Sunday, 14 December 2008


It was Saturday evening. I was coming back home with Mr Bear around 2am, after we had had board games evenings at separate places with our respective friends. He parked the car and we walked the 50 meters left to the building entrance, while chatting (in English, of course) about the games we had had. The neighbourhood was empty except for a 35 or 40 years old woman walking a few steps in front of us. She was obviously coming for a party and completely drunk, she could hardly walk on her high heels and we caught up with her, still chatting.

Then she started to talk loudly in Finnish. She did not seem to adress us, but on the other hand we were the only people around. I stopped talking, she continued. I could not understand what she was saying, I just recognized some swear words, lots of them actually. Naïve as I can be, I wondered if she was complaining about us talking so loudly at night - but she was even louder. Or if she was so drunk she was talking to herself. Mr Bear was making a stern face, I did not dare asking for a translation in front of her. She went on talking all the way to the building entrance, while she struggled to enter the key in its hole, and all her way to the lift, where we left her.

Then Mr Bear explained it all. He said first that she seems to be a very mean kind of woman. He said she thought we were Russians because we were talking in English (I don't see much sense in that, do you ?). She complained because according to her we almost ran over her while entering the parking lot, while actually, she just had to step aside to let us in. And she was all along moaning about these ruddy foreigners. Mr Bear didn't go into details, but I can guess them.

At first I just laughed at the crazy drunk woman. But later, while trying to sleep, I thought about it again. And I started to wonder if it wasn't a bit more than that. Maybe being drunk just had her say what she would be thinking anyway. Maybe if she came across me in the street and heard me speak English, maybe she would also consider me like one of these stupid home-country invaders and jobs thieves. And maybe it's happened before already, with someone else. Only they wouldn't say it aloud like she did.

So I once again suddenly realized what it implies to be a foreigner. I did not come for money, but it doesn't matter, for some of them I'll always be from abroad. Immigrant, that's the word. Not that it really hurts me, but it's a strange feeling anyway. Like I've passed over the fence.


  1. Nice blog. I am hoping to move to Finland sometime. Aaah to be in finland. Y'all have amazing music over there.

  2. Carlos and Amberleigh: thanks :)

  3. I had missed that article... Indeed alcohol reveals their inner thoughts and it hurts a bit to finally hear what they never say as they don't speak. They are racists or xenophobes as you might know by now. Of course, the youth is more open about foreigners but still... Having been under Sweden or Russian rulers and betrayed or left out by others make things only worse and make it a national and social taboo. Hope soon you understand fluently what they might be telling again at late night even if sometimes I wish I didn't learn the language as they speak so rude too often. Finland is not THE country to immigrate but you are here for the right reasons so forget what others can say or even think!