By Tanya Tynjälä
Finland is home, no matter what people say. Yes, I don’t speak properly the language, but it is the country of my husband, my daughters and my grandchildren.
For me a home is more than just a language. Besides, because I don’t speak very well Finnish, I can actually bloc myself from the outside world and don’t try to understand what people are saying. In that case the language becomes like calm music to my ears.
It is not for me to say what my contributions are to this country, it is for people to decide if they take this contribution or not. I do the same: I just take what is good and forget the rest. No culture is perfect and we can always exchange our best parts.
If I have to ask concrete things, I think that being a language and culture teacher, I am obviously contributing with an insider’s view to Peruvian culture in my classes. Perhaps the fact that six of my former students are married to Peruvian girls (I have discovered that one married a Bolivian, so quite similar) can say if the image I am giving is good or not.
I am the same person in Finland and abroad, simply because it is not my first experience living abroad, and all places have formed me to the person I am. BUT I have to say that my voice changes according to the language I am talking. My voice in French is more pitchy and sexy, for example.
As a language teacher I am lucky that my intercultural communication classes have helped me to get acquainted with the places where I have lived.
The only exception is France, because I was not a teacher when I lived there. It was difficult, but you learn to love a country with its good and bad things. I can say that I am a Parisian Peruvian and my home is Finland.
Because my main goal is not publishing in Finland, for me it is not a challenge to write in Spanish in this country. My books are quite popular in Latin America and I am star entering the Spanish-language market. Thank God there is Internet to keep contact.
Most of my friends are Finns. Being part of the Science Fiction Fandom helps me a lot. Comparing to the mainstream it is a very welcome and warm community. The advantage is that it is an urban tribe you can find everywhere, and they are basically the same.
How can I not feel comfortable in this country?
Tanya participates in the mentor project of Colorit – The Colourful Pen.
(c) Lecti Book Studio, photos 2016