Embassy of Finland and my tiny fingers
My height is 158 cm (5.2”). I never felt myself ‘short’ while living in Korea, as I’m just about the range of average height of Korean female in 20s; 160.9 cm (5.3”). But things changed as I witnessed how diverse this world is.
It began in year 2009 in the Netherlands, when I tried to buy a bicycle. The problem was that every bikes there were too big for me, as average Dutch woman stands at well over 175 cm (5.7”). Next year I went across to U.S.A. Thanks to their multicultural living environment and global capitalism, I didn’t have much problem with my height, but instead struggled with clothing sizes — apparently my arms and legs were often turned out to be too short. Not that it was hard to find clothes in XS size in the states, but the fact that I had to wear ‘extreme’ small size stunned me at fist. For your information, I wear clothes with M or L sizes in Korea. Sometime these tiny differences make you realize how big and diverse this world is — and how much we don’t know what’s going on across the earth.
Next stop is Finland. Yes, one of the Nordic country — homeland of Vikings!
From this fall I will be doing another master in Aalto University at Helsinki, Finland. The first thing I did as soon as I received the Letter of Admission was to applying for a residence permit at embassy of Finland in Seoul. The application process and review itself went very quick, about 10 minutes or so, but their fingerprint registration system caught me; apparently my little fingers were too small and narrow for their system to confirm it as ‘properly scanned.’ Yes, my fingers were too small for Finnish-standard. (Guess I just broke their system without even entering their country — with my fingers.)
The fingerprint registration went for two straight hours with numerous reboots and try outs, and god how much happy (and tired) I was, when I finally able to walked out from the embassy.
To live abroad, away from your family and hometown, means becoming an ‘alien’ — aka, stranger.
This kind of fingerprint thingy(?) is just a beginning, and I’m pretty sure there’s going to be more funny, surprising and even shocking incidents waiting for me in Finland. Adopting into new environment and culture is not going to be easy, but instead challenging most of the time. But I am willing to take that risk. Why? Because I believe going out there and talking to people will help me looking back myself and Korean society from different angle, which would eventually inspire me yet again. Also, because I believe innovative solutions come from somewhere in between positive encounter of multiple cultures.
So here I go again. Fingers cross!