A Blog Introduction – Stranger in a Strange Land – A Canadian in Finland

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(This is April 7th, 2012.  I had begun the idea of writing a blog for a long time.  Something raw and honest to talk about life.  Something talking about being an outsider.  Something talking about being a foreigner in Finland.  I’m afraid here that I’m putting myself at risk, because I am being honest, and I don’t have much faith in the human race sometimes. I think there are a lot of not-good people and a lot of not-bright people out there so that the number of intelligent and ethical people is very few.  I mean, mathematically, after you work out the number of people who intelligent, and then the number of people who are ethical, and then you find the cross section of people who are both intelligent and ethical you get a very small percentage of the general population.  I just hope I am among the intelligent and the ethical.  I fear this material might piss off a few and somehow be used against me.  However, my life is not all that wonderful, anyway, and one of the few things that gives my life value is writing.  So here goes.  This present entry was written September 8th-13th, 2011)

Hello, and welcome to our blog. I am a 47 year old Canadian with a university education living and trying to work in Finland.  Over time, some of these entries will be truth and some of these entries will be fiction. But fiction is just a way to say something which is even more true sometimes. Fictionalizing stuff is also a way of covering my ass.

I have just moved from a little town called Kotka to a big place called Vantaa. That’s very close to a place called Helsinki, which I had always known about because of the Helsinki Accords, which was an agreement between thirty-five countries attempting to improve the relationship between the Communist bloc and the West. Neat, huh.

In this piece, I want to bring an argument to the internet where the other party can’t possibly participate because I feel that there is quite a lot about my life that has been taken out of my control, and this is my payback. I was fired yesterday from a part time job. The director told me “You can sue us, but the city pays our salaries, so you would lose.” Then, after I tried to explain my situation, she called her guard and threw me out of her office. Before that, I had wondered why her office would need a guard. Now I understand that she probably does this quite frequently to people.

So the argument is: As an immigrant it is difficult for me to find properly paying full time work so I am forced to receive benefits from the government that maintain me and my family at the barest minimum. However, to receive these minimal benefits I am forced to work full time for businesses where they receive my services for free. If a business could receive my services for free, then why would they ever pay me? The answer is: “They wouldn’t.” So this is the system where I am trapped. This is, to my mind, government sponsored slavery. Finland has turned their immigrants and their disabled into a slave caste.

Oh, yeah, I almost forgot. I had a car accident when I was five. I was unconscious for two month, had some physical deficits, and I grew up with people calling me retarded. Now you, the reader, will be reading a whole lot into these blogs because I just told you this. But I wasn’t retarded, so I worked really hard. So now I have I have three university degrees and I have lived and worked in India, Nepal, the Czech Republic, Japan and Vietnam. But I still have some stuff left over from the accident, and these days I am seen as a paradox. I am someone who does not fit, who has no place. I am an ungrateful paradox who is not humble enough before the normal people. I have no respect for a status quo where my place is at the bottom. Well, these days, it’s hard to know whether I am stuck at the bottom because I am disabled or an immigrant, but I suppose it amounts to the same thing.

Well, this is a blog, and some of it will be true and some of it will be fiction. I try not to blame myself for my misfortunes these days. I blame others. It’s easier. I blame the Persu Party for my problems. Well, why not? I mean, that’s what The True Finns do. Their political stand is that immigrants are stealing Finnish jobs and Finnish women. I mean, I have a Finnish woman and I would like a Finnish job, so it must be true. Of course, I’m not greedy. I only want one of each.

Someday someone has to explain to people about being human – about what sharing a common humanity means. In India people greet you by folding their hands before them and saying “Namaste”, which means “I am you”. What a wonderful thing, a greeting which is a prayer to our common humanity.

A lot of things are better for me now so this blog won’t be all complaints. Today, I have a wonderful wife and child. I have a really nice apartment with a balcony and a sauna. I have an allotment and I grow really cool herbs. I’m mostly happy these days. I have the barest minimum which defines a human being, and it isn’t easy to hold all this stuff together. The sad thing is that for many people in this country, they can’t negotiate the faceless bureaucracy which keeps them locked in the lowest stratum of society. Many people in our society are put in situations where they cannot find work, feed or clothe themselves. The system blames them for this and what they receive for being in that position is insult and humiliation. I will not be quiet and accepting

You know, happiness doesn’t keep a person writing or striving to become something better. A person needs a bit of misery, a bit of anger and righteous indignation, to keep themselves moving. I don’t go looking for any of this stuff, you know. I think I would prefer to be one hundred percent happy… sometimes. But… well… there you go.

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2 thoughts on “A Blog Introduction – Stranger in a Strange Land – A Canadian in Finland

  1. I am concerned I will be considered one of the “ungrateful” and that people might think I should “Go back where I came from.” One problem with that is: I don’t know where that is. You know, Cain asked God “Am I my brother’s keeper?” God notwithstanding, the answer, in a Humanistic sense, is YES! We are all human and we are all in this together.

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