Saturday, August 1, 2015

MY BEGINNINGS

I made this text as an explanation of my background and why Southest Asia is so close to my heart. Having grown up as an expat child our world views are molded into something very different that we carry with us for the rest of our lives and I have finally began to realize that. I have learned to embrace and cherish it and this is why I wish to share it.


Growing up being an expat child I have developed an unquenchable thirst for travel and meeting new people while seeking out locations that make you never want to leave. Now 25 years old and being back in the land where this thirst began, Southeast Asia is again at the palm of my hand and I wish to discover every corner of it and what it has to offer. Currently I have made my way back to Bangkok, Thailand where my fondest memories are to be found due to the fact that I have lived here on two different occasions, however now it is all different, no parents of course; no family and I have finished my mandatory exchange semester at the prestigious Chulalongkorn University. Now I’m looking to tap into passion of traveling and being the ultimate travelling tourist.




What you have to understand that this is my journey, this is my background in a nutshell. I am not special in any way and don’t see myself as that. Being an expat child or person if you will you have the privilege of living a unique life, but we have our problems and issues as well. We are normal people but our problems might not be the same as others, and you can talk with anyone who has lived their life abroad they will tell you some of their stories and it will be different from mine. But what is great about our problems is that we can relate to each other in a way that others can’t, our problems are literally OUR problems and that’s what makes them so unique. Having the school bus break-down on the highway on your way back home, missing your weekend after school activity game because your dad over slept or not finding your favourite shirt because your maid cleaned your room and re-placed everything that was in a organized mess. They sound bizarre to you but so does not having enough money to get home on a bus from school to me or mom forgetting to buy you food that you can make once you get home from school, they sounded just as odd to me because we take things for granted that others don’t and vice versa, It’s just how it goes.




Where has it all begun then you might ask, the story goes something like this; back in 1995 I moved to Kuala Lumpur Malaysia as a little kid out of Eastern Finland, without any experience of travel or the world outside. I was put into an English speaking kindergarten where I was for a year before starting first grade of school at the age of six in an American private school called International School of Kuala Lumpur (known as ISKL), from then on the rollercoaster ride just took off on its own, after two years in Kuala Lumpur we were off to Jakarta Indonesia where I managed within a year attend two different private schools and flee the country itself all together in under a day, this means we were yanked out of school mid-lesson, told to pack our bags with only essential things and head to the embassy from where we were taken straight to the airport. Jakarta had become a war zone of sorts due to the brewing civil war.


After Jakarta we all thought Finland was our next destination for the foreseeable future but it turned out to be Bangkok, Thailand. Again I was put into an American private school (ISB), and this is where I finally started feeling the sense of belonging. I had also started understanding that this is the normal life for me now; changing locations would always be a part of my life. Bangkok gave me great memories and friends but it was finally time to head home to Finland after three years. By far my biggest struggle was adapting to Finland as a sort of foreign kid with very little Finnish language and culture knowledge (even though I would spend all my summers in Finland), I didn’t have the privilege of having friends there and I couldn’t talk about school or anything that had to do with daily normal life because no one understood what I was doing and I didn’t understand what they were. It was all a big blur, and suddenly Thailand had become an option again. I didn’t want to leave, to be fair I never wanted to leave any location I was at, that was just me. I had learned to adapt quickly, I had to, and there was no other choice so naturally I didn’t want to leave.


This time it wasn’t Bangkok Thailand we were moving to, it was Chon Buri, a half hour drive from Thailand’s notorious sex capital Pattaya. This location seemed odd and I knew it would take time to understand it, we lived in the middle of nowhere in a country club where people came only to golf. Our backyard was the fifth hole fairway of one of the two courses and our school was located about 200meters from our driveway. Coming in from Finland I was just so different as a person again, I wasn’t this young na├»ve kid anymore, I had grown up (mind you I was only fourteen going on fifteen). But the culture was so different this time again, yes I knew the Thai culture but I was different so everything else seemed different.  Compared to majority of the other kids I was just, older. In Finland you have to learn to be independent from a very young age onwards. You don’t have the school bus or drivers taking you to school and back, you don’t have the food ready on the plate as soon as you get home, and you don’t have the room ready and cleaned for you every day (not that I really cleaned my room anyways) and I was used to this all. To me it was normal, so for a good year almost I stuck it out just focusing on my then budding football career (I was playing with some of the very best expats in Thailand against others in South East Asia and prior to that in Finland I had intentions of moving to a very highly regarded clubs youth system before departure came to intervene) as I didn’t know what else to do. When I finally hit high school it all changed, my older sister was a grade above me and we were very close, so naturally her friends became my friends. I stuck it out with older kids from then on; I had finally found my place.


For the next three years my life took a very unexpected but fortunate change, I had found loyal friends who I can depend on still till this day. I was moving away from that stereotypical Western mentality and had become just a diverse individual and this I can only thank my friends for and the environment they put me in. Now mind you some things were hard to change, for example I never learned to eat with chopsticks (what can I say, I’m stubborn), I didn’t touch sushi or any remotely odd looking Asian or foreign dishes however instead I can proudly say just like almost any expat child that I can swear in about ten different languages which is an achievement in itself, trust me it is.


As the years rolled by and high school was nearing its end I was given the information from my parents that it was time to pack up and leave back to Finland at the end of the year, I was just starting my 11th year of school meaning I was a Junior and had one year after that and I would graduate high school.  As the year started to wind down we had agreed with my parents that I would stay in Thailand for a year with a host family and graduate, however a host family was not to be found and I was forced to return to Finland a year from graduation.  ‘’All this again, oh man!’’, that was my thought once again returning to Finland, but this time it was easier. I had grown from the past experience and the transition was easy, I had pretty much come into the same situation as prior however I was older and so were my classmates and friends. Majority of my friends from round 1 in Finland ended up in the same high school as me, the expat community lives on even after you leave the country just so if you ever were wondering.


Anyways, high school, family moved abroad, living alone for the first time, getting a job, military service, new job, and applying to school was all next on my plate in somewhat that order. I don’t want to bore you with any more details but yes I am currently a student at Haaga-Helia University of Applied Sciences and on the verge of graduating (hopefully), and I finally learned to eat with chopsticks and sushi is one of my favorite dishes. So there you have it, that was a so-so accurate description of my life abroad thus far and my beginnings.


Through travel I wish to experience the obvious things, see new places, meet new faces and simply just see what wealth this part of the world has and share it with others through blogging. Why do I choose blogging to share this? I believe to have an upper-hand in blogging due to the fact that my family already boasts two full-time bloggers; I have myself kept a blog, and I can be insightful and portray what I see into diligent words while providing spectacular pictures of everything I witness. Blogging can also hold endless sources of information in the modern age and that is something I will utilize such as social media which can provide information in a heartbeat for interested parties, through Instagram, snapchat you can get the first sightings of my voyage as I keep it all updated. I’m on my way, join me!

No comments:

Post a Comment