We became friends, spoke a lot, and spent time learning about the Finnish culture together.
Joanne Wong, 28, and Slava Klimov, 33
The term ‘meeting you was fate’ describes the relationship between Joanne and Slava. A few years ago, Joanne travelled to Europe for two and a half months. She had to stop by Tampere, a city in southern Finland, to sit for a university exam. Through Couchsurfing, she met Slava and he became her generous host, showing her around the place the entire time.
“We became friends, spoke a lot, and spent time learning about the Finnish culture together. We even went to the public sauna by the lake, strolled through the cities and visited a café up the hill that serves amazing Finnish coffee. I also cooked Asian dishes for him to try,” shares Joanne.
However, after returning to Kuala Lumpur, they didn’t keep in touch. It was only later in the year when Joanne got accepted into a university in Finland that they met again. As Joanne didn’t have a place to stay, Slava hosted her for seven weeks. It was after she got her own place that they decided to take their friendship to a different level.
“It was unexpected! Our love story is like walking in the Finnish forest during summer as everything looks so natural and calm, and as you walk further, you look down and spot shy blueberries hiding underneath their leaves. It’s so simple yet wonderful! We didn’t have problems communicating as the romance only started when I was in the same place with him, and guess what, we’re now living in Helsinki and happily engaged!” says Joanne.