Between my 3 years old son, my day job as an assistant professor at University, my evening job as a software developer, and my night job writing my Ph.D. dissertation, life is quite busy, and I don’t have too much time for existential questions.
I read the “Capital” newspaper while having my strong first coffee of the day. There is an ad “Nokia is looking for software engineers, specialized in distributed systems and object-oriented programming. Interviews in Bucharest in March”. I am studying distributed systems for my Ph.D. thesis, teaching object-oriented programming courses during the day, and coding in C++ during the evenings.
I turn to my husband and say, “hey, these guys are looking for me.” He quickly looks at the ad and answers, “you need to apply immediately.”
I joked. It was a joke.
But he was serious.
1st of October that year, 10 days after I turned 30, I was standing in the airport in Helsinki. I am waiting for my luggage to arrive.
The belt is moving slowly, empty. I like the airport’s buzz, and hearing the people’s voices surrounding me, it’s lively. Then I notice something that feels odd. There is no buzzing. I look around, and all the people are still there. I do not understand what is happening. Are they talking, and I can’t hear? Am I having a stroke or something?
And then I know.
This is Finland, the country I am just moving in, the world I don't recognize, the world without a face. Life with the sounds and all I knew before is gone. I’ll need to learn to listen to silence.