Alvaro Luis Moreno Gonzales

Alvaro Luis Moreno Gonzales misses the warmth of weather and people in Venezuela – but loves his Finland-Swedish wife and newborn baby boy

What do you do here in Finland?

I’m a musician in three bands and a bartender at Pinella in Turku

When and how did you end up here?

My now wife was an exchange student in Caracas Venezuela. She said, ‘Come to Finland with me, it’ll be fun’. So I did in 2006. Last year we got married and 11 days ago we had a baby boy.

What do you like about Finland?

Here is no danger, I like that. Also, if you work you get paid. Even though musicians are not very well appreciated in Finland, we are still paid okay. If I was to make the same amount of money in Venezuela I would have to work really hard all day every day and also teach.

What do you like about the Finnish culture?

What culture? Don’t get me wrong, but to me there is nothing going on, in the streets for example. Culture here means Finnish people watching or listening to other Finnish people do Finnish things in Finnish.

What culture shocks did you experience when coming to Finland?

It’s been really tough. I’m Latin and a people’s person. To me being human is being social. Now I live in a cold country, where people don’t say hi, talk or sing. Unless they are really drunk. Then they do it all and cry on your chest. The ladies don’t even like to dance. They look at me like I’m crazy if I ask – and I’m the salsa teacher.

Have you been able to settle and integrate into Finnish society?

In my own way. A few years ago I decided, now I’m just going to talk to everyone, even no one is talking to me. Then they would have to either push me out or take me in. Today I know a lot of people and have some really great and loyal Finnish friends. Sometimes it’s still tough though. Because I’m so confident, some Finnish people think I must be an asshole. But that’s their problem.

What are/were your worries?

No worries, they don’t bring anything anyhow.

What are your future hopes and wishes for your life here?

In the near future I hope to get accepted into TAMK to study being music producer. Finland has some amazingly good musicians I would like to work with. In the longer run I hope we can move to some place warm.

What is you favourite Finnish word?

Kesä tule (summer is coming). It’s so ironic to me; people are talking about summer coming, even when there’s heaps of snow and ice outside.

Karen Witt Olsen