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Archive for August 19th, 2010

19.08.10 – Man, the days are flying by! I’ve already been here a month and that means my stuff, which is currently on the high seas making its way to Kotka, Finland, should be here in the next week or two. It would be best if I had an apartment before my things arrive because I don’t want to worry about storage. One thing I know, the places in Finland are smaller than what I’m used to in the States. I’m already thinking I’ll need to purge a few items once they arrive. “Shedding” is definitely part of the process of moving abroad ;)

Now that I’m thinking about my stuff, here are a couple of lists.

Things I don’t miss:

  1. Car – I love walking and I’m already trying to figure out what I’ll do with my car once it arrives. I think I’ll only need it few and far between.
  2. TV – I’ve been watching a little tv here mainly because it’s different, even if it is American programs. I didn’t watch much tv back in the states so it’s interesting to watch MTV Cribs, Moonlighting reruns (never saw that program before!) and a whole slew of those criminal re-enactment programs.
  3. Xbox – Like a drug, best if it’s not easily accessible.

Things I do miss:

  1. Bed – It’s going to be a challenge finding an apartment with a room large enough for my California King but by god, I’m going to find one!
  2. Bike – Helsinki isn’t as nice as Portland but it’s still very bike friendly. Max and I will be able to ride to school too!
  3. Xbox – Yeah, it’s a drug.

I started looking at places just before I left for Paris so I’m familiar with the process, I just need to start it up again. I’m glad I’ve waited a bit because the first neighborhood I was focusing on was to have a place in Max and Emma’s school district to improve the chances of them getting in. Now that they are in school, I can look in other neighborhoods, not so close to the busy, hectic center and out a bit where things are quieter and more affordable.

Here’s the process in a nutshell, slightly different in the states. First, find the places available online. I’ve been using one website and it reminds me a bit of Match.com because the profiles almost always look and sound better than the real thing ;) Once you find a place there’s usually a “showing date.” In Finland you can only show a place for 15 minutes if it’s currently occupied so the rental agencies list the day and time to be there for a viewing. Finns are punctual so it’s best to be early. You can usually spot the place from a block away because there will be several other people waiting to see the same place. It’s Finland, so don’t make eye contact when you’re outside waiting for the rental agent to arrive, besides, they are your competition (I’m so American. Everything is competitive!). Wear shoes you can easily put on and take off. When you enter a Finns home you leave your shoes at the door, something I never did back in the states. Finally, have your ducks in a row. I always carry a completed application form because if you’re interested in the place you’ll need to fill out an application immediately. After all of that, keep fingers crossed, hope for the best and repeat when necessary ;)

Alright, today marks my official start date for looking into an apartment. Lets see how long it takes. I’m off now to check the websites!

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