Internationals in Seinäjoki 6/6
Here are some extracts of my interview with Maryna. We had a really nice conversation and also a lot of fun.
What is your name?
Where are you from?
How long have you been in Seinäjoki?
“In November it will be seven years.”
Why are you in Seinäjoki?
Back then, Maryna had just graduated from university and her husband asked her to come to Finland with him. He has been working there already for three years before Maryna moved there as well.
What are you doing in Seinäjoki?
Maryna works as an office secretary.
Did you have any difficulties when you came here? Do you feel well integrated?
“Yes of course there were difficulties. And also still now.” Maryna told. For example she still struggles when Finnish people tell jokes to her: “I often don’t understand the jokes.” She is also still getting used to Finnish holidays, she said. Because in Ukraine the holidays are celebrated differently and also on different days than the Finnish ones. “In a Ukrainian birthday party the host hast to come up for everything: food, drinks etc. The guests in return bring presents to the one who is celebrating. It’s different in Finland.” For example the Finnish guests often bring their own drinks.
But still Maryna thinks that she got integrated very well: “The integrating system in Finland is amazing.” Her biggest help in the integration process was the adult school where she learned Finnish. “During that time I also got some financial support so that I had time to focus on the language.”
What do you miss about Ukraine?
“The Ukrainian cafés, restaurants and pubs.” For example there are many restaurants in Ukraine where they serve traditional Ukrainian food. In Seinäjoki in return there are many exotic restaurants but not any, where you can eat traditional Finnish food. Maryna also mentioned that the cultural life in Ukraine is different. “I also visit some festivals here in Seinäjoki but it’s really different than in Ukraine. There are much more events in Ukraine and I used to visit them more often.”
“I also miss to wear and buy colourful clothes. It seems that in Finland there are not so many shops where you can buy really colourful clothes.” So Maryna wears clothes with cooler colours here in Finland, like the Finns do it as well.
What would you miss about Finland if you were back home? What would you like to bring to Ukraine?
Maryna definitely would miss the peace in Finland the most. “At the beginning when people told me that they are going to their Mökki to find some peace, I was wondering how it can be even more peaceful there. Already in the city of Seinäjoki it’s really peaceful and silent.”
Also Maryna likes the Finnish ability not to stress always. “Some people say that Finnish people are cold. They really are in a way. They can stay cool when something stressful comes up.” she explained. She also admires other ways of the Finnish lifestyle: “In Ukraine most people always want to get more and more and become as rich as possible. Here people are able to enjoy average and it’s fulfilling enough for them to have the average amount of money. They love what they have and find happiness in that.”
What is your favourite place in Seinäjoki?
“My favourite place in Seinäjoki is called Paukaneva.” Maryna said. That’s a big swamp area with wooden hiking tracks. “I don’t like the forest so much because it’s so dense. The swamp is really open and it also opens your mind to breath.”
Text and photo: Anja Kaufmann