I am Freedman.  I have a first name, Matthew, but few use it. It has always been that way. Hey Freedman!…Goodbye Freedman!…Matthew, you’re in trouble! I prefer Freedman.

I am a high school English teacher from Beacon, New York teaching in the great Hudson Valley city of Newburgh, and one of this year’s recipients of Fulbright’s Distinguished Award in Teaching to Finland. I am a father to two little delinquents, a husband to an amazing woman, and a fool who honestly believes that the malleability of one’s name is an open invitation to be clever. So, forgive the Freedlandia, but it was too easy to pass up.

There are only factoids of Freedman at this point. Suffice to say, this blog and its contents will do their best to define who I am in this new and challenging context, and give my experiences and research in Finland a place to reflect and make sense to me…(or anyone out there who decides to read this).

I am intentionally omitting any explanation of the research I am endeavoring for the sole reason that my inquiry project’s focus will surely change, evolve, devolve, mature, regress, ebb and flow, and that any attempt to anchor it down with some perfunctory explanation would sadly misrepresent how wonderfully scared and obnoxiously excited I am to begin this whole thing.

I will leave you with Jean Sibelius’ Op 26, Finlandia…my blogging namesake, tone poem, and protest piece against the Russian Empire written back in 1899. I’ve listened to it 50 times since April when I won the award, and each time I feel embarrassingly unworthy of what I am about to embark on.

Play, Jean, play!

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