I have lived in a matrilocal, maybe even a matriarchal family. During my first years I lived in my grandparents' house, and I spent my days with grandmother, listening to her family stories. Thus I learned to identify myself with my maternal family.

In November 2005 a thin book was privately published about my maternal family, originally unremarkable country people. It focused on my great grandfather and his brother, and their descendants, mostly equally unremarkable townspeople. The enterprising brothers wouldn't stay in one place for long, and they even crossed the Atlantic several times. They quarrelled over the loss of a farm, and never saw each other since.

Originally great grandfather was from Northern Karelia, but after the quarrel he moved to the Karelian Isthmus, first to Koivisto (now Primorsk) where he had a modest lemonade factory, and then to Uuras. However, they had to leave when the Isthmus was evacuated at the start of the Winter War. My grandmother returned with her family to Uuras when Karelia was recaptured by Finns in the Continuation War, and left again in a hurry in June 1944 with the Russians attacking. After the wars my great grandfather and some of his descendants settled in Lahti among 10 000 other Karelian evacuees, who increased its population by half.

Grandmother was a photographer, grandfather was, according to my mother a coastal skipper - according to her sister (who has lived in Sweden since late 1950s) a sea captain - until he gave that up to assist in my grandmother's more lucrative photography business. His father was a shoemaker on the island of Uuras. Their house stands still on the shore facing the Viipuri castle across the sea.

My parents met in Lapland, where my father had gone for mine clearing, and then had stayed on to work at the building site of a power plant, while my mother had an office job in a cooperative shop. When they got married my father wanted to settle in Lahti close to my mother's family. And so I was born there, and my mother still lives there in the house my father built.