Why London? – Part 2

I’ll let you in on a little secret – when I first visited London in 2014 it wasn’t exactly love at first sight. I found the city to be too crowded, too busy and too grey. Admittedly, the gloomy November weather wasn’t doing the city any favours but I later realised that the real problem wasn’t the drizzling rain, I was just in the wrong part of the city. That’s the beauty of London, you see – there is something for everyone. And that is also perhaps why I feel so passionate about trying to show people the many faces of the city, hence starting this blog. There is just so much more to London beyond the usual tourist traps and I feel a bit sorry for the people that come here and only visit the crowded Piccadilly Circus, queue in line for London Eye before finally ransacking the Primark on Oxford Street.

Piccadilly Circus

But how did I actually end up in London? Well, my goals have always involved seeing the world and Finland just begun feeling increasingly small, and even though I had a perfectly decent life in Helsinki, I wasn’t feeling truly happy. I’ve always been a goal-oriented person and the feeling of being stuck, both in my career as well as my personal life, just got worse to the point that I felt the days went by on autopilot with me just waiting for the next trip abroad to escape the monotony of my everyday life. And no matter how much faster I ran half marathons or crushed my records in triathlon races, that hollow feeling inside just wasn’t going away. 

However, everyone knows that goals without action are just dreams.  I think the first actual step towards moving abroad I took when I started my MBA studies in International Business Management. Obviously, the whole perspective of the program was international and the studies were fully conducted in English which was a great way of getting accustomed to using Business English. Although, I must admit that one of the main reasons for choosing that particular program might have been a very enticing Study Tour to San Francisco & Silicon Valley (which by the way turned out just as amazing as I had hoped). Obviously, studying while working full time was extremely demanding and definitely took its toll on my social life (not to even mention my mental health) but at the same time, I found it very rewarding – besides getting the diploma I also somewhat unexpectedly really enjoyed my time back on the school bench.

Happy Master of Business Administrator in Helsinki 2016.

After graduating in June 2016, I figured that with my brand-new degree it would be an easy task to boost my career. Oh boy, was I wrong. Turned out there weren’t that many interesting finance job available in Helsinki and if I managed to find one, I would send in the application and, in most cases, never hear anything back. Maybe it’s because there were too many professionals applying for the same role, or my degree was from the wrong school (read: not from the Helsinki School of Economics). Or perhaps I had just vastly overestimated my CV writing skills. Nevertheless, I was feeling stuck.

Just after my graduation, Mimosa moved to London and settled in South Kensington. At first I had no intention of following her as we’ve always been very close and this was the perfect opportunity for us to find our own separate identities over 1,000 miles apart. However, it did open up a great opportunity to start visiting the city every couple of months and it didn’t take long before I realised I had fallen head over heels in love with London. And that is when I started seriously considering that my life could be a lot happier here.

Tower Bridge (best known for the epic final battle between Spider-Man & Mysterio in Spider-Man: Far From Home ;))

However, even though now the seed for the thought of moving to London had been planted, it still took about a year to actually have the courage to act on it. It is by no means an easy decision to ditch the safe and, in many ways okeyish, life and set out into the unknown. After all, I had a nice job which what it lacked in challenge it made up for in great coworkers, lovely friends and a relatively active social life – at least in Helsinki standards. I also worried about silly things like would it be a bit embarrassing to follow my little sister to her new life and would people think I can’t make it on my own (now I know the answers to both of those questions: perhaps and who cares if they do). However, there was this one nagging thought at the back of my mind that couldn’t be silenced – you can sit here and complain about the Finnish weather, the lack of career progression opportunities, and the minuscule size of the Helsinki dating pool or actually do something about it.

Finally, in late 2017 I made the final decision to start actively looking for a job in London and once the decision was made, there was no turning back. I can still remember exactly where I was when I got the call where I was offered the job that got me here – it’s certainly one of the defining – and happiest – moments of my life. But the actual job search and the application process is a whole ‘nother story which I think deserves a post of its own. 

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in January

– Milla

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