Finnish-born writer and translator Maija Mäkinen holds an MFA in Fiction from Boston University. Her work has appeared in The Bare Life Review, Broadsided Press, Gulf Coast, and SAND, among others, and she is the recipient of the University of Cambridge Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize for her novel-in-progress set in Texas. She has worked as everything from forensics lab dishwasher and candy factory machine operator to camera operator and copyeditor. After seven transatlantic moves between Finland and America, she now lives in Brooklyn and writes mainly in English.
Content by Maija Mäkinen
BY Maija Mäkinen
I had immersed myself into America so fully, succumbing to its soft, rolling English with such abandon, that encountering someone from my country of origin felt like a kind of violation. I hadn’t been to Finland in eight years, almost never spoke the language in New York, and considered myself fully integrated. I had long since stopped checking American tree trunks for authenticity, scratching with my nail to see whether it left a mark, as I had done during my first year. I had seen the leaves of the trees grow and fall and grow again, had missed their green shadows in the desolation of winter. I was here. This was real. Finland was a souvenir.