The Family: The Man is from Kurdistan of Iran, ethically Kurdish. He arrived in Finland as an asylum seeker five years ago. He has a higher education degree from Iran and is continuing his studies in Finland. The Woman is a Finn who has a higher education degree from Finland and works in an NGO dealing with multicultural issues. The couple is living together in Helsinki for 4 years. They are not married and has no kids.
Lake Zrêbar in Merîwan, Kurdistan
Credits: Pellk. Under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Zrebar-Panorama.jpg?fbclid=IwAR3lonqYmFZRaOnKHr1Snuq5xLxkp2S3ZVKPAjHhTa-BOyrM27TVDItP6Vo
Learning new Languages
The couple communicates mainly in English, sometimes in Finnish and a little bit in Kurdish. The woman stated that learning about new cultures and languages is an advantage for her, “I've always been interested in learning about these things. Now I'm learning Kurdish. I try to use it with his family when we talk on the webcam”. The man explained that his trying to learn Finnish and English in order to communicate better with his partner and with others.
Learning about both Cultures
The woman mentioned how much she learn from her partner’s culture, “I've learnt a lot about the Kurdish and Iranian cultures. There are so many stereotypes about them, but the cultures themselves are so much richer and less oppressive than the stereotypes would have you to believe! I'd love to visit Kurdistan soon."
Traditional Women’s’ clothing used in all parts of Kurdistan
Credits: Kurdirasti, under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license https://commons.m.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Kurdish_womens_dress.jpg?fbclid=IwAR1BVtfZaOENe-v0c3KDmw-ZL9ZqnENMshRpmjc4BtFJF1g7hUYx7RMA7C4
The man explained how he learn about Finnish Culture and Society through his girlfriend, “I've learned a lot of the Finnish culture and history from her. I've learned to understand the Finnish society and people better through her. I've learned to talk openly about things with her”.
The man expressed his adjustment to a new lifestyle concerning eating habits, “I have got into a new lifestyle, like eating without bread. I have made Kurdish and Iranian food and have learned to make it vegetarian, because my partner doesn't eat meat." The woman admitted she admires the food her boyfriend made.
The woman concluded, "In the end it's not about the culture though. It's about him, about us. The kind and loving person he is."
Iranian Kurdish people celebrating Nowruz 2018, Tangi Sar village
Credits: Bakhtiar Samadi, This is a file from the Farsnews.ir website (or farsnews.com), which states in its footer, "Fars News Agency is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License http://media.farsnews.com/Uploaded/Files/Images/1397/01/05/13970105000310636575781002039524_54808_PhotoT.jpg
Speaking a Foreign Language
For the man, speaking all the time a foreign language can be challenging, “Instead of speaking my native Kurdish or Farsi, I'm all the time speaking a foreign language, English or Finnish. Sometimes it's difficult to explain exactly what I mean, because I can't talk with my partner in my native language”.
The woman explained how racism is a challenge for her, "Racism is a challenge for me. Being with him has made me see more clearly my White Privilege. It has also helped me to see how much Racism there is in the Finnish Society - and how fragile I am in front of it. I fall to pieces when he or we are treated badly, while he says it is normal. It should not be normal. In my opinion, this is something that all white Finns should see and experience. I still think how it will be if we have kids - how much racism they will have to face, and if I really want to bring children into the world to face it."
Belief system (atheism)
“Be Open and Talk about your emotions and everything else”
“Accept and Respect the other person the way they are”
Written by: Dana
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