What it says in the headline: we have a place. Our application was accepted yesterday, I put down the deposit, and we sign the lease today.
This is probably incredibly mundane to most people. You got a new apartment, you’re moving, big deal. People do that every day. I get it, and it makes me self-conscious about posting this. So many people have helped us, though, and they deserve an update.
Why Is This So Hard?
Understand that I’ve been having panic attacks on a daily basis, sometimes several per day. When you have an anxiety disorder, even simple tasks can be sheer hell. When social anxiety is in the mix, and you need to be meeting with strangers who are judging you, and spending literal hours on the telephone, it’s a waking nightmare.
Securing a place to live has also been harder than it should be. I have never in my life had so much difficulty locating affordable housing. In all of the places that I have lived, I have never had to jump through so many hoops. I finally lucked out and found a landlord that talked to me like a human being, and treated me with basic dignity and respect rather than as a walking credit score and possible source of revenue. Of course, it turns out he’s a Finn.
Throw in unexpected expenses, so that what was easily achievable financially is now going to be cutting things frighteningly close, and I’m not in a good place right now.
As Katie has already revealed it, we are leaving Finland. She hasn’t publicly disclosed where we’re going, so I won’t either. Moving to Finland wasn’t this hard. We did everything over the internet. Transferring money was a snap. Someone even picked us up at the train station, drove us to our new apartment, went over the paperwork, and handed us our keys.
The reason we’re moving is business. We’ve both hit limitations, from the language barrier to increasing VAT to Brexit screwing up package delivery and more. Do we love Finland, and wish we could stay here forever? Absolutely. Will we come back someday? Hopefully. Is this the best place right now to grow a creative business when the majority of our customers are in North America? Unfortunately, no.
I can’t say that rising anti-American sentiment in Europe is a non-zero factor. We were warmly welcomed with open arms when we got here in 2014. Starting in 2016 every new person we met asked us our stance on the Mad Carrot, and only wanted to talk about him. That led to a steady decline in our social life. In the past year or so, we get a lot of side eye when we’re speaking English in a public place, or people learn that we’re from the United States. Some of that probably has to do with the pandemic response as well, and fear that we’re recent arrivals who’ve brought the plague with us. Fun.
Business as Usual
Winding things down here while trying to remotely get things set up in our new location is a lot on its own. I’m also still working full-time. The curse of the self-employed is that you don’t get days off. I am a creature of routine, and my routine is currently non-existent. Things happen as they happen. I can’t even sit down to eat a meal without a message popping up that I have to answer right now, or a phone call coming in that I have to take, or 3 more tasks landing on my plate that I need to schedule into my day.
The fact that it’s nearly Midsummer in Finland isn’t helping, either. The sun never sets, which can be glorious and lovely, but it really screws with your perception of time. When you’re dealing with people in multiple time zones, and planning out a day that’s weeks in the future, it seriously messes with my anxiety-ridden mind.
The Future’s So Bright
What’s getting me through this is why we’re doing it. I have a firm vision of where I want my business to be by the end of the year. All of this hard work, dealing with all of the dystopian nonsense. fighting through mental health issues is going to pay off in a big way. There is a 3-year plan. I know what I’m going to accomplish in 2022, and where we will be by the end of 2023. And we’ll get there.
For now, I just need to survive day to day, hour to hour, minute to minute.