People often ask me, ’Why did you decide to come to Finland? I would think most Americans would want to stay there?’ As if an American could ever choose someplace else. Afterall, we are the ’best country’ in the world, right?
Ha, yeah right.
I blame my Finnish husband. We met in 2009 on an online game called World of Warcraft. Gamers, if you’re reading, you probably know what I’m talking about. For everyone else, it’s a video game played by millions (or billions!) of people all around the world. I met him through our shared love of writing stories together inside the game, and in 2012, I finally made good on my promise to meet him.
So far so good!
I have been here nearly eight years now, and while much about Finland is very similar to how it is in America, there is plenty different, too. I miss the conveniences of the United States, mostly, such as having ALL my mail brought to the door instead of having to go to the post office to pick it up. I mean, why can’t they just knock and hand me the package?
One thing I both love and despise about the Finns is the quiet. Everything is so quiet here, silence everywhere. At night, I can hear every insignificant noise in great detail. And even during the daytime, it can be the same. People in general tend to be quiet here, and they often keep to themselves.
Which is why I love the Yhdistys.
It’s the first place I’ve been to in so long where it feels like America. The good aspects of it, I mean. I enjoy so much that there is noise, laughter, people yelling, kids playing, and so on. I love hearing the multitude of different languages (which is music to my ears!) And don’t get me started on the cultures! I feel like there is always something to learn, either about the people or the places they’re from.
I was really worried I would not find such a wonderful place. Previously, I found a different place for my work practice at an aquarium shop, but the work was not suited to me at all because of my health situation. The Yhdistys was suggested next, since I had an interest in other languages and cultures, and I’m so happy that it was! Even though it is somewhat far to travel here from Raisio (1hr by bus, 25min. by car–one way), I am happy to do so, because I absolutely enjoy coming to the Together Association.
It’s a place where I truly feel welcome. And as mentioned, it’s like a little slice of America, right here in Finland!
Now, if only things would change with the postal system.
– Linda (who works as a group counselor and language adviser in Together-association)