In the beginning of this year, all I can remember is a lot of heartache. Being honest, it has been a year with a lot of tears - of all kinds.
I was in my happiest place in life, but I knew it had to come to an end soon. Or I got reminded of that everyday.
People started to ask me questions about my future and if I were going to apply for an education or get a job.
I noticed that some even wondered or assumed that I was going to get married soon. It's an interesting question. I keep it sacred for God.
When spring finally arrived, it was all together beautiful. But at the same time, still a tough season of starting to manage the thought of separation from this peaceful, thriving and joyful place in my life.
The years I’ve spent in Finland has really completed me and blessed me in so many ways I couldn’t even imagined it would when I moved there in 2015.
And I pray it has and will in the future for everyone I met there too.
In May, I moved away from the lovely small village that has a big heart and personality. It was one of the hardest things I’ve gone through.
Going on summer holidays has always been a time of freedom and relief before, but now I realised for the first time – there are people who also grief during these months! Leaving cities, classmates and so on.
It’s not always an easy season. It made me more humble in a new way. And most of the people I knew in school has a background of separation.
We who grew up in Finland, and surely in other places too, we say goodbye so lightly. Without many thoughts behind it. Most of us believe we are safe and will meet again.
I’ve come to learn that not every culture does. In the beginning at school, for example, I didn’t really understand why some said so long passionated "Hellos" and "Goodbyes" Like many sentences while they passed each other... Maybe it's just something they've always done. But now I really appreciate it.
As you might know we Finns don't usually say so much. "Moi" "Heippa" "Terve" - that's about it.
Back to the studies, I finally applied to an education in Helsinki. It was the only idea I got in my mind. It felt as the smartest choice were to stay in a finnish environment since my goal is to master the Finnish language that I've been studying in the recent years. And lately working in childcare has been on my heart.
I went to an admission interview for the education in the spring, and it went well. I was the oldest one of the applicants there.
She asked me very personal questions to see if I was able to work with children. I haven’t ever been, but although she was a bit older she seemed to be moved by my presence and my words at the end of the interview. She could assure me already that day that I was going to get in.
It made me very happy and filled me with hope for a promising future.
I also had the opportunity to study and do work practices in different places, and then still be able to keep contact with my friends and family. That made me especially grateful. I wouldn't like the thought of being stuck in one place.
But the dream life of Sarah didn’t happen the way I had imagined it. In August I did get an own nice place in Espoo, half an hour away from Helsinki. But just after I had moved in, I got really sick.
I went to the first information day in school but realised very soon that this education wasn’t something for me.
It required much more than I was prepared for. I had after all no experience of childcare, yet it was fulltime job training from day one and studies upon that, for a year or more (you could be as effective as you liked)
And what I really longed for at the moment was a peaceful life where I could learn and enjoy everything with the strength to keep on to the next day. For some years ago, I was diagnosed with burnout, and gastric ulcer (stomach pain until you are bleeding inside) and that wasn’t even work related...
So I knew by then, that this wasn’t God’s plan for me.
Still, it felt devastating to leave a place once again, and the picture I had created in my mind about Helsinki was shattered. And at the same time many people around me seemed to support and respect my choice to start a new life in the capital city of Finland. And now they had to know I wasn’t. It’s a pride related thing we have learned growing up in our culture, I guess.
We ask others, do you go to school? Do you have a job? Are you engaged? Most of us are just wondering how you’re doing through these questions. Nothing wrong with that.
But maybe we should focuse more on asking - are you happy? Because I believe that’s what matters.
Like, I know we can "have it all" and still be unhappy. And it goes the other way around too. Not for many, but for some.
For me, God and people is enough to make my day. True fellowship and connection with others is enough. And I’d like to see that grow in our society.
So I came back to my home place in the Åland islands. It felt so isolated and dark here, on a spiritual level. But God showed me that He had it all figured out.
It went from studying the Finnish language to discover more about the Arabic language.
In September a beginners course started here in Maarianhamina, but after time passed... I actually believe that we got more than studies on a beginner level in the end! If you are willing to learn you can. Sometimes I stayed up late at night and practised the new alphapet. السلام و عليكم
Small-talking and understanding some words was already familiar to me, thanks to a loyal friend I met in Finland who had been willing to help me.
It was very educating and I’m so very grateful for this opportunity to learn to read and write some in arabic. It's a journey.
It will forever bless me just as any language. But I will tell you one thing.
As I’ve learned more Finnish and get to know more Arabic, I believe it is the beginning of unfolding mysteries and seeing new fulfillments take place. You might not understand what I mean by claiming that...
These languages are in a way so strong and so deep. For example, Arabic is an ancient language and its variations and beautiful passion fascinates me so much!
Finnish has such clarity and purity over it... It’s just a feeling I get whenever I hear it. Grace.
The end of the year has come to be the most fruitful for me personally. I’ve been feeling free to travel - visiting Norway, Sweden and Finland and spending much time with dear ones. Enjoying amazing food at home, at friends' houses, a weekend course with syrian food and even out in town as a vegetarian restaurant has openened here in Maarianhamina called "Emmaus."
I have also had the courage and the time to read a lot of english literature as well, which I guess will be an access in the future in both my english writing, vocabulary and wisdom overall.
Interpreter, author, translator, daycarer, teacher, dancer, singer, horseback-rider, integration worker, volunteering, travelling, exploring, diving... I even have so many more dreams than these in my heart, and looking forward for opportunities to come in the future.
Freelancing or self-employment have always been my goal in the end, as my parents had the freedom to do that as well and their impact were appreciated.
Still, the only things I look forward for the new year of 2019 is holding on to hope, honoring God, learning more and keep being a blessing to the world.
You are welcome to join me.
Rise up and shine!
And Happy New Year!
Love ♥ Sarah
Extra: This anime video and song by Rihanna, I would say really illustrates my spiritual life this far...