Homeland

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When I lived in Finland, I never thought which country is my homeland. Then I moved away and in the beginning, it was obvious that my homeland is Finland. Now I have lived over 15 years in Italy and suddenly I realized that it is not so obvious anymore what my homeland is.

One good example is that when I travel abroad if somebody asks where I do come from I don’t know what to answer. I could answer that I’m from Italy, but probably the person that made the question would remain perplexed, because I don’t look like Italian, I speak with my family Finnish. Naturally, I could answer that I come from Finland, but I don’t. Therefore, I often answer something like “I’m Finnish but I live currently in Italy”.

Kuvahaun tulos haulle finland foto

Yesterday I asked my husband (Finnish) what his homeland is. After a while he said, “My homeland is Finland from which I have grown apart”. This true in many ways. I will always feel that I’m Finnish, but when I go to Finland, I feel like a stranger there. It is not the same place that I left 15 years ago, friends have continued their life and I’m not part of it anymore. In addition, our relatives have continued their life and even though we will always be part of it, we are still part of it marginally.

Probably Finland will always be my homeland in heart, but also I have grown apart from it and the longer I live here in Italy the more I am attached to this country. Maybe I could say that I don’t have a homeland. Alternatively, if homeland were where you have the family my homeland would be Italy. I have thought about applying the Italian citizenship, but I know that I will never have the Italian identity. On the other hand, I have learned to love also this country. So should I say that I have two homelands – Finland and Italy?

Things get even more complicated if I ask my kids what their homeland is. My son was 3 years old when we moved here and my daughter was born here in Italy. Still they don’t feel that Italy is their homeland, but neither Finland. They feel that they are Finns, but then they are not Finns even if they have only the Finnish citizenship. Researchers call these kids third culture kids. They live in one culture that is different from their home culture. Like my kids, they speak better Italian than Finnish, they live in the Italian culture when they are outside our home, but then at home they speak Finnish, learn the Finnish traditions and habits. Therefore they are neither Finnish neither Italian – they are a mix of these two cultures.

I guess I will always be the Finn living in Italy. No matter if I take the Italian citizenship – I will always be Finnish. Moreover, I’m happy like this, I live in a country that I love and I so guess that I don’t need a homeland. Finland is my homeland that I have grown apart and Italy is my second homeland where I want to live with my family. And this is just fine.

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8 thoughts on “Homeland

  1. Excellent thoughts. Homeland is there where Your heart is! Comparing lands and town, I could ask which is my hometown. After living 2½ in Mikkeli I should say that Mikkeli, but I do not know. Born in Helsinki and living in many places in Finland, I feel that Helsinki is the town where my heart is.

    Have a wonderful day!

    Like

    • Glad to read that you liked my blog. I think it is somehow the same thing to move from town to town. You always leave behind a small part of you and you always change when moving to a new place.

      have a nice day you too!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I definitely don’t feel as Finnish as I maybe was before moving to London and staying there for a few years, and now I’m living on and off in Italy. We were discussing this a while ago with my Italian boyfriend and he said that after all this travelling and living in different countries he just feels like a citizen of the world, which I thought was nicely put 🙂

    Glad to have found your blog! I also write about my travels in Italy 🙂

    Like

    • Thank you for your comment. “Citizen of the world” that sounds good. I have to check your blog, Italy is a country full of surprises – I guess you have noticed that living here.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’ve just discovered your blog. I like your thoughts, and I feel very much like you do. I left Finland 15 years ago. I lived in England for 14 years and the past year and for the next 2 years we will live in Japan (after which we will go back to the UK). I don’t really know what my homeland is, or what my ‘native language’ is anymore. I don’t quite feel like a Finn anymore, but I don’t feel like a British person either.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You ask: “Therefore they are neither Finnish nor Italian.” That sounds so negative, I say they are Finnish AND American of my kids. It’s a gift sort of. Of myself, because of my accent, I answer, I grew up in Finland but I’m here now. Great writing, Mavi!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m glad you like my blog. These “third culture kids” are interesting. Like you said your kids are Finnish and American and this is what makes them third culture kids. I think that it is a great richness for them to grow up in a mixture of two cultures. Have a nice day!

      Like

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