Finland calling: Ranfords' mining family adventure

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After 10 years in South Australia we are off again on yet another mining move.

This one is a little different from the last six, as we now have teenage children in tow. I have never felt more grateful for our Mining Family Matters psychologists and the advice they have given over the last eight years on moving with children and teaching them to be resilient and accepting of change. It is a whole new ball game.

This next mining adventure is taking us to Finland. We will be located in the north, not far from the Arctic Circle, so a maximum summer temperature of 15C and minimum winter temperature of -28C. There will be long periods of darkness and three months of 24-hour sunlight, intermingled with the spectacular Northern Lights on our doorstep. We can’t wait for something so different.

I must admit a European mining adventure was not something I ever let myself imagine. I thought we might return to Africa one day, or possibly Mongolia. But Europe? Never. I am ecstatic.

Our two children are now 12 and 13, and are equally excited. After hearing so many stories about our mining-life adventures before children, they are excited to move somewhere so different and new. No.1 is most excited about joining the ice hockey team and No.2 about all things related to living in the snow. I look forward to reporting back on whether their love of the snow has changed after 12 months.

They are of course worried about missing family and friends, but the reaction to them moving to Europe has been incredible! Grandma and Grandpa had booked and paid for their first white Christmas with us before we even had our relocation flights organised. I have had to start a visitor diary so we don’t overbook the spare room. The realities of communication now with Skype, Viber and What’s App also mean that staying in touch is easy and inexpensive. Gone are the days of $3.50 per minute international calling.

Have you heard that Finland has one of the best education systems in the world? I am already incredibly impressed and we haven’t even touched down yet. The local Finnish school is 1km from our doorstep. They have already provided me with a PowerPoint on why our children should attend Finnish school, including a breakdown of the integration process they would go through to transition from English-speaking lessons to Finnish. I never realised there were no private schools in Finland. It is all provided by the government with a free hot meal daily for every student. No more packing lunches!

So, yes, we are surrounded by packing boxes, I currently have 12 to-do lists on the go, and our heads are spinning. But the adventure ahead makes it all worth it.

Alicia will continue to run Mining Family Matters from Finland. Stay tuned for updates on the Ranfords' mining family adventure. You can also follow their journey on Instagram and Facebook at MiningFamilyMatters.