expat life

The city and an untold story!

My expat life…

5 years ago during the summer time, I was all set to change the city I was living in. I was tired of the city and I desperately needed some changes in my life. The plan was to leave the city for good, live with my parents for a while, detox my body & soul, set new goals, and to eventually move to a new city. But life had a way different plan for me! I can’t say whether it happened only for a reason but, I am sure, it landed me in a happy place.

At the same time, a part of me still wanted to return to the same job and the same city. I hadn’t officially resigned. I was just taking a break and I could always return. There were big decisions to make. But a minor accident made me stay for a little longer.

Even though it looked like a very minor accident, my left foot had some soft tissue damages which took a whole year to heal. In the meantime, to keep myself busy I was doing a lot of freelance work and also decided to pursue some further education. 

To be honest, I was bored to be stuck and like how! Yet, at the same time, I was relieved that I was thousands of miles away from my struggles, life’s little disappointments which looked too big to handle at that time and age, and also from all the chaos of a big city life. You may call me an escapist but getting away from your troubles once in a while is not really a bad thing, especially when more important things are at stake.

At the risk of being dramatic, I would say, with this escape, I actually saved myself from a catastrophe and I would do it again if needed. I think, there is nothing wrong in accepting the fact that things are not going the right way. 

I had spent about 10 years of my life in that city. I loved and still, love that city to the bits. But by that time, all my friends had moved out of the city and I was the only one to stick around. I was lonely, both my personal and professional life was a mess and, most of all, my unhealthy living was taking a toll on me. I suffered from insomnia and I feared that I would lose my mind if I stayed any longer. I desperately needed a change. 

Today, it feels like it was another lifetime ago.

I saved myself from that disaster by escaping to my comfort zone (and I am not ashamed of it) and when was forced to stay with my parents for a little longer than expected due to the accident, I was not at all complaining. Perhaps, it was a blessing in disguise. I got time to slow down and look at life from a different angle. 

And when you are ready to embrace changes with an open mind, life throws in little surprises in extraordinary ways. I believe, everything is connected and everything has a meaning. So when I was bat-shit bored from my foot injury and the general joblessness, I was doing crazy but fun things and that is how I met this amazing person with whom I decided to spend the rest of my life.

It didn’t take long to make that decision as things simply fell in places!

I am so happy that I did that very slow detour and found him waiting at a corner just like the shepherd boy from ‘The Alchemist’. As it says, you will always have to come back home at the end of the journey to find your rewards. But without that journey, there is no reward! But exactly how I met him is a story I will keep for another time.

There I was, again ready to move back to the city I had abandoned a few months ago. I was nervous and still not sure about getting back to the city that overwhelmed me so much but at least I had company this time!

However, falling in love and deciding to get married wasn’t the only surprise life had in store. Just when we were planning our wedding and the rest of our lives together in the big city, things changed in a jiffy and we ended up in Helsinki instead.

So eventually my plan to move to another city didn’t change. The only difference was that never ever in my wildest dream I had thought that the new city could be Helsinki or anything remotely related to Europe. But that is how life rolls and you got to do what you got to do.When my husband asked me if I wanted to give Helsinki a shot, I said , “Why not?”

So here I was, trying to find my ground in a place so different than what I had been used to all my life. I even wrote an upside-down story about my newfound expat life which made my husband think that I was very unhappy. But it was just a phase of getting settled in a new place. The funny part is when you are a trailing-spouse you just have to find a way to see the sunny side. You did not choose this city for career but for family and you have to build your life around it in addition to the challenges of building your married life from the scratch.

On a positive note, this move was just another change added to my life.

If this wasn’t your original plan then maybe this was your destiny.

I decided to deal with the changes, find ways to keep myself busy, document my experiences, and even write some Helsinki How-Tos. It has been 3 years of starting ‘A Thousand Diversions’ now and I think the blog pretty much sums up my experiences of expat life.

Also, it is evident that Helsinki has grown on me like it was meant to be.

I have written about the struggles of finding that sense of belonging in Finland quite many times on this blog but this story is not about that. It is about braving the changes that came before Helsinki.

Looking back on the last 3 eventful years, moving to Helsinki feels like the most natural thing to have happened to us. So here’s a toast to this beautiful city! Like every city, Helsinki has a personality too, albeit an intriguing one. It has taught me the art of ‘Sisu’ and the strength of tranquility.

It may not be the warmest city where you instantly feel at home but our equation is more like that of two strangers traveling together! You are always thankful for the other’s presence; not minding and, at times, even enjoying the silence between the two of you!


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