This January I finished my Master’s degree. In case you are interested, I did an MA in English Studies, specialising on theoretical linguistics and especially so syntactic theory, but also getting additional degrees in Australian Studies and English Language Pedagogy.
Although I currently live elsewhere, I was actually born and raised in Finland and remain a citizen of that country. (Like Kurosawa, I actually consider myself a citizen of the world — I have lived in enough countries to not feel particularly attached to any of them.) Now, Finland happens to be one of the few countries in Europe where compulsory military service is still in place, and having postponed my own participation for as long as I possibly could, it has now come to a point where I actually have to go and do that civic duty. I am, therefore, moving to Finland in a couple of weeks’ time.
The bad news is that I will be spending the next 13 months in that Nordic country, which is not where I would really want to be at this point in my life. I am also not exactly happy about having to spend a year of my life doing something that I would not really be doing if I had some say over these matters.
The good news is that I have been able to opt out from the actual military service and do it as civil service instead. So, rather than playing cowboys and Indians in the arctic forests, I will be working for the Finnish Dramatists’ Union, and I am actually even partly looking forward to it despite of my lack of understanding what sort of strategic significance it serves for the country as a whole. Things could certainly be worse.
What this all boils down to is that I will be spending most of the coming March in a preparatory camp before starting my actual work service in April. At the moment I have no idea how well I will be connected to the Internet in March, so I thought that it might be polite of me to mention all this to the regular readers among you. If the information flow seems to die at some point, you will know why.
Things should get more or less back to normal in April, which is when I start my work service. If everything goes as planned, I should by then have a flat in Helsinki with an Internet connection. As the work service is comparable to having a normal job with its 8 hour work days and weekends off, I should from that point onwards be able to update the site as I have done previously.
So, I apologise for any possible silent periods that may follow after March 1st (my flight to Finland). I will keep you updated about what is going on as well as I can.
Until March 1st, everything should continue more or less normally.
17 February 2007
I served in the Coast Guard for 23 years, it is not the worst thing in the world. I wish you the best. If there is anything I can do to help, let me know.