JOHANNA Pesonen is set to experience her first Bendigo Christmas.
Miss Pesonen travelled all the way from Finland to spend time over the festive season with her boyfriend Nicholas and his family in Bendigo.
The 25-year-old, who lives in the north of Finland in Oulu, 100 kilometres south of the Arctic Circle, is looking forward to a sunny Christmas.
“When I left Finland on Sunday, it wasn’t that cold – it was minus eight,” she said.
“At Christmas it gets to around minus 20 or 30.”
Miss Pesonen said she was used to having a white Christmas, but was excited at the prospect of having a traditional Aussie Christmas.
“We have a lot of snow at the moment so everything is white, it is very pretty,” she said. “But it is very dark at the moment; we only have a few hours of sunlight.
“We have light from 10am until 3pm so the snow is nice because it brightens up the landscape.”
Miss Pesonen said she met her boyfriend Nicholas in 2011 while in Germany.
“We were both interns working there,” she said.
“I was studying German language and culture and he was working as an engineer.
“Part of my job was to take care of the interns and I went and picked him up from the train station and we hit it off.”
Miss Pesonen said she hadn’t heard of Bendigo before meeting her boyfriend.
“I knew something about Australia because Australia is a pretty popular tourist destination for Fins, but I had never heard about Bendigo,” she said.
“I just knew Melbourne, Sydney and the big cities.
“But I love it, the people are so nice and the weather is great at the moment.”