A ton has happened since my last post so I have some catching up to do. A few weeks after my last blog my family and I decided to leave Kaposvar in Hungary and pursue other opportunities for reasons I’ll explain in a later blog. We arrived here in Finland Jan 22nd and are just now getting settled in and comfortable in our new life in Helsinki.
There are very striking differences from Hungary to Finland both in lifestyle, people and the style of basketball. The biggest difference can be noticed immediately after getting off the plane, the weather. This was to be expected but is not as big of a deal as I thought. As long as you layer up and have a good coat it’s not a problem at all. Today was -15 Celsius and my wife and two kids did just fine getting around the city.
Nearly everyone in Finland speaks English. I read in an article that 90% of the people in Helsinki speak English. That is pretty impressive. They have a very good economy, education system and everything seems very modern. To an American Finland is great. The local stores have all of my favorite American food Mt. Dew, Peanut Butter, Doritos and even the impossible to find Ranch. My only complaint is the cost of living. Everything in Helsinki is expensive and that’s not even considering the exchange rate from Euro to Dollar. A small example was a 16 ounce bottle of coke at the gas station was 2.50 Euro. That means it was $3.29 for a coke. Huh? I highly recommend Finland to professional hoopers, atleast from what I’ve seen so far. Of course, I am in Helsinki.
The style of play here is also much different. Everyone asks me what is a better league Hungary or Finland. Generally they are considered the same from the people I’ve talked to but I think there is a big difference. Hungary has a ton of good big men and is a very physical league. The refs really let things go and the games can easily turn into a slugfest. Finland is the complete opposite. The refs are super touchy so I am having to shed all my bad handing checking habits I’ve developed over the last few years. Finns also play extremely hard and so far seem to be very organized. I may form different opinions by the end of the year but these are my first impressions.
I’m very excited to be here in ToPo. The city is great, the people are very friendly and my team has a ton of potential. I struggled adjusting to the style of the refs and just getting comfortable my first few games but we finally got a much needed win tonight. Also, best of luck to my former teammates in Kaposvar, keep on keeping on. I know this was a very short blog but I was necessary. Very soon I will explain the whole Hungary situation and share some of my thoughts on my favorite perk of this job, seeing the world.
If you want to know more about me you can watch my highlights on YouTube (http://youtu.be/ApGzS3h-csQ) or follow me on twitter @jdubball21. Josh Wilson (188-PG-87, agency: Hightower Law Firm, college: N.Arizona)