Annina and Jack Baxter do not regret moving to Imatra
It was only supposed to be a short stop in Imatra and then return to the capital region. But it turned out differently. Imatra took over annina ja Jack Baxter's. Or vice versa.
─ Imatra is the first place I felt like home after I left my home country Great Britain, 29-year-old Jack says.
The move to Imatra took place in 2016.
─ Neither of us knew the city before. We moved after my job. Jack also found work in the area, recalls Annina, 33, from Espoo.
Cheap apartments, more affordable life
Annina, who graduated from Aalto University in Otaniemi with a master's degree in chemical engineering, initially got a temporary job at Stora Enso's Imatra factories. Before that, the couple had worked abroad.
─ We first chose to live in a rental, because our plans were to move back to Espoo, where Annina's family and friends live, Jack says.
The first home was one half of a semi-detached house in Vuoksenniska. They lived there for a good year.
─ Then we bought a detached house, because it was especially important for Jack to find his own home with a garage. A suitable home was found quite quickly, says Annina.
One big plus of the home is the fenced garden, where the couple's two dogs can run freely. And another big push for apartment deals was the price.
─ Since house prices here are much lower than in the capital region, it was easy to make the decision to buy your own house. In my opinion, housing costs are also very low in Imatra compared to the capital region, Annina says.
─ Apartments are cheap here. We can pay off the mortgage in five years. If we wanted a small house or apartment in Espoo, the price would probably be almost ten times as high. We would pay for it most of our lives.
Good hobby opportunities
Relocating to a smaller town went surprisingly quickly.
─ At first, we often traveled back to Espoo on weekends, but little by little life in Imatra took us away. I spend my free time outside with my dogs, tinkering at home and my hobbies. Life at Imatra is peaceful, and it is a good counterbalance to work, says Annina, who currently works at Stora Enso as a permanent development engineer.
The journey to the capital region is not long, only 2,5 hours by train.
Jack quickly became friends with people who like driving and through them he also found a job.
The couple praises the hobby opportunities offered by the city.
─ On the recommendation of a colleague, I found a good sports center with versatile hobby opportunities, such as aerial yoga, aerial acrobatics and dance lessons, Annina states with satisfaction.
Uncrowded life, nature close by
For Annina, it is also important that time does not pass in traffic jams.
─ In the capital region, it took much more time to go to hobbies and work or, for example, to shop. Imatra rarely has traffic jams and the distances are shorter, leaving more free time. This has been a very positive change in my life.
The nearby nature is also a positive addition to everyday life. Imatra and the surrounding areas have good opportunities for outdoor activities, especially the coastal paths of Saimaa and Vuoksi.
─ If I had one word to describe Imatra, it would be freedom. I enjoy the freedom to explore new routes in the forest with our dogs or walk along the beautiful Saimaa. Annina's sister's children also experience freedom when they come from Espoo to Imatra. Even if they stay with us for a week, there is always something different for them to do. In the summer, the children enjoy it when we go to the berries. Pumptrack and many different frisbee golf courses are also very popular.
Imatranajo for the car man's mind
Jack is captivated by the city's motorsport reputation. Imatranajo is one of the most important moments every summer.
─ Then there is a truly international atmosphere here. Every year I invite my friends from the UK to the Games.
The couple gives the same incense to local people. In their opinion, the people of Imatra are friendly and open.Jack is currently studying at LAB University of Applied Sciences in Lappeenranta. It is only a 30 minute drive from home. He goes there together with his fellow students by carpooling. ─ If I didn't have a car, I could also travel by train and bus, but we still want to stop for cappuccinos on the way, Jack laughs.
"In Imatra, there's nothing to praise"
The couple really only have a few wishes for the city. Annina hopes for a dog park and Jack invests more in the city's marketing. Imatra really has a margin for advertising.─ Many people in Uusimaa think that places outside of Uusimaa are "so far away" or "in the middle of nowhere", but that's not really the case. Imatra is a wonderful place to live.
- 33 years old
- Development engineer at Stora Enso's Imatra factories.
- I come from Espoo.
- Lived in Imatra since 2016.
- Studied at Aalto University in Otaniemi for a master's degree in chemical engineering.
- Enjoys aerial acrobatics and yoga, as well as outdoor activities with dogs.
- 29 years old
- Currently studying at LAB University of Applied Sciences
- Originally from Great Britain.
- Moved abroad at the age of 20. Worked in different countries, including in the Mediterranean as a yacht captain and diver.
- Lived in Imatra since 2016.
- He loves cars.
"If I had one word to describe Imatra, it would be freedom."
- Jack Baxter -