Greetings from Costa del Sol.

 

I had been here over a month, before I figured out that most of the people, I have met has been Finnish. I was surprised about that fact. Fuengirola is far away and totally in the other side of Europe than Finland, even so its very easy to live here with almost only using Finnish. Here you can visit a Finnish doctor, food market, hair dresser, masseur, bar, dentist and of course Finnish church. It is possible to live here in a Finnish bubble with sun shining on it. And amazingly many, who has moved here, choose this kind of life. I met a couple that has lived here 25 years and don’t speak or even want to learn Spanish language. Local people think Finns as a bit mentally cold because they don’t take contact. And its difficult to take contact if don’t have a common language. However, Finns are accepted here because of the money they bring along. Of course, here is also Finns that are interested to integrate into Spanish culture and learn language. I was surprised because I know what is demanded about foreigners who wants to move Finland. There is a saying “maassa maan tavalla”, which means that you must assume the local habits and learn Finnish language if you want to live there. I don’t want to accuse anyone, but I honestly think that it would be more fun and multifaceted live if taken some of the local culture as a part of your own life.

Along with integration I have worked with loneliness and homelessness within my placement. Both issues appear my daily work here. Here are about thirty Finnish with no permanent place to live. They sleep outside, beg money and spend time in parks. We have met them, talk with them and helped them if possible. Often, they are pleased when you give them a moment and listen their story. Most of the people just walk past them with turning their look away.

Loneliness is seen within old people who has become a widow recently. They wheel sadness, tiredness and need someone to be with. There is a high risk that they are not able to get out from their apartment if not necessary. Our small cafeteria in the centre is great place for them to meet other people or even find a new friend. And we try to visit those who can’t reach the café right now.

My eating habits has become totally different here. During Spanish workdays its normal to grab a sandwich etc. after midday and another snack after work. Bigger meal is used to eat after sunset. In Finland I used to eat much more. Warm lunch at school or work and another one at home. Sometimes third meal at evening if needed. I would estimate that I eat less than half here compared to Finland. It must be the body heating due to cold that spends energy up north. Big change for body but it seems to be happy with it.

For me spare time is easy to spend here. From our apartment its only 200 meters to the seashore of Mediterranean and almost all services are as far. I enjoy meeting new people here. They are social and very friendly. Back in Finland I used to watch ice hockey and soccer when possible, but surprisingly here I can do that much more because of the Finnish restaurants and sport channels. I really didn’t expect that. And can you mention a better place to watch live football than Spain? And of course, at the end I must mention the sun. Its always present here, and biggest reason for Finnish people to move here. Maybe for me also.

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