Monday, 20 August 2012

Life is beautiful when you want it to be

The time I have lived in Tampere is the longest I have ever stayed in one single city. And it is the most beautiful part of my life. Tampere city has also witnessed the most important phases of my life.

I was first studying in TAMK in the Bachelor Program of Environmental Management. Students’ life was simple and fun. The clearest memory from then is how to keep living budget to the minimum. Back then, what I didn’t lack was time. I could walk 3 kilometers to Stockman only for its cheap Chinese cabbage (kiinankaali), to Tammelantori for 1 euro per kilo fish (särki, Finns don’t often eat it because of too much bones), and finally to Valintatalo nearby our students’ apartments for the food on sale, usually 50% off when it is closing to the best-before-date. Back then, I didn’t feel that it was hard, but felt lucky and grateful that there were such cheaper options available. With small income from cleaning, picking strawberries and harvest garlic in the summer and low living cost, I survived and got Bachelor degree.
For Master degree program study, I started only after 6 years working. It is called Environmental Policy, the program is in Finnish in the University of Tampere.  Life is quite different from Bachelor study time. All the lectures are in Finnish and all classmates are Finns. Subjects are much more theoretical. When doing group work with classmates, I realized that our thinking patterns are also so different. I am more practical and concrete and my classmates who have studied only in university are more theoretical and abstract. I found this difference interesting and exciting. It motivated me to listen, to learn and to practice the other way of thinking, writing and presenting. I was very happy every day because I learn something new every day.
My first job was in TAMK right after my Bachelor study. And now I got a job in UTA while I study Master degree. People have been envious of me for getting job position easily as a foreigner or for having a happy marriage with a Finnish husband. I can tell one asset in me that make all these happen “easily”.
I accept differences and adapt myself into them. Once realizing the environment, people, thinking, behaving and values are different, instead of complaining, I try to understand and behave accordingly, so called “Do in Rome as the Rome”. However, very often, I hear people complaining living is expensive, Finns are quiet, winter is long, cold and dark, job hunting is hard, salary is low and husband is inconsiderate. Even all these are true, the more important thing is what we can do about it. Do we keep complaining, or change our looking and thinking perspectives and react to it positively? At your 20s, bravely and actively try all kinds of possibilities and find your chance and position, even you fail and fall, you can easily stand up and recover because you are young. Otherwise, you will end up like many people complaining that life is not fair to them at their 40s.
Life is beautiful when you want it to be. There is a proverb in Buddhism “when you have a Buddha in your heart, you can see a Buddha”. The same can be applied in our life, when you believe that life is beautiful, then it will be. 

Text: Cuihong Jin-Muranen
Photo: Krista Salonen
About the author: Chinese lady, got bachelor in TAMK, worked 6 years in TAMK; pursuing Master in UTA, meanwhile working in UTA. Have a husband and 2 lovely daughters. Published 2 books about Chinese cooking, also teaches Chinese cooking in Sampola.

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