- Kristiina Kari and Petteri Nieminen spent nearly 20 years in Helsinki before the thought of a more relaxed life in their childhood environment started to sound appealing. After a couple of years of consideration, the family of four sailed – literally - into their new home port in Uusikaupunki.
A more idyllic winter setting is hard to find. The streets covered by fresh snow, the atmospheric lights in the windows of old buildings and candlelight gently flickering at the foot of stairs. To enter the home of Kristiina Kari and Petteri Nieminen, you need to take the stairs in front of the house before ascending the old stairs in the inner porch.
A beautiful, well-lit home with wooden floor boards and light walls is revealed behind the upstairs door. The second-floor windows show a view to a great distance. The atmospheric scenery is framed by frostbitten trees and snowflakes falling slowly from the sky.
“If you look real closely, you can see the sea between the trees,” Kristiina Kari assures with a laugh.
Although the ice-covered sea cannot be seen clearly now, it is there, just a stone’s throw away. Just like the family wanted.
The family of four, Kristiina, Petteri and their children, Soila, seven years old and Lauri, five years old, have gotten used to the view from their new home for about six months. They had thought about moving from Helsinki to their old neighbourhood in Uusikaupunki ever since Soila was born, but their jobs and lives in the metropolitan area were also important at the other end of the scale.
Petteri enjoyed his job with electricity networks and Kristiina, who had worked at a Porvoo-based Steiner school almost since the school was established, thought it difficult to change jobs.
“My job felt like a baby of my own, as I had been involved from the very beginning. Giving it up felt hard,” she confesses.
On the other hand, the couple dreamt of a more relaxed daily life and family time that could be spent elsewhere than sitting in a car waiting for the congestion to ease. In addition, they only had the chance to see both of their parents, grandparents and siblings living in Uusikaupunki during infrequent weekend trips.
Finally, in the autumn of 2021, the moment seemed opportune: Petteri was able to work remotely and there was enough time before Soila started school to move to Uusikaupunki.
“We decided to be spontaneous,” says Kristiina.
After the decision, the pieces started to fit—Kristiina’s childhood home on the upper floor of her grandparents’ home was vacant, Petteri got a new job closer to Uusikaupunki and Kristiina managed to land a job at the Turku Steiner School.
“To be honest, I joined the local boat club and arranged a place to store the boat for the winter before either of us had gotten a job,” Petteri says with a laugh. “You’ve got to get your priorities right.”
And what would have been a more suitable way for the family of boating enthusiasts to arrive in their new home port than by sailing. The boat was picked up last after their other belongings had been moved to Uusikaupunki. During the two-week sailing trip in the summer, the family raised the flag of their new boat club and floated freely to their new lives as small town residents.
The first months in their new home town have brought welcome peace to the life of the family.
“In a way, our daily lives have not changed much. We still work and go to daycare and the children have even more hobbies in the evening than before, but somehow, we are more relaxed and tranquil,” says Petteri.
The family no longer spends their evenings in a car on their way to hobbies. Instead, Soila’s violin classes, Lauri’s basketball practice and the music playschools of both children are just a few minutes away.
“Your environment shapes you. If the tempo of living around you is high, it is easy to get sucked in. It feels nice that we had the courage to take this step towards a more peaceful life,” says Kristiina. “Here, everything can be taken care of easily and quickly and we have high-quality restaurants and services. You can get nearly everything you may ever need here.”
The quartet have fully enjoyed their lives in a small town and the easily accessible hobbies and events. And, of course, the fact that their relatives live close by.
“Our family did not lack joy or activity in Helsinki, but I especially love the spontaneous and direct interaction with our loved ones here. When my mother or mother-in-law suddenly make a noise in the stairs or my grandparents invite us downstairs for lunch,” says Kristiina. “The town and its people, they are the best things here.”