When I travelled to London in early December last year I secretly believed that my life would change for the better, that it would somehow transform itself into something that it hadn't been before. Little did I know how drastic things would become by the opening months of the following year, and all because of a noxious little coronavirus that virtually no Londoner was discussing when it first broke out in mainland China around Christmas. I wouldn't be surprised if most people thought it wouldn't reach them or that it would gradually disappear, that is, within the confines of the country just mentioned.
On a sunny, bird-song morning, I decided to take a walk. I’ve always enjoyed walking, and on the ever-sprawling streets of Manhattan it’s easy. There’s no getting lost when you’re wandering a grid. The same cannot be said about my hometown.
For this story, we will call our hypothetical camper Joe. Joe Man. He's your average man. Works a 9 to 5 job, probably in accounting or something. He has a wife that he loves (even if she’s a nag) and two kids. A real "nuclear family" kind of guy.
It has been over a month now since I packed up, said my goodbyes, and left the home I have known since the young age of seven. In the months leading up to my departure, I felt tired of the monotony of daily life, frustrated and stressed with the hurdles that life had thrown my way, and I yearned for a change and relief. Of course, this was something I had spoken about for so long that it felt surreal when it finally happened. Many told me not to be too nervous about moving; they said I’d be back before I knew it. After all, I was living in paradise. But I assured them I would not be back soon, if ever. “I’ve done Hawaii, there’s so much more world out there!” I’d explain, confident about my decision. And yet, as I sit at my family’s house now, with foreseen uncertainty, but endless possibility ahead of me, I’m surprised by how much I’m now missing my former life.
"Where are you from?" and "What's your nationality?" are two of the most frequently asked questions I would get when meeting new people. The first question has become increasingly difficult to answer ever since I graduated from college; since I can no longer assume they meant to ask me where I was before I started college.
You don’t have to be biologically from more than one country to be multicultural. It is all about your identity, not what your race or nationality is. While I am 100% Finnish when it comes to my DNA, I feel part of at least three countries and cultures.
Have you ever been in such a shit place your spinning and spiralling has hurt the people you love most? This is a story about an earth quake. A serendipitous moment where the very earth we stand on was mirroring my destructive inner world.
Before la calima hit Las Palmas, I had only heard of it in passing conversations.
The 7:30 p.m. Eurostar train from Rome to Milan was full, so I got a ticket for the next train. It wasn’t an express, but I thought, How bad could it be? I would have to wait a few hours in Rome’s Termini Station, and it would take another eight hours to get to Milan — but so what! Can’t stop me! I can do it. Yes, I CAN because I am AmeriCAN!
Landing at Tambo airport was surreal in the sense that it was completely ordinary and yet my mindset instantly shifted on arrival – as if I was an Alien about to explore new terrain. All the anxiety I had been feeling had been building up to this moment. Strikingly opposed to the lack of physical preparation I’d conducted, I’d been mentally preparing myself for weeks. I could feel myself on edge. Observing more closely, more consciously, every movement that disturbed the air. I hate the feeling that I’m overreacting in any given situation – I might not always succeed but I like to at least try to keep a level head on my shoulders – but my instincts insisted, from all the information I had about staying safe in this country, that my awareness heightening ten to the dozen was necessary.
It’s so hard to say where this story began, or should begin. To explain why I would drop a stable/happy life for the unknown, I first have to explain why it wasn’t so stable/happy and that takes this story way back to New Year 2019. Maybe I don’t explain the why for now and just explain the what. What the hell is all this nonsensical rambling about?