As promised already last year when writing the first part of my ‘living the dream’ story about the year 2014 which was full of travels and adventures here comes the second part, a review of my first year in Finland.
2015 – living the dream (part II)
In 2015, I was living another dream, the dream of being an expat. Half of my life I was carrying around this longing for living in another country, experiencing a new culture, and learning a new language. With my move to Finland in January 2015 this dream has finally come true!
As I assumed already in last years’ review it did not get boring and it was not easy but it was worth it! I had a great year full of new experiences, new challenges, new impressions, and new friendships.
The saying ‘There is a first time for everything’ became a special meaning throughout the year since I had quite many ‘first times’, here are some examples:
I experienced the Finnish winter for the first time with temperatures below minus 20 degrees, lots of snow and surprisingly also sun! I was slightly worried about how I would be able to cope with the darkest and coldest time of the year – winter turned out to be my favorite season in Finland! The Finnish winter experience included
- ice skating (which I had done before but it had been ages ago)
- cross-country skiing (I was the classical down-hiller so far considering cross-country boring – well, I changed my mind! What a great work out combined with enjoying the surrounding peaceful nature)
- walking on a frozen lake (this doesn’t sound so exciting but when considering the size of the lake it is!)
- riding a snow-mobile in Lapland (great!)
- Avanto – winter swimming Finnish style (After sauna you jump into the ice cold water of the nearby lake)
One dark and cold night in March it happened right here in Tampere: I saw the Northern lights! It was an unbelievable spectacle of nature and hard to put in words. It had been the first time in many years that the Northern lights were so clearly visible in Southern Finland. Due to a geomagnetic storm the Auroras were especially colorful and reached far more South than usual. In Tampere they were even visible over head as coronas which is very rare. It was the only time I saw them even though I heard they have been visible many more times but I knew they would not be as bright and amazing as in that very special night. In this article I posted one video of what we have seen.
Then there was Vappu – the Finnish worker’s day and spring coming celebration. I’ve heard people talk about Vappu weeks or even months before the actual date and I was wondering what is all this hype about it. I also have been warned that there might be a few drunk people in the streets during the 30th of April and 1st of May. Drunk people in the streets are not so rare in Finland so I did not really get the point until we went out that night. Few drunk people had been a slight underestimation as it seemed that the whole city was having a huge party in the city center and the surrounding parks. I was sober when we arrived there and I had the strange feeling that I was the only one!
I learned that Vappu is one of the four biggest holidays in Finland along with Midsummer, New Year’s Eve, and Christmas Eve. Indeed, it seemed like everybody was celebrating and the parties continued the next day (for some even without sleep) when it is common to have a sparkling wine or champagne picnic in the park. In Tampere, it is tradition that on the 1st of May the new students of the university are dipped by a crane into the water of the Tammerkoski, a channel of rapids passing through the city center. It was quite a spectacle!
Finland’s forests are famous for their berries. During the summer months and berry season it is very common to go and pick them. So did I. Blueberries. Lots of them!
In August, I visited East Finland for the first time and I fell in love with the area around lake Saimaa. More about my trip to Savonlinna you can read here.
Postcards from Finland
As I love to take pictures I took lots of them during the year. Here are my favorite ones, turned into postcards from Finland for you. Enjoy
2016 – living the dream part III
In 2014, my dream of traveling long-term with no return ticket became true. In 2015, I was living my dream of moving to and living in another country. In 2016, I will be living another dream: the dream of having a family. With the birth of our son in December my life – again – completely changed and this year will be another new challenge for me, different but certainly not less exciting. We are already planning the first trips as a family…
‘All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.’ – Walt Disney
I wish you all a belated happy and successful year 2016 with lots of fun and exciting travels. Thank you for following me on my adventure!