Good Sunday morning my darlings! Seeing that you’ve been loving my “Sunday cafe” column and the idea of introducing you to various young and inspiring individuals living in Finland who’re not originally from here is very flattering and motivating. I’m happy to bring in more posts/ guests to my Sunday cafe.
Everybody, please say hello to Jad! It’s been less than a year ago that I’ve met this precious jewel of a friend! Pretty quickly we’ve realised that we had not only many friends in common, but also a lot of personality, dreams and interests that were in common too. 🙂
I’m truly thankful to have Jad in my life… He’s one of those friends I’d “put my hand in the fire” for! Read on what Jad has to say about himself:
What is your name and age?
Hei! Jad, simple 3 letters but try to make a Finn say it, J or how its pronounced in Finnish as Ji. Anyhow, Jad and Sam me and my brother were names given to us from the Bible I guess, coming from a Christian family in Lebanon, guess my dad liked Noah and his story so he named us like the kids of Noah. Also, I might be a diamond sapphire called Jade.
When and why did you move to Finland and where in Finland?
I moved to Finland in September 2006, I was back in Lebanon then and met a Finn and moved here following my heart. It’s been a long time in Finland, with many travels in between abroad but somehow, I keep coming back. Finland is my home, we have a love and hate relation together. Why? I don’t know, I didn’t expect anything at first when I came here but then I fell in love with Helsinki and its charm, the cleanliness, the organization, the infrastructure and the Finns have like everyone their beautiful sides and dark sides.
How much is Finland different than your home country and what are those differences?
Wow! Hold on a sunny Mediterranean war torn recovering country chaotic full of life and madness compared to organized clean sometimes boring steady quiet Finland, you really can’t compare. At first I compared a lot, I was ashamed then I was proud of my new home and my old home. Then the conclusion was, they will never be similar and take the best from both. Finland still make me feel sometimes as a foreigner or more like a new breed of Finns, I joke saying: Olemme “uusi-Suomalaiset”, we are the “new Finns” but still this country takes a place in your heart, its people are modest and friendly inside and they surprise me, sometimes this place can be difficult when it comes to relationships and the culture differences.
But one great thing, we have amazing food in Lebanon and we have “lihapulla” or meatballs in Finland so yea the food and nightlife are way better in Lebanon, well in Finland we have some great thing like “Jallu” the best Finnish cognac on the planet.
How well do you speak and understand Finnish language?
I am fluent speaker, I took some intensive courses when I come over at Helsinki university and then work and life teach you. If you have a will there is a way. My grammar sucks I am really bad in writing Finnish I usually write in English at work but I speak fluently and understand most of the conversation, plus people are merciful here they know their language can be a nightmare from hell! I advise anyone moving here, learn the language because after a few drinks in a bar when you are in a group the Finns will speak their language and you will feel so outsider, speaking Finnish open so many cultural doors and gives a great input on the Finns…
Is it a demanding language / hard to learn?
Yes, sure it requires effort and a tip, just put words next to each other work on your vocabulary it will be of great help to you, doesn’t matter the form it comes out people will understand you.
What do you like about Finland the most and what is it that you don’t like so much about Finland?
The nature scenery, the summer light, I take lots of photography and love posting scenes from Helsinki, you can follow me on Instagram @jadlbfi and check out daily posts from this charming little gem in the Baltics.
I love also Finnish values, the benefits we get here even if you don’t sometime feel that Finns are talkative or are a community but the society gives so much good things still to its citizens compared to the world. I so appreciate and value things, like fast internet, electricity, public transport, healthcare etc. Nowhere is perfect but maybe this is as close to reality if you think of our world today.
Though, sadly Finns are very harsh when you criticize them and there is somehow a slight racism hidden in the society but I guess its human nature to fear the unknown, the foreign. I d love if Finnish media really allow a true debate about foreigners here and not the victimizing propaganda always running, facts are I agree 100% if you live here, you need to accept Finnish values and ways of life but there is always a door for diversity and change. No?
List 3 things you would bring with you to a deserted island?
Sun cream, I turned so white in Finland 😀
What is your favorite trip you took somewhere and why? ‘
In last 10 years, I had the chance to travel to 50 countries almost and discover places that are amazing. My best trip was to in 2008 to Syria, to discover its ancient history, and sites. After that, the civil war came and that country lost so much of its beauty sadly. It was a very historically untouched by tourism country. Also, I love Paris, as a fluent French speaker since it’s my second mother tongue, I love visiting France often and Paris <3
What is your life motto?
“As long as you’ve got passion, you can have everything you want in this world.”
Why that one?
Because, when you are raised in a war country with an uneasy childhood, you learn that you just got to keep going, keep thinking of solutions and moving forward. And Passion is part of us. It takes us forward!
Recommend book, song, movie
Book: De Niro’s Game , Rawi Hage.
Song: John Legend , What you do to me.
Movie: The Jason Bourne film series, Matt Damon <3
What is/are your passion and hobbies?
I am a big social media advocate and I love everything related to that, so I guess I am an addict of that, also as I work in the tourism industry with an insight on marketing I find communication and networking as my best hobbies. A coffee shop window watching people, life moving is my best hobby. Sports, didn’t turn that Finnish yet but well I try to stay healthy fit. I enjoy Nightlife, I love hanging out with friends and a heavy social life, this is a very Lebanese character.