As I sit here at my desk, I can look out the window to the Greek Embassy over the square and see their flag whipping about in a frenzy from the icy wind (the photos above are from two summers ago, which seems a lifetime away now!). I should feel a little twinge about leaving Helsinki, but I'm going to be honest and say that I don't, really. Though we enjoyed our nearly-two years here, we are ready to move on to a new adventure!
Ok, ok. I tell a lie. I feel a bit of a twinge. I was trying to be all stoic and shit.
We did have some great experiences here (though unfortunately some not-so-great experiences as well) and as much as we like the nature, being near the sea, and the wonderful sense of safety living in such a small city affords, Helsinki is simply not the place we are going to live out our lives. No hard feelings- it's just not for us. Maybe we're not tough enough. Or maybe Finland isn't ready for us! Either way, there are definitely some things I will miss:
- Living by the sea was a dream. I will miss our evening jogs, watching the sunset on the glistening water. (Not the jogging part. I won't miss that.) I'll miss the boats, the people washing their rugs on the floating docks, and sitting in the evenings and watching the waves.
- Now this might sound odd, but I love that women in Finland have some thigh meat. I'm generalising, of course- there are also skinny legs and big legs and all shapes, but on average, Finnish women have strong legs. As a woman with big legs, I'm happy to see other women rocking skinny jeans and short skirts and being proud of their thigh meat. Paris is a nightmare for me, body-wise. Not only am I a foot-and-a-half taller than the women, they're all rail thin and with size 35 shoes. I feel like Sasquatch there. Don't even get me started about the mild panic that occurs when entering a packed café and the tables and chairs have to be pulled out/shifted/shimmied around. I'll miss feeling fairly normal, appearance-wise. Hur.
- Finland is generally a pretty safe place. As you may recall, we were robbed in Paris recently. That was scary and sad and now I think I'll always be a little paranoid about leaving the flat, even though everything of value was taken already. (WHAT IF THEY TAKE MY FOOD!?|) . It was nice to go on short trips and out and about and not always have to be wary. I'll miss the sense of security, for sure.
Thankfully, my upbringing of moving around internationally has made me pretty tough about moving- don't look back, etc. We're old hands at it now, and I know that if we ever do miss anywhere enough we can always go back for visits and get the best out of the place without the hassle of moving our whole lives. This move is happening so quickly that we're barely having time to process it. In mere days, our little otherworldly bubble of living as foreigners in a strange place will be popped, and we're back in Ban's 'hood. It's gone crazyfast.
I once heard a nerdy saying, something along the lines of "when you lose, don't lose the lesson", and I have to say that applies fully to our Helsinki experience. Though it didn't work out, we learnt something invaluable-never ever again will we move our entire home/lives to a place unless the job is long-term or permanent. Also, how to dress adequately in -40 weather. So kiitos for that, Helsinki. And maybe, nähdään!