in their everyday lives. We want these stories to reflect reality and serve as an accessible peer support, source of empowerment and inspiration, and increase awareness of Interculturalism and Multilingualism in Finland.