Thursday, January 18, 2018

2 countries that feel like home?

Dutch and Finnish? Yep I'm both. For this blogpost I'll share my thoughts on the subject, but also my cousin Laura her opinion. She's just like me, both Dutch and Finnish (the only difference is that she lives in Finland, and I live here in the Netherlands). We both could write a whole book about it ;)

I turned 18 last June which means I can vote. Today I'll be voting for the Finnish Presidential elections. When I tell people here in the Netherlands I'll go vote for the Finnish elections, they tell me it's either weird or cool. Voting for some country you don't even live in? Why?!

Well, Finland feels like home. Just like the Netherlands feels like home.
Finland is not some far away country to me. I have family there, I know the place, I know the language. Of course it's something I can do because I have 2 nationalities. It's an advantage. So if I can, why not vote?  I truly am Finnish, loyal to the country, interested in politics, I know what I'm voting for. So yes, I'll vote.

Finland is my home just like the Netherlands is. I want to be there, but yet I want to stay here. I have family in both countries, I can't choose because my heart is in both places.

I feel like I’m stuck in a place I don’t belong.- Laura

I love the Finnish nature, here in the Netherlands it's beautiful as well but it's crowded. Wherever you are, there are people here. In Finland there are places where you won't be seeing any other humans for days. Secret places in nature, beautiful views, fresh air... 

My mother and father spoke English when they were expecting me. My father was taking Dutch lessons and so it happened. As soon as I was born my parents both spoke mostly Dutch to me. As with many other bilingual families however. The languages mixed quite often (and still do). When I was alone with my father he would read me stories in Finnish from the Moomins and "Isä" books. Basically taught me Finnish, just as he and my mother taught me Dutch. I grew up "bilingual".

Summer holidays in Finland, Christmas in Finland. I've been to Finland every year of my life. I have quite some cousins from my age. I played with them, they mostly spoke Finnish so that's what I did as well. When a few years later my sister was born, she didn't have any cousins from her age. She didn't learn as much Finnish as I did. But she too feels like Finland is our second home. We love Finland. We love our family, our roots.

I would like to do some DNA test soon. You know, the "ohhh cool this test will tell me where my ancestors come from" test. They're all over the Internet these days. You spit in a tube, and some weeks later you'll get the results. My gut feeling? I'm more Northern European than I am Dutch. I have a gut feeling that I'm more % Finnish than I am Dutch. If not? Well, I don't like to think about it, but I'm quite sure that I'm right. It's just a gut feeling ;)

My "Finnish feelings" are strong. My father brought me up with pride. Watching Formula 1 and supporting the Finnish drivers for instance. When Max Verstappen, the Dutch driver started in F1, I didn't feel any "connection" towards him. No, I wasn't going to be a fan of some random Dutch driver. I supported my favourite Finns.

My Finnish last name... "Hey Anna, where does your last name come from?" This is a question I get every time I meet someone new. "My father is Finnish" is my standard answer. But what I feel is worth more. I'm proud of my last name. I feel special. Not that I would have disliked having a Dutch last name. It just separates me from the "normal" people here.

I feel many things. I feel rich and special but at the same time I feel frustrated. You can’t be in the both countries at the same time and travelling between them is not cheap. If I had a lot of money there wouldn’t be so big problem. When I’m in the other country I miss something or someone from the other. - Laura 

Stereotypical, I look Finnish. I have straight white blond hair and blue eyes. This confusion also comes with my last name. People guessing where my last name is from. "Are you Swedish?, Are you from Poland?" (Nooo, Finnish and Dutch).

For the Dutch feelings, yes I love the country I live in. I have my people here, I have grown up here. My mind is Dutch, I am Dutch. But also Finnish...

I feel like not many "normal, 1 citizenship" people really understand what it's like having 2 countries feel like home. I am always ‘the Finnish girl’ or ‘the Dutch girl’. It makes me kind of sad when people call me only the other, because that is when I realise they don’t really understand me. I am both - Laura

Who am I? The easiest answer? I combine my 2 nationalities to who I am. I'm Anna, I live in the Netherlands where I have my friends, half of my family and home. I also have a second home, Finland, Where I have the other half of my family. Where I enjoy nature most, and which always feels like a fresh breath of air.

People often think it’s weird when I want to travel to the Netherlands again. They don’t get that it’s not a holiday trip I’m taking. It’s something I have to do once in a while. And I have to do it for myself, not for my Dutch father, not even only for my family in the Netherlands. It’s visiting my roots and it’s like therapy for me. I just feel like I get mad if I am away for too long. Sometimes I feel so anxious if I haven’t got to visit there often enough. I often have dreams that I’m in Holland and feel so bad when I wake up knowing I’m not visiting there anytime soon. I always feel like part of me is missing. - Laura
For real, I could write a whole book about this...

Probably the longest blogpost I have ever written, but hey. It's something I'm passionate about. I was thinking about maybe starting some series of stories about being both Finnish and Dutch. How it often leads to funny situations :)

Thank you for reading and until next time!



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