This is where I started 4 years ago

Time travel is an unreliable form of transportation. When we look at our pasts, we don’t experience them exactly as we do while remembering them now, from the comfort of the present. But today I wanted to time travel back to 2010 anyway, in light of my birthday having just passed, in order to see what I could piece together from that time.


4 years ago I lived in Tampere.

4 years ago I couldn’t find jobs in English (or French, German, Spanish, Romanian for that matter) to apply to.

4 years ago I was attending a beginner’s Finnish course at Tampereen Työväenopisto.

4 years ago I couldn’t register as living in Finland, despite having lived here for 3 months.

4 years ago I got a shiny yellow bike for my birthday!

4 years ago I had no job, no school placement and very little idea of where I would be 6 months from then.

4 years ago I rode my bike and enjoyed the intermittent sunshine in the park with friends.

4 years ago I believed fitting in meant speaking the language.

4 years ago I would eat my favourite meals with friends at Wok Wok – and we would sit there for entire afternoons!

4 years ago the things I thought I’d understood no longer seemed to apply.

4 years ago I celebrated my birthday with a potluck!

4 years ago I put my faith in time passing and things getting better.

4 years ago the idea of leaving Finland felt like giving up and I was feeling stubborn.

4 years ago the opportunities I’d been promised were nowhere to be found.

4 years ago I was probably smarter than I give myself credit for today 😉

4 years ago I would’ve never told you most of this, but today I feel safe. I feel that I can.


4 years has changed a lot but I have to say, it wasn’t time passing that made the changes, it was me – at my own, very slow pace. The years can be long, or they can pass by in a flash, depending on what you’re doing.

Now I want to hear from you! Leave a comment and let me know: what were 3 things you were doing 4 years ago?



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  • Four years ago: accepted an offer to start a degree and move to a new city.

    Now: degree is only a few weeks away from being finished, and I’m looking for new opportunities!

    • Irina

      Sounds like you’ve been busy! Congrats will soon be in order 🙂

  • Anusha

    HI Irina,

    Great post! Made me time travel a bit and get a bit nostalgic about what I was up to 4 years ago.

    Well 4 years ago, I had just finished my Finnish language course and surprise, surprise, I happened to find a job in my area of expertise. Ofcourse in Finnish. That was a great sense of accomplishment over there. It was a nice gig while it lasted.

    Also 4 years ago, we went on a road trip all over Iceland. Has to be one of my most cherished memories of all time.

    4 years ago was filled with lots of highs and lows for me. Many uncertainties along with endless possibilities. It was nice but I am pretty happy with my growth when I look back now.

    Hope to read more such great posts from you!


    • Irina

      Thanks for sharing Anusha! I’m always curious to hear more 🙂

  • Jessie Hsu

    4 years ago, I decided to quit my good salary job in technology industry, and change my life to be a full-time student.

    4 years ago, I went to Sweden, first time live aboard all by my own.

    4 years ago, I realize design is not something that make products look fancy, but provide enjoyable experiences to people. I first time feel that I can do something for our crazy world.

    4 years ago, I start to see the world differently, from various perspectives.

    Then now, I have so many friends who make my life happier everyday 🙂

    • Irina

      Thanks for sharing your journey Jessie! Sounds like you were very brave to do what you did and I’m happy you did because – among other positives – it allowed us to meet 🙂

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