Visiting home before The Move

Visiting home before The Move

I wanted to take our twins to visit my parents before moving to New Zealand. We have not seen them since last summer and who knows when we are returning from New Zealand and see them again.

I applied for the Danish citizenship some years ago, when it became possible to have dual citizenship in Denmark. My main motive was to be able to vote in Denmark – otherwise, as a Finnish citizen, I had pretty much the same rights as the Danes in Denmark anyway. But now, when travelling during the pandemic, it turned out to be very useful to have both Finnish and Danish passports – easier to get into Finland as a Finn and back to Denmark with a Danish passport. Well, I noticed at the airplane, that I had taken my old Finnish passport with me (the officials did not notice that at the airport though) – but luckily I also have a Finnish ID card, which is enough when travelling inside EU. So no problems with entering Finland.

However, the airplane was small and it took 2 hours (instead of the normal 1.30hrs) to fly to Helsinki and extra 40 minutes with formalities at the border with Covid-19 check. We had negative test results from Denmark (also the twins even it was not necessary for young kids) and delivered documents on our whereabouts in Finland + reason for our visit. All in all, it went quite smoothly. Finentry was helpful and provided all information needed for our visit.

Finnish nature

Usually, when visiting Finland, I have a busy schedule trying to see as many friends and relatives as possible. Now I wanted to protect my parents from Covid-19 and did not arrange any visits with friends in beforehand. And that was good as both me and my mom developed symptoms the next day we arrived… We got tested day 3 days after my arrival (recommended in Finland) and we were both negative – so it was just a normal summer flu. Scary though – the last thing I wanted is to infect my parents with the virus!

We spent the whole time in Finland at my parents. As they live next to a forest and fields, I went out and enjoyed the nature. I realized how much I missed the quietness and being alone in the middle of nowhere. I guess I am still a Finn, after all these years in Denmark😀 The forest was green, the birds were singing (loudly!) and I did not meet anyone – bliss!

When I was running, I noticed this abandoned skate lying on a field. I had to stop and take a picture – only in Finland moment 😂❤ I was thinking of the possible story for this skate when running back to my parents and ended up with this: Rauman Lukko and Porin Ässät are rival ice-hockey teams in the area. Both are small teams and do not win the Finnish league very often. Rauman Lukko won this year (last time in 1963). Porin Ässät won in 2013 (before that in 1971 and 1978). And if Porin Ässät do not win, the worst possible winner is Rauman Lukko. I am pretty sure a disappointed Ässät fan threw this skate into the field after Lukko won – all hope was gone!

Bilingual kids – Finnish and Danish

It was wonderful to notice how the twins started speaking Finnish when in Finland. I speak Finnish to them at home but they usually answer in Danish and I have been too lazy to force them to use Finnish with me.

At the airport the other one got silent, when she was asked questions in Finnish but the other one came to rescue and answered on her sister´s behalf. They need to communicate in Finnish with my parents and as my mom is hearing impaired, they need to articulate clearly with her. After few hours with them, the main language used was Finnish. They make mistakes, typical for foreigners speaking Finnish – we do have 15 grammatical cases in Finnish – but for me that is fine. It is enough for me that they can communicate and survive in Finland with the natives.

I have been reading a book about bilingualism by Francois Grosjean. He speaks 4 languages himself and writes, that his best language varies – based on his whereabouts and people he is communicating most with.

Grosjean writes about a complementary principle which is very much my experience with our twins:

“Bilinguals usually acquire and use their languages for different purposes, in different domains of life, with different people. Different aspects of life normally require different languages.”

My parents are concerned, that the girls will forget their Finnish in New Zealand. I am confident they won´t. I will still be speaking Finnish to them and I have already found Finns in NZ with kids – the twins are forced to speak Finnish with them. Here in Denmark they speak Danish with the Finnish kids – as they all go to Danish schools and Danish is just simply their strongest language.

Back home

After 8 days in Finland we flew back to Denmark. At the airport in Denmark I got tested and had to wait for the result before we could enter Denmark.

No negative test needed before flight

Luckily Finland was a “yellow land” at the moment. That meant that I did not need to have a negative test before flying. The problem in Finland with the test results is, that when you need a proof for negative test at the airport, you have to go to a private test center and it costs 100-200 Euros depending where you are in Finland. Where I was staying in Finland, it would have cost 200€ to get tested and have a PDF document for the test result sent by e-mail. I was very happy to slip that cost.

It was not easy to check all the rules and changes day by day so travelling during the pandemic is definitely a challenge. And it is fine with me – I can totally understand it. We managed to follow the rules and had all the documents needed with us (except the old passport of mine) so we got through all the formalities in both countries. But it took a lot of researching!

The next flights will be a bit longer and the formalities and requirements will be something else. But I will write about that when I hopefully sit in our quarantine hotel somewhere in New Zealand…

8 thoughts on “Visiting home before The Move

  1. Just discovered your blog. My husband is Swedish and we lived in Denmark before coming to New Zealand. I love Finland – such a beautiful country. Re multilingual kids – my step-son speaks Danish to his mum, Swedish to his dad and English to me. He thinks nothing about switching, and now he is an adult, has retained that skill. Look forward to reading more of your blog!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Nice to e-meet you 🙂 Our twins are not that quick to switch between Finnish and Danish but they do it when we visit Finland and cannot manage with Danish. You can hear they are not born in Finland (mistakes in our 15 cases in Finnish) but they survive in Finland and understand what is said to them. They mainly speak Danish to me but I always speak Finnish to them…

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      1. It is interesting hearing about the different regulations of travel, and the different interactions the twins have with language! I admire how fast they are able to switch. My major accomplishments was speaking Dansk in Danmark and in Sweden. Funnily enough, the Swedes sometimes answered me in English!

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      2. We used to drive through Sweden when we were visiting my parents in Finland when the twins were small. One of my biggest amusements was when my husband spoke Danish to the Swedes after Malmö. Most of the Swedes do not understand Danish – and frankly, I don´t wonder why. The Viking was born in Copenhagen, where they swallow half of the words and speak very fast. In Stockholm the poor customer service people almost panicked. My husband understands Swedish without any problems so he did not even get it, that the Swedes at the hotels in Stockholm did not understand anything what he was trying to say… I usually stepped in after few minutes and translated him into Swedish so that we could get our room or whatever we were after 😀 😀

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      3. Funny – that is not the perception at all, but I have heard it said from both sides. The Swedes can’t understand the Danish and vice versa. I tend to think Norsk and Svensk are more similar in the spoken form and Danish and Norwegian identical almost in the written form. The swedish a little more different. When I listen to Scandi shows, I can understand basic things, in all three, but they always speak way too fast, and I am still translating in my head so I miss things. Lucky you were able to step in with your husband spoke Danish to the Swedes!

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      1. I have to admit I am so happy to live in an English-speaking country after 15 yrs in Denmark. It almost feels like I am speaking my mother tongue when not having to twist my tongue with Danish every day, all the time 😀

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