Day 364 in Finland. I still can’t believe I live here. I feel like this is home, this is where I feel safe, but I still have moments when the thought that “Hey, I actually live here now!” comes to mind. I can feel I have already started learning from the Finns and adapting more to their way of thinking. I think I now know, at least in part, what makes life so relaxing and enjoyable here, in comparison to Romania.
When I had arrived here, I was still in a very toxic and abusive relationship. My gaze was still oriented towards what I had left behind at home. I think I couldn’t even fully enjoy what I had done for myself and all the amazing things around me, because I was trapped in a very toxic mindset created by that relationship. I could see no value in me. I felt ugly, crazy, unattractive, old, never good enough, never a priority, never important. After he dumped me, I felt extremely lonely. In the beginning of the year I experienced a type of loneliness unknown to me previously. I thought the pain would have no end, I felt like I was losing my mind and I wanted to end it all for good. I could barely get out of bed in the morning, I didn’t want to wash, didn’t want to eat, I didn’t want to do anything with myself and at work, I could barely do my tasks and focus.
What got me through the winter was reading a book on suicide (When it is Darkest) and the help of my family and some friends who texted me each and every day to check up on me and ask me how I was doing. One of them almost forced me to go to the office on a daily basis. I am deeply grateful for these people.
Then I started to travel and I saw a lot of wonderful places and met very kind people, who taught me a great deal. It was still a way to run from myself, but also an opportunity to see how much I can do for myself. What I was left with after all my trips this year is the thought that there is so much beauty in the world. It was what I kept telling myself while visiting Argentina, where I made reality one of my old dreams of meeting a friend who has been there for me since I was a teenager. I traveled to another continent and understood how lucky we are and how good we are having it here in the European Union. I saw some absolutely stunning landscapes and met people who have welcomed me among then with warmth and hospitality.
Then I went to Poland and I was impressed with how romantic Warsaw can be. I discovered Bolesław Prus’ Doll and I absolutely couldn’t let this book go until I finished it. I felt like I related to this book and the main character more than I had resonated with a piece of fiction in a really long time. And, maybe the most important thing, I finally understood my boyfriend was never coming back and our story was truly over, so once I got back to Finland, I felt like I had just arrived here and my own story was just about to begin.
I felt completely liberated and prepared to exist on my own, free of all the abuse and manipulation, free of the constant feeling that I am not good enough and I don’t matter. I was finally ready to receive all that Finland had to offer and to enjoy what I had done for myself. I started therapy again and I began to see myself in a new light. I understood my thoughts better and started to identify patterns which I could take control over. Step by step, I started to understand what a grand thing I had done for myself, what skills are needed for that and what kind of strength it takes to succeed in such a plan as mine had been. I also understand that not only do I have the power to make my own life amazing, but I can also improve it for others by giving them as well a change to build a better future for themselves.
Among the moments of deep pain, however, have also found their way some moments of joy and inspiration. I built the furniture for my apartment with a friend and then I decorated it to my taste, I went to the sauna for the first time and then dipped in freezing cold water (this is now one of my favourite things to do here), I was in a wooden bath tub with eight super sweet ladies at a wonderful sunset, I dipped in a lake in total darkness, I started going to the gym again and I am making progress, I read my first novel in Finnish (a dictionary is still needed, of course), I went on my best first date so far with an incredibly attractive Viking, I sang in a karaoke bar for the first time (in Kimi Räikkönen’s bar)!
I’m still single and I think I will be for a long time to come, I still have moments when I doubt myself, but I feel like I did something with my life. I can respect and appreciate myself because I built something, I’ve been through hardship and I stayed focused on my goal. I still don’t have big breasts, my butt is still not shaped as a peach, I still can do only one type of make-up, and I’m still not a total online babe, but I care about the people around me and I have done something with my life. I built my life and my future the way I wanted them.
And Finland has always been my safe place, my safety net, it keeps impressing me and I love her very, very much. Onneksi olkoon, meille molemmille!