So far, I have the following down- and upsides to report. NB. This list doesn’t include the main upside: affordability of rent and childcare!
Top 3 life improvements since moving to Finland
- Large washroom with non-slip floors and water temperature control that works. This means showering with the boys has become fun instead of cramped, dangerous and accompanied with screams of ‘too cold! / too hot!’. They are much cleaner children now, since we do it much more often!
- Snow. I can pull the children to nursery in a toboggan, and it makes everything pretty and peaceful. It also means we have something nice to do outside with a nearby hill turned into a mini winter sports centre.
- Long and well-stocked sweets aisles even in small supermarkets. I never understood this about the UK – why are there so many multi-packs of everything, no pick-and-mix to speak of and such limited range?
Top 5 life downgrades
- Long distances. Going almost anywhere is a car job – much like – I imagine – in America. In contrast to the US, Finnish city planning does provide for cycling and walking, and people do do that. It’s just that with our two family members with short legs, walking is only an option if you have all the time in the world. So never. Even inside shopping centres it takes a long time to get from one side to the other. ‘Human-scale’ means something different here.
- Skin issues from the cold. I remember being amazed at how good my skin was all year round after moving to the UK. Now I’m back to split fingertips and joints and having to lotion my whole entire body to try and keep it all from flaking off.
- Rules with no exceptions. Finland is a very strict parent who will punish you if you put a foot wrong, and remind you that you were told.