‘Ello Finland — the first week.

March 29, 2015

The move went great. We did have some problems, but nothing that we couldn’t overcome. As always, the boat ride was anything but awesome (or rather, it was just plain boring), but it got us over to Finland.

viking-line_terminal_sthlm
The Viking Line terminal on Södermalm in Stockholm.

To save some money we went to Turku instead of Helsinki, and then took a two hour train from Turku to Helsinki. It’s the first time I’ve been on a train since my military conscription, which is what? Something like 7 or 8 years since? The trains’ been upgrade, a lot, nowadays there’s an electrical outlet for each seat, and there’s free wifi onboard, but no, I didn’t connect to it, since I don’t like the possibility of being eaves-dropped.

train-station_helsinki
The central railway station in Helsinki, a lot smaller than Centralstationen in Stockholm.

Our new apartment is pretty awesome, though it’s a bit weird that the layout of the apartment is almost identical to our last apartment in Vaasa, the only difference is that the kitchen and bedroom has swapped places, and it’s a bit smaller (one small room is missing). This is both good and bad, the good part is that I already feel at home, the bad thing is that the layout wasn’t necessarily the best one I can think of.

sthlm_apt_1
Bedroom in our old apartment in Stockholm.

Seeing as we haven’t been able to unpack everything yet, I’m not going to post any pictures, but I will however post pictures from our Stockholm apartment, as I don’t think I’ve ever shown it before.

As you can probably tell, the furniture isn’t ours, it’s our landlord’s. I’d make a qualified guess and say that the furniture is initially bought for a detached house, but then later brought to this apartment. All of the furniture were big and heavy, and there were carpets every where, which basically made cleaning a nightmare.

sthlm_apt_2
Overview of the shared kitchen/living room in our old apartment in Stockholm.

Having a shared living-room and kitchen had it’s upsides, and downsides, the upside was you get a more open feeling, the downside is that you had to share these two spaces. The really nice thing about the apartment was how bright it was, windows facing every direction but east. The one thing I didn’t like about it was that the balcony was in the bedroom, I would’ve rather have it in the living room.

sthlm_apt_3
Another picture of the shared kitchen/living room in our old apartment in Stockholm.

We had a small 32″ flat tv, probably from 2005 in the apartment, I can’t say that we are avid TV-fans, but we do like movies, and so one of the first things we bought for our new apartment was a 50″ TV, back in Vasa we owned a 50″ Plasma, and I feel the size is just right, not too large and not too small — just the right size.

Anyway, enough about the old apartment, as we got to our new apartment, we started carrying in things, and after half an hour, my sister turned up with the stuff we had packed down before moving to Stockholm, in other words, boxes filled with old stuff that we couldn’t even remember what it was.

tobias
Tobias, my nephew, did most of the work.

Here’s a game; pack down everything you think you want to save for the future, place those boxes in a container for three years and then open them up, I’ll bet that most of the things are worthless when you see them again. The thing is, almost everything you own can be replaced, and if it’s important enough that you need it on a daily basis, you’ll buy a new one. And so, all of the stuff that we had thought we’d need for the future was mostly loads of memorabilia, that I can’t even remember from where it was, and clothes that we’ve grown up from.

I mean, I was 22/23 years old when I packed these boxes, and now, when I’m opening them, I’m just about to turn 27, the things that I was interested in back then, isn’t really that important anymore, like almost 200 movies, or 70 Xbox games. Now a days I get my movies from Netflix, and the Xbox 360 isn’t really a gaming machine worth mentioning (seeing as the Xbox One has been out for over a year already). I also found three laptops; that were pretty much old when I packed them; and I’ll tell you, three years being in storage doesn’t make them any more modern — I did the only sensible thing, removed the hard drives and threw them in the garbage.

Or how about a DVD-player? I mean, seriously? A DVD-player? Next I’ll probably find a VHS-player and a bunch of cassettes. And cables, Jesus Christ did I own a lof of cables, why did I even bother saving them?

Finnair_md11_oh-lga
A 1/100 scale model of the McDonnell Douglas MD-11, Finnair OH-LGA

But one of the things that I’ve really looked forward to finding is my 1/100 scale model of the Finnair McDonnell Douglas MD-11 OH-LGA. The model is probably from the early ’90’s, and it’s a beautiful model, although its age has started to show, and because of the size, it’s pretty hard to place it anywhere, but if there’s one thing of memorabilia that I wouldn’t want to lose, it’s this one. Interesting fact about the plane OH-LGA, it was actually the first MD-11 put in commercial use, and it was delivered to Finnair on the 7th of December, 1990. The plane was taken out of service from Finnair back in 2010.

tram-forum-helsinki
The Helsinki tram, looks kind of dated, but it does the job I suppose.

The first thing we did come Monday morning was to head out to Local Register Office and register ourselves as living in Finland again, followed up with going to the tax office to get a tax card. After those two boring things we had to get ourselves local transportation cards, HSL (Helsingin Seudun Liikenne or Helsinki Regional Transport Authority) is the ones who issue these cards. I had already looked up the pricing, 50€ per month, sadly, when we got there that price is only available for people who are registered as living in Helsinki. We, on the other hand, had just moved here, which meant we weren’t yet registered as locals. So we had to pay the tourist price, 61€ for 2 weeks, though they said that once the registration had gone through, we’d be able to change our cards to the normal discounted ones, and move any money that was left on the card to the subsided plan.

Thankfully, the bureaucratic side of Finland, for once, was able to work fast, on Wednesday the registration had gone through, and I could successfully exchange my plan for the discounted one.

kotipizza

Lets talk about something that I really love about the location of my new apartment, besides the fact that it’s within walking distance to my office (450m, takes a couple of minutes door to door). Kotipizza, yeah, the same franchise that I keep nagging on about every time I’ve visited Finland these last three years. Well, there’s a Kotipizza located just shy of 300 meters from my house. That’s a big win in my book, and I’ve already been there twice, and it was great, both times.

Iittala Essence glassware
Glass from the Iittala Essence series.

Another thing that I’ve really looked forward to is our glassware, no more cheap and ugly ikea glasses. Basically the above image illustrates how we want to decorate our apartment, lots of white and gray-scale, pretty much going for the typical — according to me — Finnish design; simple, elegant, clean and nothing over the top. When we moved we had to buy all our furniture, basically all of it is just plain white, except the couch, which we decided to get it in a more beige tone; keeping a white couch, well, white, wouldn’t have been practical. But more on the interior design later, when we’ve hopefully gotten the chance to unpack everything and settle in.

idean_door
Entrance to the Idean studio in Helsinki.

I’ve also paid a short visit to Idean and met up with the Helsinki Studio Manager, Melina. She was super nice and gave me quick tour around the studio, I also managed to meet some of my future colleagues, though most of them were out on lunch when I was there.

Anyway, I’m super excited to start working, and getting to know the people.

sea
Open sea.

Though I’ve always liked Stockholm, I haven’t really liked the fact that it’s so far inland, even though the city is surronded by water, it’s mostly archipelago, you’ll need to head around 50km east to get to the actual sea. Helsinki on the other hand doesn’t have a vast archipelago, but is instead located just by the open sea. I spent endless summers in Hanko when I was a child, which is just west of Helsinki, so it feels really nice to be by the sea again.

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