I will never forget the day I got an email that said I was one of the five people who were shortlisted for this program. I honestly felt like I was one step away from packing to my first oversea trip at 27. However, the day I got the email with these words: “I’m happy to let you know that we chose you to participate in the Foreign Correspondents’ Program (FCP) in Finland”, I literally went on my knees, with tears already flowing so effortlessly down my cheeks.
I received the confirmation email during the hardest times of my life. I realised that the email served as an affirmation that every storm in life is followed by a great sunshine. Let me contextualise the storm and the sunshine I am referring to.
I was diagnosed of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I spent two weeks in a psychiatric hospital, and I will be the first to confess what most people might find strange: it was the best time of my life, yet the most difficult. I really felt depressed when I walked in that space. The depression I was diagnosed with is the dark,ugly storm I am referring to. I thought 2018 was all about pain, confusion, heartache and headache.
But I was not accurate about my assumptions at all. Just as I was about to declare 2018 a year that didn’t love, a year that I thought was about teaching me the hardships and challenges of growing up, I was presented with an opportunity for a life time.
My friend and brother, Siphumelele Zondi is green with envy. He never stops telling me how he wishes he could trade places with me, just so he can visit Finland again. He is a former awardee of the FCP.
My mother in particular was not surprised that I was awarded this opportunity. She said this to me, “You’ve always had the courage and willingness to push boundaries and try new things. I am happy for you my son”. I can attest to my mothers words, I have always been audacious.
I am curious about Finns’ obsession of caffeine. I am very interested in knowing how the country achieved a just society for men and women. It is such a big deal to know that Finland has one of the best education systems in the world. I have one hurdle though. My sister’s friend told her that Nokia is manufactured in Finland. Now I have to find money to buy her the most advanced Nokia I can find in Finland.
I would be lying if I say I won’t miss anyone in South Africa. I am going to miss my girlfriend, and I hope there is a lot to do in Finland to ensure that I don’t miss her too much. I’m over the moon. I cannot wait to speak, eat, live Finnish and most importantly, to learn, to absorb information and be a better communicator and social media user.