Nicholas Brain is Argentinean. He is been living in Helsinki since 2005 and he loves going to sauna every weekend.

What do you do here in Finland?

I’ve been working in IKEA since 2007. I am a visual merchandiser, so my job is basically about decorating and showing our products in a good functional way. At the same time I play semi-professional football in the team Bollklubben-46 Karjaa. Football is my life and a way of living for me. I feel empty if I don’t kick the ball around. I’m also a single father of two boys: Aslak, 6, and Alex, 8. They are the highlight of my life and I love them with all my heart.

When and how did you end up here?

I am English-born but have been brought up in the southern Patagonia of Argentina in a small town called El Bolsón surrounded by mountains and amazing nature.

In 2003 I decided to move to England. Half of my family lives there so it was a natural move to go there. In 2004 I was working in a restaurant and it was there where I met the mother of my kids.

That’s where everything started: we moved to Finland and we had two kids.

What do you like about Finland?

I like the nature here and and the peace. These are the two things I appreciate the most because as an Argentinean, I am used to big spaces and nature is a part of me.

What do you like about the Finnish culture?

I’ve realised how different Finnish culture is compared to the Argentinean, but I must say that the sauna culture is something I could take back home! I love the sauna on weekends, it is great.

What culture shocks did you experience when coming to Finland?

For me there were many culture shocks. One of the biggest was maybe the fact that people don’t talk so much to you unless you start the conversation or they are drunk. The other thing is that every time there is a festive day coming and you don’t have to go to work, everything is about getting drunk. People are also extremely shy…

Have you been able to settle and integrate into Finnish society?

In one way I have been able to settle but sometimes it feels hard not having my childhood friends close to me nor being able to visit people without making an appointment in advance. The thing I miss the most is my social life back in Argentina.

What were/are your worries about life in Finland?

Sometimes I think whether I’m doing the right thing being here. I have a great job, I play football here, my kids have a great education and there is a great social care in Finland, so it feels like the ‘perfect life’. But I feel I’m missing basic and really important things like the warmth from people I care about. It’s something very simple, but it’s very important to me.

How has Finland changed you?

Finland has changed me for sure to be more understanding with things in general and it has also thought me that at the end of the day one has to adapt to new places.

What are your future wishes for your life here?

My wish is being happy. I also want my kids to be fine and to fulfil my dreams. Nothing comes for free and sometimes we have to make some sacrifices to accomplish what we are really aiming for.

Pilar Diáz