Getting an apartment in Finland VS. Paris

Few months ago I wrote about my flat researches in Rovaniemi and moving plans there. Well, time went super fast and I always started to write something and then never finished. Now I am actually already settled in Rovaniemi in my new flat, but I can still give you a little shortcut about looking an apartment in Finland, and tell you how easily things work here…compared to Paris at least!

Some background information: When I moved to Paris in 2009 my first apartment there was a 9m2 “chambre de bonne“, in the 6th floor (without elevator!) of a very hype building in the 16th arrondissement of Paris. The rent was 615€ per month. And to get that ‘awesome’ apartment I spent about 2 months of visiting places and learning how to make a proper file with all the documents that landlords were asking… From working contracts to tax-informations…. I also had to ask my French grand parents to caution the apartment and to help me on paying the 3 months of rent that was asked at advance!

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The only picture that I could find about that tiny Parisian apartment, was from the day that I moved out from there!

This is to give a little sigh on what looking for an apartment in Paris, can look. I made the same thing few years later with my ex boyfriend and even then it wasn’t much easier, but we were lucky and got some help from our workplace on that time…

Anyway, in Finland no-one asked anything, when I confirmed the first apartment that I was offered.

First I applied for the student-apartments in Rovaniemi, but as they could offer especially shared flats, I also started to look on the private markets.  After many years of sharing my apartment with someone, this time I really felt that I want to have my place. As private markets in Rovaniemi were quit stuck, I also sent an application for KAS, Municipal Housing Homes. It’s a kind of real estate agent for the citys’ apartments. I just needed to fill the application online, and BIM! In two days they already sent me an offer! I was really surprised about that because I had heard that when you apply for the municipality, it always takes time… They sent me an interesting offer which I had to accept or reject within 5 days. Without seeing the apartment, being still in Kalajoki for my summer work, I decided to accept it. In France  I would have never-ever accept an apartment without seeing it first, but in Finland I know that they respect all the laws and do things very correctly. The only thing I was afraid of was that the walls would have had some horrible colors… (few years ago one of my friends moved in an apartment that she hadn’t seen before, and it was quit a surprise when one wall was pink!).

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I could only see pictures from outside, but any from inside, because there was still someone living…

 

But the most surprising thing for me was, how easily the processes went. We agreed everything by phone, the only document that I was asked to send to the agency, was a proof of my study place. I was almost about to ask “are you sure, you don’t need any other documents?” But I decided to stay silent and be happy that any incomes, tax returns or birth certificates were asked…  And the same day I got my lease by email, printed it, signed it and sent it back as an iphone picture. And that was it! I got they keys by showing my ID at the agency few weeks later.

I don’t know if that went so easily, because I’m a student now and because I rented trough that agency, but in general people who rent on private markets also, never need to show as much papers and proofs as in France. Of course I get the point of that in France, where is so much more people living, but it’s literally a hellish nightmare to rent an apartment in Paris.

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The first week I slept on air-mattress, but it didn’t matter because I finally had my own closet for my clothes!

Actually my positive surprises didn’t stop there, as the next thing I had to do, was the electricity contract. The KAS-agency gave me names of electricity suppliers and I just needed to contact them by email or by their internet-site and in 24hrs they sent me their offer and we made the contract trough internet. I didn’t see anyone or talked in phone with a single person, but I got my electricity contract, AND everything was working since the first day I got to the apartment.

And yes! When I got to see the apartment for the first time, after that I had signed the contract and already paid one month of rent, I was satisfied :). I have one small bedroom with a balcony, and one living room/kitchen + bathroom and entrance, around 40 m2 and the rent is under 450 e per month. By bike I’m 15 min from the university and the city-center.

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The next amazing things about Finland are the student offers ;).

 

Traveling with “strangers”

As you can read in my previous post, in May, I spent 3 weeks in Mexico with friends. We were 4 people traveling and visiting friends and family living there, so on some moments we were a group of 7 people traveling together.

For me, this was the first time that I was traveling that way, I mean with a group of friends for more than few days, and in further destination. Usually I’ve been traveling alone and as a couple. Or with a group of friends for some city weekends and student/work trips, and of course with my family…  So before this trip, I have to admit that I was a bit anxious. Not about the destination, or the trip, but more about the cast.

Why it was such a big deal for me this time? I’m used to travel, and I usually get along with people everywhere.

Well, maybe the fact that now I was leaving with my new boyfriend for the first time, and with HIS’ friends.  I actually had no idea with what kind of people I was going to travel, except that we were all from different backgrounds with different nationalities (one Finn, one Spanish, one Greek + me) . …  So, it was exciting and scary at the same time to leave for 3 weeks with my boyfriend, about who I didn’t really know how he is while he travels (you know, that ‘joke’ about the first couple-trip as a test? 😉 ), and then the 2 others, who were a couple as well and who I had met few times before, but who I didn’t really know.

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First step was planning the trip. As I was in Lapland the whole winter and the others were in Tampere, I was trying to do my best to not feel like an outsider when my boyfriend was telling me what they had been talking or planning about the trip. At the end the most of the plans we did all together in April, when I was back in Tampere. The good thing was that since the beginning we all agreed on the same point: That we will have many places to visit because of all our friends and family who live in different cities in Mexico, but we don’t want to hurry too much and only travel for long distances during the 3 weeks. We are going for holidays, not for a marathon.

As I’ve been working as a travel agent, and used to plan itineraries and hotel bookings for clients, it also took me some efforts to not wanting to decide about everything and do all the bookings by myself. Many moments I was thinking it’s better to not say anything and let also the others the possibility to choose. Also because of my work I’m always very interesting about touristic sites in different places, and doing suggestions on the program and places to visit. In this case I was checking a lot by myself, but at the end I did very few suggestions. P1100192

Before leaving, we decided the itinerary and booked the sleeping places. As we didn’t want to  be too dependent of a program, we didn’t book anything else at advance, and that worked well.

Before leaving we also noticed that we are all different regarding on safety and health-things. When I travel, I usually just use my commonsense, and ask locals about the places not-to-go or other tips. And maybe I have always been very lucky, as nothing have ever happened when I have traveled. I’ve once been attacked in Paris, in my own building, but never on my trips. So when people  were saying that Mexico is a dangerous country, I was answering that so is France, Brazil and Finland. Well, for my fellow travelers this was a more important question and came out many times before, and during the trip.

Well, nothing happened and the whole trip went really well.   No-one was even really sick, except one or two days of some little stomach-problems, but it could have been worst. That was also something that we were talking a lot; the hygiene and the food… But luckily everybody were still willing to try all kind of food and to eat also from street restaurants.

To travel with people that you barely know, is an interesting experience. We learned things about each others and about ourselves… For example who is super stressed before a flight or gets angry when he’s hungry, or who is faster on the morning and who’s the one that everybody else is always waiting for, or who hates travelling with buses, who always needs to go to the toilet, who gets tired the most easily and always sleeps when there’s a moment for that, who’s trying to be positive all the time, who loves see and beaches – who not, who doesn’t like the tropical heat – who does…

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Like I said before, everything went very well.  Of course there were some moments of frustration, I’m sure all of us would have done some things differently if there was a possibility for that. I for example, would have stayed more days on the beach, and if I was alone, I would have spent more time in the hostels to get to know the other travelers and to meet new people. I also would have stayed more with my friends, who I was visiting… To have more time to talk with them and to see their life in Mexico. I also would have spend more time just by myself. But regarding the fact that we were almost 24 hrs all together during 3 weeks, and we didn’t fight at all, I have to say that I’m proud about all of us.

This was a good experience and I’m happy I did it, but I’m not sure I would do the same kind of trip soon again. I still prefer my liberty, and to spend more time in one place, to really become familiar with the surroundings and people. I also want to be able to go to eat a simple sandwich if I’m hungry, instead of looking for a typical local restaurant for an hour, or to leave from a museum earlier if I’m feeling tired…

The good thing is that now I have people with who to share the memories and with who to talk about the trip! That’s something I’m missing when I travel alone.

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Three weeks in Mexico, with few sentences

4 People, 4 nationalities (Spain, Greece, Finland, France), 3 main languages (English, Spanish, Finnish), mixed with French and Greek. Age scale from 24 to 32.

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One country.

3 weeks.

7 cities.

Several climates.

MEXico

Desert, jungle, Pacific and Atlantic coasts.

Cactus-trees, Palm-trees, flamboyants, primaveras, bougainvilleas….

About 30 hours of 7 different buses and 2000 km (+ one national flight).

3 different hostels, 2 hotels, one Airbnb, 2 local houses.

7 different local guides.

3 European wives settled with a Mexican husband.

New and old friends, brothers, sisters…

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A lot of corn, chili and lime.

Some tequila and Mezcal.

Mangos, goyaves, pineapples, melons, papayas, mameis, bananas, avocados…

Grilled cactus and grasshoppers.

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Museums, pyramids, bars, restaurants, boat-rides, mines, mangroves, supermarkets, market-places, lucha-libre, shopping, eating and drinking again and again…

Liters of water bottles.

Kilometers of walking around cities under +30-35 C.

Sunscreen, sombreros and mosquito-protection, hydro cortisone and after sun.

Colors, smells, sweat, flavours, and a lot of fun!

 

 

 

Back in Paris – back home

Since Ivalo the blog have been quit silent. I have had some inspiration issues, and problems to finish my many drafts on different subjects.
Now I’m writing from the bus to Tampere. I just landed back to Finland, after one week spent in Paris. Paris, the city were I used to live for 6 years and which I left last summer for Finland. Being in Paris felt extremely normal and at the same time very strange. Last time I was in Paris for holidays, was on summer 2009, and few months later I moved in there.

When I was a kid I spent my holidays in France, in Le Mans, with my French grand parents and cousins.  And during all past 6 years, Finland was the place where I went for holidays… To meet friends and family, to eat local food that I was missing, to do Finnish things. Now, that have changed again. Now I’m going for holidays in France, but sharing my time between Paris and Le Mans. No matter the country you are it’s always the same; your time is limited and there’s a lot of people to see and things to do. And as with my Finnish friends when I came to Finland for holidays, also my French friends have their life with work and family and I can’t suppose they are 100% available for me when I come.


And the biggest different with Paris now, is that I don’t really have a home there anymore. Luckily one of my very good friend hosts me whenever I need, and I feel at home in her place… But before I used to have my place in Paris, my home where I always went once the plane have landed. Now that place is not my place anymore, and it felt strange to not go there…

Being back in Paris 10 months later I moved out from there, was very confusing. Places and people haven’t changed, I still speak French and know how to use metros and how to behave and communicate in different places… Nothing is difficult, everything’s natural and goes normally. In a way I felt much more at home in Paris than in Finland! I think last years I got so distant with Finland that it still takes time to get to feel at home there…. A lot of people have told me that I’m more French than Finnish, despite the accent I have when I speak French. And I feel so too.


After few days in Paris, I still don’t regret I left that city, no matter how much I love it! Paris is still very tiring. When I take the metro to cross the city in one hour I can’t not to think how in Tampere I cross the city in 15 min by bike. Or when we talk about holidays with friends, I realize in Finland it’s totally fine to stay at home for holidays, in Paris it’s almost not possible to imagine that… Being in Paris now, reminded  my about the life style, the hurry, the pollution, the traffic – it reminded me why I wanted away from there.

But also spending evenings with my friends, with who I have studied, with who we share the same professional interests and with who we are in quit same life-situations – that makes me to miss being there. Drinking wine which is good and cheap, eating cheese and charcuterie, going to Japanese – Corean – Italian – French restaurants for half the price that in Finland….


I guess, like my Spanish friend once said, I’ll always have a kind of identity-crisis, as I will always be between Finland and France and never able to be in the both countries at the same time.

What a wonderful year…

Wow. When I think about this year, I still get breathless.

It’s been the most exhausting and exciting year ever… And I really had no clue about how full of events this year would be, when I spent the last New Year in bed with almost 39 of fever and suffering about some horrible food poisoning. I was in Paris, and thinking that it was the first time since I moved to Paris that I wasn’t celebrating New Year with anyone, I was really too sick… And in my little superstitious mind I remember I was also thinking “this can’t be a good year, as it starts so bad…”

Well, now I’m in Ivalo in Finnish Lapland, but the road was long to get until here! 😀

When I left Paris for Brazil in March, I was saying to my current boyfriend that when I come back, I want to leave Paris for real. But I wasn’t thinking that I would do it alone, AND, that I’ll not leave only Paris, but also France!

So….Brazil was awesome. I haven’t enough words to describe those three months spent in Foz do Iguaçu, but you can read some of what happened there in the beginning of this blog (April-May 2015). That experience allowed me to meet the most amazing people, to realize a lot of things about me and my dreams, to discover wonderful places, to see new opportunities opening for me and also put me in front of the most hard decisions that I’ve ever took.

And one decision led to another. In June I came back to Paris, and in July I was already in Finland with all my luggage from last 6 years.

During about 4 months I enjoyed, I struggled, I cried, I was extremely happy… I went trough all kind of feelings and  finally ended up to Lapland with “waitress” marked on my payslip.

Of course things were not as easy as they seem written here in. But this was to say, that I’ve been extremely lucky this year, because I’ve seen few of the most beautiful places in the world within less than a year. Iguaçu Falls, Rio de Janeiro, Paris, Helsinki, Tampere, Lapland…

I’ve been taking very different means of transportation to go to work, under extreme climates and temperatures… In Paris I was cramped in the subway among hundreds of people, in Brazil I took the bus or walked under the sun in + 35 C, and now I’m biking in -25 C, under the polar night!

And I’ve been discovering new cultures and tasting new foods and flavors, having conversations in English, Portuguese, Spanish, Finnish, French. I’ve exchanged about travel-tips and cultural differences with so many people, I’ve been partying and having caipirinhas, beers, wines, glögis, and so much more!

All these countries and places also included a lot of hellos and goodbyes…

This year I’ve left and let go some very important people from my life, but I’ve also got a lot of new ones. Actually the year 2015 was not only rich with new cultures and natural or geographical places, but especially on relationships. It’s better to not be sad about what we’ve done or what we’ve loos, but to be happy about what we have gained. Except that I’ve met wonderful new people which I hope I’ll keep in my life for ever, I’ve also got closer to my family and old friends again. And this has been really amazing.

And I want to thank all those lovely people who I’ve met and got back this year! You people, really made this year a very special-one ❤

 

I’m very excited about the new coming year, and sure it’s going to be a great one also…  I hope and promise only one (or two) thing for the coming year; Less of big changes and not so much running  ;).

Happy New Year everybody! Enjoy the moment, your loves and what you have now….

Next stop: Ivalo

“Booking status: confirmed”.  I have never booked a flight northern than Tampere or Helsinki, now that’s been done too! Next week I’ll take the bus at 4 am from Tampere to Helsinki, and the plane from Helsinki to Ivalo, where I’ll spend the next 4 – 5 months! So, this is the third time this […]

Everlasting travel fever

November started. It’s the darkest period of the year… Especially in Finland. And I haven’t been in Finland for this period in many years. Actually even when I was living in Paris, I have been often travelling on this period, to get some energy and to stay alive :D. Last year on October-November I was in the french Caribbean for almost 2 months, the year before… Well, Amsterdam, and 3 years ago, Caribbean also…

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Santo Domingo & Guadeloupe in 2014

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Amsterdam 2013

This year I’m in Tampere, Finland. And in few weeks I’m leaving to Lapland for about four (4) months, where it’s even more darker. That project gives me a lot of mixed feelings, and not much excitement about sun and beaches like the previous years. I was talking about that with my friend earlier today, and I have to say that leaving to the north for many months makes me a little anxious. It’s not only about the cold and dark, but the fact to leave again. I’ve been moving so much this year that now I was actually thinking that maybe some people are right when they say that I should just stop for a while. Settle down and don’t go anywhere anymore.

But then, only few hours later I found myself on internet, reading for travel blogs, and looking for flights to Mexico and Paris.

I felt that travel fever rising and I got super excited!

Since I left Brazil in June my plan have been to go back there as soon as possible. Of course a lot of things have happened, one thing leads to another and plans change and evolve all the time.

Yes, I know, I’m talking about Mexico, Paris, Brazil… Finnish Lapland… No, I’m not confused, I actually have a plan. And all this fits together. Hopefully. Never know what can happen.

But I will tell about this plan a little later, when it’s more sure ;-).

I don’t actually know if travel fever is real English expression…? In Finnish it is, and in French it’s not. It means that very excited and thrilled feeling when you start thinking about a trip coming. For me it includes all those feelings about arriving to the airport, taking the plane, the smells, the tastes, and the feeling of the hot sun on my skin, the sand under my feet… And the people with who I’m planning to travel or who I’m going to visit… More the fever gets high, more I want everything to happen now, and I can’t concentrate on anything else anymore.

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Now, what really kept my attention was that how is it possible to be at the same time so tired of traveling and moving, and then already plan some new trips and get so excited about them?!

I have a feeling that my travel fever and longing to somewhere else never stops. Is that related to the fact that I was born in a family with two home-countries and two cultures? Is it meant to be like that for children in mixed families? Or is it just possible to travel enough at once and then be ready to stay in one place? I’ve been secretly a little jealous to one of my very good friends who’s half Finnish and half German, and when we were younger we were always feeling very same about Finland and living abroad. But when I moved to France, she traveled the world… Asia, Australia, the States… And after one, two, years, she moved back to Finland and since she’ve been saying that she feels super good there, At Home. She knows Finland is the place she wants to live.

And I’m just waiting to have that kind of feeling with some place, and to be able to say “here it is, now I only want to travel for holidays, but not move anywhere”.

Or maybe in todays’ society it’s more and more difficult to settle down and stop moving, probably people are going to move and travel more and more and no-one will have a real home-place in few years?

As much as I’m excited about all my travel-plans, as much I would like to stop running and feel good where I am whiteout missing anywhere else…. But as we say, human is never happy ;).

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