I believe we choose our parents before we are born, we choose people who can teach us and who we can teach. My soul chose elderly parents who had experienced the war years in Finland.
My father was a very young solder during the Continuation War (1942-1944). The experience left its marks though my father preferred only to share the golden memories like when the peace treaty had been declared. My father had gone to salute solders of Soviet Union and they all had celebrated the peace – there had not been any hatred, just happiness that the war was over.
My mother’s family had to leave everything behind as the area was evacuated when the war started. They could never return to their home as Finland was forced to cede parts of Finnish Karelia. However my mother’s family never cried over spilled milk, my grandfather had founded another bakery. He hadn’t given up, he started all over again.
My mother always said that she wanted to give me steady roots and she completed her mission. Even though I’m travelling and living abroad, I’ve learnt to be proud of my heritage. The country of thousands of lakes, a natural wonderland with more trees than people, has always a place in my heart. I grew up surrounded by honest people and in a society that has a high degree of equality; maybe this has its roots from war years when Finnish women had to learn how to hold the reins as most of men were in the war. I learnt to be Miss Independent and go after my dream.
Today TeaJo and I join to celebrate Finland’s 97th year of independence. It is celebrated as a victory for the national spirit by surviving against such long odds. It is a day to remember those souls who didn’t give up; they fought for their rights as they believed that it is possible to be independent, to be free.