ROME- RANUA ONE WAY TICKET
Before I came to Finland I was working for C.E.M.E.A. an association which refers to active education: a kind of education that tends to free the human being, offering situations in which anyone – children, youngsters, adults – can become conscious of the world around them, contributing to its evolution in a perspective of individual and social development. It was CEMEA who gave me the possibility to come to Finland as a volunteer worker. Even before that time, I was looking for other possibility to go abroad working after my experience in France as a student. I had the possibility to choose between Spain and Finland. At the end I followed an advice from my best friend “Go to Finland, we don’t know so much about that place, except it is Santa Claus and sauna country”. So I arrived in Ranua, Lapland, on 27Th of April 2004 and until now I have not been home sick at all.
Ranua is completely different from Rome where I come from. Ranua has about 5000 inhabitants and Rome almost 6 million...so before I came I was really nervous.
I was worried that Finnish people were “cold” as their weather: I was worried that I could live in such of small place. I was worried that I would never learn the language. I was worried that I could feel outside most of time.
I was wrong.
During that time I worked for the municipality, Youth and Sport Affair department. I was involved in many activities. Most of the time I worked in the Youth House and then summer camps, daily trips, tournaments, youth exchanges, school activities and Golden Cloudberry Festival.
Everyday I discover good and bad things. But still I discover something that anyway made me richer than before. In Ranua I discover what means to be part of a community that is close in one way (98 km from Rovaniemi) but really open in other ways.
In Ranua I learn to accept makkara as food, I learn to enjoy the sauna and enjoy Jaffa and salmiakki. I learn that a lot of Finnish people are lactose intolerant or gluten free..I learn to eat without eyes just with my stomach…(Pasta and ketchup? määmmi?just boiled potatoes without any sauce??) J
I learn that know the language is one of the step to really understand a culture and their funny habits. (Finnish people they are very quite and they avoid the physically contact but they come in sauna with you naked!..pretty weird for a mediterean culture isn’it? )At the beginning learn Finnish was very hard. So different from other languages….and in shop not everybody could speak English…so the first time that I went to shop alone was almost a tragedy…. J Do you speak English? Ei ei en osaa englanti mutta osan ruotsi I speak svenska…. Help!!!!!!!!!!!
I learn to be always on time: in Finland seems to be the old habits being “fashionably late” is not longer acceptable….Finnish people are always on time!!
I learn to respect the environment: Ranua as a wonderful landscape even the name in Finnish means the place where is growing anything. In one year I took so many picture of the lake that I could make a calendar with them!
Nowadays I am living and working in Oulu. After the day that I came to Finland it has been already three years. In Oulu I am fine. It ’s city but not so big as Rome, but still very nice. But sometimes I miss Ranua and the Lappish landscape.
I miss in winter time to see the northern lights on the sky. I miss the midnight sun and the sunset on the lake.
I miss of course the people there: the workers in the library that they helped me very much to find material for my final work in University. I miss the small place that everybody knows you and if you meet them in supermarket they stop and talk to you. I miss the youngsters with who I had fun most of the time. I miss my ranua’s friends. But people make choice and maybe, if I wouldn’t move from there I wouldn’t appreciate enough like I do it now.
In Oulu I live with my fiancé. He is from Ranua. So Ranua that is such a small place give me a thing that Rome couldn’t give me. The love of my life. And guess what? I have to thank Ranua for it!