Sunday, February 12, 2012

So How's It Really Going?

How are things really going here in Helsinki?

It's not always smiles and snowy days! But I try to look at the bright side!

We're all a bit tired of getting dressed in multiple layers to go outside...

...but once we are dressed and outside, we all really enjoy ourselves!

It's nice having less "stuff" in our apartment. But having less stuff means the kids have less to entertain themselves and we have had to relax our 30 minutes of screen time per day rule. (Even if we go outside, since they get home at noon and 1 p.m., that's a lot of unstructured afternoon time!)

We all really miss our friends and family (and Izzy our dog!) at home....

But being able to Skype with people has made us feel a little closer to home. (This is a picture of Joey Skyping with his history class in Chicago.)

I'm still having a bit of difficulty finding the right ingredients to make the meals I know how to make at home...

but sometimes I can find just what the kids love!

Walking everywhere is good exercise and a great way to see the city, but boy do I miss the freedom that having a car allows. I'm sure this sounds crazy, but I really miss wandering the aisles at Target!

The good news is that while Lily, Sam and I generally still walk home from school every day (Rob takes the kids to school), Joey is now an independent young man and decides whether or not he will walk or take the bus home by himself everyday.

Moving across an ocean with three kids is an adventure...YES! However, it can not be compared to moving to another country when you are in your 20s and single!

When I was 22, I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Costa Rica. I lived in a small town there for 3 years. My life was transformed (for the better) by my experiences in Costa Rica which is why I've always been open to living abroad again.

Calle Vargas

I've spent the last 4 weeks expecting my adjustment here to be similar to my adjustment to life in Costa Rica. I've learned, the hard way, that there is NOTHING similar about the two experiences!

Oh, the days are getting longer and I'm already nostalgic for the long nights! (To see the sunrise and sunset schedule, see the times on the sidebar of my blog.) It is getting light at about 8:00 a.m. and not getting dark until 5:00 p.m. I miss the mornings when Sam would wake up and ask, "is it 8 in the morning, or 8 at night?" and shuffle right back to bed!


  1. Lovely blog you have!
    Make a post of what ingredients are confusing to you, I'm sure that there are volunteers to give advice here.

    I so share your feelings about the ingredients, still remembering the times I left from Finland with two small kids and struggling with the same issue in a foreign country.

  2. I'd be happy to help if I can. It is difficult enough to change food shopping without changing the shopping language at the same time. Just post a list and we'll go from there.

    I do live abroad but visit, shop and cook in Finland in regular(ish) intervals. Have you considered a day hire for a car, then you could hit the out of town big supermarkets, or you could take the metro to Itäkeskus that has choice of larger supermarkets and a number of other shops too

  3. Why not try the Stockmann's dept. store in your vicinity? It is by far the best in many aspects, go & walk the isles of the food heaven there!
    Or you could take a bus West, to Iso Omena (Big Apple) in Espoo, some 10-15 kilometres from the Kamppi bus station: there are two big supermarkets and plenty of other shops as well. I prefer going West instead of East around the Helsinki area... Espoo is actually Helsinki's suburb...

    I am living in Espoo and could help you with the language, if you so wish.

    Looks like it is snowing again!

  4. Hello!
    Oh, how fun and interesting to be reading your blog.
    I found it by accident through someone else's blog.
    My knowledge of English is not very praised, but, fortunately, has invented the Google translator. =)
    I have watched a lot of the Finns, who live in USA, blogs.
    Now can I do the same thing the other way around.
    Am looking forward to it with interest, the Finnish spring and summer will arrive in your life.
    This document is a result of the translator. Grammatical issues I did not go to swear.

  5. I'm reading the things you find different/difficult and I'm nodding my head in agreement. 12 years ago we moved to Canada and it was tough on so many levels. But it was only Colin and I, and yes I was a young 22 year old! I quite honestly take my hat off to you, and salute you for doing something like this with 3 kiddies - it can't be easy.

    I must admit though, nothing prepares you for this amount of snow and the long long winters. 12 years later, the winters here only seem to be getting longer and it's even stating to feel colder - even though it isn't really!! The fact is, I'm just getting older!

    And I feel your pain, I'm sick of photographing Lilah in her snowsuit too! Ha!

    BUT, moving has broadened my way of thinking and also our horizons, in ways that I never thought possible. The move teaches you more about life, it cultures you. It is a blessing for your children to experience this, even though you might be asking yourself "why?" on the odd occassion! :)