AROUND LA WITH AVA®: A Talk at the Tupa
Following is the text of a presentation made by Ava Anttila to the Los Angeles Finlandia Foundation at the Pasadena [CA] Museum of History on October 18, 2015.
It is so wonderful to be here today!! The Los Angeles Finlandia Foundation has a special place in my heart. Thank you for inviting me.
As a Finnish born/American educated immigrant, I have consistently sought the company of ‘Friends of Finland’ in my new home. I began my search early [age 7—-seems like yesterday!!].
I have been fortunate to have been consistently successful in finding others who cherish their Finnish heritage, ancestry, culture, and language. Actually, as a little girl, my primary challenge was to learn the new language everyone around me spoke—except for my Parents!
Typically ‘Finnish shy’, I learned SISU before I knew how to spell the word—in either Finnish or English. Gone were the days of blond-haired, blue-eyed friends at the French School my Uncle ran in Helsinki!! I was a stranger in a strange land—my immersion French did me no good. Now, I stand here before you giving a speech in English with three degrees from good American schools behind my name.
In other words, I am just like you and your kin who made the long trip, found a new home, and learned new ways. I was fortunate in other aspects, as well. My Parents continued to use Finnish as the household language while they learned the words and ways of the worlds in which they now worked. Also, I soon learned that my American friends did not care that Santa was Finnish and came to our home on Christmas Eve—as long as he made it to their house before dawn!