Turku 


It’s kind of weird starting to write again, after weeks of silence. And then to be greeted with not one, but messages of two terror attacks on social media. Isn’t that where we get all our info from these days? It’s how I found out Michael Jackson died, as well as a local icon. Several other incidents, too, but those are the first that came to mind. Authorities in Turku are not disclosing the identies of the perpetrator(s) just yet, but no matter who it was, knifing people on purpose, stabbing them with intent, is an act of terror, whether you’re claiming alliance with a certain group, or just doing it on your own. 

Your brain is a funny thing though. I didn’t really think of a friend of mine until she marked herself safe. To be fair, she moved to Turku around the same time I moved to Budapest, but it shouldn’t be an excuse. Turku is one of those places I should have a picture of but don’t, even though I visited frequently. It’s one of those places I could see myself living in, at least for a while, and I’m not into small towns for a regular base. There’s a lot of history there, naturally, interesting buildings, great blend of the old with the relatively new (though I’m of the school of skyscrapers. For me it has to be a skyscraper to be considered brand new), and I found the people there very friendly, especially when you spoke English. It’s the kind of place where I could see myself settling down with a certain someone and be perfectly happy. 

I’m also of the mindset that articles give these fake warriors way too much exposure, so rather than focus on who it might have been, I prefer to focus on the town, the people, incidents around what just happened. Except to say that terrorists are bullies, and we all know how bullies operate. But there was another debate that flared up in the expat community, one I was privy to purely by chance, and that was people being miffed that there was no info available in English, or at least very little, coming from the Finnish side. Which is interesting, because nothing compels Finns to use English. As people pointed out, there are two official languages, Finnish and Swedish, and other countries don’t use English as much as expats would like either. They forgot to add Sami, but that’s beside the point. 

Except that it isn’t, and it shouldn’t be. Sami is a language, but – to paraphrase a comment – some English speakers tend to demand everyone cater to their need of having information in English, whilst in their own home country information is usually only available in English, unless you go to French Canada, which I’m sure has its own issues in that respect. Those are the types who always compare their new country to “back home,” and who will always find fault with everything their host country does. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been there, I know what it’s like to not understand. And still, I won’t demand that everything be available in English. It would be nice, naturally, but it can’t be expected. I’m also aware of the difficulties people can experience when trying to learn a foreign language, and the frustrations this entails. 

I’m also not averse to the irony of whining in a post that’s supposed to be anti-whining. But I’m trying something out here, a system of coordinating internet sources and whether that will permit me to post, so this is what you’re getting this morning / tonight (depending on your time zone, and when you’re actually reading this). So, expect something either extremely deep or extremely shallow in the near or not-so-distant future. 

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10 comments

  1. Terrible business about the terror events- Spain, Finland, Russia- our support for those caught up in it.

    On the lack of news in English……all I know is that we have a sense of entitlement…. if not in English, we get

    upset (even in a foreign country) 🙂 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Words fail me. How some find it acceptable to kill in the name of their religion is completely beyond me. You’d think we’d have learned something through the ages, what with the Crusades and other assorted killings. I’m being facetious, but the point I’m trying to make is, at some point we should have learned to avoid this kind of stuff. I really do believe we need a brutally honest dialogue.

      I’m not saying that because you’re British, but having lived there myself for a while, I really believe that Brits get a bum deal, ditto Americans and Australians. Everyone is expected to speak English, and schools have that island mentality of, “our world is right here,” because the neighbors are not immediately visible. I know the term has been used to mean something backward, but to me, an island mentality is that almost isolationist idea of “there’s only us.” Then again, there are Scotland and Wales, so no excuse. 😄 Seriously though, if you look at the smaller countries like the Netherlands, Luxembourg, and Belgium, they get it right. I think it’s also an educational fault of pushing only for STEM. Even here, when they do teach a foreign language (because they realize they need it to get ahead), it’s all about the official language exam. You then have proof that you passed, but you only know what you’ve been asked. You can name all the tenses, but can’t string together a sentence.

      Usually it’s the ones who’ve never lived abroad and are there for the first time, who demand the news in English. Or, they’ve lived abroad, but they’ve only lived the compound life. However, there are more of us Cross-Cultural Specimen, so there might be hope. Or it’ll completely swing the other way.

      Liked by 1 person

      • well, if that is so then the next time you will know that you have been concentrating on the negative only and change that! it is that simple! But sometimes things are truly so negative that it is impossible to seek positive! It only shows up later, after the water has settled down!

        Like

  2. I think you are right that there tends to be a focus in the media on the people who commit these heinous acts, with not enough attention paid to those affected, the people and the places that have to come to terms with these events. I appreciate your considered thoughts on this.

    Liked by 1 person

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