Today the Sami people are celebrating Sami National Day. In short: The Sami people are the native Scandinavians and sadly (frustratingly) I didn't learn much about them when I grew up. Yes, one thing - that I was supposed to be ashamed of them, and I never understood why.
Lately I've been thinking a lot about where I come from. My passport says I'm born in Jukkasjärvi, Lapland, Sweden. My drivers license is German. My language is Swedish. I have a Greek first name. My last name dates back to the 18th century and only 148 people are called Juto in Sweden. And a few outside of Sweden. My address is in Germany. I grew up in Luleå and spent a lot of time at my grandparents in and outside of Korpilombolo where they all spoke a language called Meänkieli which I never learned - I could only pick up some words here and there and sometimes understand the context. From my grandmother's side I have some Walloon heritage, something she was bullied for when she grew up. The Walloon heritage is supposed to explain why I'm not as blonde as the "typical Swede". Johan says I look "exotic", but I have no idea - I'm face blind which results in having no clue what I look like.
So, back to Sami,
a thing that was never really spoken about among my relatives, was the Sami heritage. As a kid I heard small whispers about someone on my mother's side having intercourse with a Sami person which is supposed to explain why the people on my mother's side are pretty short. The fact that I was born in Lapland, was something people could bring up when they wanted to diminish me (Sandra is a Lapp bastard). I come from a pretty narrow-minded and also sometimes very racist upbringing (not only, I come from a lot of love and tolerance as well), a bipolar mix of really really mean & bitter people and really really loving & caring people. An uncle once told me that boys are much better than girls, and I believed him my entire childhood. Despite the kind and loving people I had around me, I always wanted to leave. I didn't feel at home and was, already before I was a teenager, dreaming of living in a big city far away. I guess I was one of those who never really fit in. Thank goodness for books, music, my diary and to draw.
As a teenager I was learning 7 languages and didn't at the time really question why - of course it was to compensate the fact that I was around people who spoke a language I didn't understand. I wanted to understand! If you have kids, please give them your language.
How things have been cannot be changed, and they have led me to where I am now; living in one of the most open-minded cities in the world. Probably with some Sami heritage, for sure with some Walloon heritage and who knows what else.
I stop now, for this time :)
Happy National Day, Sami people! It makes me glad to see you getting more attention among "the others" living in Sweden, it is about time!