“Home is where the heart is,” and my heart is set in Finland – although I have to say that it was not love at first sight. I arrived in Helsinki at age 18 when I came to finish high school. After four years, I left and went back to South America thinking that I would never come back, thinking that I hated everything about this place: its people, its culture, not to mention its language!! The Finns’ lack of humour, let alone their ability to show any emotion… little did I know that I was going to regret leaving and miss Finland with such agony in just a few days!
This excruciating feeling lasted over 10 years; I just wanted to come back and walk down Aleksanterinkatu. I often had the vision of Stockmann and that famous meeting point under the clock. I missed everything about Finland, all the things I thought I hated: the people seemed lovely, the culture became rich and more interesting than ever, their sense of humour seemed hilarious and their lack of ability to show emotions, well… that still remains a bit of a head-scratcher.
A lot happened during those 10 years. I got married, had a beautiful baby girl, moved to France and found an amazing job working for a website. Later on, I got divorced and fell in love again with a man I thought would become my husband one day. Although life was smiling at me in France, Finland remained my forbidden fruit and France became an emotional roller-coaster: whenever my relationship would stumble, my love for Finland grew stronger than ever, becoming a sort of a security blanket to keep me standing. It became a game, and a dangerous one at that, until one fine day, 3 June 2011, I finally arrived in Helsinki and made it my land, my home, my life.
What’s not to love about Finland? The language? Maybe so, but if love is blind then I’m blinded, because I love the language despite its difficulty; Finnish has its logic, believe me, it’s just a tricky one, but trust me when I say that French grammar is even more complicated… Although I do admit that French language is kinder to the ears than Finnish: “Je t’aime” & “minä rakastan sinua” – which one makes your heart melt?
Winter is long and can actually bring you to a breaking point but I’m one of those freaks who actually enjoy the darkness; I love waking up to the dark morning, and seeing the beautiful bright snow falling down, dressing the sidewalks with a silky white veil. The whole city changes colour with snow and it spreads this magical cinnamon-like dust in the air. It is so magical, it makes it easy to believe in Santa.
So here I am, living in this country that I have adopted as my own; I sacrificed work and love, and God knows I’ve paid my dues, but today, I got the chance to enter an internship at Helsinki Times and next year, I will finally be ready to enter University for an English major… Even though my love life still holds a bit of question mark, Finland has welcomed me back with open arms and I have welcomed Finland with an open heart.