3 x Levi stole my heart
What happens when you find your place in the world? These are the stories of three Levi residents who came from afar and decided to stay.
- AT MY UNIVERSITY IN ENGLAND some people came to interview students for trainee positions in Levi. There were two things they told us: it’s dark in Lapland and there are more reindeer than people. So, when I travelled across Finland by train and minibus in the summer of 1995, I was in shock. I wore my sunglasses during the night to be able to sleep. I’d never seen so many trees and empty space. Back in England I couldn’t even imagine that a place like this would exist.
From that moment on things only got better each month. I fell in love with the autumn colours, the snow piles, the locals and the community. First I fell in love with Levi, then with my now husband Timo.
I still take the phone camera out whenever I see trees co-vered by the heavy snow. I'll never grow tired of seeing that.
Natalie Heppell-Nieminen, sales manager, Lapland Safaris
- TEN YEARS AGO I DROVE 3600 kilometres from Italy to Levi. When I arrived in Helsinki in October, I felt disappointed: it was raining, it was dark and wet. But it was full-on winter in Levi.
I I had lived in the Austrian Alps for eight years but it wasn’t until here that I fell in love with skiing. The locals don’t even understand how special it is to be able to ski for hours without encountering anyone, just animals. Once I went skiing and I was wondering how come my eyelashes kept freezing shut. The Finns said that they don’t usually go skiing when it’s –25 degrees.
I especially love spring. In January, when the sun starts to shine again, it gives the sky a pastel hue. In the Alps the mountains always block the sun, you don’t see it in the same way. Here you are like the king of the hill, everything is in front of you. You can-not imagine it, you have to live it.
Stefania Dassie, team leader at Levi Destination Sales & Marketing
- I WAS WORKING in London when I met my Finnish wife. I went to the restaurant at seven in the morning and worked till late at night six days a week. I had to take several buses from one place to another and I couldn’t walk out alone during the night. The decision to move to Finland 16 years ago was easy.
I remember when we drove north from the Rovaniemi airport and I was watching the mounds of snow through the car window. I thought this is fantastic. We’ve been living in Levi since 2002 and I still think pretty much everything here is fantastic. The children and I can walk everywhere and everyone knows each other. My children are safe here and it’s what matters the most to me.We go to the woods a lot. I get so much energy from the peace and quiet, and the nature. I love listening to the water murmuring in the creek.
Manu Fofannah, cook, Lapland Hotel Sirkantähti