Do I miss Finland?
N.B. This blog is also available in Finnish and you’ll find it here
Don’t you miss Finland? How about all the people in Finland, friends and family? How long are you going to stay in Spain? When are you going to move back? Isn’t Finland the best place to raise a kid? These are examples of questions that people always ask me when I’m visiting Finland. Good questions, I don’t deny it, but let me explain something.
No, I don’t miss Finland. There, now it is said! And don’t get me wrong, I do miss a lot of things from Finland, but not anything so remarkable that would get me to move back there at the moment. I really enjoy our life here in Spain and I believe that my boys share these thoughts with me.
About friends and family. I do miss them. WhatsApp is used dozens of times a day, and Skype calls are possible, whenever you feel like it. And actually, a lot of our dear friends live abroad nowadays, so we’ve been visiting each other wherever possible. Fortunately, travelling has been made easy nowadays and especially from Spain the connections are superb to other countries. Tickets are also affordable, when you are in the right place at the right time 😉 . And when we are couple of days in Finland, seeing friends and family is more intense and feels even more meaningful.
About food. When you live abroad, people assume that you miss certain food products, like rye bread (most eaten bread in Finland), salmiakki (a bit similar to salted liquorice), Fazer’s (Finnish brand) chocolates and cinnamon buns. Well, we brought some chocolate and candies with us when we moved to Spain, and bought always new ones while in Finland, until we realized that they went bad before they were eaten…
I cook us quite similar foods than back in Finland (of course some ingredients differ), we do have something similar than rye bread here (it’s like Real in Finland) and I know how to bake cinnamon buns and Carelian pies. And to be honest, I actually like Spanish food, especially all fish and sea foods, really much! You just have to now where to buy all the ingredients and what to choose from the menu while eating out. Spaniards love deep fried stuff, and that’s not my thing…
But there really are some food related things that I genuinely miss from Finland: Berries! Yes, you may found them from some grocery stores, at least from the freezer, but they can’t be taken for granted, and it can be noted also in the price. Also different kind of porridge flakes, are something that I would love to get a lot easier. Back in Finland we used diversely barley, rye, buckwheat, four grain flakes, whole grain semolina, you name it. Here in Spain, you’ll get easily rolled oats (Both regular and instant), and that’s it… So big thanks to all our guests who have lugged us boxes after boxes of different kind of grain flakes
Of course, when we have friends or family members visiting us, it looks like we are on a never ending holiday.
Life in Spain. Most of the questions are in some way related to our everyday life in Spain. Of course, when we have friends or family members visiting us, it looks like we are on a never ending holiday. But nope, we are living just ordinary everyday life, with our son’s day care, duties to take care of, washing clothes and buying groceries. My husband works almost round the clock that we can live the way we do.
Nevertheless I feel that I’m privileged as I get to live that daily life on a place like this; the weather is nice (I’m really not a winter person and I don’t miss four seasons.), Spanish culture and way of life is fascinating and it has a lot to give to us. We have a lot of nice playgrounds near us, pool in our “own” garden which is open 12 months a year, beach is 15 min by foot, dozens of amazing restaurants and cafeterias nearby and many other places where to spend time as a family. I’m quite sure that, for example, we eat at the restaurants more often as we would do if we lived in Finland. Just because it is a way of life here, and much more affordable than in Finland.
But the thing, that Spaniards could really take inspiration from Finland, is how to take care of the things. I mean all of the official stuff. For example, when you move in Finland you just submit a notification of change of address to Local Register Office and post office, and that’s it! Here in Spain you have to visit each agency, or at least make a call and inform that you are moving. To take care of all the official things require also the original versions and double copies of all of your papers, and submission of them in electronic form is not possible… And when you try to take care of these things in a foreign language, I really miss the Finnish efficiency! Thank God, I have a husband who knows the language, and takes care of most of the official things.
You should never say never, but at the moment, I wouldn’t change this for anything.
With this post, I don’t want to be unappreciative in no way or to say that Finland is somehow a bad place to live. Vice versa! Finland is a good and beautiful place to live where society takes good care of people. Finnish education system is outstanding, and life in Finland is safe and in many ways “easier” compared to many places. But our life is now in Spain, and we couldn’t be any happier! You should never say never, but at the moment, I wouldn’t change this for anything.