After my first column, a number of people approached me on the street and online with their questions. I decided to answer some of them. 

1)    Which one is better?
I often get asked which country I prefer. As I chose UK over my land of origin, it would make sense to say I prefer it. Everything has its pros and cons and as you spend enough time in both countries, you tend to appreciate them individually. Sometimes I get frustrated with the litany of phrases, all the ‘pleases’ ‘thank yous’ and ‘sorries’ etc. you need to go through with some Brits as not to appear impolite. Having learnt these various social conversions Finns, notoriously rude, now come across as downright homicidal. Finland will always be my home country but UK is the home I chose. 

2)     How did you end up here?
I wanted to study writing but you can’t study it as your major in Finland. I ended up in university in Bangor, North Wales and after discovering my love for journalism have been on that road ever since.

3)    Would you ever go back to Finland?
No, this is it for me. 

4)    Don’t you miss Finland?
Homesickness changes form over time. On my first year of university it was a very concrete and all-absorbing feeling, a separate entity within me. After a few years it becomes a squeeze around your heart, horrible but gone as quickly as it came. The things I miss from Finland itself have become more abstract; tastes, sights and sounds. How an approaching snowstorm paints the sky red, how rye bread turns from salty to sweet if you hold it on your tongue, how a lake ripples against a stony beach on a summer eve and how the hot, syrupy air in a wooden sauna stings your nose from the inside. 

5)    How about your family, don’t you miss them?
Of course I do but without the love and support of my parents I would’ve never had the courage to leave Finland. What I have learnt is that physical distance doesn’t matter, as you can be in the same room with someone and still millions of miles apart. 

6)    Why do you write so much about being a Finn, as if people care?
It’s not really about being a Finn, it’s about being an observer. Coming into this society as an outsider by default I can either use this to my advantage or not. If you’ve got it, flaunt it. 

7)    Which things puzzle you most about the UK?
The same things that puzzled me when I moved over: Separate taps for water that is either as hot as the fires of Hell or as chilly as the Arctic Ocean, why people insist on wearing shoes indoors with carpeting and why do they apologise to me when I bump into them? 

8)    What is it like doing everything in your second language?
On my first six months I suffered constant headaches, as English took a lot of brainpower but nowadays it’s not an issue. Native language is your first point of contact with the world, conveying your fears, emotions and needs to others. Second language is different, with the main difference being that words don’t hold any emotional meaning to you. That’s why second language speakers often swear more, or so I’ve heard. I think using my second language every day is a blessing, I learn new words every day. The latest one was ‘spate’.  

9)    Which misconceptions there are about Finland that you would like to correct?
That we have polar bears, ride reindeers to school and all children have to carry a packet of meat around at all times to distract wolves. All of these are misconceptions and were started by me. 

10)    Do you spend time with other Finns?
After my first column came out a lot of people have asked me ‘have you been approached by other Finns living in Cumbria?’ They haven’t, but this doesn’t surprise me the slightest. It’s not because they don’t exist. Finns don’t like spending time with other Finns, that’s why they leave Finland.