I once wrote that having proper time to read and supported by a short and walking distance library with good collections was one of the highlights living in London.
Visited the library few times a week becomes a routine (or semi addiction). The more books I read, the more I crave for more . One book leads to another like snowball effect. My favorite sections are around 158, 650-658, and several of 302. Those are codes for Health and Psychology, Bussiness and Money, and Social Science. I don’t understand why and how, I have stopped reading fiction since few years ago.
Among many books I have read, a soft spot always left for anything related to Nordic. Their lifestyle, philosophy, daily life, education, even only by reading, I have felt certain peaceful feeling that is quite hard to understand. I have been reading all three books from Meik Wiking, a Danish writer and happiness researcher. This year he also opened Happiness Museum which instantly becomes my next travel wishlist . I also had finished Katja Pantzar’s Finding Sisu about Finnish life style and also a book about Lagoom, a Swedish life style. All those books were inexplicably soothing.
Do you know the difference between Nordic and Scandinavian?
Scandinavian consist of three countries Norway, Sweden, Denmark and they are part of Nordic.
While Finland and Iceland are Nordic countries which don’t belong to Scandinavian.
So, Scandinavians are part of Nordic, but some Nordics aren’t Scandinavian.
The world happiest countries list 2020 had been released and two out of five members are on the top five, four out of five on the top ten, and five out of five are on the top fifteen. Here is the full article.
I remembered one of the lines that Meik Wiking wrote in his book, “I wrote here as a happy citizen and a happiness researcher”. It’s such a simple statement yet so meaningful. To claim yourself a happy citizen, you must be taken care very well by your country. Look at this lines :
Other than soothing, half part inside my heart is also aching. It’s aching because it’s almost impossible having those things in the home country. There’s almost impossible to say the same thing about my own country. More, after watching all the things that that stupid, useless, and ignorant government have done in dealing with this pandemic.
Okay, calm down. This writing won’t rant about that.
Just like French, Dutch, German, these Nordic Countries are also have their own life styles. Everything is integrated in every part of life since the very beginning of a child’s life and the whole country practise those together. In the end, those become nation characters. Every single life aspect is carefully decided and developed through research, and regularly updated, but the main idea stays strong. The foundation is firm and secured.
After Katya Pantjar’s Finding Sisu and Meik Wiking’s trilogy, I keep going with more readings about the Nordics. I had been reading Helen Russell A Year Living Danishly and The Nordics Theory of Love from Anu Partanen pararelly and it led me to more readings and documentaries watching. Four episodes of Dan Rather’s Global Education Report potrayed how the school in Finland, as one of the countries with highest PISA scores, ran daily. The more I watched it leads to deeper heart-wrenching.
Free basic education to higher one, comprehensive pregnancy care to overall health care, the support of inclusive education, employment to jobless support, how, I mean, really how, they can think about those things in details and provide secure living for their citizen from birth to death, in whatever condition you have to go through.
There’s almost none that they have missed.
From the day you were born, you will receive a box full of your daily necessity of your first months of life. The box also served as the baby crib.
Once you enter toddlerhood, high quality day care is waiting for you.
You will enter primary education around age seven. It doesn’t matter whether you can read, count or write or not. It doesn’t matter whether you are that bright kid with high IQ or one with any kind of learning disabilities or any kind of physical disabilities, you are eligible to secure a seat in your primary school on your neighbourhood. No entrance test, not a single penny needed for this.
Basic education will go for nine years and no worries about dealing with standardized test. You will only have one at the end of your nine years basic education. Before that, everyone will be evaluated according to their own progress and support will be available throughout your education journey.
You will be guided and supported by those high quality teachers, who have at the very least Master degree level, and have been through 5-6 years period of massive teacher trainings.
As a school kid, you will enjoy huge amount of recess time, outdoor playground, complete school facilities to entertain your interest like music, sport, reading, games, and many more.
Finland has the shortest learning time yet the highest PISA scores.
Once you have finished your basic education, you can continue to either vocational school or university and there is no pressure on that. One choice doesn’t make you better than another, because in real life, we need each other.
You can move out from your parents house and be independent while pursuing the higher education because the country will provide you with some pocket money for the living. Not a single penny for the tuition fee.
You will have to pay high amount of taxes once you’re with a job. But, if you haven’t found the one that suits you best, you can take your time and still receive some support, not from your parents, but from the country, while searching for the jobs.
When you decide to have a kid, you will enjoy generous parental leave while still keep receiving 80% to full amount of salary.
You dont have to have the slightest amoubt of worry when you’re sick. The health care system will take care of you.
You will live in a society who trust each other. In the level you can leave your baby in her pram unattended outside while you enjoy hot coffee and warm pastry inside the cafe during winter.
You will be part of the citizen who pays such high taxes yet won’t file a single complain. Instead, you’ll be one of the people who answered “I am eight, nine, or even ten out of ten” when Helen Russell in her book asked the Danes about how happy they were in the scale of ten.
Being a Nordic means half of your life problems has been taken care of by your country.
Fifteen months in London, I experienced a glimpse of this Nordics beautiful life. As we come as a taxpayer, the salary is deducted by 40% every month. In return, we enjoy free education for the little girl, free lunch, free health care check up from the eyes, dental care, compulsory vaccines, and the huge support we needed for her learning disabilities at school, health care check up for me like pap smear and HPV vaccine, all for free.
We enjoyed fresh air, beautiful view every day, clean and beautiful huge city parks everywhere, proper playgrounds around the neighbourhood and integrated public transportation.
The doctor enjoyed humanely shift schedule, proper break within tough working days, generous annual leaves, even being chased to take more leaves, and not being disturbed outside the working hours.
It was short, yet during those times, we knew that there were places where we could have a better quality of life in every aspect possible.
It’s been three months since we return from those ideal situations and back dealing with a total opposite ones. I have been whining too often. And pretty loud.
How can’t I when the doctor’s working schedule takes all four weekends and national holiday, with no weekdays off, long daily working hours in the hospital, weekend online meetings. There are too much to not to be annoyed. It felt like being lockdowned by the schedules.
The pandemic made it even worse. Other than lockdowned by inhumane shift schedule, during these months, no single parks and playground are available for the little girl to play since they are all closed. Going out always costs quite amount of money.
Before London, such life seemed just ok. Far from ideal, but we didn’t know another way to live. Thinking these are the things that we just have to go through in life.
But, after London, the view has changed drastically.
It changes the way we see, the way we do things and what we choose for the future. From choosing a place to live to the school that the little girl will go.
The struggle is harder because there are this gap between the situation we want and the reality we face. Then, maybe that’s the reason why we had to return. To working on the gap.
To find some ways to go to our wanted ideal situation. Although it would be uncertain how long it will take, or even whether we will really have a chance to really be there. But, who knows we might get there. If it’s not for us the adults, maybe for the little girl.
The Nordics life seems too out of reach in this country. But, trying hard won’t hurt. When the Nordic people have half of their life problems taken care by their system, for us, we can be just happy first with solving half of our problems by at least, knowing what we want.
It would be nice if we wouldn’t be working alone along the way.