Well, last Friday, the 28th of September, Finland once again proved its greatness! I came home from Finnish class and found a letter from the Helsingin Poliisilaitos (the Finnish Immigration Police) addressed to me. I immediately knew what this was regarding and called Wife at work…there was NO way I was opening this letter by myself…what if it was all in Finnish?!?! I wouldn’t have the slightest clue if I was holding a good letter or bad letter in my hand! I guess it’s not like in the States when you’re waiting to hear from colleges/universities to see if you got in or not…if you receive a nice, thick 9×12 envelope you know you’re in – that’s your acceptance letter along with your welcome packet! If it’s a regular, thin #10 envelope, well, you might as well not open it…who wants to read a rejection letter!?! At least that’s how it seemed when I was applying to schools…18 years ago!!
Anyways, back to the letter from Helsingin Poliisilaitos – so Wife and I are on the phone and my hands are shaking as I’m opening the envelope. Letter in hand, I’m trying to see if I can read anything…finally, half way down I see a sentence stating, “A decision has been made regarding your status.” Okay, what’s the decision?!?! APPROVED??? DENIED??? My brain was clearly not registering the following sentence, “Please stop by to pick up your resident permit card…”
“Ohmygod! Ohmygod! I got it!!! I got it!! I’m a Finnish resident!!” I yelled into the phone once it finally hit me! With tears streaming down my face, I jumped up and down while Wife was on the other end of the phone trying to contain her excitement…she was, after all, at work! As soon as we hung up the phone, I called Helsingin Poliisilaitos to confirm I could really just drop by and pick up my resident permit card…yes, as long as I came by 4 pm, they close at 4:15 pm…enough said, I was on my way!
With my resident permit card safely in my possession, I raced back home, picked up our bags and met Wife at the train station. We were going to Imatra for the weekend to celebrate Appiukko’s birthday. Wife never ceases to surprise me with her sweetness! An official “Welcome to Finland” awaited me at the bar!
I must point out why Finland once again proved its greatness on this day. Not only did I get my resident permit, but I got it in EIGHTEEN days!! EIGHTEEN DAYS! It took me nearly ten years to get my U.S. citizenship!! Well, I think that says it all.