Häkki interrogates is our new questionnaire series, in which we interview our members with foreign backgrounds. We bite into the scene of the Helsinki metropolitan area as seen by foreigners, and we investigate what got our interviewees interested in Häkki. First in line for interrogation is our Lithuanian member Gigi.
Hey, introduce yourself briefly to everyone
I’m (Princess) Gigi. I’m from Lithuania, but I’ve lived in Finland since 2014.
I’ve been practising BDSM for about 7 years, however, I’ve never been part of a kink community before joining Häkki.
What lured you into Häkki and when did you join?
The first time I heard about Häkki was probably 2 years ago when I received an email through one of the Helsinki University mailing lists. It was an email promoting Häkki’s bondage course. To be honest, I thought it was some scam and I never even clicked on any links or investigated anything further. For me, as a Lithuanian, it sounded fake because I could have never imagined that there could be such student organization as Häkki. I thought that maybe someone tracked my chat and search history and knew I’d be interested 😀
However, next year I received another email inviting people to Häkki’s newcomers’ night. Somehow the second email didn’t sound as fishy, so I went. I think it was early autumn in 2017. The same night I signed up to become a member.
I’ve been interested/practising some BDSM before I even heard about Häkki. So I thought that by joining I could meet like-minded people, share experiences, learn new things and just make friends and have fun. Joining Häkki was probably one of the best decisions of my life.
Did you participate in the events of the BDSM scene in your home country? If you did participate any events or munches how would you compare them with the ones we have in Finland?
I didn’t participate in anything, because before joining Häkki I didn’t even think that anything like that exists in Lithuania. Now I’ve actually looked into this and there are some events, however, they seem to be quite small and rare. However, I can’t be certain as I’ve never been to one.
It has always been a taboo to seriously talk about sex amongst my friends. BDSM topics were even worse. People only joked about sex but they never talked seriously about it. That’s one of the reasons I never even thought of looking for some BDSM community.
Is the Finnish BDSM scene welcoming to those who don’t speak the language?
I think it is. However, it really depends on how proactive you are. For me it takes time to trust people, to let them know the real me, and I don’t like pushing people to speak a foreign language, so I tried not to push people into speaking English with me if they didn’t feel like it and instead I tried listening more because I do understand some Finnish. However, if you proactively initiate conversations in English and/or remind people that you don’t speak Finnish, they will easily switch to English. I mean, even some of those people who don’t speak much English try to contribute to the conversation one way or another. And overall, people in the community are probably the friendliest people I’ve ever met, so that makes it even easier to talk to them.
If we’re having discussions where many people participate, there’s someone to give a brief translation if needed. So language is not really an issue in Häkki. There’s always someone to talk to, and people are super nice and very helpful.
Are there any challenges that you face as a foreigner?
I think my challenges aren’t much related to me being a foreigner, but more to my personality. I don’t think I’m great at meeting new people, so throwing myself into a community like this was a challenge. Otherwise, maybe as a Lithuanian, I didn’t have any experience in a community like this, so it was something completely new for me and a little bit scary the first couple of months. However, now I feel like I belong, and I don’t know how I managed to live without Häkki before.
Do you have any unforgettable experiences in the BDSM events/munches you would like to share with others?
Well, one of the most important aspects for me is the people. So whether it’s a munch or a party or another event, the people I’ve met through Häkki are incredible and I consider many of them my friends now. Being a foreigner in a country like Finland where an average person is a bit more reserved, it can be a little bit lonely and hard to make friends. So Häkki gave me an experience that goes far beyond munches or play parties. I actually feel like I finally belong in this country, because for me this feeling comes from having people that I can connect to in one way or another. Häkki is full of such people.
Any words of encouragement to those who are still questioning whether or not they should participate events?
DO IT! Events are a great place to get to know fellow members, to share experiences and to learn something new. Every time I go to an event I hear something interesting and it makes me want to try new things and grow as a kinkster.