David Gambarte moved here from Spain in January 2007 and lives with his wife in Espoo.
What do you do here in Finland?
I work as a partner sales manager in a Finnish software company, and I do everything I like: I participate in the literature circles organised in Helsinki, I have a radio programme, I have amazing friends and a family and in summer I often practice fly fishing.
When and how did you end up here?
I came first time in 2006 as an exchange student to do my thesis at the University of Helsinki. After that I decided to come back and I was lucky to find a work placement with the Leonardo European program.
What do you like about Finland?
I like the way people here interiorise the seasons and their importance and I like how the calm and silence is valued as an essential part of life. I also like the deep forests with red pines and I find absolutely spectacular how the Baltic Sea freezes and how it is possible to have a walk on it in winter.
What do you like about the Finnish culture?
The get-togethers at somebody’s home where there are always delicious pastries and coffee. The way Finns spend their time in mökki: reading, going to the sauna and eating.
The sense of honesty and common welfare is something I really respect. I also love the work of some Finnish writers such as Sofi Oksanen and Riikka Pulkkinen.
What culture shocks did you experience when coming to Finland?
The fact that you can get in the metro by just walking through, because there are no turnstiles as there are in all the metro stations in Spain.
Another cultural difference is that we Spaniards kiss and hug when greeting, and touch when talking. Here kissing or hugging when greeting is sort of embarrassing for some people.
Have you been able to settle and integrate into Finnish society?
Yes and no. From my point of view, any citizen who respects the law and pay taxes is an integrated one, but I also believe the cultural and social integration comes when the person speaks the languages of the country. Unfortunately, I only speak some Finnish and no Swedish at all.
What are your worries?
I’m quite concerned about the situation of many people in Spain and I struggle to not feel down many days when I read news about things that are going on nowadays.
What are your future hopes and wishes for your life here?
I want to keep enjoying life as I am doing now with people I love and admire. My most important wish is to be a good father when the time comes.
What is your favourite Finnish word?
Berliininmunkki. Just delicious and fun.