The train arrives exactly when it’s supposed to, and if it doesn’t, you’ll be notified. In Emmanuel’s opinion, this is downright unbelievable and he often thinks that maybe that’s why everything here is so organized and works so well.
“It’s peaceful and quiet in Kokkola, which is nice. Sometimes, when I go to Helsinki, I think ‘it’s so crazy here’. Well, of course it’s not the same as when I lived in Lagos. There’s a saying that ‘Lagos is next from Hell’. It’s chaos. Helsinki is nothing compared to it. Of course, now that I’m used to Kokkola, even Helsinki feels like a madhouse. It’s good to be in Kokkola.”
Emmanuel’s brother had informed him in advance about the different customs here compared to Nigeria. He had told, among other things, that Finnish people don’t talk to people they don’t know. Nigerian culture is the complete opposite of this, as there you talk to everyone, everywhere and ask a lot of questions, especially if the person comes from somewhere else. For this reason, at first Emmanuel even found it a little strange that people didn’t talk to each other in a lift or on the street.
In Nigeria, for example teachers and older people are spoken to very formally and failing to do so is seen as disrespectful. He was surprised to find out that in Finland teachers are familiarly called by their first name, which has been a little hard for Emmanuel to learn. Even after this many years, casual language doesn’t come to him naturally.
In Emmanuel’s experience Finns are a little distant at first and getting to know them takes time. But when that beginning stage is over and “the ice has been broken”, things speed up. In his opinion Finns are very warm people and once you get to know each other, it’s true friendship. He also says he’s learned that if a Finns says something they really mean it. Once a friend, always a friend.
Love, home, and work
After finishing his studies, Emmanuel’s wife from Nigeria moved to Kokkola as well. They started a family, which now also includes two children. He says everything is well and the basics are in order. There’s love in the family, they have their own home, and work. At the moment Emmanuel works as a welder, which guarantees the family’s livelihood. In addition to his work as a welder, he also works for a Danish company as a software engineer. He has yet to find a similar permanent job in Kokkola, despite his attempts.
Emmanuel praises Finland’s equal society
Emmanuel appreciates the basic security and care provided by Finland, medical care one of them. In Nigeria, basic healthcare was not something to take for granted.
“I’ll always remember visiting a health center in the early days. I was waiting in the lobby for my turn at the doctor’s office with a very well dressed gentleman. I was surprised when I was called to see the doctor first, while that gentleman stayed in the lobby to wait for his turn. I was also quite surprised that the same doctor treated both of us! It was downright unreal. That’s when I truly understood the equality prevailing here, this gentleman and I were equally valuable in that situation. As I left, I saw this well dressed man leaving on a bicycle and I was told he was an important municipal decision-maker. I couldn’t believe a man that important went to the reception after me, where we were treated by the same doctor, and then he left on a bicycle. In Nigeria this simply wouldn’t be possible. There, such an important man would have gone to a private medical clinic, driven by a chauffeur, and he definitely wouldn’t have had to wait for his turn.”
Emmanuel mentionshaving sometimes wondered how life can be so different here. Nigeria has many valuable natural resources such as oil, lithium, and gold. Despite this, he thinks most of the people there have next to nothing. Finland doesn’t have oil or other similar huge natural resources but there’s still everything here. Emmanuel noticed that in Finland everyone is equally valuable and everyone has the same rights.