2019 Plans: Stay in Finland

This is the Big Hairy Audacious Goal: We want to stay in Finland. While there are reasons for the other goals and plans that I have for the coming year, all of them somehow feed into this one. It’s terrifying and confusing and difficult to talk about for a lot of reasons, but I’m going to give it a go.

Up to this point, our basis for residence has been Katie’s studies. Unless something drastic happens (please, no) she’s set to graduate in May. She may remain in academia, at which point everything would continue more-or-less the way it is now. There’s also a chance she could get a private sector job, which could be right here where we are, or in another part of Finland, or in another country altogether. But our preference is to stay in Finland.

This plan is long-term. We want permanent residence, and I would eventually like citizenship. What we’re doing in 2019 builds upon the groundwork we’ve laid so far, and continues to create the foundation for the long-term goal. This is something that will be years in the making.

Preparing for All Contingencies

So I have to be prepared for multiple contingencies. To err on the side of caution, I’m assuming that we will move, in the most expensive way possible. I’m budgeting for the most expensive filing fees with immigration, because costs vary depending on whether you’re a student, have a work contract with a Finnish business, are self-employed, and so on. Every type of residence has different requirements, and I’m trying to ensure we meet all of them and have the documentation for everything ready.

I’m Immigration Batman, trying to be prepared for all possibilities.

As I’ve been stating all week, everything is aligned to serve this goal. It’s a familiar feeling. For the two years we planned to move here, the filter was “Does this get us to Finland?“.  Now, everything is sorted according to where it helps us to stay in Finland.

2019 Plans: Stay in Finland

  • Simplify, Create, Thrive, which now encompasses this blog and the podcast, has two functions. The first is to communicate with friends, allies, and other supporters who can help us to attain this goal. The second is to give me a space to vent a little bit. Not talking about this has been more stressful than… well, I’ll get to that in a moment.
  • Dancing Lights Press is how I make money to support us. Yes, I’m not only supporting us, but financing this Big Hairy Audacious Goal with what I make as a writer in a niche-within-a-niche industry. Hence a lot of my stress. It’s why most of this year has been about figuring out ways to decrease my workload while maximizing my profits.
  • Business Growth, in addition to helping increase revenue and stabilize the company, has another purpose. Registering as a Finnish business provides us with yet another reason for residence. Showing that I am self-supporting, and not a potential drain on government resources, is important. Demonstrating that I am not taking a job from a citizen is essential. Contributing to the economy and paying taxes helps a lot.

Why I Want to Stay

This is the part that I don’t want to talk about, even if it’s something I probably should. I have no interest in getting into arguments about politics, about nationalism versus patriotism, culture and identity, or loyalty and abandonment. No. Those who know me understand. The rest of you can look at my posts, listen to the podcasts, and read between the lines. It’s an underlying feeling, and a strong sense of my own values, that I’ve had for over a decade.

My standard answer is that, as a good consumer, I was not happy with the service I was receiving and took my business elsewhere. It’s a bit tongue-in-cheek, but it’s basically true. I shouldn’t have to explain further.

What I’ll say is this: I love Finland. The authority figures I have dealt with, from bankers to immigration officials to police officers, have been consistently kind, compassionate, and helpful. I have lived many places in my life. I grew up in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The bulk of my adult life was spent in Arizona and New Mexico, In between I have traveled America from California to Florida, Oregon to Vermont. There has never been a place where I have felt truly at home like I have these past years in Finland. I want to stay.

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