keskiviikko 6. helmikuuta 2013

garbled up thoughts about culture and Belgium

I'm a patriotic person. I'm always really proud when telling about my home country, especially Lapland and my hometown. Usually this is a good thing, but sometimes people might take it as if I thought everything is worse everywhere else. It's not the case. I've heard many people say how finnish people always talk about Finland. Still back at home everyone's whining about how bad they want to get out of this town or this country. I've always appreciated where I'm from, but to really understand my roots I had to go elsewhere first.

After spending these almost 6 months in Belgium, I've started to feel "patriotic" about this place too. When someone asks me what is this country like, I can't answer without tiring the other person to death.
Before I came here, the only things I knew were that they eat chocolate, they have a lot of beer and fucked up politics. Since then I've learned so many things about this country that on the map seems so small but holds in a huge culture of different people, languages, history, places and traditions. It feels overwhelming to get so deep into another country.

I come from a small city far away from, well, from anything. And I feel like the majority of people there are eager to see the world, to get out of the town and learn about new things. Here it's not the same. I'm not saying people don't want to travel or see places, sure they do, but they're happy in the places they live and they don't see the point in moving elsewhere. My hostsister said to me one day that I know Brussels and Liege a lot better than her. She's been living 20 minutes away from Liege her whole life but I know the city better after 5 months. For Belgians 20 minutes is quite far, and if you don't need anything special, why would you make the effort and go there? For this reason the small villages here are lively, and the culture is so variant. People create different cultural things inside small areas, and since not many of them move away, things stay the way they are. In contrast, all the small villages in Finland are dying from people's urge to move to bigger cities.

I don't know if it's because of the lively villages and varying culture that they don't feel the national pride so strongly, but belgians are not patriotic at all. They don't so much see themselves as a part of this country rather than a part of their city or village. Whereas when I compare things to Finland and sometimes think things are better at home, belgians in the same situation would say that well things are "nul" in belgium, everything's so much better abroad! They don't eagerly tell about the history of the country, they don't even know many things about other cities. Even in school they focus strongly on France in literature, history and art, not in their own country, even when they have to have some succesful authors and artists from here too! The most visible reason for this is the language of course, which strongly devides the country in two. Wallonians (french speaking belgians) talk about the flemish part almost as a different country and the two parts make mean jokes about one another. In people's minds the people of the two parts have the opposite natures and characteristics. It's still a mystery to me how they manage to live with the two languages in Brussels, where every street has two names and still everyone magically knows which language the shop assistant or the waiter speaks.

It's confusing, belgians are happy to live where they're born, but they're not patriotic as a nation, but in Finland it's the opposite. We are never happy with our hometowns but still really patriotic. This is of course only how I see things as a finnish person living in Belgium, and someone else could think the opposite. I'm really enjoying all this country has to offer to me, and by writing about it I'm just dealing with all the information and the things that I've noticed.

9 kommenttia:

  1. Jep mustakin tuntuu että näitä kyllästyttää tosi paljon kun alan aina "mutta suomessa se menee näin..." :D

    VastaaPoista
    Vastaukset
    1. Nii! Hävettää välillä ku ite tajuaa ettei kukaan muu niin paljon omasta maastaan jauha..

      Poista
  2. vau sä osaat kirjottaa hyvin! ja englanniks! Mutta siis aika jännä juttu toi on. En oo ikin ees tiedostanu tota suomen puolta mutta niinhän se meneeki! :D

    VastaaPoista
    Vastaukset
    1. Kiitos paljon, hyvä jos tykkäät! En mäkään oo ikinä aiemmin tuota ajatellu noin mutta näköjään pitää mennä kauas että näkee lähelle! :)

      Poista
  3. Vastaukset
    1. I can imagine your face so well when you got bored after the first two sentences :D

      Poista
  4. I very much disagree with Greg. I read it all, and it was fantastic! You manage to put words on something that we all exprience but can't truely explain, and that without making it confusing. I love reading your blog Tiina!

    VastaaPoista
    Vastaukset
    1. Thank you so much! It means a lot that you think that way :) Love you see you on saturday!

      Poista
  5. Hyvä kirjoitus. Näinhän se yleensä menee. Olen asunut 6 vuotta Antwerpenissa ja olen käynyt kaksi kertaa Bruggessä, kaksi kertaa rannikolla, kerran Gentissä ja kolme kertaa Brysselissä. Ei tule lähdettyä. Pitäskö ottaa ja lähteä? I <3 Antwerpen.

    VastaaPoista