Sunday, June 19, 2016

Juhannus and Loneliness

Next weekend will be my fifth Finnish midsummer, or Juhannus.

It will also be the fifth time I have absolutely no plans for that occasion whatsoever.

Midsummer in Finland is a lot like Christmas, in the way that people have traditions that have existed for decades, and many people aren't interested in breaking them. If your family, like mine, doesn't have a cabin, or you're just not into the whole cabin thing, Midsummer can be one of the loneliest days of the year - especially when the weather is bad.

I have enough friends and acquaintances that on any given day, I can find something to do, someone to eat lunch with, or someone to chat over coffee with. I always have plans on Labor Day(Vappu), Christmas, and even Independence Day - but on Midsummer, I'm almost always alone with my boyfriend. We'll make food, watch something on Netflix, and then spend the rest of the day browsing online. Maybe we'll take a walk, but that's about it.

We just don't fit into anyone's traditions, which is fine. I wouldn't want to ruin the day for anyone, but when i check social media, or see my friends the following week and see and hear stories about all of the fun everyone had and how it was so relaxing and warm, I'll be, frankly, a little sad that I didn't get the chance to have that experience as well.

it makes me wonder not just about other immigrants, but about native Finns who, too, always seem to be left out of plans. In the past, I've thought of organizing something for young people of both Finnish and foreign origin, but it would take a lot of money and effort, and going at it alone would be a challenge.

Loneliness on holidays is an issue that affects more than just the elderly, but often times we don't hear about it, because no one wants to come out and say "Yes, I'm lonely."

Let me be the first: Every Midsummer, I'm lonely.


Pilot said...

I just googled it "alone for juhannus" and I found your post haha. I'm an in!migrant from Spain and I also have this lonely feeling a since I don't have that many friends here yet. In the other hand most of my friends here are in Spain for the holidays so it's gonna be a looking Juhannus for me haha. Hauska Juhannusta!

Pilot said...

Fuck, I'm so lonely 😧