If you’re a typical Finn, as judged by a Canadian and those who have spent some time with Finnish people, you probably don’t want to associate with other Finns. After all, that’s why you’re in Australia, to get as far away as possible! Completely understandable. Like Canada, Australia has a large Finnish population that have migrated here over the last few decades and most likely share the same thoughts on heading for warmer weather, white sandy beaches, and to work on their English.
However, sometimes when we have been travelling we tend to get a little homesick and miss our family, friends, bad coffee, and salmiakki. I know it happens to me, there are plenty of things I miss in Canada periodically. In any case, my point is, that sometimes it is nice to associate ourselves with like-minded folk and talk about the things that Finns usually talk about when they are together, the weather, the World Championships, and other silly things.
Fortunately for Kaisa and I, have found the “Little Finland” right here in Brisbane. For the past couple of months, we had been staying with Mika, Elina and their two Finnish Lapphunds Miina and Milla. Mika and Elina run their home like a hostel, they take Finnish guests in for both short and long periods of time so there are always backpackers going in and out. Their home is very big with many rooms, a garage, a backyard with a massive BBQ and even a sauna! Mika and Elina have also taken the time to make sure their home is very Finnish from the coffee maker, their Marimekko decorations, Moomin mugs, and Finnish books. What they also for Finnish backpackers is they have a number of cars that they rent which are very cheap and reliable for driving up and down the coast or even getting to work and back.
Also, if you miss some Finnish goodies, talk to Elina, she can take you to the Poro Café. The Poro Café is located close to Cleveland and has a number of Finnish people meet there regularly for coffee and goodies. The best part about this place is that it sells everything Finnish, Salmiakki, Jenkki gum, Fazer, Pulla, ruisleipä, and much much more.
Anyways, the best part is that if you’re at the beginning of your journey to Australia and you want to make some friends right away or you want to be connected towards finding a job, this is really not a bad place to start. If you’re halfway through and a little homesick, you may want to stay here for a few days or a few months. Or if you want to watch Finland lose to Canada in the World Hockey Championships and you don’t want to cry alone, go to their place and watch the game!
If you haven’t already joined the Finnish Backpackers in Australia group I suggest you do it, Mika and Elina are always involved on there. If you want to meet some like-minded people, contact Mika at +61 414 652 626