Friday, May 27, 2005

Tolerating imperfection

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I just got back from Helsinki. It feels odd visiting a city where I lived for more or less eight years. I was walking around the city and feeling like a teenager tourist: I don´t have a home and I am sharing an apartment with my parents. Isn´t it amazing how the door bangs loudly only when you return from a bar after midnight on a weekday?

I attended a brilliant brainstorming discussion on Wednesday. The topic was globalisation, nationalism and immigration. The event was part of the citizenship programme that is funded by the Finnish government. Absolutely amazing discussion about inclusive and exclusive identities. This is what I call intelligent gymnastics.

I think I have written previously in this blog about the fact that Dutch people are not used to people who pronounce Dutch words incorrectly. I realised during the discussion that our two nations have hugely in common. Finns usually do not get it when someone tries to pronounce words like Jäätteenmäki, Korkeavuorenkatu, Ahtisaari, polkupyörä or even Lappeenranta. I had problems in the beginning with words like Rozengracht, Schuytstraat, van Gogh or Spui.

In Finland it is easy to find a reason: we don´t really have immigrants so there are no people who would make us come to terms with imperfection. But this can not be the reason for the Dutch. Hmm..I wonder if someone else can explain this.

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