- The Suni family moved from Saint Petersburg to Uusikaupunki and now enjoy the peace and quiet of the coastal city. “I love the quiet most of all,” says Max, the father.
Tea, coffee and chocolates from Russia have been set on the kitchen table of a terraced house. Toddler-aged Mark is watching a Russian-language children’s programme in the living room.
“As Mark speaks Finnish in his day care and with his friends, we want to speak Russian at home to make sure he also learns his mother tongue,” says Anastasiia Suni, Mark’s mother.
The family moved to Uusikaupunki about four years ago when Max found a job at Valmet Automotive. The transition from Saint Petersburg, a city of five million people, to the tiny Uusikaupunki was quite an experience, but the Sunis found most of it quite positive.
“I had already lived in Finland for about two decades. I worked in Kotka for ten years, and when my employment there ended, I returned to Saint Petersburg. After a year, I was already missing Finland, especially when our child had just been born. It’s much safer here. He’s better off growing up here than in Russia,” says Max Suni.
The couple are very fluent in Finnish, even Anastasiia who has only lived in Finland for a few years. She is modest about her excellent language skills and praises the high-quality teaching at WinNova’s one-year Finnish-language course.
“Finnish isn’t an easy language. At first, I was really nervous about talking and my head was spinning with the right wording and the use of the partitive case,” she admits.
“But, little by little, it got easier as I got myself an internship and started using Finnish in my day-to-day life.”
In Saint Petersburg, Anastasiia worked as a director at a hotel while studying restaurant trade in a vocational school and business administration at university. In Uusikaupunki, she has actively participated in various vocational courses and worked as an intern at the parish and at a hotel to gain experience.
Now, Anastasiia is about to start her additional Finnish-language studies, while the youngest in the family, 1-year-old Mikael, is about to enter day care. Anastasiia’s next dream is to study at vocational school Novida.
“I’d like to gain a vocational qualification in either business and administration or in hotel and restaurant services,” she says.
The family found it easy to get used to the relaxed pace of life in Uusikaupunki. Instead of the buzz of a metropolis, their new home town offers a peaceful, safe and cozy life.
“The services are close and everything just works. There’s the forest and the sea nearby, which is really nice when you have kids. The residents of Uusikaupunki have been really friendly and helpful and I feel like we have been accepted and welcomed here. We like to chat with the neighbours as well,” says Anastasiia.
The family loves to participate in the city’s events and activities. Anastasiia is particularly grateful for clubs and other activities organised for families with small children. The family has taken part in pregnancy and family clubs organised by the Mannerheim League for Child Welfare as well as baby swimming lessons and story times at the library.
“Now that I can speak Finnish, I know where to go when I want to meet other people, especially other mothers. Facebook and the local papers are great sources for information about different events, and Instagram is quite good too,” she says.
The Sunis are very happy with their new home. They particularly enjoy the safety and peacefulness of the city.
“Of course, the scenery is spectacular as well. The sea is especially nice as it’s so close. It makes the city beautiful,” says Max Suni.