Moving to Finland
After dreaming about living overseas my whole life and having a few false starts and countless hours of planning and even more hours of dreaming… it has finally happened! We now officially live in Helsinki, Finland.
I’ve been asked countless times why the hell we are moving here and we already lived in arguably the best city in the world. The short answer to this question is I got offered a job here. The longer answer is because compared to our other options (including our beloved Australia), there is no better place to be a working mother, a woman and someone who hopes to grow their family… but that’s a whole post to come later.
Change is a funny thing, most people avoid it or despise it, but I love it. I also get a lot of satisfaction from setting myself challenges. I’m yet to complete a really hard physical challenge but I’m hoping this move changes that too (Ice swimming and cross country skiing, I have my eye on you!). So I figure if I can tackle all the changes and challenges involved in moving to a new country, learning a new language (one of the hardest ones in the world to learn), starting a new job, entering a new industry, meeting new people, finding a new home, and adapting to a new culture while wrangling a newborn, who knows what else is possible.
Another huge motivator is the fact that Finland is going to be such a different cultural experience that couldn’t really be further away from home - both physically and metaphorically.
Case in point - boarding a flight in 43 degrees (Andy was, of course, wearing his signature short shorts) and then disembarking in a cold, wet and extremely dark Helsinki at -2. But so far, I love it.
I’d prepared myself for the worst weather wise. I was expecting to feel painfully cold and uncomfortable at all times, but it’s only dipped to below -10 once so far and I’m not going to lie, it was f@$king cold, but anything above -10 is manageable with a good quality jacket and boots. Plus I kinda feel like Sansa Stark, but without all the murder, war and luscious hair. The Finns have a saying that “there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes” - and so far, I’ve found this to be true.
When we first arrived the sun “rose” at 9:30am and “set” at 3:30pm, and there was such a thick layer of clouds that I didn’t see a single ray of sunshine for a week. The short days will take some adjusting, I’ve been getting into bed at 7 because my body thinks it’s 10pm. But, the days get 30mins longer each week, and before we know it, I am sure we will have the opposite problem with the 24 hours of sunshine.
I have also been pleasantly surprised by how friendly people have been. Through all my research and reading the message has been consistent - Finns don’t like talking to strangers. But so far, everyone has been incredibly friendly. My work colleagues love to have lunch with each other and everyone had been so welcoming. We also reached out to a friend of a friend who lives here and we met him and his family that night, and they couldn’t have been nicer! Another thing I’ve noticed is that everyone speaks quietly here too, or my hearing is going bad, or potentially a combination of the two.
Helsinki is such an incredible city, there is so much to see and do so we have committed to doing at least two activities a week and one has to be outdoors. We figure if we don’t embrace the new way of life we might become fat Netflix junkies (well, more so than I am already). Plus, my staff travel benefits will kick in soon, so LOTS of European adventures are on the cards.
So, I hope you follow along on our journey to embracing this new city as our new home. I’m hoping my blog can keep me accountable…. especially for those frosty outdoor activities over the next few months.