My Life

Mission: Make My Husband Fall In Love With Finland

After dating for 2.5 years, being married for 1.5 years and having a baby on the way, finally I’m taking Alan to visit my home in Finland! I’ve been experiencing China for more than 5 years, but my husband’s Finland experience has been restricted to me, meeting my family once and an occasional meet-up with a Finn here in Guangzhou.

As moving to Finland might be in the cards in our future, this very first visit to Finland will be crucial. My whole family is plotting a plan to make my husband fall in love with our country! Alan only has one week in Finland (I’m gonna stay two weeks), so the mission is not easy.

First of all we are going to experience the Summer in Heinola, a small city in Southern Finland I call my hometown. I hope the temperatures will be enough for dipping in the river and exploring the woods as nature is something I want Alan to fully experience. If I wasn’t pregnant, I would take Alan horse riding!

Our week will also include two other destinations, the capital Helsinki and Tampere, a city where I used to live for years and where most of my friends live. We’ll start with Helsinki that very well might be our new home someday in the future (but not in the near future probably). Lets see if our capital is big enough for a local Guangzhounese.

Next destination is perhaps the best city in Finland, Tampere. The city where I moved from home, started my history degree (never finished though) and kind of grew up. I’m going to take Alan to the Spy Museum where I used to work because he translated the Chinese guidebook there. Alan also want’s to visit a Finnish university, so I’m giving him a tour at Tampere University. Might feel a bit small though after these huge campuses in China.

Meeting friends and family is of course big part of our tour as well. Until now Alan has only met with my mother, little sister and her boyfriend and one of my little brothers. I’m sure he’ll get along well with my dad and his wife, my other little brother and relatives that we meet along the way. I’m especially looking for a big feast at my aunt’s place as she is an amazing cook! Alan has been laughing at me how my stories of Finland always include food!

When you are in a multicultural marriage like me and Alan, it’s important to understand each other’s background. A week is of course not a enough, but it’s a start for Alan to see the world from my point of view. Perhaps he’ll realize that I’m not weird, I’m just a Finn!

I’ll be sharing more after our Finnish holiday and I’ll let you know if our plan to make my husband fall in love with Finland worked or not. Our mission starts this Sunday!


  • Juice Richards

    Hi Sara!
    I’m an American living in Guangzhou who married a Chinese man (from Jiangxi). Would love to meet you sometime! This was a great post because I had exactly the same problem last year… pressure to make my husband fall in love with the US with future plans of moving there.
    He too hadn’t yet met my siblings or extended family (and had never traveled out of China), so there was also pressure on him to make a good impression with limited English skills ;)
    I am sure that your trip will go beautifully. If you fell in love with Alan, then your family and friends will too. That’s the wonder of a healthy, positive relationship. They will see you together and know why you married!
    In terms of “making” him like the country, I found my husband, Zichen, enjoyed the parts of New York I had long taken for granted, while aspects that I thought he would love turned out to be pretty mundane. So you never know! Just show him the world you came from and he will appreciate it, trust me! Good luck! <3

    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    Hi Juice, would love to meet up with you, perhaps a double date?

    Haha, that is probably true. He might not love the things I think are the best, but he might find other things that he enjoys and I’ve taken for granted. After all, he will be looking at Finland from a completely different point of view.

  • R Zhao

    That’s so exciting that you get to go home soon and that Alan will be going with you. I’m sure you’ll both have an amazing time! Have a safe trip and look forward to reading about your adventures.

    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    Thanks, I have a feeling that it’s gonna be a great trip!

  • Marta

    I’m sure he will love it! Finland is beautiful! (Although I prefer it in the winter :P).

    My boyfriend is lately more serious about Spanish culture, we are watching a lot of Spanish movies recently and he is learning a song in Spanish (I don’t think he understands what he is singing but well xD). We will be going to Spain for 2-3 weeks at the end of September, it will be his second time.

    Have a nice trip!!

    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    I think going during the Summer is a bit easier step than taking him straight to -20 celsius Winter :D

  • earth2jo

    Hi Sara,
    My boyfriend has visited my home country (New Zealand) with me twice now and we plan to go again this Christmas. He loves it because it’s so different from China, less people, more relaxed lifestyle, beautiful scenery.
    He’s not a big fan of the food, so we usually go to the Asian supermarket and buy him some Laoganma (chilli sauce) as soon as we arrive, but he’s become addicted to drinking good strong coffee :D
    My boyfriend is a skateboarder, so before we went the first time I contacted some NZ skate groups on facebook so he could meet up with them when we were there. He still talks to his kiwi friends on facebook and looks forward to going back to skate with them again this summer. Maybe you can find some people in Finland with similar hobbies with Alan so he can also make some friends there.

  • Autumn Ashbough

    Too bad you can’t go horseback riding. That would have won me over!

    If he likes licorice, you can win him over for sure. Finnish black licorice is famous. :)

  • Timo

    Any temperature in summer is good enough to jump in a lake or river (okay, with sauna of course…)
    Lets see how he will take on Finland and what he will think of the rye bread, salmiakki and last but not least the sauna culture.
    These days my wife is going with me and Nathan once a week to sauna (yes we got a sauna as well in Germany :D) but in Finland she rarely ever went. I guess getting used or to love sauna requires often to grow up with it, same as with many kind of foods.
    Tampere is surely beautiful, so much better than Helsinki as Helsinki is sadly a pretty ugly city in my opinion though it offers tons of nightlife opportunities when required.
    Hope he will like Finland, might be a bit of a temperature shock for him though when he sees all Finnish people in tshirts and short being around at tops 20 degrees celsius (my MIL would wear a winter jacket!)

    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    I think the water temperature was just about 17 degrees when we jumped in and I could only take it for 5 seconds!

  • FrankL 世方

    Hi Sara, I’m sure Alan will love Finland! I visited Helsinki and Tampere in the Winter of 1990. Although reserved, Finnish people are very hospitable and welcoming. I had a wonderful time in Finland! Back then I lived in Edmonton, Canada, the home of the Edmonton Oilers. So a lot of Finns knew about Edmonton due to players like Jari Kurri and Esa Tikkanen. The only negative thing I experienced were encounters on the street with people who didn’t like foreigners. I was approached as I walked alone down a main street and yelled at. Of course, I had no idea what they were saying to me, but later my Finnish friends explained what those guys were about. Oh yes, I’m Chinese Canadian, so I was an obvious foreigner. Anyhow, I’m sure you and your family will steer Alan clear of any such persons, at least if they still exist in Finland after so many years. I wish you and Alan a wonderful visit. It will be a completely different world to him. He will probably feel overwhelmed by all the kindness and attention he’ll receive. When I went to Holland to visit my wife’s family for the first time, being the VIP brought me to tears at one point. They expressed so much love to me in a way that a Chinese family would never do. I’ll never forget it. I hope Alan’s experience is as great as mine was with my Dutch famiky! :-)

    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    So nice to hear about your experience visiting Finland :)

    We noticed that one things is the same with both families, if we love you we will make you eat a lot! Alan couldn’t even keep up with us with all the desserts that followed the lunches and dinners. But what is missing in China, is all the hugs my husband got from my family and relatives.

  • Olga 奥日家

    What makes you contemplate the possibility of moving back to Finland?

    I’m from Spain and have 2 kids with my Chinese husband. What a great adventure this is!

    I’m sure Alan is loving Finland! Enjoy your holidays and have a smooth pregnancy!

    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    Education for the kid(s) is the main things right now as good education is very expensive in China. Of course Finland also has pure nature and no pollution problems like China has that are big plusses as well.

  • Real Pride

    What is wrong with white girls these days, trying to promote the genocide of the white race by dating and marrying outside of their race? The white men in your family should be ashamed of you.

  • DJSuomessa

    I’m a bit late to comment. Hope you had a nice holiday in Finland and he is already in love with Suomi. How to make a Chinese fall in love with Finland? — It’s easy. Bring him to Finland at the hottest(Fins say ‘hot’, which we Chinese feel ‘warm’. ;) ) summer days of Finland! :D

    Sara Jaaksola Reply:

    Haha, it didn’t get hot but it was warm on two or three days. But I guess the trip was a success anyway!

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