Why I’m Not Blogging About Finland (for now)
This one’s getting filed under Self-Care, because it has more to do with the reasons we chose to do (or not do) certain things than anything else. A lot of people have asked if I’ll be blogging about Finland, now that I’ve relaunched this venture. After a lot of thought, I’ve decided against it. I’ll get to my reasons in a moment, but first I want to add the caveat “never say never“. With Finland or any other topic, my choice to not write about it at this time doesn’t mean I won’t add it to the topic rotation in the future. I’m trying to see this blog as a living thing, and while I need to have some structure to it, that means it will change and evolve over time.
Speaking of Finland
Shortly after Katie and I moved to Finland in 2014, we started a podcast. It was something we did for fun, and it had no production value. The original premise was that we were recording letters back to our friends in the US. This seems odd in the era of social media and Skype, but it was based on something in Katie’s childhood. Her pop was in the Marines, and did tours in Vietnam. He would send home reel-to-reel tapes where he talked to his kids. Her mom would set up a recorder at the dinner table, and she and her siblings would record messages for him.
We started off doing a lot of compare-and-contrast stuff, talking about differences and the things we discovered that we liked. It was incredibly tweet. After a while it started to feel like we were fetishizing Finland. I know that we weren’t experts, and after 5 years here I still wouldn’t feel comfortable calling myself such. The more episodes we did, the more uneasy I got about it.
Slowly the format evolved, though. Few of our friends in the US were actually listening. Our audience ended up being mainly Finns, who were interested to hear what we thought of their country. Some of the more popular episodes had us answering questions and trying to explain American things that made no sense to people who’d grown up in another culture. A lot of those were uncomfortably political for me. I feared attracting trolls.
Eventually we found a format that worked, but to be honest, we got bored with it. We’d started off doing it for fun, and it had begun to feel like a chore. We kicked around some ideas, but ultimately we just stopped doing it.
Blogging About Finland
All of those considerations above feed into my reasons for not wanting to essentially carry on the podcast in blog form. The biggest consideration at this time, though, is our residence status. I don’t want to invest a lot into talking about Finland only to end up having to leave. My heart will be broken anyway, but spending extra hours writing about the things I love about this country would make it worse. I also don’t know that I could go on talking about Finland if we did have to go back to the United States.
That said, when our residence is renewed for four years (he said optimistically), I will likely add Finland as a category. It would be interesting to chronicle my struggles to learn the language with enough fluency to pass the certification tests. My quest to gain citizenship could be an ongoing topic that could be collected into a book. The potential is there.
In this current state, though, I don’t want to jinx anything. I don’t want to add stress to my life, or set myself up for disappointment.