• claugalde

First Things First: Say yes to new adventures: Finland.

Hello!... We’re just a few days away from closing 2019 and making a revision of our purposes and goals for this year. Before you panic and want to do everything in the upcoming days... take a deep breath and take it easy because it's never too late to start.

Precisely one of my 2019 goals was to move to another country... and after spending most of the year defining the date on which I would make it happen, finally the time had come to say goodbye to my “beautiful and beloved Mexico” (Mariachi background music, please!) and start from scratch in Finland. Three weeks after living a new adventure in my life, I dare to tell you that the most difficult thing wasn’t making the decision to live here; but the real challenge will always be to stop missing the tacos al pastor hahaha… 

Although I have been here for a few days -freezing out- and adapting myself little by little to the fact that daylight lasts about three seconds... Finland is an amazing country, needless to say that it’s “the happiest country in the world” (UN, 2019). Everything works perfectly, people are more friendly and open-minded than you can imagine (I swear to you they’re like care bears). The language seems from another planet, the other day I went to the supermarket, and instead of buying laundry detergent I ended up buying a shampoo, since the labels of the products are mostly in Finnish or Swedish; but thank God! Everyone speaks English... The quality of life is very high and obviously everything is much more expensive, with the exception of salmon, that costs you the same as six tacos al pastor in Mexico (best comparison, impossible)...

On more serious business, there is a culture of respect, equality and security in Finland like nowhere else, since the most important thing is the well-being of people in their workplace, at school and at home. Overall, I could tell you the wonders of this country that has adopted me and that is now my home or koti in Finnish (if you want to know more about this adventure don’t forget to follow my Instagram stories).

So, if you are thinking of saying yes to a new adventure in your life and moving to another country, I recommend you the following #FIRSTTHINGSFIRST that will guide you through this very important process:

  1. "A goal without a plan is just a wish" ... Have you been thinking and meditating about the idea of moving to another country for a while? ... It's time to get down to work. Start by making a list of all those to-do things in your home country (for example: give back your apartment, say goodbye to your family and friends, etc... simple things hahaha) and everything that must be ready in the country where you will move (flight ticket, the flat where you will live, bank account, job opportunities, etc.). Consider the times of immigration processes, in my experience this was the longest step. There is no perfect time in which you should have everything ready to take this huge step, I guarantee you that there will always be things that slip out of your hands or that you have to do at the very last minute.

  2. A fresh start and clean slate… This is an opportunity to start from scratch, because you’ll go to a place where nobody has expectations of you, and you can be entirely free and try different things. From finding a completely different job to the one you had before, appreciating an atypical landscape, making new friends (without forgetting the good friends you already had), learning a new language, building a new family (a new support network that will be there for you through thick and thin), etc. That is, make your person a brand new and improved version of yourself; with new skills, more open-minded, more cultured and without a doubt, more tolerant.

  3. Take it easy... If you’re an accelerated person like me and want to get everything in less than a finger snap, you must learn to relax. There are things that take their time, don’t pretend that you will have everything worked out in the first weeks in which you have moved, let alone in the first year. Learning a new language or finding your dream job aren’t goals that can be quickly achieved. So put the handbrake and appreciate where you stand now and avoid as far as possible phrases like "in my country the food is better", "in my country the weather is better", etc. although this last one is true hahahaha... just kidding. Every place in this world is unique and has good things that will become your favorites at some point. The key will be to keep a positive attitude and identify the best habits of the culture using them in your favor.

  4. As my mother said: “Mijita I tell you for your own sake, living in another country won’t be easy”... And she was soooo right, you will miss EVERYTHING and EVERYONE. You’ll also have bad days, you will surely get sick and go to the doctor and explain your symptoms like five hundred times in another language (like me, I already broke my personal record of going to the doctor twice in less than three weeks). At some point in these difficult times, you will realize that what today seems like a sacrifice, in some years will become one of the greatest achievements of your life. Keep in mind that you have the support of your friends and family that even though are far away, surely, they’re cheering you up via FaceTime or Skype.Do not give up is what I repeat to myself every day and I also start thinking about everything I left behind to be in the place where I am now and be the person I am. I’m not telling you that this adventure will be easy, but I’m telling you that it will be worth it.

  5. You can always return… Whether on vacation or for a special occasion you can visit your friends and family. Moving to another country doesn’t mean that you can never go back to the place where you come from. If you moved indefinitely don’t acquire long-term commitments such as the payment of a year-long gym membership, or buying a car in installments or other debts, etc. In this way, you can feel free that whenever you decide, you can return. If at the end of the day it doesn't work and you're not happy, always keep in mind that you can go home with your family and friends. Themerit remains the same because the important thing is that you tried.

These are the five #FIRSTTHINGSFIRST that I recommend you follow if you are about to put your life in a suitcase and move to another country.

Don’t forget that the first 9 of every month there will be a new post. So now you now, if you want to keep reading this first-time experiences diary, remember: when was the last time you tried something for the first time? Happy Holidays! ... See you in 2020, until the next post!

SPECIAL THANKS: To my family in Mexico, my family in Finland and all my friends. Thank you because you’re always there for me and for supporting me in this adventure. I love you and miss you so much!

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