Finland, a warm place for my heart and soul
By Susan Fourtané
This is a story of pursuing a dream. A story of determination and strong will. A story that shows there is anything impossible if we really want something in our heart.
Seeing through the dark and cold winters it is possible to see the beauty of Finland. You just need to open your heart and feel the love coming from the land of your dreams.
Finland is my home, the place I live, where I belong. It is where I can breathe and feel pure energy invading my body, filling my soul with the sweet knowledge of having found my place in the world.
I have always believed that some of us don’t belong to the place where we are born. I believe that some of us have a strong conviction of knowing that our place in the world is somewhere out there and it is in us to trust our inner Self and go on the adventure of finding that special place in the world.
After living for many years in different places, I came to Finland on vacation to visit some friends who had told me wonderful stories about Finland saying it was a place I would certainly fall in love with. It was in September 2005 that I came to Finland for the first time. It was then when I had the feeling I had been yearning for, for so long time, a warm feeling difficult to describe, a tingly feeling like when you fall in love, you can’t explain why you fall in love with a certain person and not with another one. With that growing feeling I went back to Prague, where I lived for three years, making plans to move to Finland in a year. That year a pickpocket stole my wallet and emptied my bank account in eight minutes. The mistake I made was to have my credit card and pin code together. This was in March 2006 and I had only five months left. I courageously made the move to Finland in September of that year.
With no Finnish boyfriend or husband, no job or university waiting for me -the only three reasons the Finnish government considers valid for extending a resdence permit and I was only in love with Finland, trying by all means to follow my dream, my ideal, my heart.I spent the three months allowed on my tourist visa trying to find a job and making connections. With everything that had happened with my bank account I didn’t have much time to waste as I was living on my savings. The circle was always the same, when applying for a job they asked me for a residence permit and for the residence permit I needed a job offer, it was a catch 22. I only had my determination to make my dream come true, the certainty that Finland was going to be my home and that I was going to fight for it.
At the end of November, with the expiration of my three month tourist visa I had to leave the EU for 90 days. I went to Tallinn, Estonia and dedicated my time to writing short stories that I would soon lose when my laptop crashed unexpectedly. It was now a time for deep meditation, a time for reflection, a time for introspection.
Back in Finland on March 1st and with another three months ahead on a new tourist visa, I got a job offer from a company that later on helped me in the process of starting my own business. I applied for my first residence permit and after a long wait I finally received it in September 2007.
What do I like about Finland? Finland is the most peaceful country I have ever been to. I enjoy living in Helsinki where I can get the benefits of a capital city plus the beauty of being close to the sea and the forests, all the wonderful nature Finland has to offer. I love to see the changes of seasons, the colorful fall, the white winters, the flourishing spring and the unique summer with its midnight sun, a star-less night. I love picking berries and mushrooms in the company of a good Finnish friend who teaches me about the intimate forest and its wondrous magic.
Finns are human beings worth discovering, with a rich inner life and the wisdom of knowing when to remain silent when not having anything worth saying. I like the appreciation of silence, as is in silences when it is possible to achieve wisdom, observation and contemplation. Finns are incredible friends who don’t need to be boisterous to express their feelings. Finns look deeply into your eyes and talk. It’s a magical form of communication. I have met a majority of wonderful Finns in these two years.
Working with Finns is a pleasant experience. They teach and share what they know and when you learn the way they do things, all the pieces seem to fall into place. You feel you belong and they integrate you to their world. I have loved my experience in the Finnish company, where I felt they are my family. We still do business together, as nowadays I have my own business and also work as a freelance journalist.
In Finland I have found my place in the world. I belong to this quiet, small and beautiful country. I love to listen to the sounds of silence in the forest, to the sounds of nature flowing through the core of my being. I love to observe how this land speaks to me.
It’s not important where I was born as I never felt that my homeland, a part of who I am. Finland is the place where my soul fits comfortably like a glove. Finland is a warm place for my heart and soul.
Sometimes when people ask me where I am from I simply say I am a citizen of all but only Finland holds my heart.