Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Now that we're home...

...everyone asks "how does it feel to be back?"

The answer? 

It sort of depends on the day. 

Today, Chicago Public School teachers are on their second day of a strike and while I fully support them and what this strike means to more than just Chicago teachers, I wish we were back in Helsinki.

What do I miss? 

There are lots of things I miss (and I few I don't).  But mostly, I miss a society that works efficiently on almost every level.  I miss (and envy) the Finnish cradle to grave social welfare system.

Today, I really missed being able to hop on a boat and head over to Suomennlinna (the old fort I've blogged about before) or Pihlajasaari (a little island beach we enjoyed several times this summer).  The kids are home (again) and my kids would love to roam the walls and tunnels of Suomennlinna.


changing rooms

I also miss Finnish playgrounds--our playgrounds seem so boring here and there are never that many children playing at the playground. I loved that the playgrounds were always full of people!

And we really miss being able to hang out at our favorite neighborhood park--playgrounds, boats, ice cream, cafes, rocks to climb, paths to walk...what more could you ask for?

kaivopuisto 2

I really, really, really miss the trams :(  They are so efficient. 

I live in a neighborhood where most of the homes were built in the 50s, so to say I miss the architecture in Helsinki--especially the neighborhood I lived in--is an understatement!

Sammy talks almost daily about the cruise ships. We would see them every day. He hopes to get back to Finland soon so we can take another trip!

viking line web

I'll tell you what I DON'T miss!

The Seagulls!

Little rocks EVERYWHERE! Little rocks that insert themselves inside your shoes and somehow...make their way into your bed at night!

Hanging clothes to dry! I'm loving my soft clothes and towels!

And, even though I LOVED my drying cabinet, I'm so happy to be reunited with my dishwasher!

And of course, I miss that clear deep blue sky that I noticed and LOVED on the first day I arrived in Helsinki.

Overall, I find myself missing life in Helsinki and the wonderful people we met more than I ever thought I would.  We were told that Finns are quiet and reserved and I would certainly agree. However, I met so many outgoing, welcoming, interesting, educated people--I truly hope we can return their hospitality very soon!

Thank you ALL for sharing in this journey with me.  Your comments have been so uplifting and I'm glad I could share a little bit of Finnish culture (from an expats eyes) with so many who will never have a chance to visit this charming country.