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Archive for the ‘SYFLOM – Chapter 5’ Category

23.03.11 – I’ve dealt with a number of Finnish beauracracies since moving here and I can honestly say most are friendly and extremely efficient. I recently went to the Immigration Service, located on the outskirts of Helsinki in Malmi, to renew my residence permit and I can honestly say I hate dealing with the process. The people who work there are miserable, the waiting time is way to long and the process is confusing.

Here’s what happened on my last visit. The doors open at 0800 and it’s best to be there early because there will usually be at least 10 to 20 other people waiting outside to queue up. The people waiting to get in are usually spread out in little clusters smoking and/or talking but as the minutes approach to opening everyone starts moving closer and closer to the door until your shoulder to shoulder, pushing and shoving as the doors open.

The next step is the one that always confuses me. You have to pick from one of four options to get a number to be serviced. Returning documents, No EU and EU family members, all other nationalities and Final Decisions are the options. If you choose the wrong number, which I have done in the past, you’re screwed because you have to wait to get in to find out you have the wrong number. There isn’t anyone in the lobby to ask for assistance. On this visit, I read the choices carefully, or so I thought, waited over two hours before I got in and found out I chose the wrong number!!! Urg! The day was over for this visit because now to choose the correct number, there are already 15+ people in front of you which equates to a four-hour wait.

I can imagine why most of the people who work there are miserable because they have to bear the brunt of everyone’s frustration. When I found out I had the wrong number, the immigration officer did take the time to review my current residence status and made a recommendation to schedule an appointment online since I was not in a rush to renew. Luckily I was starting the process well in advance of my permit expiring. I was hoping to take care of one more thing which is on my “worry list” but instead, I have to go back again.

Now, if only I could find the link to schedule an appointment!!!

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21.03.11Finland does not have Daylight Saving Time. There’s no need. Finland’s high latitude means that sunset and sunrise times change by many hours over the year, and the effect of changing the clock by one hour would, in comparison, be small. As for longer days? I say bring it on ;)

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13.03.11 – There are a little over 5 million native speakers of what’s been called one of the most unusual languages in the world, Finnish. On a yearly basis, almost the same amount of people visit Finland from countries like Spain, Germany, Russia and the United States. Over the years it seems as though the Finns have learned it’s easier to learn other languages than rely on outsiders to speak their language. Almost everyone in Helsinki speaks English and I’ve witnessed the locals speaking Japanese, German and other languages I can’t even identify.

What most people may not know is there are two official languages in Finland, Finnish and Swedish. A little less than 10% of the Finnish population are native Swedish speakers. You see Swedish almost everywhere. The streets are listed in both Finnish and Swedish, the trams list their stops in both languages, I’ve even heard radio stations where they sound to be bouncing between the two languages.

As you can see by the shots, even the graffiti is in Swedish. I ran the above through google translate and got the following,

What happened to the meadow flowers. Dog them out of your pollution. Ever heard of natursky p laws.

Maybe someone out there can do a better translation ;)

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12.03.11 – The winters last long in Finland but every day you can feel spring approaching. The days are getting longer, the temperatures are slowly but steadily climbing and the white canvas of snow is starting to melt away. More and more color is making its way into my world ;)

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11.03.11 – Finns make the most of their world when it’s all iced over. It’s common to see people ice fishing, walking and nordic skiing on the frozen Baltic but the other day I was watching a group of people take turns on an “ice boat.” The day seemed perfect for ice boating because the sun was out and there was a strong breeze blowing. They really picked up speed quick. When you walk on the ice you notice how smooth most of the surface is but you also come across some areas where there are deep cracks and large bumps. I watched three boys in their teens take turns out on the ice and they didn’t have a problem. Good for them!

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10.03.11 – I was down walking at my favorite place, across the ice to some of the little islands off the coast of Helsinki. Spring is in the air although the temperatures are still about freezing. The days are getting longer, you can feel the change in sunlight on a daily basis. While I was out walking today there was a storm off the coast which made for some dramatic clouds.

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09.03.11 – Things are crazy busy for me now so I have less time to wander the streets taking pictures. I’ll continue to post on a daily basis as long as I can but I need to focus my energy in other areas. I’m trying to start a business in Finland. I’m planning on opening a frozen yogurt/coffee shop. Maybe I’m crazy but that seems to be my calling right now. It’s a bit intimidating and crazy right now in the beginning but I’m finding a good amount of support so far from the people I meet to talk about my plans. There is just so many things I need to do before the summer when I would like to open. Expect to be hearing more about the process in the future. I started this blog to document my new life in Finland so I hope you find it entertaining ;)

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