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Here we go again: Immigration politics

July 27, 2015

Word of warning: I reserve the right to remove any nasty, racist comments that come up on this post or any other post in this blog. I will not tolerate hate speech or threats in this blog – period. Carmen P.

It is 2015. It is beyond me how elected members of parliament in Finland can get away with words like this!

The Finns member of Parliament from Oulu, Olli Immonen wrote this on his Facebook page the other day:

“I’m dreaming of a strong, brave nation that will defeat this nightmare called multiculturalism. This ugly bubble that our enemies live in, will soon enough burst into a million little pieces. Our lives are entwined in a very harsh times. These are the days, that will forever leave a mark on our nations future. I have strong belief in my fellow fighters. We will fight until the end for our homeland and one true Finnish nation. The victory will be ours.”

What is mind-boggling is how many freaking people agreed with him… What bullshit!

As an immigrant to this country I am so sick of being labelled as a threat – an ENEMY. You want to fight against me??

I’m sorry, but these so-called defensive arguments of “Oh, I don’t mean you.” or “Oh no, but you’re white and you come from Canada.” or “Oh, but you’re educated…” do nothing to play down the fact that we (= all immigrants to Finland) are being painted with the same brush.

Evidently Olli Immonen and other facets of the Finns Party and other political movements in Finland figure that us working, tax paying immigrants have no place here. Shove off and get over it! Quit rocking the bloody boat!

MR. SOINI – have you nothing to say about this?

What the hell is going on with all of these “Take back” movements – like the one currently happening in Australia too? Take back what?

<scratching my head>

As a taxpayer, I am paying your bloody salary Mr. Immonen – so suck it up! I, the Canadian-born, multicultural, Finnish-rooted, naturalized Finnish citizen, IMMIGRANT am not going anywhere.

One other thing to add: The issue I also have with Mr. Immonen’s words is how they affect the FINNISH-born children of immigrants. What do you have to fight for then Mr. Immonen? Are the children of immigrants and international families in Finland a threat to you too? My Finnish-Canadian child is not good enough for you? I’d like to hear an answer to that.

How about those refugee families that have settled and integrated into life in Finland – are they a threat? Would you really say those words to my Afghan friends who have gone through the school system, the army and are now contributing to society by working? They have no intention of going anywhere, Finland is their home.

Helan Abdulla aka Helly Luv has a message for ISIS

July 22, 2015

Helan Abdulla, aka Helly Luv, is an ethnic Kurdish 20-something immigrant to Finland. By the sounds of it she had a hard time as a child, enduring relentless bullying in Lahti where she was raised. When she was 18 she left Finland and went to the US determined to make a career in music. And she has, setting down tracks that speak to a wide audience in the Middle East. The Finnish media loves to claim her as their own, but she doesn’t even have a home here anymore, so she is Finnish in citizenship only it seems.

Her recently released video Revolution is full of violence. To me this only speaks to the people of the Middle East who experience this on a daily basis. I understand and applaud her efforts to give ISIS the middle finger (because they’re all a bunch of crazy extremists anyways), but the guns, fire and violence in her video turn me off. Apparently ISIS has a price on her head…

She is very fortunate to have made it to Finland and later to the US to pursue her dreams, She has clearly connected with the audience she is trying to reach with her music, and with over 107,000 followers on Twitter and nearly 1.4 million followers on Facebook, I think she’s there.

Unfortunately, she doesn’t speak to me, in spite of our common country.

Stay safe Helly.



Please help us find Mika Sepponen!

July 18, 2015

UPDATE (JULY 22, 2015): Mika was located yesterday and he is safe. Many thanks to everyone who took the time to read and share this post.

This is probably the first (and maybe last) time I will ever issue a personal appeal for help in this blog, please forgive me.

Mike Sepponen (aged 41) is a childhood friend of the Mr.’s (my husband) and he was reported missing on July 13, 2015 to the Kuopio Police. Mika’s disappearance was reported in the tabloid paper Iltasanomat and also in Savon Sanomat, the local daily paper in the Kuopio region.

After this much time, we know as much as anyone knows, Mika’s disappearance is a complete mystery and at this point the police do not suspect criminal activity is involved. Mika was last seen at the CityMarket grocery store in Kolmisoppi in Kuopio on early Monday afternoon on July 13. He was known to be driving a white Skoda Octavia with the Finnish licence plate number RRZ 131. Mika is about 180 cm tall, has a shaved head and was wearing jeans, a black wind jacket and running shoes. He wears glasses.

It has been six days and his family and his friends are worried sick about him. I consider Mika a friend of mine and I want him to be found. He is an incredibly kind fellow and loves his family. Please, if you have Finnish friends, share this around and find Mika!

Carmen P.


Picture(s) of the day

July 17, 2015

(Wow, I have lots to share and write about!)

The City of Espoo puts up these cool temporary art exhibits every summer in Espoon Keksus, I found a couple of them yesterday when I took my dog for a walk. Now I have to find the rest of them!

Eastern Strength by Barbara Tieaho

Eastern Strength by Barbara Tieaho

X marks the spot by Anssi Kasitonni

X marks the spot by Anssi Kasitonni

What did I know about Finland before moving here?

July 15, 2015

A question to the diaspora in Finland! I think this above may become a new category of entries on my blog because I have questioned people who have moved to Finland about other things before.

I asked this question a few weeks back to a group of foreigners living in Finland: What did you know about Finland before you moved here?

If I answer that myself, I did research on Finland before I came here the very first time. I took a beginner’s Finnish language course, so I could pronounce the names of the places I was planning to visit. :) I actually had to look Finland up on a map to see exactly where it was. When I came here the first time in 1997, the Internet was just becoming widely available, so I actually did a lot of research by looking things up in encyclopedias at the local library. (Wow, when is the last time anyone did anything like that, eh?) I impressed the Finns I met with the things I knew, like the name of the President at the time (Nobel Prize winner Martti Ahtisaari). I did NOT know that Nokia was Finnish! Of course I learned a lot more about Finland while I was here in the summer of 1997 and fortunately the learning journey continues daily!

Do you live in Finland these days? What did you know about Finland before you moved here?

Below are a selection of the comments I got from people who answered my question on social media:

  • I knew Lenin escaped to Sweden via a train through Finland just before Russian Revolution. I knew it had a crazy extra hour. I knew almost nothing else, I falsely expected it to be like this, which was the hypnotic (Norwegian?) Lapland based TV show that every British 70s kid was hooked on.

  • The Boy From Lapland TV show 1977 I remember this on a saturday morning…
  • All I knew was that it was one of the Nordic countries. It’s cold (but never imagined it to be this cold) and has snow (but didn’t expect it to last for almost half a year). It was where Nokia phones were made from. & it is the home of Santa Claus.
  • I knew it was a bilingual country, but had no idea I would end up learning Swedish, nor that Finnish was so difficult…! I DIDN’T know it was possible to see so many inebriated people on a holiday (even though I have lived in NYC) or even a Friday night and I didn’t know the Chinese food would be so… mediocre!
  • I believed Finland was a country with extreme weather conditions, an impossible language, weird customs, taciturn people and a difficult job market. I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t as bad as I thought. <winks>
  • Yes, the weather is not that bad <grins>
  • And I learned there are some Finns who are able to talk more than I can…which is hard to do. <smiles>
  • I knew [of] HIM, 69 Eyes, Dudesons, and TEEMU SELANNE :)) …I knew where it was and was familiar with Lapland and that the language was unusual.
  • I knew it was the country of The Moomins, Santa, Nokia, Kaurismäki Brothers, IYS (penpal association), Lordi (Eurovision), and Habbo Hotel (edited by Sulake, the company I was working for). I’ve heard about sauna, lakes, forests, darkness, alcoholism, feminism, depression, suicide, racism, education, humility. Statistics. I’ve dreamt of riding a reindeer with the Rite of Spring as a soundtrack. I didn’t know anything about Finnish composers, of course. But I had this image of the country: the fire under the ice, the violence under the appearance of calmness.
  • Quite a lot actually <smiles>. Had studied Finnish language and history for 3 yrs before I moved here and had made a dozen trips across the border as a tourist.
  • I knew there was snow in the Winter and they ate a bit more fish than I thought normal.
  • Taxes!
  • That people weren’t talkative <smiles>, how wrong that was. <smiles>
  • I knew Finland mainly from this song… (I can’t embed this for some reason.)
  • Forest, Nokia, cold
  • That it would be cold! I was 19 and it was 1998. My friends did ask me if there were reindeer walking around in the towns.
  • That Rovaniemi was the birth place of “Santa Claus” though I still question this belief <grins>.
  • Back in the nineties I was stopped in the street in my hometown of Hastings, England by 3 Finnish students. They were doing a project for their English language school and asked if i new of any famous Finns. So I started rattling off some names, Mika Häkkinen, Mika Salo, Tommi Mäkinen and Jari Litmanen and possibly a few more. I’m guessing that they must have been asking passers by all day to no avail coz the way they got excited will stay with me forever <smiles>
  • I’m from a small town in Indonesia, I am not sure if I can use that as an excuse that I have never paid attention on Finland before… I used Nokia phone but it was made in Japan, so I didn’t know that it would be from a country named Finland (shamed of me)!! But then in 2008 when I did my master degree in South Korea, for the first time I met a Finn and from him I get to know more about Finland. Knowing him I understood Finland is a country with a lot of snow, a country where the people are so smart because with just work and study 7-8 hrs/day including lunch and coffee break, 5 days/week and really enjoy the weekends but you still can get 100 points in the exams!!!!! (I was super jealous lol) Also a country that seemed so different and strange that I thought it was a magic land well, indeed, when I came to Finland in March 2010 it was like a Narnia!!!
  • Nothing more than Nokia is made in Finland, that it is very cold, and that IT is being applied so much. <smiles>
  • I knew absolutely nothing!! They say ignorance is bliss, lol. But I consider it an advantage as I had no preconceptions
  • Actually I don’t know much details about Finland before I came but your request reminded me that way before I even thought of visiting Finland, let alone staying here, I met a Finn in my university… from him I got to know that Finland is a country where students can take out study loans to ‘travel-study’ in other countries. En route to his destination, he studied in several SE Asian countries before finally arriving in China, and after nearly a year there he studied some more in South Korea! He was away from Finland for about two years and finally came home to complete his Master. He may be an exception but I was amazed at the flexibility of the system here.
  • Fast forward to many years later, right before I departed to Finland, I got to know that Finland is dark and cold (that’s the feedback from my dismayed friends in the UK when told where I am heading). But there was one excited friend who informed me I am going to see a lot of birch trees and there is a Monty Phyton song on Finland! <grins>
  • All I knew was that three things came from here Snow, Nokia and Angry birds lol
  • First thing to know about Finland was Nokia of course at the same time I was curious to see the sun during winter (whole day dark) and summer (whole day sunny) time.
  • Back in the 90s, I knew that is was up North, Helsinki the capital, cold and dark in winter, mosquitoes, mooses, light in summer, strong dependence upon Russia/recession in the 90s, Nokia (After realizing it was not Japanese), isolated and melancholic, having alcohol problems.

Help tick researchers in Turku!

July 13, 2015

It is tick season and believe me, it is in high swing in southern Finland!

In just the past few years the amount of ticks has exploded in my part of Espoo. A couple of years ago I picked up three ticks in three weeks just by going out mushroom picking, leading to far more vigilance than before on my part. A friend of mine is a researcher at the University of Jyväskylä and she told me I could send her samples when I had them, so I did. She confirmed that one of the ticks I sent her was carrying borreliosis – or Lyme disease.

Ticks scare the crap out of me and no one can convince me otherwise – I absolutely loathe them.

We got a dog a couple of months ago and believe me, I have become an expert in extracting ticks off the poor guy. It took all of three days before he picked up his first one! It has become almost a daily routine – holding him down and pulling ticks off him… Having been in the Turku Archipelago for holidays recently, I can say our poor dog saw the tweezers on a daily basis!


The latest version of Vene lehti, the magazine for boating enthusiasts in Finland, had a call out to its readers to send ticks to the University of Turku for research purposes. The Puutiaiset team has received more than 4800 samples so far this year! Their home pages are here, but the information is only in Finnish. If you’re in Finland and want to send a sample to them, tell them the following:

  • the day you found it
  • was it on a person or an animal (if on an animal, what kind)
  • the city/town you found it and the suburb

Be sure to provide your contact information (e-mail or a phone number) and send the tick (wrapped in tin foil for example) to:

20014 Turun Yliopisto

Learning more about ticks and the diseases they carry will benefit us all, so be sure to help out if you can!



Happy Midsummer!

June 18, 2015

This is just a message to all you folks out there – Midsummer is upon us again! I’d like to extend my best wishes for a safe, warm and dry Juhannus. Don’t drink and drive (or boat) and arrive alive!

See you on the flip side!



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