I found this old article about Brett Young (whom I know personally and can vouch for his Finnish language fluency), and it got me thinking. I lived in pääkaupunkiseutu (Helsinki & Espoo) for six years, will marry a Finn this summer, have plenty of Finnish friends and speak Finnish fluently at home (with the odd partitive instead of accusative mistake, heh). I also studied engineering in Finland and pretty much became an adult there, having adapted to and adopted parts of the culture, for which I’m grateful.
However, compared with my current stay in Brussels, I noticed that the society in general hadn’t truly accepted me. Whereas those closest to me treat me like “one of them”, as soon as I was on my own people would be suspicious, or even downright hostile. Why? I guess because I look different. I have brown skin and dark eyes and hair, and my features are very non-descript (people usually can’t guess that I was born in Mexico, at times I’ve been told I’m Spanish, Portuguese, Arab, Turkish and even half-Finnish half-Thai).
Even though I’m currently abroad, I plan to eventually come back to Finland to raise our children there, and in time I would like to apply for citizenship out of gratitude. However, I sometimes have my doubts about whether all the effort to integrate is worth it, since I’m afraid I’ll always find somebody shouting at me “Vitun turkkilainen, mene kotiin!”