Well, I knew the day would come, and sure enough, on Wednesday I left Helsinki and I headed back to the good ol’ U.S. of A., land of the free and home of the hospital from which I was brought into this world. I’m very excited to see again my friends and family in Bloomington and surrounding areas, and of course I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to teach about Country Music and the World at Indiana University this fall (woo-hoo, and not a single open seat left in the class!). Even so, I’m going to seriously miss Finland and its inhabitants.
I moved to Finland exactly one year ago and it’s been an absolutely incredible year. I've made lots of friends, met all sorts of interesting people, and was warmly welcomed into both a close-knit academic community as well as a vibrant music scene. I gave lectures on American music, began a new research project on American roots music in Finland, played a lot of music with some truly talented musicians, released one record and recorded a second, traveled all over Finland and its neighboring countries, and have been fulfilled both personally and professionally throughout the past year. Hell, I even lost 20 pounds because Finland still doesn’t have a single Steak’n’Shake or Sonic… and I survived the Finnish winter!!! I couldn't have made it without help from so many good folks and y'all will always have my loving gratitude and sincere appreciation.
While I don’t know yet when I will next return to Finland, I do know that it won’t be long. I still have yet to see a live moose (hirvi, älä tule tielle, mutta sinä voit tulla minun puistolle ja pelata!), experience the northern lights, hit myself with a birch branch while nearly dying in sauna, participate in the nokia cell phone throwing competition, go to a Finnish hockey game (I can’t believe this never happened!), visit the Helsinki zoo, go ice fishing, request ‘Rockabilly Paukkuu’ at a Tapani Kanssa concert, and so much more. Until I next return, I’ll look forward to all the updates on everything I am missing via Facebook, email, Skype, twitter, and however else we have connected over the years.
For now, I send my best wishes and many Kiitos to all of my friends in Funland. I’ll look forward to seein’ y’all as soon as I can make it back in 2014!! And to my friends in B-town, I can't wait to see y’all in just a matter of days! Please do leave the light on for me.