October 3, 2007
Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV
The First 18 Years
The first 18 years of my life were certainly unique to me since I really have no first-hand experience with any other first 18 years of life. I would consider it a normal Swedish/Finnish upbringing. I was born in Kalix, Sweden the 13th of September 1986 to my mother Salme Junttila and father, Kari Junttila.
My parents are both from Finland so I am 100% Finnish, but I have lived my whole life in Sweden and went to a Swedish school, although the schools were usually multi-lingual (Both Finnish and Swedish were spoken).
I also have a brother who is 10 years older than me. I consider myself pretty lucky because we have a lot in common and can discuss various topics easily and hang out. I know many families do not have much in common and thus can’t talk about a lot of things and enjoy it.
I was, like many it seems, a very shy child. I had enough friends to go around so I was lucky in that aspect. I started my schooling years in kindergarten when I was 6-7 years old. Those were good times, just playing, eating and sleeping. After kindergarten I naturally progressed from 1st grade to 6th in the same school.
After that I moved to a bigger school from 7th to 9th grade, I think the school system is a bit different compared to the U.S, I am not entirely sure as I have not studied the U.S system all that much, but from my discussions with friends from the U.S.A it seems like that would be the case. In Sweden we do not start getting graded on our schoolwork until the 8th grade, that was how it was when I was in school.
I sailed smoothly through the grades not putting in too much work, just enough to get by. I always felt like school wasn’t the most optimal way to learn and I never thought it would benefit me to really master the tasks that were presented in school. The books were usually outdated and not really practical when it came to using your skills in the real world.
After the 9th grade we were again required to move to a bigger school called a “Gymnasium” in Sweden, which contains the grades 10, 11 and 12. When you reach the 10th grade you have the option of choosing what kind of direction you want to go in, I decided to go with a technical direction.
That meant courses like Business, Physics, Mathematics, Computers and Electrics. When you reach the 11th grade you have to be even more specific, this time I chose a computer related direction.
If you’re wondering why I chose computer related direction, you might be surprised to find out that I chose the path of least resistance;) . I already knew computers well because I played around with them a lot in my spare time. I took it easy and in general I got pretty good grades without trying hard and I graduated without any problems.
My Parents Influence
During my upbringing my mother worked for the municipality and my father worked for a company called Lapin Kulta, which you could say makes one of the best beers in Finland .
My parents were both loving and caring. I guess I am lucky in this aspect as well, with all the tales of parents breaking up and some abusing alcohol or even drugs.
My father worked shifts so he was usually at home during the weekends or when I came from school during the weekdays. My mother worked the standard 9 to 5 and came home a bit later than I, but she was at home during the weekends. My parents always enjoyed taking yearly vacations and naturally, this meant I tagged along.
We traveled to places like Turkey, Spain, Greece, Thailand and all those cosy little islands like Crete and Lanzarote.
I didn’t enjoy these trips to their full extent because I was always looking forward to coming home and hanging out with my friends and resuming whatever projects I had going. I always had some kind of computer related project going after I got my first computer at around 13.
In hindsight I can see that I should have relaxed and just enjoyed the vacations. I certainly do enjoy them when I take them now. Overall I think I had two loving parents and a great brother in my upbringing so I have no complaints whatsoever.
My Working Experiences
When I was 16 years old I applied for a summer job. Which was just another term meaning minimum wage for people under 18. It consisted of picking up garbage, cutting the grass and general cleaning in public areas.
I remember hating it, at the time the money seemed good to me. It was a whopping $600 for 2 weeks of work, and it was grueling work. At least I got a tan.
After that I worked another summer when I was 17 years old, this time I cleaned boxes in a warehouse. It paid a bit more but was a more stale job. It was inside and very repetitious washing box after box after box. This was when I heard about poker, a friend of a friend had made over $1,000 playing online poker. “Impossible!” I thought but I started exploring the option that it might in-fact be possible.
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