The Duck Pond #6

The Duck Pond #6

Integration, och vilket språk det görs på, är en personlig fråga men även en som berör personer  runtom invandraren själv. Denna vecka sätter sig Gregory Pellechi ner med sin fru Nora Lindström för att diskutera hur det faktum att han lär sig svenska påverkar henne.

Integration, and which language it is done in, is a personal issue but one that affects more than just the immigrant, so this week Gregory Pellechi sits down with his wife Nora Lindström to talk about how him learning Swedishaffects her.

My wife is the reason I’m here in Finland. Previous to our life here I was working in Iraq and she in Malawi. Not an ideal situation for a newly married couple, so it was nice to move to Helsinki and be able to once again live in the same country.

We were presented with a different sort of opportunity in coming to Finland than what we had living and working abroad. Namely, a sharing of one of our cultures. That wasn’t possible while we were abroad. That’s not to say we weren’t learning about one another’s home, but experiencing adds something that simply reading a book or talking about it doesn’t.

Nora was my first introduction to the Duck Pond. When I was completing my masters in Sweden I had visited Finland a number of times, including Åland, but that lacked any real connection to Finland as a place and the cultures found here. But that’s typical of tourist trips and beer runs. With Nora came her family and a wider network within the Duck Pond.

I may be integrating into Finland and the Finland Swedish community, but after 13 years away Nora is reintegrating. A process that is entirely overlooked by many who haven’t spent sizable amounts of time abroad. People, places, cultures and communities change. The shifts that occur as people move from school into university and then a profession mean that the circles we operate in don’t always remain. Something Nora has been dealing with since returning.

Together we’ve been finding our place in Finland and the Duck Pond. And that’s only bound to get easier as our first child is due any day now. The opportunities children offer to integrate shouldn’t be dismissed, nor should they be considered necessary.

Integrating is easier when you’redoing it alongside someone else, particularly when that someone else is a local. In part, that means you’re already integrated – at least in terms of being connected to the local community. On the other hand, it can mean that your partner lacks the sense of wonder a newbie a would have, and simply accepts things as they are – or, as my wife sees it, “it’s how it’s done”. Nevertheless, I’m glad to be on this journey with Nora, and hope that with the arrival of our daughter I’ll get more opportunities to speak Swedish at home too.

This episode of the podcast included one guest, my wife, Nora Lindström.

This article originally appeared on Kommuntorget.fi.

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