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In occasione del NUOVO FORUM, in collaborazione con FinlandForum in Olanda, gli amministratori hanno voluto intervistare Tarja, "la mamma" di VivaFinlandia. Ecco l'intera intervista, in inglese: (Prossimamente pubblicheremo l'intervista su Anita, una finlandese che vive in Olanda con la sua famiglia)

L'Intervista fatta in Agosto 2004

A Finnish women in Italy? How did this happen?
Well, once upon a time... eh just kidding :-)! Infact it's quite a long story, but I think that's how the life works. “You never know what's behind the next corner...”

But trying to reply to your question with some words, my reason is to be here today is LOVE to a greatest man in the world, Danilo. We met over for 4 and a half years ago in Milan, where I went quite often, for the work I had in Cisco Systems in Finland. During one of those trips, our (mine and Danilo's) ways (and eyes) incrossed, and that was it!

After couple of long months and too long distance between us, we came up to one and only right solution... that we'll want to share our life togehter. Of course it wasn't that simple at all, but we believe that when two right persons meet, also the impossible becomes possible!

So, at the end of august 2000, I put togehter my suitcases, said hello to my mother and brother (my beloved farther passed away in 1995) and a few friends, and took an aeroplane from Helsinki to Nizza (which is the closed one to Sanremo), where Danilo was awaiting for me... And after one year of my arrival, we got married (pls, see the photo enclosed). And today, we're awaiting our first baby to be born in February 2005 :-)!!! Besides the private life, we also work togehter at Sistel Telecomunicazioni (it's Danilo's company since 1994).


What are the biggest differences between the warm and religious Italy and colder and down to earth Finland?
I'd say that the biggest difference is the “colour of life”, in every senses. We're living close to the mountains and to the sea, all the colours of the nature refletc to the minds and hearts of the people. It doesn't mean that here the life would be easier, but at least the persons try to see the positive site of the life. And who knows, MAYBE also some problems dissapear in this way...?

The climat during the whole year is mild, e.g. the coldest night last winter we had +4 degrees... and just try to compare it to an averige winter-night in Finland!!! And what concerns summer, I could say that time to time it feels like to be in a finnish sauna, with the clothes on... Specially in august, the weather is hot and sultry (today +32 and so on). But I must say as well, that the nature in Finland, specially in the summer-time, IS unique! Just ask Danilo...!

Of course the religion can be seen and heard nearly every-day in Italy. The role of the Pope (and the Catholic Church) is important. This at least was in the past, but I think the young persons of today, are looking a bit wider the whole world, the wars and conflicts in Iraq etc. But once again, latelly the Pope has brought up clearly his message of the Peace, organizing several gatherings, specially with the young people. Well, this is absolutelly my personal opinion and how I see the situation, in generally.

And what is the religious situation today in Finland, the reports between the Lutheran Church and the people, I'm afraid I couldn't say much.

What are the similarities between the countries?
Similarities? Well, pasta, pizza... well no, even those are veeeery different! But talking about the mentalities, I could say that Carelians (from where my family is originally coming from) and Italians are thinking about life quite in a similar way, a common motto could be “Every reason is a good reason to get together”.

You manage www.vivafinlandia.com. Why did you start the site and how much time do you have to spend on it?
I'm so-called “self-taught-webmaster”, I started nearly 4 years ago, as I arrived here in Sanremo. I wanted to do “something” for my country I had just left behind, so that's how the idea of VivaFinlandia was born. At the beginning it was meant to be “just two-or-three-pages”, but there was (and still is) so much to tell, that today VivaFinlandia is quite a nice information packet, at least to start with.

Talking about the time, I SHOULD spend more time with VivaFinlandia, but the problem is to find time. I mean, my work here at Sistel takes quite a big part of my day... so unfortunatelly my time with VivaFinlandia is quite limited. But at least one thing I can be proud of... is that I'm responding personally to each request I get... well, sometimes it takes a bit too long time, but the reply will come always. However, I'm planning to renew the layout of VivaFinlandia, as soon as possible.

How many Finnish people are living in Italy? And how are the contacts inside this Finnish community?
This question you should ask from other persons... I have no idea about how many Finnish people are living here in Italy. But at least in Sanremo, besides me and what I know, there are only 2 other Finns (of which I know personally only one, the other one I haven't have a chance to meet yet).

I have weekly contacts with the “Suomi Seura” of Ancona, also because I'm their webmaster (www.mansikka.it), but otherwise I must say that the Finns are not very sociable over here, or lets put it in another way, maybe we are so well adopted to the italian community, that we're not depending on or looking for the contact of other compatriots. It's a shame though...

And how is the Italian situation in Finland?
The Italians, I think, are quite well organized in Finland. They have clubs, schools, doctors and other services... and even an online-magazine (www.larondine.fi) which is infact, very amusing to read, and oh so very true. It tells about the difficulties that an italian could meet in Finland, in everyday life. However, here we -once again- are talking about the italian mentality: “Wherever they go, they want to get together with other italians”.

How do you like the warmer climate of Italy?
I like it very much :-), even if we're living now the hottest time of the year (august). And as said here earlier, winters aren't too bad eather...

How fluent do you speak Italian? Was it difficult to learn?
Well, this question you should ask Danilo... but what I've been told, my italian is rather fluent, and little by little I'm getting into the local dialects as well... To start to study italian, it's quite easy, BUT if you like to speak and write it well, it'll ask time and patient. But I think it's the same in every languages, or what do you think?

I for example, started my studies in 1981, after my first holiday-trip to Italy (Rimini), for the first 2 years I followed an evening course, but then, for several reasons, I continued by myself. It was a loooong and stony road (“pitka ja kivinen tie” as a Finnish motto says), but it was worth wile!

How do you like the Italian kitchen? Or do you stay in the Finnish cuisine?
It's the Best Invention, ever made, the Italian Kitchen I mean! :-) I reveal you a secret, I never “really” cooked in Finland, I just spent the shortest possible time I could, in the kitchen. Only here I've found the joy of cooking and spending time among the pots and casseroles! It's funny and creative, and the fantasy here is the virtu!

But of course, time to time I prepair some Finnish dishes, to surprise Danilo and friends (like Stroganof, Karjalanpaisti, Lettuja, Pannukakkua, Karjalanpiirakoita, Munavoita, Hernekeittoa, suolalohta etc.)

Where do you live in Italy?
We live in Sanremo (in Ligura) with around 60 000 inhabitants. The town is known e.g. about it's annual Sanremo Music Festival, and Rally of Sanremo etc. It's situated approx. 30 kms away from Monaco-MonteCarlo. And if I may say... Sanremo is a very nice place to live! :-)



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