Well, the Brockmanns have officially moved to Finland! I still can’t believe it. Someone pinch me so I know it’s not a dream because it sure feels like one!
After a very long day of traveling, we finally made it to Helsinki on Monday afternoon. It was a rainy and slightly chilly day in the city, but it still welcomed us with open arms. A very nice cab driver drove us to our new home. Wife had found the apartment two days before she returned to New York after her 5-week directing job in July. I had seen photos, but was still anxious to see the real thing. The moment I stepped foot in the apartment, I felt right at home; I was running from room to room like a little kid in a candy store…and the apartment has a big balcony, something I’ve always wanted…Wife did good!
My in-laws had driven all the way from Imatra, about 3.5 hours East of Helsinki, two weekends in a row to paint the walls (with the help of my brother-in-law), clean every inch of the place and stock the fridge/kitchen with the Finnish essentials – kahvi (coffee); makkara (sausage); maito (milk); salad makings; ruisleipä (rye bread); Vichy (sparkling water); suklaa (chocolate); appelsiinimehu (orange juice); and of course, olut (beer) and a bottle of bubbly so we could toast to our new abode! They also brought Wife’s stuff from her old Finnish apartment (glasses, dishes, flatware, coffee mugs, towels, bed sheets, etc.) and picked up a new couch for us. Words can’t begin to describe how grateful we are.
As exhausted as we were, we managed to unpack over 250 lbs. of luggage. If you added up all the storage space in this apartment, it would add up to the square footage of a small studio apartment in New York City (I may have to go shopping just to fill up the closet space! Kidding, Wife…sort of ;)).
Over 250 lbs. of luggage
To our surprise, the Rainbow Family (two of the most amazing people I know along with their adorable boys…two white Westies, the baby, John Lennon and the wise one, Ukko, who’s birthday is today…Onnea!) came over late night to personally welcome us! Have I mentioned how much I love the Finns?!?!
John Lennon & Ukko. Photo courtesy of Niko Hänninen
The Brockmanns were up bright and early yesterday morning. We had a long list of things we had to accomplish before the day was over…forewarned, you may feel exhausted after reading this! First, we started with a tram ride down to Maistraatti, the local register offices or magistrate. Wife was able to register herself back into Finland, but since I don’t have a Finnish social security number yet I was denied…I already knew this would happen, but it still felt a little discouraging. From there, we took the tram to the bank, first of three visits that day, so Wife could deposit her U.S. dollars (I was scheduled to open my bank account later that day).
Our next stop was Helsingin Seudun Liikenne (HSL), the Helsinki Regional Transportation office, so I could get my Matkakortti (tram/bus/subway card); next, a train ride took us to the Malmin Poliisilaitos, the Finnish Immigration Police that handles resident permits for foreigners, where I anxiously handed over my application (now I get to wait anywhere from one to five months for their decision…and we all know how patient I am!! Hopefully it will be a positive one!).
From there, a quick train ride brought us to Tector, an Apple reseller, so we could purchase iPhone 4S’s at retail price since all mobile phone carriers in Helsinki have run out of iPhones…really??? (A huge thanks to our dear friend that called and had them set aside the last TWO in the store!)! With very expensive iPhones in hand, we stopped at this dear friend’s home for a quick cup of coffee before taking the train back to the city so we could go to Verotoimisto, the tax administration offices, so Wife could get a form she needs for her work that starts on Thursday, but the line was too long and would’ve caused us to miss my appointment at the bank; we grabbed a quick bite to eat instead. A subway ride from Kaisaniemi to Kamppi (yeah, we know it’s a short walk away, but we were racing against time) took us to the bank where I finally opened my bank account, though we would have to go to yet another banking branch where they would convert USD’s into Euros so I could deposit my money. Once my money was secured in my account, we went back to Verotoimisto to see if the line was moving any faster…no such luck…so off we went to the mobile carrier to set up our iPhones…YAY, I had my Finnish phone number!
Before heading home, we stopped at S-Market for some dinner makings (Atrian Pippurinen Broilerin Rintafilee = Finnish chicken (that’s what I call peppery, honey flavored chicken…my favorite!) and of course, we had to make a quick stop at Alko for some wine! Phew…after 10 hours of running around the city, we were finally home!!
It takes a lot to establish residency in a new country!
Today is another busy day for the Brockmanns (we wouldn’t have it any other way!)…it’s furniture shopping day!
Not to mention, for the first time in a long time, I’ve slept like a rock the last two nights…maybe it has something to do with living in Kallio (“rock” in Finnish!)?! 😉