Monday, November 26, 2012

What I miss/don't miss

Well I have been in Finland now for just over 2 months, so I have decided to write a blog about what I miss from home and the things I do not miss.

Whenever a person changes places and lives somewhere else, there is always a shock to the system. Sometimes, if you just move towns or cities, it is as simple as just not knowing anyone and learning the layout of the new place. When you move countries, you have to factor in things like culture shock, new products, language, etc.

What I miss about the Isle of Man (and by extension the UK):-

The familiarity of the place where I grew up. I knew almost everywhere on the Island, knew how to get anywhere and could walk through the street and bump into many people I knew. I know I am new here and so it will come in time but Finland is a massive place and I will never come to know it as intimately in 250 years like I know the Island in the roughly 20 years I have lived there.

My Friends. When you live in a place for a while you gather friends and get to know many people, sometimes on very close levels. I have many close friends back on the Island who I could confide in. I also knew many people in numerous professions and so if I ever needed help in a particular area, I seemed to have a friend who could help me out.

English. Now most people in Finland do speak English, however Finnish is their language and so they talk to you first in that. Also many know only basic English and so conversations can be very short. Studying Finnish will help the block that sometimes occurs  but like all things, it takes time and practise plus a hell of a lot of confidence.

Shopping. Back on the Island I could go into the store and know exactly what I wanted, how it tasted, if I liked it etc etc. In Finland I have to learn everything anew, things like tastes (milk tastes different, cheese too and other things), they also have different products from the UK and so I have experimented a lot.

Work. I will find work in Finland, of that I have no doubt, however my last job was great. It was hard, sometimes pulling 70 hour weeks, doing stupid amount of covers with only one other chef on, but we were all good friends, we all had a laugh and were like a family I feel. I hope I can find a job that is similar to it.

What I don't miss:-

The lack of variety  On the Island you seemed to get the same thing over and over again, whether it be in the shop or daily life. Here you go into a shop and you have the choice of several different brands. You can find things that don't even exist on the Island. In terms of food, it is an exciting time for me as a Chef.

1 and 2 pence.  In Finland they do not use 1 or 2 cent coins, the smaller coin is 5 cent, so your wallet does not get cluttered up with small amount of coppers because everything has a 99p at the end.

Weather. For those who have lived on the Island know how strange the weather can be, like days of a fine mist that soaks you through to the skin within minutes of stepping outside, fog so thick you cannot see your hand in front of your fast and then disappear so fast you had to double take.

The stupidity of the system. In Finland almost everything is computerised. When my wife went to change her name, it was all updated on Computer and all official organisations like banks, police etc got the update. Going to the doctors means just going on time and then you get called, on the Island you turn up on time, report to a receptionist and then wait for 30 minutes (if you are lucky) to be seen. All petrol stations have pumps you can just pay by card. I know the UK is catching up but it is still a few years behind, it is very funny in some regards.

The same menu in places. The Island has a nasty habit of having a similar menu in all restaurants of the same nature, i.e. Pubs always have pies, fish and chips, lasagne etc, Chinese have the same menu just different numbers etc. In Finland it appears catering is a serious career and every place has an array of dishes that are different from other places of the same nature. I can confirm my taste buds have been taken on a wild ride since arriving here.

I cannot think of anything else at present but I am pretty sure there are a few more missing and not missing. I hope you enjoyed this blog, I appreciate all the comments left on here or sent to my email/facebook. Time for me to go for lunch, have superfun my friends.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Talking to School

Sorry to those who follow for not writing anything in a while. I thought I hadn't done anything of note to write about but having looked back I think I have been wrong on that count.

The first interesting thing that happened was on the 3rd of this month I was re-baptised into the Church. It is a long story as to why I needed to be re-baptised but the main jist was I had much opposition in the beginning and I left. I then spent 2 years trying to reverse the effects but had even more opposition. However, when I look back I know that I wasn't strong or faithful enough the first time round and so when the inevitable hard times came I just crumbled. In the 4 years since I was first baptised I have grown up a wee bit and am stronger now in the faith and with the support of so many friends I have made it. I know the biggest support was my wife, who has put up with so much from me about the situation, like my depression, my disagreements and downright rudeness about certain Church policies/members. She has been an amazing example to me throughout it all and it is one of the many things that I am eternally grateful for in my wife.

So when I was baptised in October 2008 it was done in the sea, on the West Coast of the Island at a place called Glen Wyllin. I chose there because my Grandparents ashes were scattered there, it was a place I had been throughout my childhood with my Gaga walking the dog, Fred. It was very cold and the sea was rough, myself and my baptiser, Ron Clarke, were covered by waves at least 3 times before I went under officially. It was a good baptism, many people attended and I knew it was the right thing to do. This time, after getting the approval from the Mission President back in October, I decided it was best to have a baptism in the front where it is nice a warm. Markku, our Branch President, suggested we could be baptised on the 3rd of November as there was another baptism taking place before it. I asked Tanja's Brother, Janne, to baptise me and her Father to confirm me.I only wanted a small baptism, with the Family and a few close friends. Unfortunately one of my friends broke her foot on the night and so she and her husband spent the next few hours at Casualty, which meant another friend had to babysit their child and another friend was unwell. But I did have Tanja's family present, Tiina and the Missionary Couple and Sisters there, plus Markku who was in charge of it. It was a very good, quick and simple service. I was glad the end of a long journey was over but also knew it was the start of another long journey, but one I am prepared for.

After the injury, my friend Iida, was on crutches to support her foot. Tanja and I had said if we could help in anyway we just had to be contacted. Later on that week Iida asked if I come round to help. It was good to spend time with an old friend again and we caught up and spoke about many things, some of them including books which we both love. A couple of hours later her mother arrived to 'take over' from me but we had walnut ice cream before I left, which is rather tasty. We also talked about Finnish things, like the history and traditional songs. I really enjoyed it all, having friends is good, no matter who or where you are, friends are very important.

Another exciting thing I did was do a talk at a local school. A teacher at my wife's workplace had once asked who I was when Tanja and I had gotten the car from her father one day. Upon hearing I am from the Isle of Man, she asked if I could give a talk to her students. So I had given two talks to her classes on my two previous trips to Finland. Well, she approached my wife and asked if I could give another talk to her culture class. There was no way I could refuse, I love the Isle of Man and telling people all about the wonderful Island I came from, so I spent a week preparing a slideshow and a talk to go with it. I thought the talk would last about 30/40 minutes giving a 10-15 minute Q&A at the end, it turned out my talk was about 20 minutes but I did get asked a lot of questions which helped bulk it out. At the end she thanked me and I gave her one of the Finnish/Manx flag pins. Well I know I will be invited to do another talk in the future and now have a base in which to improve on my original talk. It was really good to talk about my Home and about all the interesting history and folklore, I saw enough smiles and chuckles to know that the students enjoyed it.

Well that is all for now, not much else has happened. Hoping that work will come soon. I am going to see the new Twilight tonight with Tanja and two friends, i've seen the other ones so I have to see how it all ends. Will not leave the next update 3 weeks this time, I promise.