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Why did I move back to Finland?

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Why did I move back to Finland?

Why did I move back to Finland?

Yes, why!? I guess it’s a fair question and a question I have received a lot. I mean, why would someone trade the tropical breeze, warm weather and an easy lazy lifestyle for slush, darkness and the 9- 5 grind? Why oh why would one leave a life of sipping margaritas on the beach and dem delish tacos for a society where the norm is not to say hi to their neighbors.. And lemme tell ya, dem tacos sooo good. So yes, I get it, it’s a legitimate question to ask and I understand that it might seem odd, and rightly so. But before spearheading into the why’s, I just want to acknowledge that it’s kind of impossible to write this post without spilling the beans on some sensitive and personal stuff. I will do my best to not dive into the details of things, partially to protect the people I have crossed paths with and also to protect myself as I don’t see it necessary to vomit my private life all over the interwebs. That being said, my aim has always been to be honest and to express my truth, so there obviously will be some personal sharing along the way. I also want to emphasize that life isn’t always what it looks like and this needs to be addressed more and more and more. The images we see on social media or in blog posts are merely little, snippets of framed perfect moments, so next time you see a chick posing with a coconut on the beach, don’t be fooled, she might actually be lost.

I mean, look at that beauty.  By Jess Leigh.

I mean, look at that beauty. By Jess Leigh.

Perhaps the first step towards answering this question is revealing why I originally moved to Mexico. Well, I moved there right after having graduated to help run my exe’s (important notice, he obviously was not my ex back then) family businesses in a small little beach town, called Sayulita, on the Pacific coast of Mexico. I had been to Sayulita twice before moving there and I had also spent one semester in Bali, Indonesia, so living in a tropical climate was not new to me. Even so, moving somewhere with the possibility of never returning can be a little intimidating. And that it was indeed. Initially, I felt a little anxious, ungrounded and lonely without my tight group of friends and my only support at that time was my partner. I’m a Capricorn and my people are my everything (you might know this if you’re into astrology, however if you think it’s complete woo-woo, well, let’s just say my friends and fam mean a lot to me), so the start was not just smooth sailing. I was surrounded by a new culture and a language that I did’t speak nor understand. I sometimes felt like a sore thumb as I stood out with my light blonde hair, even though Sayulita has a fair share of blonde expats and even more so nowadays. So, what I’m trying to say is, I was faced with some challenges in the beginning. But slowly, just like with anything else in life, I started settling in and making friends and gradually I learned to understand Spanish and then finally later to speak it. Life became easier, things started flowing and all of a sudden I was living the dream in a beautiful, vibrant, boho beach town of Sayulandia (a nickname for Sayulita). My life felt good and things were looking up.

My days consisted of co-leading my exes family businesses (hotels, surf school and shops), practicing yoga, surfing and watching the sun set over the Pacific Ocean, not too bad, huh? So it’s only fair to say that I had a few truly magical years. I was also running my co-owned yoga & surf company, hosting retreats and working for a handful of interesting businesses in a completely new environment. Boy, did I learn a lot and this time definitely shaped me. But as some of us might already have learned in life, life is not always a walk in the park, nor is it always a bed of roses and sometimes it can throw you curve balls. And as you might have guessed, a curve ball was thrown at me. Hard. Eventually it led to me and my ex parting ways.

Okay dokay, so there I was all alone on the other side of the world in a small Mexican beach town. Life hack: do not live in a small town with your ex. Ha, no, but seriously, you can imagine it might just be a little challenging. Also, rumours travel very quickly in small communities and I with all do respect, there’s definitely some cultural differences in how men view women and wether or not it is appropriate to move on (or even be seen out) after a break up (stay tuned for our next podcast on Machismo!!). In the grand scheme of things, I was was alone in Mexico living on the other side of the world far away from my fam going thru a break up in a place that felt like the Big Brother house and everyone was watching the show. As I had worked with my ex (we had a company together) and also with his family biz, it didn’t feel appropriate to continue working with them, so besides to dealing with a break up, I also had to figure out what to do business-wise. Luckily, I quickly found myself on my feet, working with new projects and clients and running my own mini one person company. I also started working within wedding production and for a big luxury hotel along with my private yoga clients. Life was okay…ish, but in all honesty my heart was broken and I felt lost. Fortunately I had a group of amazing friends to share my days with and the distraction of living in a party town. In lack of better phrasing, I had a semi-good time for a while, but as I didn’t fully have a direction in life and was kind of floating in this in-between state of not knowing what to do, I eventually started drifting just a little too much. Unless you have the discipline of a true christian, Sayulita will suck you into the mañana mañana lifestyle. Even tho the easy tropical party paradise lifestyle can sound like all fun and games, it kinda gets old after a while. Not to mention the non existing dating scene in Sayulita that is, well, extremely limited. Slim pickings y’all. Another coping mechanism I had was traveling, which I did to distract myself from the reality of things, and the truth was that I was completely lost. Being lost and ungrounded led me to a couple of very interesting picks on the dating scene (🙈). But they did serve a purpose as they also pushed me towards the direction I needed to go. Which was, back home.

Easy living in Mex.  By Jess Leigh.

Easy living in Mex. By Jess Leigh.

Slowly but surely I started playing more with the idea of moving back home to the motherland. I even flew to Finland in January just “to see” if I could cope with the darkness and cold weather after having lived in the tropics for so long. My conclusion and field research prove me that it was doable, however not ideal, so I needed to think some more, I reasoned. After my trip to Finland in the winter, I returned back to Mex to now in hindsight, seal the deal and confirm my exit. Another few negative challenges took place of which I can name these few; my house was broken into, my safety emptied (yes they use a lot of cash in Mex and the nearest bank was a 35 min drive away) and I got stung by a venomous scorpion. The latter one was pretty gnarly and almost felt like I was being kicked out of Sayulita. Or as my friends like to put it, I graduated from Sayulita. So being the intuitive spiritual tree hugger that I am, I finally listened to that little whisper inside of me that actually at this point was more like a scream than a whisper, saying “buy a one way ticket to Finland” and so I did. And after that, things just aligned.

Okay, if you spent any time in Finland last summer you probs know that last summer was pretty darn stellar. Some people might call it false marketing, but it surely lured me in. People were happy and smiling, the sun was shining and the weather was almost well, tropical….. but most importantly, it felt right. When you are aligned with your direction, things have a tendency of falling into the right places and sure enough I met an amazing person that summer as well. He might have helped with the whole marketing campaign of Finland being pretty cool 🤩.

So here I am, now 7 months later after having relocated back to Finland (I had to go back to Mex after the summer in Finland), feeling grounded for the first time in a very long time. And, yes, of course the winter sucked, and yes of course I miss Mexico and yes of course I miss my friends and yes Mexico holds a place in my heart forever, but YES, this is where I am supposed to be right now. And it feels freaking fantastic to FINALLY feel like you’re where you’re supposed to be. Because I haven’t felt that in a very long time. And at the end of the day, Finland is such a great place to live in (and we also just won the world championships in ice hockey!!), regardless of the grumpy, non saluting neighbours. And luckily I am privileged enough to be able to travel (yes, I know climate change, but there’s a blog post about this) and visit Mex, which I am planning to do in November (the suckiest month in Finland, come with?).

So if there’s only one thing you take away from reading this whole long story, it’s listen to your gut. Because it knows. Sometimes it’s hard to hear, but the whisper is always there. So pay attention.




Con amor,

Evita

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Friends with businesses / badass women: Meet the Boss lady of Bär Bar

Friends with businesses / badass women: Meet the Boss lady of Bär Bar

Friends with businesses / badass women: Meet the Boss lady of Bär Bar

jasmiina_ojala.JPG

When I first started blogging back in the day, I used to have a category called “Friends with Businesses”. As the name kind of gives it away, I will trust your judgement on what the topic entails 🤓. Now, after having relocated back to my beloved motherland, I decided to resume this category (along with blogging) and today I will introduce you guys to no other, than the badass boss lady, founder of the berry snack selling, superwoman and former study friend of mine; Jasmiina Ojala. I will from here on also initiate a new category called Badass women and this post will definitely be filed under that. Why? Well, the media (and even blog posts) play a powerful part in how we see ourselves, what we think we can achieve, and what limitations we put on ourselves as well. The more women are properly portrayed, the more women will rise up in leadership and business.

Let me tell you a couple things about Jasmiina. First of all, she is extremely friendly and smart and has a cutting edge sense of sarcasm. Not only did she graduate from the Swedish School of Economics, but she also holds a Master’s degree in Law. Oh, and in addition to being the empress of her own company, BärBar, she also is Head of Marketing for St1 and what’s even more exciting, is that she just made her biggest merger agreement yet (side note: this is her joke, not mine) and got engaged 💍! Woop woop! AND, top off that, she now carries a growing berry bundle in her belly. So, to say that things are up for Jasmiina is not an understatement. Congrats on all four things!

With that much on one’s plate and with such success, you might expect someone to play superior or perhaps be pompous. Nah, not Jasmiina. She is humble, grounded and laid back. I decided to pick her brain a little bit and present this amazing human to my fellow internet scrolling audience. Before we head over to the Q&A, you might wonder what BärBar is. Simply put, it’s a health snack bar selling takeaway smoothies made out of Finnish berries. They currently have one location in the heart of Helsinki on Fredrikinkatu 30, so make sure to go check them out. There was recently actually an article in Helsingin Sanomat about the benefits of incorporating berries and lingonberries into your diet and this is Jasmiina’s mission as well. My Q&A is written in both English and Finnish, voila:

Q: Who are you? (a weird one I know, it’s just interesting to see what comes up first)

A: I am a 33 year old mama to be for a little baby girl and I live in Helsinki.

Mama to be, superwoman Jasmiina Ojala and me.

Mama to be, superwoman Jasmiina Ojala and me.

Q: What do you do for a living?

A: My day job is working with marketing for the energy company St1. I started my career as a business lawyer but decided to swop careers to marketing, which feels more like my thing.

Q: What do you do in your spare time?

A: In addition to running my own company, I exercise a lot, go to the gym and run. As a matter of fact, I’ve actually ran 5 marathons and hopefully several more 🙂. I also love reading.

Q: What is BärBar?

A: Bär Bar is a snack bar that sells healthy and delicious snacks made out of Finnish superfoods. We make wonderful smoothie bowls (Bär Bowls), fresh porridge and smoothies made out of Finnish berries. We’ve recently added vegan oat and pulled outs sandwiches to our offerings (made out of Finnnish oats of course). Our mission is to bring Finnish superfoods into the daily lives of our customers in a fun and easy way.

Q: Where does the name BärBar come from?

A: Well, the name involved the word berry (in Swedish) and bar. In Swedish the word ‘bärbar’ means something to takeaway or carry with you. This encapsulated our idea, as we love Finnish berries and we want to provide them into the lives of everyone in an easy takeaway snack form.

Q: Is there enough time for the mom to be to work with two jobs?

A: Yes, or at least still yes. The company is co-led by me and my partner and we work on it on the side to our daytime jobs. We have a team of four lovely girls working in the shop, so we don’t spend too much time there ourselves. That being said, our aim is to grow our business and our dream would be to one day be able to employ ourselves full time.

Q: When did you decide to start your own business?

A: We made the decision together with my partner and we first started talking about it in May 2017. The first BärBar openend its doors in January 2018.

Q: What has surprised you the most becoming and being an entrepreneur?

A: It requires perseverance and that you don’t give up. It also requires being innovative and having a lot of courage way beyond what I had expected. It’s extremely challenging to find good employees and when you finally do, hold on to them as tightly as you can.

Q: Any tips to new entrepreneurs?

A: Nothing comes easy and there’s no quick fixes. If you want to become an entrepreneur, you definitely have to be more of a doer than a dreamer.

Q: Would you change anything in hindsight?

A: I would’ve been more picky with our first location (we moved from Itäkeskus to Fredrikinkatu).

Q: What have you learned?

A: SO MUCH! I’ve learned so much about brand development and marketing. I’ve also learned about customer behaviour, the logic of retail business, how to increase customer visits, the significance of location and how to grow your business and the importance of being efficient and dynamic. I’ve also learned how challenging it might be to find good employees and the value of them.

Q: Where do you see BärBar in 5 years?

A: We’ve definitely grown and have more locations than just one (including abroad) and our brand is well known and our customer experience is rock solid.

Q: What message is it that you want to convey through BärBar?

Enjoying a berry good smoothie.

Enjoying a berry good smoothie.

A: Finnish people need to cherish and appreciate more the wonderful, clean superfoods that we have here. We think it’s irrational to bring a bunch of superfoods such as goji berries, acai berries and exotic fruit, when our own forests are filled with the cleanest and most nutritious berries in the world! Globally speaking, our forests in Finland are extremely clean and the berries growing in them are off the charts! Also from a carbon footprint point of view, it’s insanity that we keep importing exotic berries and fruit pumped with a bunch of preservatives, when we instead could just benefit from our own local fresh ingredients.

Q: What’s your favorite berry?
A: I’d have to go with blueberry. I eat blueberries almost daily and I can honestly say, that I am nearly never sick and I feel healthy. This is something that has been more highlighted during my pregnancy. Many pregnancy symptoms such as vitamin deficiency and constipation are things that can be avoided by eating blueberries.

Q: What’s you’r favorite BärBar product?

A: One More Straw and the Tender Sea-Buckthorn smoothie. They are incredibly delish!

Q: Why should people eat more berries?

A: Because of their health! Berries are filled with good vitamins, fiber and dietary minerals. I guarantee that if you eat one cup of blueberries each day (all our products contain at least 2 cups of berries!) you will notice how your digestion will improve and how flues will stay away.

Q: Are there any more BärBar and Yoga events coming up? (STAY TUNED, GIVEAWAY NEXT MON)

A: YES! And perhaps even something for new mamas.

Q: What inspires you?

A: Positive feedback and the amount of loyal repeat customers that we have. People seem to like and appreciate our concept and our products and it makes me extremely content. I hope we can make people happy. It’s an important part of our concept.

Q: Favorite Instagram accounts?

A: @myberryforest - Not only is Tiina a lovely being, but she is amazingly talented in crafting tasty, vegan dishes made out of Finnish berries. Her pictures are also pretty. She’s designed many of our products and I hope we can keep working together in the future as well. Other than that, there’s not really any other favorites, I guess it’s nice to see what my friends are up to and admire beautiful nature photos.

Q: Life slogan?

A: This is a tough one. But if we have to dig a little deeper, I guess I’d had to pick one that entails the fact that dreams don’t work unless you do. The legendary Just do it from Nike is pretty good. And then perhaps one that encourages you to not to follow the mainstream, such as why be ordinary when you can be extraordinary.


Q: Share something weird about yourself?

A: I am afraid of water fountains and I like cold liver casserole (with raisins of course).

Thank you lovely Jasmiina!

Make sure to follow BärBar on instagram here. STAY TUNED, as we are hosting a GIVEAWAY next Monday for our upcoming YOGA & BärBar event later this spring in Pranama Kallio!

XX,
Eva


K: Kuka olet?

V: Helsingissä asuva 33-vuotias, tuleva pienen tyttövauvan äiti. 

K: Mitä teet työksesi?

V: Teen päivätyökseni markkinointia energiayhtö St1:ssä. Aloitin urani itse asiassa liikejuristina, mutta vaihdoin muutaman vuoden päästä alaa markkinointiin, mikä tuntui itselleni luontaisemmalta alalta.

K: Mitä teet vapaa-ajalla?

V: Oman yritystoimintamme lisäksi harrastan paljon liikuntaa, ulkona lenkkeilyä ja salia. Olenkin juossut tähän mennessä 5 maratonia ja toivottavasti vielä monta lisää :). Rakastan myös lukemista.

K: Mikä on BärBar?

V: Bär Bar on välipalabaari joka tekee terveellisiä ja herkullisia välipaloja suomalaisesta superfoodista. Teemme ihania Bär Bowleja (smoothiekulhoja), tuorepuuroja ja smoothieita suomalaisista marjoista. Nykyään meillä on myös vegaanisia nyhtökaura- ja kaurapalaleipiä - kotimaisesta kaurasta tottakai. Bär Barin missiona on tuoda suomalainen superfood helposti ja hauskasti ihmisten arkeen.


K: Mistä nimi BärBar tuli?

V: No nimi piti sisällään hauskasti niin sanan marja, baari kuin mukaan otettava/kannettava (bärbar on ruotsia ja tarkoittaa kannettavaa), mikä kiteytti ideamme, eli rakastamme suomalaisia marjoja ja haluamme tarjota niitä ihmisten elämään helposti mukaanotettavan välipalan muodossa. 


K: Riittääkö tulevalla mamalla aikaa kahdelle työlle?

V: Riittää ainakin vielä, yritys on minun ja avopuolisoni ja teemme sitä yhdessä molempien päivätöiden ohella. Itse baarissa työskentelee 4 aivan mahtavaa mimmiä, eli emme itse ole siellä päivisin töissä. Toki tavoitteenamme on kasvattaa liiketoimintaa koko ajan ja unelmissa on se että joku päivä pystymme työllistämään itsemmekin yrityksessä.


K: Koska teit päätöksen perustaa yrityksen?

V: Teimme sen yhdessä mieheni kanssa, rupesimme puhumaan yrityksestä toukokuussa 2017. Ensimmäinen Bär Bar avautui tammikuussa 2018.

K: Mikä on ollut yllättävintä yrittäjänä?

V: Se vaatii vielä enemmän pitkäjänteisyyttä periksiantamattomuutta, kekseliäisyyttä ja reippautta/pokkaa kuin olin ajatellut. Hyvien työntekijöiden löytäminen on todella haastavaa ja kun niitä löytyy niin kannattaa pitää heistä kiinni.

K: Mitä sanoisit aloitteleville yrittäjillle?

V: Mikään ei tule helpolla eikä lottovoittoja oikeastaan ole. Jos haluat yrittäjäksi niin pitää olla ehdottomasti enemmän tekijä kuin unelmoija.


K: Tekisitkö jotakin erilailla näin jälkikäteen?

V: Olisin ollut vielä tarkempi ensimmäisen pisteen lokaation kanssa (Fredan pisteeseen muutimme ensimmäisen jälkeen). 


K: Mitä olet oppinut?

V: TODELLA PALJON! Markkinoinnista ja brändin luomisesta olen oppinut älyttömästi. Samoin siitä miten kuluttajat käyttäytyy ja retail busineksen logiikasta, kuten asiakaskäyntien kasvattamisesta, lokaation merkityksestä, keskiostoksen kasvattamisesta

ja operaativisesta tehokkuudesta. Myös se miten tärkeää hyvät työntekijät on ja miten vaikeeta sellaisia on löytää.

K: Missä näet BärBarin 5 vuoden päästä?

V: Meillä on auki selkeästi enemmän pisteitä kuin yksi (myös ulkomailla) ja brändimme ja asiakaskokemuksemme on timanttinen ja tunnettu.

K: Mitä sanomaa haluat välittää/levittää BärBarin avulla?

V: Sitä että suomalaisten pitää arvostaa ja fiilistellä enemmän oman maan puhtaita superraaka-aineita. Meidän mielestä on älytöntä että raahaamme maailman toiselta puolelta tänne kaikenlaisia eksoottisia ns superfood tuotteita kuten gojimarjoja, acaimarjoja, eksoottisia hedemiä jne kun omat metsämme ovat täynnä maailman puhtaimpia ja ravintorikkaimpia marjoja! Suomen luonto on kansainvälisesti niin puhdasta, että siellä kasvavat marjat ovat aivan omaa luokkaansa. Samoin on CO2-päästöjen kannalta outoa, että rahtaamme lento- ja laivaliikenteellä tänne säilöntäaineilla pumpattuna eksoottisia marjoja ja hedelmiä kun voisimme sen sijaan hyödyntää läheltä löytyviä puhtaita raaka-aineita.


K: Mikä on lempimarjasi?

V: Kyllä se on mustikka. Syön mustikoita melkein päivittäin ja voin kyllä rehellisesti sanoa, että en ole melkein koskaan kipeä ja kaikki arvoni ja terveyteni on huippukunnossa. Tämä on korostunut erityisesti nyt ollessani raskaana! Esim monet raskausoireet kuten ummetus ja vitamiinipuutos on sellaisia joita mustikoita syömällä olen pystynyt välttämään täysin.


K: Entä lempituotteesi BärBarilla?

V: One More Straw ja Tender Tyrni smoothiet. Ne on aivan älyttömän hyvän makuisia!

K: Miksi ihmisten tulisi syödä enemmän marjoja?

V: Oman hyvinvointinsa takia! Marjoista saa älyttömästi hyviä vitamiineja, kuituja ja hivenaineita. Takaan että jos syöt vaikka 1dl mustikoita joka päivä (kaikki tuotteemme sisältävät ainakin 2 dl marjoja!) niin huomaat eron siinä miten ruoansulatus toimii ja flunssat pysyy poissa.


K: Onko BärBarilla tulossa enemmän tapahtumia (vink vink), kuulemma oli suosittu Chakra Tune Up meikäläisen kanssa?

V: On! Ainakin joogajuttuja toukokuussa ja kenties jotain tuleville äideille ;)


K: Mikä motivoi sinua/inspiroi?

V: Se miten positiivista palautetta saamme asiakkailtamme ja miten paljon kanta-asiakkaita meillä on! Ihmiset ovat tykänneet konseptistamme ja tuotteistamme ja se tekee minut aivan älyttömän iloiseksi. Toivon että pystymme tekemään

ihmiset iloiseksi. Se oli meille tosi tärkeä osa tätä konseptia.


K: Lempi ig tilit?

V: @myberryforest - Tiina on paitsi ihmisenä ihana myös aivan älyttömän taitava loihtimaan maistuvia vegaanisia tuotteita suomalaisista marjoista. Hänen kuvansa ovat myös aivan super hienoja. Hän onkin suunnitellut meille monta tuotetta ja toivon että voimme jatkaa yhteistyötä vielä tulevaisuudessa. Muuten minulla ei oikein ole mitään selkeitä suosikkeja, on vaan kiva seurata ystävien meininkiä ja ihastella vaikkapa kauniita luontokuvia.


K: Life slogan?

V: Hmmm, tämä on paha. Mutta jos vähän syvempää haetaan niin varmaankin joku mikä korostaa sitä että pitää tehdä eikä vain unelmoida. Niken legendaarinen, Just do it ? Ja sitten joku mikä korostaa sitä, ettei kannata seurata laumassa muita, mm why be ordinary when you can be extraordinary


K: Kerro jotain outoa itsestäsi (jotain mitä kukaan ei tiedä)?

V: Pelkään suihkulähteitä ja sprinklereitä. Ja tykkään kylmästä maksalaatikosta (rusinoilla tottakai!).

Kiitos ihana Jassu!


10 things I’ve (re)learned after having relocated to Helsinki

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10 things I’ve (re)learned after having relocated to Helsinki

10 things I’ve (re)learned after having relocated to Helsinki, Finland

Some of you might already know that I spent a big chunk of my twenties residing in a beautiful vibrant little beach town called Sayulita. Sayulita is located in the state of Nayarit on the Pacific coast of Mexico, just an hour North of Puerto Vallarta. Sayulita is a very magical town and holds a strong energetic pull. I can talk about Sayulita for days, so I’m just going to leave it at that for now and make a completely different blog post about Sayulita and its magic later on. So when I say that Sayulita is a small town, I mean REALLY, really small. If you go visit and ask a random person in town (given that it’s a local, not a tourist), “hey do you know Eva from Finland”, the odds are quite high that the person does know me or know of me. This will perhaps give you a better idea of what I am referring to when I say small.

Living on the other side of the world in a completely different culture, mindset and country with a different language, different customs and traditions truly left its mark on me and it definitely shaped me as a person a lot. In all honesty I am somewhat Mexecuted (all my Sayulita friends will understand this expression) for the rest of my life. What that means is I am kind of “fucked” as my heart is torn between two different places. Life tends to have a plan and I am simply following it as it is, so you will never know where it will take you, you’ll just have to flow with it.

So flowing with life is what I did. It’s funny now thinking back of a time when I swore I’d never return to Finland, well, I guess they’re right when they say never say never. It’s been an interesting journey to come back to this lifestyle and there’s definitely been some adjustment issues and challenges trying to mold back into this kind of living. I mean for starters, it’s cold as FUCK or at least right now. Well, luckily there are good things too. So I made a fun little list of some of the things that I’ve noticed after having returned back to Finland. Some of them I obviously knew before too, but I guess I am wearing a new pair of goggles after having lived in Mexico.

The funny thing is though, that Helsinki, Finland and Sayulita, Mexico are the complete opposites, in every.single.way. Lemme give you a few examples for starters: Finland: cold Mexico: hot, Finland: organized, Mexico: not organized, Finland: don’t salute your neighbors, Mexico: tell the coconut man about your dental issues. And the list goes on and on. So this blog post is a collection of these little observations and differences for you to enjoy. Please keep in mind that these are my personal remarks and I hope you take them with a grain of salt. My intention is not to offend anyone that represents either part of the two cultures and I truly love both cultures, countries and customs a lot. So here ya go:

1. People expect you to always be on time, they get upset if you’re 5 min late

Okay, seriously Mirkku, take a chill pill, scroll thru the gram, 5 minutes is only 5 minutes. If we were in Mex, I wouldn’t have even left my house yet. Sure sure sure, some of you might argue that it’s selfish and rude to make someone wait and I get it… but 5 minutes, seriously!? Anyways, I’ve noticed as a custom you’re supposed to let the person know that you’re meeting that you’re 5 minutes late. This will make it more tolerable and acceptable. Anyways, some of you Sayulitans might smile.

2. People mean what they say

So you know when you bump in to a person on the streets of Sayulita that you somehow (weird huh) haven’t seen in a while and you say to each other “we should catch up and hang out sometime, maybe grab a coffee”. When you say this in Finland they will literally pull out their calendar and set a date. It’s kinda nice to know that you can trust what someone is saying they actually mean and people don’t just say things to because it sounds nice.

3. There is no small talk

I love small talk. I love chit chatting about random things, talking to strangers and I truly enjoy it. It’s a nice way to acknowledge the other person and exchange some words or thoughts. Not just that, it will make time pass way faster if you’re in a bus, elevator or anywhere were you might be waiting for something. But unfortunately Finns don’t do it, they keep to themselves and think that you’re crazy person if you talk to them. I am trying my best tho and will keep chatting, even if they think I am crazy and have no friends (sometimes that’s the assumption). Luckily, however, there has been some positive change lately as Helsinki is becoming more international and the traveling Finns might not be completely turned off if you start talking to them.

4. November equals death, it’s simply the worst month. Run. Escape. Avoid it at all costs

As much as some people in Sayulita might hate the rainy season of July through Sept, lemme tell ya you haven’t experienced November in Finland. I made the novice mistake of coming here in November (dumb dumb) and holy fuck, what the actual fuck was that. Not only was it cold, but the worst thing was the lack of light. Because there is none. NONE. Let me repeat that and let it sink in. No daylight. Well, maybe like a couple hours each day, but nearly no day light. It’s the complete opposite in June though, the sun won’t set and the sun is shining 24/7. The thing for me is that the amount of light has a direct correlation with my mood and energy level. I felt as if someone had just pulled the plug on me. So my advise is, if you live in Finland and want to feel like a human being, escape November. There’s not really any other way. I already made my escape plan and next November you’ll find me in Sayulita sipping margs, doing yoga and soaking in the sun. Come with if you also need to escape this crazy month that people somehow survive. Srsly how do they do it?

5. The tap water is pretty amazing

The drinking water in Finland is the cleanest water on planet earth. I shit you not. It’s cleaner than the bottled water you buy in grocery stores anywhere and we even use it to flush down the poo poo and pee pee. Yes, that same drinkable, beautiful, delicious water goes down the toilet. This is one of the cool things about living in an organized place, little perks like drinkable, clean water. In Sayulita there are days when there just simply isn’t ANY water in the entire town, for days. When you live in a place like Sayulita, you learn to truly appreciate the things Finns take for granted. So wow on the tap water in Finland.

In Finland always loving Mexico. Photo taken at  Flow Festival  last summer.

In Finland always loving Mexico. Photo taken at Flow Festival last summer.

6. The trash bins are super small 

This might be a weird observation, but why the heck are Finnish trash bins so tiny!? I mean, you have to constantly be emptying them. In Mexico and the US they have BIG trash bins that can take a lot of trash. Anyways, minor detail but still something I’ve noticed.

7. People are afraid of germs

I don’t know if this is just me, but I’ve noticed that when people in Finland drop something on the floor (in their homes) or even on the table, they decide that it’s not edible anymore. Maybe I’ve acquired a stomach of steel living in Mex, but why wouldn’t I eat something that just fell on the table for a second? Another weird thing is how people obsess over the best before dates, I mean, they’re recommendations. It’s just something printed on the product because of legislation, but it doesn’t automatically mean that the item has spoiled at that specific date. Smell it, taste it and you’ll figure it out. I don’t know, this might be a personality thing and has nothing to do with culture.

8. There are systems and apps for everything

Finnish people are Very (with a capital V) efficient. There are apps for everything and systems for everything. Every process is simple and quick and user friendly. Mobile Pay this, order your bus card with that, order food with Wolt and book your yoga class with that. I mean holy smokes.

9. Everything is so clean, there’s no dust

So fresh and so clean clean. Ha! Well, yes, in Sayulita you see people constantly sweeping the streets and watering the streets for dust control. Nope not in Finland, there are machines for this too.

10. You don’t get cat called

Even if Sayulita is a melting pot for many different cultures and has a lot of expats (or immigrants, however you wanna look at it), as a blonde woman you’ll most like encounter some sort of sexual harassment, cat calling or machismo nearly on a daily basis. Not in Finland though. Even if it’s not completely equal and there’s still a lot of work to be done, such as equal pay and the employment of women in a fertile age, I’d say it’s still a pretty decent situation to be a woman living in Finland. You very seldom have to worry for your safety or get annoyed by someone whistling at you when walking down the street to go buy an ice cream (funny weird lil fact: Finns eat the most icecream in the world).

So those are just some of the things I’ve noticed. If you have some observations yourself feel free to drop a line in the comment section below.

Con amor,

Evita




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