Leaving Finland

Tomorrow we leave Finland, our home for the last two years. It’s always bittersweet packing up, leaving behind an empty apartment, and closing the door on a phase of your life.  Today, on my last night, I am philosophical. To be honest, it was a bit rough and it’s probably best to reserve judgement on this period of my life for a few years when I’ll have a better perspective. When I left Alameda for Finland I wrote, “What we do with this experience and what we make of it is up to us.” Returning to Alameda and re-adjusting to life back in America will be a continuation of our experience in Finland. It is only when you see the familiar changed around you, when you return, that you can reflect on a journey and see how it has changed you.

I think my two kids grew up faster than they might have if we stayed put. On the flip, they experienced things that they would have never, had we not taken the chance. Izumi was ever the trooper throughout. She swam in the frozen ocean and made great friends from around the world. As is often the case, the best in everyone comes out in the final weeks before you have to leave. It was a gamble to bring the family with me. My only wish is that sometime they will look back and say it was worth it.

Here’s a home made slideshow showing some snapshots of our life in Finland.

If you’re curious, here’s a bit about the music behind the slideshow.

I’ve always loved the simplicity of early music and Gregorian chants and plainsong. There is just this austere simplicity that I find really comforting. So I was listening to this Trio Mediaeval record and I basically wrote a bunch of string arrangements around their acapella recording and then went to the woman who sang it and said, ‘Oh, is it possible for you to re-sing it to this arrangement that I’ve written’.

I think she was eight and a half month pregnant. So she has this little studio in her garage in Norway, she recorded the vocals, handed the recording off to her husband and then went and gave birth.

From Moby’s description of the song, Stella Maris.





12 responses to “Leaving Finland”

  1. Pouellette Avatar

    Good Luck Ian! I also had mixed feeling leaving FInland.  I have to admit I did not truly enjoyed it as I found the Finnish people cold and distant in everything they do.  But it was still a good life experience.  Beware of returning home, though, it might also be a shock, a reverse cultural shock indeed.  But I am sure everything will be fine.  All the best in California. Pierre,( on a consulting manadate in Nigeria and in Mali, Africa)

    1. iankennedy Avatar

      Wow! Mali must be a big change from Finland!

  2. Tommi Avatar

    Thanks for your inspirational attitude which I got to witness in Nokia events.

    1. iankennedy Avatar

      Thanks Tommi. The Hackfest events were some of the best fun I had while in Finland.

  3. Ms. Jen Avatar

    Hi Ian,

    I hope the flight back home to the Bay Area went smoothly and that you all are able to settle back in in Alameda with few bumps. 

    Thanks for your honesty here and for all the great photos. 

    1. iankennedy Avatar

      Back safe and sound thanks. Sounds like you had fun in Germany. Wish I could have met you there. See you sometime soon in the Bay Area?

      1. Ms. Jen Avatar

        I will be in SF sooner rather than later.  Sooner as in tomorrow.  I need to get an India visa and will be dropping my passport off at an office on Market & Sutter at 9am & hopefully picking it up at 5:30pm.  

  4. Megan Finaly Avatar

    I bet you are glad to be back in warmer climate!

    1. iankennedy Avatar

      Lovin’ it thanks! I appreciate what I’ve got here all the more now that I’ve been away. Each day is a new definition of fantastic.

  5. Metsasuomalaiset Avatar

    “Cold and distant” is how BayAreans interpret those who don’t welcome the effusive outpourings of emotions, impressions, opinions, dream interpretations, memories of high school garage bands, details of the kid’s potty training, concerns about the sex life, etc., all over the place in all directions at all times. 

    If you want to talk about cold and distant, consider the class divide in the East Bay and SF.

  6. Marco Avatar

    They’re cold and distant and don’t welcome emotions, impressions, opinions, dreams, but if you let them notice it, they get offended.

  7. Andrew Mason’s Detour | everwas Avatar

    […] even made a few crude attempts at storytelling using Moby’s Stella Maris as a soundtrack to an album of photos from two years in Finland and, more recently, juxtaposing old photos of streetcars in Alameda […]

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