- Granger Simmons left the buzz of a big city to become a pillar of a small Finnish community.
Eight years ago, US-born Granger Simmons was about to turn his life upside down. He had packed his entire life in suitcases and made the long journey from the city of Providence, Rhode Island, to the tiny town of Uusikaupunki in Finland.
Initially, the plan was to move to a larger city, but as Simmons’ American-Finnish wife had her roots in the western coast of Finland, the then-family of four decided to settle down in Uusikaupunki.
“It’s crazy to think that it’s already been eight years. Although we’ve certainly experienced a lot in those years,” says Simmons.
In his eight years in Uusikaupunki, Simmons has not only become part of the community but also one of its pillars. He is actively involved in helping immigrants both through his work in the Asukasluotsaus residence guidance project and in a personal capacity.
“I’m proud to live in Uusikaupunki. Initially, I was seriously wondering how on earth I was going to make it here, but I feel that the town has grown enormously over these eight years. This is where I love to be,” he says.
Simmons was involved in the development and realisation of an international food market where Uusikaupunki residents from different parts of the world offered delicacies from their countries of origin in the atmospheric Rauhanpuisto park in the city centre.
In eight years, the circumstances of Simmons’ life have been completely transformed. Although many aspects of his new home have required some getting used to, Simmons is particularly grateful about one thing.
“I’ve never felt as safe as I do in Uusikaupunki. It still amazes me that I can walk home at night and I don’t need to be afraid,” he says.
The article was previously published on the Tuu Messiin website.