Time to move

Back from our exausting Finnish holidays, London felt tighter than ever. August passed slowly, our jobs sucked up energy and our apartment seemed smaller then ever.
One wonderful day in late summer, an email definitely changed the course of our life. But let's take a step back.

When we travelled to Äänekoski in July, our very first stop was Helsinki. At that time, my working career in London was giving me a lot of satisfaction. I was graduating in business management through the University of City and Guilds and I was offered a shop to run downtown. Although I was flattered, I turned down the offer, having to explain my intentions to move to Finland within a few months.

I expected my boss at the time to react negatively, but it was pleasant to discover his total support. Not only: he offered to contact Helsinki's District Manager, introducing me as an excellent professional figure to be included in her team. I would never have dared to ask so much: I was afraid that I would not be able to carry out the same duties in a country so unknown in a language I totally ignored. Of course, I already fluently spoke three languages , but beside English, the other two would have been totally useless. On my side, I only had six years of experience in the company and a recommendation.

Apparently it was enough as in June, I was contacted by the Finnish manager, interested on my CV and excited to meet me in Helsinki in July.

My parents, who arrived in Finland a day before us, picked us up at the airport and we stopped to sleep nearby. In fact, the following morning, my interview took place right there, between planes and curious tourists.

I didn't know how the interview had gone until August. The person with whom it was held contacted me, asking me if we would be able to move to Finland in two months. She was offering me a permanent contract starting in November.

I did not have to think about it: I answered immediately. We absolutely had to make it.

Chaos returned into our lives: we had two months to submit the letters of resignation, cancel the rent agreement, close our banking accounts, organize a move, find an apartment in Helsinki, find a job for Fred and organize all the paperwork that a move to another country requires.

While Fred was sending out resumes relentlessly, I inquired about how to legally enter the country. I quickly discovered that to enter Finland you need to show an employment contract or prove that you have enough cash to live independently. Fred got a job within two weeks, doing a Skype interview. On that front, we were covered.
Luckly, we were entering the country with two already signed employment contracts, which allowed us to book online an appointment to obtain a temporary right of residence at the immigration office.

We then found many apartments available but unfortunately they all refused our application: in order to rent, it is necessary to have a social security number. And we would only get it once in Finland, under immigration office approval.

The only solution we could think of was renting through AirBnB. We sent a request for a nice apartment in Helsinki city center, close to our two new workplace.

The flat owner, a friendly globetrotter intrigued by our story, replied us within few days giving us the opportunity to continue later with a private rental contract. We paid two months in advance, relieved to have a place waiting for us.

At that point it was the end of September and we still had to organize the move. Luckly, we only had boxes to send:  we never needed to buy any furniture having always been on rental. We found such an efficient company  that I find it fair to mention: "Anglo Pacific". Their customer service was excellent: we only had to pay 50 euros in advance for the entire move; they helped us catalog the boxes and their contents through inventory and came to collect everything 2 days before our departure. The delivery took place on the agreed day and time, one week after our arrival.

Leaving London was easy, but not our friends. We were leaving behind 6 years of life and although we were thrilled by this new beginning, we knew that some people would be missed.

By now we were experts on the UK-Finland route: arriving was easy and the journey was pleasant.

 In October 31, 2019, a day after our arrival, we already had an appointment at the immigration office. In three hours, we had obtained our temporary residence permit, were registered with the tax office and requested our social security number. Within a few days we had the necessary documents required to work. Two months later, we were permanent residents.

Our contracts began on November the 16th and 11th. We spent about ten days exploring Helsinki, thanks also to the new homeowner who turned into an excellent and helpful tour guide. We discovered characteristic restaurants, kiosks and markets and visited everything we could, eating satisfied every typical dish that was proposed to us.

Our dreamed Finnish life had just begun.

We still didn't know how lucky that hasty choice was: three months after our arrival, a global pandemic forced the whole world to change their lives and future plans.

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