When you forget how happy you actually are…


Appreciation is often forgotten. To focus on good things, we should be thankful for and remember them more often. Keeping in mind that what we have at the moment, is missing by many. Good things go often unrecognised and are taken for granted. It is vital to think about them occasionally. So, what do I appreciate in my life in Finland?

  1. It’s safe here. You don’t need to worry about going home alone at night or letting your bag freely on a bench while playing with kids on the playground. If you lost your gloves in the winter, you can be sure they will be found hanging on a tree, at the bus stop etc. Your bikes or sports equipment can just stand in front of your house unlocked and nothing will most probably happen. 
  2. People follow the rules. It is predictable and that is conforming. If you are allowed to go 40 km/hour, most people will drive accordingly. Cars with Estonian register plate numbers are often exceptions to this rule 🙂 You can let your children go alone to school or play on the street because you don’t have to worry about the ignorance of drivers. Everyone is super considerate. And people also don’t mind letting you know when you break the rules. Sometimes politely, sometimes less 🙂 There must be some order established, so I take it easy.
  3. Love for repetition. The same as above: It is predictable and that is conforming. Every morning oatmeal, every Friday sauna, sausage for every BBQ 🙂 It reminds me of a long-term relationship. There is nothing much that will surprise you. It is not exciting as it was when you started dating, but it is comfortable to predict your partner’s every move. After all, you still remember the qualities of your partner. The partner might be predictable and of good quality too 🙂
  4. Work is not your home. Balancing personal and work life is being taken seriously. It is not expecting you to work overtime, long hours, or come sick to work. Well-being and a stressless work environment are seen as important. 
  5. People can be trusted. Finns are surely not the most passionate nation in the world, but you can rely on them, you can trust them. What they promise, they will deliver. For the last ski holidays, we went with friends to a cottage. When I made a booking, I immediately asked if need to send a deposit. No, said the owner. We did not pay when we arrived, nor when we left the cottage. The invoice came like 1,5 months after the holidays. General trust for people. This is hardly possible in Slovakia. If you order accommodation (or almost anything else), you have to pay before your arrival, or on your arrival at the latest. 
  6. Children are precious. Children and their well-being are recognised as important. People ask for their opinion and involve them in many decision-making processes from an early age. Adults are sincerely interested in them. I have witnessed already a few times, how people immediately approached a crying child who seemed to be lost on the street or shopping mole. Just for your information, I remember some experiment done in Slovakia many years ago, where from 10 people who passed the crying child, only 1 approached him and asked what is happening.   
  7. Appointments on a concrete date and time. I know, this might sounds silly. But you would not believe how big thing it is. Just today I spoke with my dad. He needs to come and wait in line in front of the health care centre sometimes at 5.30 in the morning. At 7.00 they let them in and it’s not granted he will meet the doctor. The doctor might have a limit for 20 patients and if you were at 5.30 already 22nd in the line, you have to come some other day. The crazy system, that has not been fixed in decades. 

Small things, big things, hard to evaluate. But important to make them visible. Because ex-pat life is about many good things and good experiences you can gain while living abroad. Many many possibilities for how to be thankful for what you have and what you have the opportunity to explore. My list is not comprehensive, but it does not need to be. This is what I can see today. Tomorrow might bring something else. Be grateful.

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