Thursday, January 10, 2013

On being Finnish, American and Finnish-American

We are a family of three. There is a Finn (me), an American (husband) and Finnish-American (lil man). I have some Swedish heritage and some of my ancestors were born in the U.S (although they were still all Finns). My husband has German and English heritage, some of his relatives came with the Mayflower. Our son is of course a mix of all of this. 

I've often wondered if our son will consider himself Finnish, American or Finnish-American. He was born in the U.S, so he was born American. But as soon as I could get his birth certificate from the Vital Records, I made him a Finnish citizen as well. He is bilingual, I speak Finnish to him and husband speaks English to him. We hope that we will be able to bring him up so that he'll value both cultures and nations. I'm sure there will be times when he wants to be considered just Finnish or just American, depending on where we will live, but hopefully eventually he'll be a proud Finnish-American. 

Flags in Stockholm

I'm proud to be Finnish. Although I'm sometimes quite embarrassed by some of my fellow citizens, mostly due to their alcohol use and ignorance, I still love my country. I wouldn't want to be anything but Finnish. In the U.S I often get mistaken for a U.S citizen, but I always correct that I'm Finnish. I'm always happy to tell everyone about my wonderful country and I don't mind answering their sometimes quite ignorant questions about my Nordic nation. I have never felt prouder to be Finnish than when living abroad. I have grown to respect my home country much more after facing life outside Finland.

I'm proud that my husband is a proud American. I sometimes call him my souvenir from Nebraska :), but I mean it in with all my love. I'm happy to celebrate the holidays of his beloved home country eventhough we (from his perspective) live abroad. I don't always agree with what's going on in his country of birth, in fact I often don't agree with politics that go on in his home state. But I admire that he loves his country, with all it's flaws, since that is how I feel about Finland as well.

I'm proud that our wonderful son is Finnish-American. I'm happy that he will have opportunities that neither my husband or I have ever had, because we are not dual-citizens. He'll have plenty of open doors to choose from. I'm happy that our son will have the freedom to choose which nation he wants to live in, he can even be the president of United States or Finland someday, if he chooses to (no pressure of course ;)). I'm proud of our son on so many levels, but then again I'm his Mom and to me he is perfect.

Celebrating 4 of July
(Please excuse the unprofessional blur)

I feel blessed to have been able to live in three countries and to have gained experiences that I hope will be of assistance when raising our Finnish-American lil man. I'm happy to have lived in the United States, and perhaps someday I might live there again, but I'm also so grateful to be able to live in Finland. I'm so delighted that my husband is happy living here too, Finland is after all my home country. I know he misses his home (I know I missed mine when I wasn't here), and I'm so proud of him that he was brave enough to leave his comfort zone and move to a foreign country, after living his whole life in Nebraska and never having been abroad before.

I plan on exploring what being Finnish means to me later in this blog, but for now I'm just going to say that while I may not always appreciate the cold, the darkness and the negative approach to life some Finnish people have, I do appreciate the honesty, the security and the wonderful nature of my amazing home country and  I'm so very proud to be from Finland.

Wishing everyone a wonderful weekend!


Pilvi said...

I believe your little guy has no trouble balancing the multiple layers of his identity, and being proud of all of them, given that his parents have a healthy, positive attitude about it! I'm sure everyone with any situation differing from "mainstream" will have to go through some "extra" work of thought as they grow up, even if it is just realizing how rich they are in their heritage. :)

Sugar said...

Thank you for your sweet and thoughtful comment, Pilvi! I know I worry too much about things, but I guess that just makes me a typical Mom :-)

Sara said...

Ylpeä suomalainen olen minäkin, ja mielelläni kerron Suomesta kelle tahansa - viiden minuutin esitelmän jälkeen aika monet katuvat kysyneensä Suomesta mitään :D Mietin sitä, että eikös Suomessa pidä olla syntynyt Suomessa, että voi tulla valituksi presidentiksi? Vai riittääkö pelkkä kansalaisuus? Tuo nyt on kyllä beside the point sinänsä, pointtihan taisi olla, että kaksoiskansalaisuus avaa paljon ovia ja hyvä niin. Toivottavasti pikkumiehenne oppii hyödyntämään tuota myös :) En malta odottaa omaa kaksoiskansalaisuutta, se helpottaa elämää niin paljon!

Sugar said...

Kiitoksia kommentista Sara! Tarkistin tuon presidenttiysjutun ja presidentin taytyy olla syntyperainen suomalainen eli saanut kansalaisuuden syntyessaan (kuten ulkomailla syntyneet suomalaisten aitien lapset saavat), mutta siita, etta pitaa olla syntynyt Suomen maaperalla en loytanyt mainintaa. Jeps, kaksoiskansalaisuudesta on kylla hyotya! Helpottaa ainakin matkustamista huomattavasti :)

Sara said...

Aivan, taitaa olla tuo sana "syntyperäinen" hämmentänyt pientä mieltäni, enkä ollut ajatellut asiaa sen pidemmälle. :) Kiitti vastauksesta!

Sugar said...

Olepa hyva :) Toivottavasti en nyt muuten puhunut lapia paahani, mutta sillalailla asian ainakin ymmarsinkin :-)