2010-08-03

A small death, a big birth.

I dunno why, but hearing bagpipes always gives me the creeps, probably because their melodies sound like a whole country was just brutally slaughtered and is being mourned.

Sure enough, this morning, on my way to pick up my new national ID card matching my new citizenship, I ran into a Scottish regiment warming their bagpipes in preparation for the Police marching band festival of Helsinki and instantly had goosebumps, to the point of running a mental list of everyone among my relatives who might have crossed the Styx during the last few hours. While my mother's recent ailments have indeed been a source of concern, I simply couldn't think of any reason for them to degenerate to a fatal extent, so I mentally crossed that possibility out.

Still, even after marching a few blocks further downtown towards the central police station, I simply couldn't shake the deep sadness that got onto me upon hearing the bagpipes rehearsal.

By the time I reached my destination, an answer came: before I could get my new ID card, I'd have to surrender my old Foreigner's ID card. As odd as it might sound, I felt sad to let go of that pink-tinted little bugger. See, as much as I've hated being a foreigner all these years, that pinkish ID card was my only legal tie to this country and the photo of me it bears represented an important phase of struggles in my life, a phase that I would have loved to document in any possible way. Alas, it was not possible, so I gave one last look at my old card, handed it over and took my new blue-tinted citizen's ID card in exchange.

Walking back across downtown towards my home, all I could do was stare at my new ID card in disbelief: the Citizenship line indeed said FIN. I suppose that was the real message: C'était la fin d'une citoyenneté et le début d'une autre. Une petite mort, une grande (re)naissance. Sehän on hyvä vaihtokauppa, miun puolesta.

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