Things I miss from Finland

Sunset in Ruka Finland in early December

I have always been adapting easily to any environment and I do take pride in not being the home sick type. I was 18 years old when I left to work in France in a hotel in Roissy near Charles de Gaulle airport for 6 months. I was young and clueless, but even then it was easier for me to move to France than to come back home. After having spent one semester as an exchange student in Montréal and having a lot of fun I remember feeling a bit blue the whole summer when it was over. Not to mention leaving Tunisia after more than a year, having the time of my life and then settling back to Finland, leaving also the love of my life there.

However after 3 year and a 3 months exactly in France, there are plenty of things that I miss from Finland. I adapted to Paris quite easily but at times I do get home sick. Everyday life here can be quite frustrating at times (as in any big city ?) and more and more I do see the good side of good old Finland. I of course miss the family and friends the most, but besides of that, there are plenty of other things I long for…

Food and drinks. I guess you always miss the food from home. Finland is not very known for its cuisine, but after overdosing the first years in France on baguettes, cheese and red wine, I’m done. I miss the Finnish selection of different rye and wholegrain breads and of course the famous Karelian pies . Actually nowadays a baguette makes me see red. I miss the Edam cheese from Arla (Finns, you know what I mean). Sometimes I even dream of Prisma hypermarket. And I definitely miss Alko. The wines are delicious and mostly cheap in France, but I miss the selection of world wines. Ok ok, actually I just miss the tags with description of the wine and recommendations for food to accompany it, so easy! Have you ever opened a bottle of white wine after a hard day at work and had to spit it out as it was a sweet wine? Well I have and that is utterly disappointing. It will never happen if you buy wine from Alko. From non-alcoholic drinks I do miss normal fat-free milk. A cold glass of milk after a workout, with a meal, or even when you are hangover. Won’t happen in France with that UHT milk. Damn you.

Nature. While I was living in Espoo 20 minutes bus ride away from Helsinki city center, I went to cross country skiing in the winter time straight from my front door on the best days. In worst case I walked 300 metres with the skis on my shoulder and then I was in the forest, famous Espoo central park. Such a joy. One winter I skied until early April as it was so cold (what happened ever since – climate change?). But what I miss the most is definitely the sea. Baltic sea may not be the friendliest of the seas, but it is awesome to live by it. Nothing but a fresh sea breeze to make you feel better. And if the “city” life is too much, you just escape to family cottage by the lake which is literally in the Middle of Nowhere. Oh yes, we like nature and we don’t like neighbors.

Organization and honesty. In Finland you can pretty much rely on what people say. In France you need to be ready to fight for everything. People will tell you with a straight face that something is your fault, when it isn’t. Of course there are difficult people also in Finland, but at least you can trust authorities. If you go to a public office, you can pretty much get the things done without a hassle, your papers won’t get lost (oopsie!). Before I moved to France I had never sent a registered letter, as we trust people in public offices. Actually I didn’t even send letters since you can do everything online or over the phone. In Finland you get pretty much through any major changes in your life (changing a flat, a job, being sick), without having to print a wheelbarrow full of papers, having a check book, sending a lettre recommendée

These are the first things that come in my mind when I think what I miss from Finland. And these are things I certainly took for granted when living in Finland. Of course we have also one of the best education and healthcare system in the world, but enough bragging for now. Maybe, probably, all of this will be boringly safe and dull if I move back one day, but now let me light two candles for the Finnish Independence Day and feel le mal du pays. 

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