Update on living in Finland
Since I have some time to kill now, I thought I would write an update on life in Finland 9 months after moving. While I cannot say I am as enthusiastic as I was at the beginning, I have not found anything fundamentally wrong here. I still like to live in Helsinki and we keep discovering places around: restaurants, cafes, and others. I am still amazed how different every house is, with all the ornaments and architectural style. As for language, I got so used that mostly everybody speaks English here that I am surprised when I find somebody that does not speak. I cannot say I am too much up-to-date with the Finnish news since we cannot understand what they say on TV. Well, we don’t even watch that much TV anyway. Maybe I also don’t care that much about what happens since I know nothing as stupid as signing anti-abortion bills or cutting education spending is going on here.
The weather is not my favorite but it has not been that bad. The worst time was in November-December when it was dark and there was not too much snow. Then from February on, the day started to get longer and it snowed quite often so it looked much nicer. Of course I would like to see some spring now, but I can still enjoy bright sunny days like today even though it probably was still around zero degrees.
One thing I don’t like here is that Helsinki is definitely not on the route for major tours. I assume it’s both because you need to use a boat to get here but also because there are not that many people to make it worth. Also, my first visit to the Finlandia Hall was a dissapointment: I did not like the hall at all, both as acoustic and as design. Modern design is fine but I still prefer concert halls that have more of a classic look than a sterile, hospital-like one. I will try the opera, maybe that will be nicer. Also, as I wrote on some previous blog entry, there is something weird about the Finnish audience: too many people get up and prepare to leave when it looks like the show is going to end. Still not sure what this is about. However, I really like the movie theatres: the screens are big and the seats are amazingly comfortable, not like in Boston where I hated to go to a movie because the chairs were terrible.
Helsinki is more of a small city, but I really like it so far. Also because of that! There are enough stores to keep you occupied for a while (recently, another big shopping center opened in the middle of the city, in Kamppi). I am not really missing anything here, in terms of shopping.
Speaking of missing, there are some things I miss from US: HD channels and Metropolitan Opera. However, the lack of HD TV channels would be a problem anywhere in Europe, since they seem to be so slow in adopting that. About the opera, we would probably have to move somewhere like Berlin or London 🙂
Overall, I am feeling good here. I never miss US and I got so used not hearing/seeing Bush on TV that I get startled when I acidentally see him. I appreciate the variety of channels from Europe that do not play the bullshit media game like in US. I sometime try to watch the same news on different channnels and then compare to CNN, just for fun, to see how the greatest US brainwashing channel choses to present the same thing 🙂
So, I got used to the superior quality of life here, all the little things around like: high-quality houses, modern public transportation, RF travel cards, no checks, credit card payment everywhere, real people (not fake overly nice service personnel), short flights to anywhere in Europe, goverment and people caring for the less fortunate, permanent residency card and social security rights, walking everywhere, and nice and relaxing cafes.