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.