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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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Why the F do I blog, but perhaps you should too?

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Why the F do I blog, but perhaps you should too?

Greetings dear readers,

Welcome to my world. Well, at least a glimpse of it. I started blogging (again) after a loooong break. Ever since I started writing again some people in my circle have been curious and reached out to me and asked me why the hell I blog. This actually made me stop for a second and ponder around the same question and fair enough as curiosity never killed the cat (or did it?), I decided to open up around the question; WHY THE F DO I BLOG. Ladies and gents, lemme tell ya why:

First and foremost I actually enjoy writing. It’s a way for me to express and share my thoughts, passions, interests and ideas within my community and even perhaps beyond it. It feels really really good and empowering to put it down on a piece of paper (even if it’s in a virtual form). Interestingly enough writing is actually something that runs in my family as my mama used to be a writer and worked within communication until she finally retired this year. So it’s a way to communicate with you guys (ahum, if you’re actually reading this comments are more than encouraged).

Secondly, I feel like it’s extremely therapeutic and I gain a lot of insight and clarity on how I actually think and feel about certain things or whatever it is that I am writing about, it simply helps me make sense of things. In addition to this, I feel like it’s making me commit to a practice or habit and teaches me to build discipline (self work, duh!). I also feel like it is helping me become more analytical and a better thinker as I actually really think about the stuff I put out on the world wide web (aka my brain is getting more functional 🧠).

I also feel like it is helping me grow as a person as I am putting myself and my thoughts out there and building my personal brand and showcasing my world views and passions. That being said, I often worry and think “oh my gosh will they judge me, what will they think” etc etc BUT then I just remind myself that the thing is, I’d rather be judged than do shit and actually judgement says way more about the person judging than the person being judged (boom mathafakaaaas). Oh, and did I mention it’s the bomb for marketing and SEO? Yea, so I guess you should start now too (if you’re in the biz world)! In a nutshell I gathered all my reasons here below:

  1. I enjoy it + runs in the fam

  2. I get to express myself, my views, thoughts, ideas and beliefs

  3. Great way to connect with my community and beyond

  4. It challenges me and puts me out of my comfort zone + empowers me

  5. It makes me more analytical and inspires me read and dig more into the topics that interest me or the things I wanna discuss

  6. It’s therapeutic

  7. It gives me clarity and insight about how I feel and what I think

  8. Personal brand development

  9. It’s the shit for marketing & SEO

  10. It’s making me grow as a person (self development)

If you also happen to enjoy writing, it’s perhaps time you should give it a go as well?

Vamos.

Con amor y cariño,

Evita

Up close and personal.

Up close and personal.

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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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