Thursday 17 August 2017

The Finnish Fandom

On Sunday the 13th of August 2017, I had the great honour of being formally adopted as a member of Finnish Science fiction-fandom, together with the lovely Colette H. Fozard and Regina Kanyu Wang. Taking up the role as my fairy god-parents are Jukka Halme and Saija Kyllönen, the best god-parents a girl could wish for.

To say I was ecstatic about being included into the Finnish Fandom family would be an understatement. I can't really find the words to say how much this means to me, but I am going to try to, anyway.

As a young woman, I've often felt that I wasn't taken very seriously in the fandom community. I'm sure a lot of other young women have felt the same. But the Finns, they not only invite me in as a fan and a con-runner, they gave me more and more responsibility, showing me in many different ways how MY opinions matter, how I matter, and that they believe in me. Heck, they even thought I was suited to be a Social Media Area Head for Worldcon 75.

It all started at my very first convention, Eurocon 2011, I met the the wonderful Jukka Halme. He was doing a quiz of some sort and was being hella funny. I love quizzes, so I joined,  and I had a blast.

Jukka also did an amazing job as fan GoH. During the con, he talked about the fandom family, his own wow-moments and how much fandom meant to him, which really opened my eyes to the community behind the convention, as well as the impressive backstory it carried with it. It made me want to be a part of that.
After only a short acquaintance I decided Jukka was the coolest guy on earth, so I went up to Jukka and told him (in a very non-creepy way, I promise!) that I was his biggest fan. A fact that remains true to this day. And now he's my fairy god-father! 

Jukka has always been incredibly kind and including, he has asked me to assist him as quizmaster or join in the quiz-teams several times, and he has also let me stay at his and Sari's place during the three Staff weekends I attended, to which I am ever grateful.

Throughout the years, as I got more and more involved in Swedish fandom, I also met more and more Finnish fans. They let me help them with the party in the Fan Village at Loncon 3, they asked me to help recruit Swedish fans for Archipelacon and they asked me to help with twitter for Åcon 8. 

I've also been talking a lot about my hearing disability throughout the years, and Finnish fandom has always have been super attentive when it comes to helping me get the best and most accessible con-experience. They've even consulted me before conventions, making me feel so very welcome. 

Remembering back, one of the people I met first was Saija Kyllönen, at Eurocon 2011. Memories are fleeting from that convention, but I do remember meeting Saija again at Loncon 3, where she quickly established that she was my fandom mother. (Well, Saija, now you sort of are!) And by now, she's even met my real mother, which seems suiting. 

At Loncon 3 I also got to know Hanna Hakkarainen, Jukka Särkijärvi and Mikko Lammi, in particular. The were kind enough to explain how a worldcon works, and the whole puppy-debacle, to a noob like me. And they introduced me to people. I don't know where I would be now if I hadn't met them.

I can't really remember when I met the brilliant man Tero Ykspetäjä, but I am glad I did. He's the pun-master of Finnish fandom, who I've shared lots of laughts with throughout the years, and we've also bonded over our passion for effective organisations. He, and all the others, has really made me feel like Finnish fandom cares about me.

All of these people, and so many more, I am proud to call my friends. And with the years, they have become like family to me. And now they officially declared that they want me to be a part of theirs.

Kiitos paljon, my Finnish family.

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