Mäntyharju, Finland (looking out from my new flat's window)
Mäntyharju, Finland (looking out from my new flat's window)
18.08.2016 I came to Riihimäki, Finland to study at HAMK University of Applied Sciences. I did not know anyone in that city, I did not have friends or family relatives alongside me, I did not speak any native languages of Finland ( Yes, Finland recognizes Finnish and Swedish as its native languages) and I did not have a solid clue what future unfolded to me.
After five years, I left Riihimäki on 09.09.2021 and moved to Mäntyharju ( it is about 160 km away from Riihimäki) to start my new job at HewSaw - Veisto Oy because this company offered me a good work contract which I could use to extend my residence permit in Finland - the Immigration Department of Finland granted me a 4-year residence permit on Monday - and helped me to find an apartment closed to the workplace.
I said goodbye to my flatmate, who flew to UK on Wednesday this week to relocate in London with his family. I said goodbye to all my friends that I met since 2016 in university campus, some of them went back to their home country, some of them moved to another city pursuing Master's degree. As for those who are still staying in Riihimäki, I went to their place and shared a beer. I shared a meal with my Vietnamese friends. Talking to them made the nostalgic feeling lingered on my mind and all the memories played out in my head like a movie: I borrowed this friend's equipment to fix my car, I learnt Finnish in evening class with another friend , I asked another one about visa application twice, this one did project work with me, this friend went on road trip with me, etc.
All in all, I felt like the end of an era. My student life, my first job in Finland, my graduation, my friends - Riihimäki offered me all that, and unlike Andy Bernard's quote ''I wish there was a way to know you were in the good old days before you actually left them'', I know five years in Riihimäki 08.2016 - 09.2021 was my good days.
Mäntyharju is my new beginning. Hopefully I can deal with whatever future holds for me.