Richelle: Cooking is my passion

Foreigners in Finland Online Magazine
Photo by Juha Roisko

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Richelle Mae Aliligay-Villanueva. I am 37 years old and from the Philippines. I live in Oulunkylä Helsinki, Finland. I am working full time as a Cook at Bistrot Helsinki, Helsinki- Vantaa International Airport. I am the owner of Villanueva Cleaning Services, a consultant of SaladMaster, and Chairman Of the Filipino Community in Finland.

How long have you lived in Finland?

I lived here in Finland for almost 14 yrs. I am a mother of two boys: Zheian Rhilley ( 4yrs old) and Zhion Grey ( 1 & 8 months old), and a proud wife of Ryan Villanueva.

How did you reach Finland? Tell us about your story?

Tero and Riikka, whom I met in Istanbul, Turkey, offered me a job in Finland. They were also my mother and sister's employers. Tero and Riikka offered me a job as a nanny in Finland and Sweden when they moved from Istanbul. My Finnish family helped me when I opened the cleaning business in Finland.

How are your Finnish language skills?

To be honest, it's improving. I know basic only, but I'm still learning that's why I took a Finnish language course. The Finnish language is not easy, but we can all learn if we are serious about it. It took me many years to learn since my job is not really in a mandatory Finnish-speaking environment (Airport). It is not too late; we still have time :-)

Do you have work at the moment because of the pandemic?

No, we are laid off because of the pandemic. There are not many passengers. But I have my own cleaning company which helps us a lot, and also I have the work of SaladMaster. This is what I'm doing right now.