Oddly since coming here I've still kept my Finnish lifestyle. I thought perhaps with being in a place that resembled the States more I would slip back into my American ways. But it seems not. Despite being surrounded by an expanse of cheaper food and goods, I've not been very interested in a lot of it. Let me outline the ways I've kept my Finnish lifestyle here in London:
Buying less material goods
Despite being surrounded by shops of all kinds and amazing amounts of clothing stores, I've been very disinclined to go in and buy things. I've definitely started looking at things more, and been interested in them, but buying them is actually fairly low on the list still. I've even been to several markets with my parents and the actual purchasing of things has yet to happen. I believe the only thing I've actually bought so far is a luggage tag (which is kind of necessary, and it was absolutely hilarious).
For whatever reason (call it disinterest in needing to lug it around, knowing that I'd need to move it to my real apartment from the temporary apartment, the nagging feeling there was still so much I wanted to get rid of when my shipping container really did arrive), I just can't get behind purchasing much anymore. I consider this a major achievement. Less emphasis on material goods. Keeping the Finnish way.
Eating good and simply
My parents are staying with me so this is a bit different than how I would normally eat (i.e. a lot more cooking is being done and they eat a lot more bready things and desserts than I would ever consume on my own), but my requests from the grocery store have pretty much stayed with what I would get in Finland, with the exception that I know I can get a little more variety. But the genres of things are still the same: raw veggies, things I can eat with the raw veggies (it's hummus now instead of ranch or potato salad), milk, and the occasional salty snack. That's about it. I get all of my fresh fruit from work still (which is awesome) and I even get cold cereal from them now. Done and done.
Minimalism and sparseness in design
When designing out my apartment layout and what I wanted to have, the main thing I wanted to avoid was visual clutter. I did buy new furniture, but the purpose of a lot of it was to hide things away but also force myself (in a good way) to get rid of a lot of things I already had. For example, there is no built-in storage in British apartments, so I had to buy my own closet system. Two closets were purchased (Aneboda, from Ikea) and a dresser (the largest Malm drawer set, also from Ikea). All of these allow my things to be put away and out of sight, no visual clutter. All in white, gorgeous.
This amount of clothes storage also ensure that not all of my clothes will fit. It is highly unlikely anyway, and I would not want to force it. I realized as I was packing to go that I hadn't worn some of the clothing I had the entire time I was in Finland. If that was the case, it was time to get rid of it, unless I was really attached to it. So, now that it's arrived, it's time to sort through everything before it goes into another closet. Minimalize. Purge. This also applies to anything else in my apartment that wasn't used during my time in Finland (non-clothes related, like my printer or extra speaker set). All to be gotten rid of. Why store it just to move it again?
Appreciation of silence
I've come to appreciate silence more and more through my life. Unfortunately London is not a quiet city, and the new goals in my team push networking instead of inward contemplation. So I'm forced to talk during my day and alone time is few and far between, especially in comparison to my days in Finland. But I plan to relish in this as soon as I can possibly can. And whenever I get the chance to not speak, I definitely take advantage of it. Listening is one of the greatest things you can do.
Sauna, sauna, sauna...
Admittedly one of the main reasons I joined my gym: the sauna. Yes, it's close to my work and only a 15 minute train ride from my apartment. Yes I get a corporate discount on it and it's got an indoor pool and steam room. Yes, it also has towel service and all of the classes are free for me to use. All of these things are just icing on the cake to the main reasons why I go there though: the sauna, the treadmills and rowing machines, and the showers with unlimited hot water and high water pressure. I sauna more here than I ever did in Finland. It's bloody cold here. Debateably colder here than in Finland, no matter what the temperature reading says. Humidity does make a difference. No one can tell me otherwise.
Travel on the books
And of course, the penchant for travel. Before I'd even landed in London my first trip out of London was already booked for 5 weeks after I arrived. Back to Helsinki to use the port to get to a no-visa trip to St. Petersburg. Yes, my friends, tSH is getting to Russia. For Easter weekend. I will most definitely be blogging about my adventures there. German K and San Diego J will be accompanying me on this very excellent journey.
And true to form I'd been here less than 4 weeks before another trip was on the books for the following month: Copenhagen. The weekend after that? Paris for a conference, hopefully for some fun with friends the weekend before. We'll see what happens.
So, looks like the spring will be a busy time. But in the meantime I plan to continue with my Finnish lifestyle of simplicity in the small and pure things and maintain the goodness. There really is something to be said.