Friday, May 29, 2009


I really cannot believe where five years have gone to, but on the 29th of May, 2004, we did move abroad from Great Britain, to Finland.. and the Lapland region of Finland at that. I can categorically state that we had a lot of naysayers at the time, many people gave us six months at the most and thought we would be back in blighty by then.

We are fighters, we don't do things the easy way and do not give in. Living here has not always been easy, but then again.. where is? We have achieved quite a lot in five years, especially considering that coming here almost wiped us out financially - but the drive to do it was greater than the risk of financial burden. So, some of these achievements might seem minor to other folk, but to us, there were a lot of mountains to climb, that have either been conquered or reduced in size along the way. 'Longest journey, start with first step' so Confucious say.. and that is one of my favourite sayings. It's very true too. We stepped out of our comfort zone, into the unknown and it has been a long that is ongoing.

I wanted today to make a list of just some of our achievements and there are many more than just this list:

1. Sticking with it and staying put, despite some very trying times, emotionally and financially in the first few years!

2. Putting both our children through Finnish school successfully and seeing them grow up from boys to young men, with skills that will hold them in good stead for the future.

3. Getting to grips with Finnish against all the odds. It took four years before my husband and I got any formal education in Lapland - and a letter to the Lapland Government to get it sorted - so whilst good that we taught ourselves a bit, we had also learnt a lot of wrongly self taught Finnish, not having a Finnish person on hand to correct our pronounciation etc... and it's SO very hard to undo what is already in your head! If I said we had fully learnt Finnish, I would be totally lying.. that is a long way off.. but we are getting there, making progress.. and that is all that we can ask for really.

4. Both of us having work. Me also having Arctic Rainbow and the enjoyment I get from it. Work for foreigners is quite a hard thing to find up here, if you can't speak the lingo - or a decent amount of it, it's pretty much no way jose!

5. Our younger son, aged 16 having an evening telesales job - in Finnish. It has to be said that his Finnish is excellent. Out of our two sons, he has benefited most with the language because he was younger when he came here. Had we come here a couple of years earlier it would have helped our elder son so much more.

6. Our older son aged 18 having a suitable course in datanomy, to feed his ambition for computers and programming.

7. Upgrading our life, not suffering aggression on a daily basis from strangers or having break-ins or thefts as we did in the UK. Living a more peaceful, tranquil life.

8. Making some really great, supportive Finnish and international friends here in Sodankylä.

9. Feeling more 'out of the loop' of sensationalism, journalism, big-brotherism etc... (and that is priceless!) Not knowing what is going on in the world, unless we want to know it.

10. For me, learning so much more about the Noitarumpu drum - which was partly what drew me here.

11. Teaching our children that the world is a small place and getting smaller every day, that you are not limited to just living where you were born, that life is an adventure and you should at least try something rather than live to regret not trying it at all.

12. Continuing to face our obstacles together, as a close, loving, united family - when we could have been pulled apart, by doing something so drastic.

Curiously enough on a day when I look at achievements, today was also our younger sons final day at school! Tomorrow morning we go to the school, (yes - on a Saturday!) for an assembly and the receiving of their leaving certificate reports. We as a family, will also be remembering that there is someone missing from the line up, his best friend Matti who died when he was just 13. I have said it before, but he just would not be where he is now, without the assistance of Matti. Matti was a very special friend. He is/we are indebted for having known his friendship during difficult times.

I hope to take some photographs and share them with you tomorrow!

On a different note.. I also wanted to share a couple of funny moments that happened today.

1. Whilst driving home, I saw a man wearing just a towel wrapped around his waist... swiftly moving from a wooden outhouse to his wooden home, looking as red as a beetroot! Oh it was funny - especially as his home is right next to the road! It was about 4.15pm and he had obviously just had a sauna! (many wood smoke saunas are built outside)... I wished I'd have had the camera handy! Lucky for him I didn't... LOL!!!

2. This fella.... I just HAD to buy him! It's an apple filled doughnut.. but what a great shape... a Pigs face! I've never seen one like that before.. have you? It made me laugh!!!

Oh and would you believe it!! I saw that little white baby reindeer again...or at least it looked like him.... AND a second baby reindeer today! The latter one was brown and was sucking from it's mothers underside - by the side of the road! Wow! It was soooo cute! I am hoping to catch a photo sometime!

Here is to the NEXT five years, where ever they take us, I hope we will be happy, healthy and prosperous!

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