Suddenly citizen

Standard disclaimer: Yeah, yeah, daylog, anecdotal, and so on. Here are some good nodes for you to read instead: this one, by TenMinJoe, this, by Jet-Poop, and this one, by XWiz. Have fun.

I am a Finnish citizen. Always have been, but only because my father was Finnish. I have never been to Finland; the closest I ever was to the country was the time I was on Åland, an island roughly halfway between Finland and Sweden.

I grew up in Sweden, and further up in Denmark. I live in Denmark now, but I never really bothered to apply for Danish citizenship. There were a number of reasons for this, two of which were the questions on the application being too stupid, and the Finnish passport being a much nicer colour than the Danish. I am equally fluent in Danish and English, not quite so in Swedish - and I speak absolutely no Finnish.

Because of my lack of Danish citizenship I have never been able to vote in any elections regarding Danish national matters. It never bothered me. I am shamelessly (or maybe shamefully, I have yet to decide) apolitical. I sometimes complain about the state and the state of its affairs, but I have no idea what I am complaining about or what ought to be done about it.

Now, the other day, I received a letter from Finland. I have never, ever before received a letter from Finland. And to top it off it looked official. Inside the envelope was a letter telling me I should remember to vote in the upcoming Rigsdagsvalg. I am to go to the Finnish embassy - and I only too well know where that is - and there I can cast my vote on one of whatever party or politician might tickle my fancy (I won't, of course. It wouldn't be right. I was considering finding some pics and vote for the cutest candidate, but...)

One interesting thing about the letter was that it was written in Finnish and Swedish. It seems the Finns are used to their citizens not knowing their own language! Another interesting thing was that it contained my Finnish social security number. So now I have one Danish, one Swedish, and one Finnish number. It never, ever occurred to me that I, as a citizen of Finland, would have a social security number. Likewise it never occurred to me that I, having lived in Sweden for 8 years, would have a Swedish number too. Before I stirred things up by wanting a new passport neither the Swedish nor the Finnish authorities really knew I existed, and now... The sight of these ten digit numbers (all three countries use ten digit numbers) made me a little uneasy. Like I had left something behind in a place I'd never been. Odd that.

I sometimes think about visiting Finland. I am just afraid that I'll be disappointed. I know that I am ultimately hoping to get some feeling of "coming home" when I step off the plane - I also know I'll feel nothing of the sort. I don't feel it when I visit Sweden, I don't really feel it when I return to Denmark. I have discussed this at length with the immigrant and refugee kids I used to work with. Maybe that was why we got along so well. In my own small and rather pathetic way I too am a foreigner whether I stay or go.

Hmmm... yeah. Well, thank you for your time.