This is my chance!

It all started with the northern lights and Lapland. Me, a 17-year-old girl from one of the biggest cities in the world, wishing to be lucky enough see a night sky coloured in green and pink someday.

When I was 21, I got an e-mail from the Finnish Embassy in Mexico city. Why me? I still don’t know. I read the e-mail. It was a call to apply to the Foreign Correspondents’ Programme. I was not that sure about my skills, but after hesitating for a while I decided to give it a try.

Writing stories in English, going to interviews, crossing fingers, waiting… silence. Then, bad news: I wasn’t chosen, someone else was. As a consolation prize, I got two books about Finland. I read a little bit more about this country and I got impressed by its history, its educational system, its society and culture.

And time went by.

Mayra Zepeda
Mayra Zepeda

Five years later, Finland came to my life again. I was eating dinner after having drinks in a bar with one of my best friends. When she went to the bathroom, a tall, blonde, green eyed man  sat in my table without saying a word. It turns out he was Finnish. So, the Finn and the Mexican became friends and after a while they fell in love.

He went back to Helsinki, I stayed in Mexico City and we had a long distance relationship for almost 8 months. I crossed the Atlantic to see him and that’s how Finland became the first country in Europe I have ever visited.  I fell in love with it, its woods, lakes and harbors; its churches, streets and Helsinki’s subway, especially the subway. If you go to Mexico City someday you’ll understand why.

But life happens, couples break up and destiny surprises you again.

I got surprised when I found out that Mexico was again among the participating countries for thisisFINLAND Foreign Correspondents’ Programme. Its easy to guess how I felt when I read that.“This is my chance!” I thought.

And seven years after my first try, it really was.

I am so overwhelmed. Me and 21 other amazing journalists from all around the world will be able to write stories and exchange thoughts about Finland and simultaneously make comparisons to our own countries: that’s what excites me the most!

This time I won’t be seeing Finland holding hands with a man. I won’t be hearing stories about his childhood in Lapland, his grandparents and the war. This time it will be me with my bag, my notebook, my recorder and my camera, ready to discover Finland again.

Mayra - Mexico

Author: Mayra - Mexico

Mayra Zepeda works as a reporter, editor and community manager for a Mexican digital media news site. In addition, she has earlier experience as a radio journalist. Mayra is very interested in education, human rights and migration, and has a particular interest in Finland, which she has visited before.

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