DAY 40.

November 24th, 2010 by Mari Keski-Korsu

Wirth park

It is the last interview today and it is with Dan in Crystal. Dan is intelligent, with sense of humor and I can see why he must be a very good educator. My series of interviews couldn’t be finished with a nicer interview. We end up talking about how fantastic it could be if US was totally Spanish speaking.

Regardless of snowing, Carole takes me to Wirth park where Dan’s grandparents and parents used to have picnics. There is also a monument for Finnish immigrants in Minnesota. Former Finntown is right around the corner. It used to be full of Finnish immigrants, but then there were Jews and Jews then sold the properties to black people. I wonder why can’t there be multiple ethnicity in one place… Former church of Finntown is for sale – if someones happens to need a church.

When I get back to Danebo, my camera stand literally falls apart in my hands. It couldn’t have picked a better time, I assume. I feel emotional about the end of the interviews. If I’ve calculated correctly there were some 24 of them. It is not that I need more materials, but I could have continued just out of the habit.

DAY 39.

November 23rd, 2010 by Mari Keski-Korsu

Nordic-American breakfast

Marianne picks me up to annual Nordic-American breakfast event that gathers around 700 hundred immigrant descent of Scandic counties. It is a sea of Norwegian sweaters! There were three speakers but Alan C. Page‘s speech got most of my attention. He compared the struggle of immigrants to struggle of black people, pointing out the differences and similarities. It brought fresh, broaden point of view to the celebration and emphasised issues dear to me: how we can learn from each other and identify to experiences people have, find empathy.

We have a little talk with Marianne about terminology and use the term immigration generation. I find out I’ve got it all wrong. I thought there are two ways to describe immigrant generations. I chose the one where immigrant is the term for the one who immigrated and their children would be the first generation immigrant and so on. Marianne tells me that academic way for the term is that actual immigrant is the first generation immigrant and then their children would be second generation immigrant. The theory is developed by historian Marcus Lee Hansen. Marianne tells me the terminology is all built around the issue of the “encounter with the new culture”.

We leave with Carole towards Stillwater and I interview Joan there in her and her husbands Chuck’s beautiful house. I’m getting more and more interested in the religious aspect of the immigrants. As Joan, many of my interviewees have been somewhat religious. I ask Joan about this and she thinks there is no no difference anymore today. In the past, there was a division in between leftists and people with religion as I’ve read myself, too. But if traces of that division still exist, I haven’t been able to record them.

DAY 38.

November 22nd, 2010 by Mari Keski-Korsu

Red bird

I take a day for myself and prepare some photographs. It’s cold outside and Danebo seems empty. I walk to a grocery store and don’t see any buses or other public transportation. But it was a good walk anyway. I’m happy to see some bicyclists and it means this city can’t be too bad.

DAY 37.

November 21st, 2010 by Mari Keski-Korsu

There is Danish breakfast in the Danebo house where I’m staying. I eat ebleskive which is said to be traditionally Danish, but people in Denmark don’t eat them for breakfast. It is a part of Danish-American culture. Just like I experienced with traditional Finnish food in Iron River.

I interview Eric and Ken. In every interview, something new comes up or something that has not been said on camera. It is amazing even though I’ve had many interviews already. I’m starting to be more and more conscious about so called Finnish pride and ask people what it really means to them.

We come back from the interview with Carole and I listen to Thomas Kennedy read his new book in Danebo. It’s about torture in some way, but the main character of the book series of his is Copenhagen. Have to remember look for the book in library when I get back to Finland.

DAY 36.

November 20th, 2010 by Mari Keski-Korsu

Depressed angel

I start to feel the fatigue of the travel. I’m using my extra energy supplies. I can’t help feeling tremendous, breath taking sorrow in my heart when I hear people telling me about how different the Finnish immigrants were compared to today’s immigrants. They think Finns were more hard working and not dependent on state. I don’t understand – people are looking for better life for themselves and their families, just like they’ve always done. They work and they integrate, at least try to. We, together should find ways to create a world where we can all have the same chance. I know I’m naïve. I don’t care. Even though I don’t comment when making the interview, I’m not objective. No one is.

Nevertheless, I had a wonderful new day in Cokato with Carole as my designated driver. I met Anne and Richard, Audrey as well as Harvey and Heidi Barberg. Harvey is a sauna enthusiast and they have renovated an old smoke sauna in Cokato in a place called Temperance Corner. There are also other historical buildings preserved on the location. Harvey says very straight forwardly that sauna is like a church. I have been timid to say this because I feel I’ve been interviewing rather religious people. But on the other hand, why should it hurt anyone’s feelings? Sauna was a place where people’s lives started (women giving birth in sauna) and ended (corpses were washed in sauna before burial). It is not like that anymore, but surely the idea about washing away your worries still exists. It is like a confession.