3 years in Finland

Excited beyond measure, freed and feeling adventurous I came to Finland exactly 3 years ago,today ( This post was written on August 17 and since I couldn’t bring that post directly from my Facebook, I just copied it here :D)! I knew my life was going to change forever the moment I entered that plane and spent the whole flight contemplating what awaits me when I arrive in the ground. The thought of being in a completely new continent, in the northeast country away from everyone and everything I knew was the kind of feeling I probably will never have. It was happiness and sadness, it was excitement, it was finally breaking out from the suffocation created by staying in one place for too long and it was feeling homesick at the same time. And today….. I thought I would take a moment to reflect on what I have learned from that day on. * I guess this lists that I make are becoming of a habit lately wink emoticon

Note: Some of the things might sound very obvious for some of you but they were things I came to realize/ or seen them in action to a great extent after coming here.

1. OMG there are soo many trees! and lakes. There are so many Trees and Lakes! 2. Being *developed* does not mean having so many big buildings and crowded traffic but it is measured by the level of simultaneous existence of technological/industrial development and lifestyle without harming the environment. 3. There is no need to explain anything to anyone unless required. 4. Your personal space is important, so is others. So be very respectful of that when interacting with people. 5. Education is not supposed to be a life and death activity rather something extremely fun and exciting. 6. There is no need for hierarchy. Makes everything waay more easier and flawless. 7. Everyone is human and gets respected as one. 8. Sauna becomes an addiction and a good one too grin emoticon 9. Unless you act otherwise, you are by yourself all the time. 10. 3 years, visited 13 and made friends from 49 countries in the world. and 11. There is nothing more exciting than meeting a new person from another part of the world and enlightening each other about each others backgrounds. *Most of the times I do that about Ethiopia and I don’t know how many of you guys I have harassed but I just couldn’t help but speak up coz no one else will. And to be honest, most of the people I met had no idea about my country before they met me so I had made it my job to preach whenever I see fit wink emoticon 12. Racism, and general stereotyping of people based on their color and appearance is hardwired in most people’s minds and in a very serious/bad way. I discovered this first in Finland, and then everywhere else I have been to and most people I have met. So this didn’t happen not because of coming to Finland per-se rather because of not being in Ethiopia anymore, in general. I mean, I have always thought of myself as a PERSON not a Black person much as I think of everyone else as their individual human self and not as shade of color. I had to learn that after coming out here as the color and all the stereotypes with it are the first thing that pops into people’s minds when they first meet me and anyone else like me. It’s a thing in process. and 13. I have never been so happy to have such a strong identity as being an Ethiopian. It’s the shield I have and made me forever grateful for our forefathers who died to keep our inherent, human freedom just like any “westerner” would have. Trust me this has shocked a couple of people because they couldn’t get why I am not shaken and proud, almost like”they” are and not like the other “black people”. 14. The world is big and there are so many people from so many different backgrounds in it. OPEN MINDEDNESS is THE one and only weapon to stay happy and to survive the interaction with these strangers from strange lands. 15. Religion might not be as popular as is your country. 16. You don’t drink? BUT HOW, WHY? 17. Don’t judge just accept. 18. Home is where your heart is. 19. There is something called the “Winter Olympics” and Ice Hockey is more popular than Football. Wat? gasp emoticon 20. Seasons are awesome! and a walk in the forest after a heavy snow, is the most calming thing ever. Dry, cold and silent. 21. Things that are some MAJOR taboo in your country might not be such a big deal Ex: Nudity! 22. Just because you meet people who come from your country, doesn’t mean you guys should be BFFs… or even Friends for that matter. But still 23. Your people, will always be your people! and it’s great to have that connection to home in a foreign land! 24. When shit ain’t goin right, the people who love you most are the once who will come forward, regardless of their geographical location. I can never thank you enough for being there for me when I had to go through rough times. I owe you a lot. You know who you are. 25. Family comes first.

And in the end, Kiitos Suomi for giving me the most amazing 3 years of my life. I don’t know where I will be this time next year, but you were thus far, more than great to me. You were the gate for me to see the world and that’s more than I had asked for!

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