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. 


  1. :) Until we meet again!
    Next time....go for something a tad bigger....get a house a little bit further out in the suburbia....one with a sauna and a garden. The idyllic Punainen mökki ja perunamaa! (I let you figure that one out all on your own!) :)

  2. Greeting from Espoo, next to Helsinki. I have to say tumble dryers and dish washers are very common in Finland, but not included in rent - a tenant can install his/her own dryer and dishwasher if he/she pleases. Most lessors gladly help with installation to avoid any damage or leaks.

  3. Hi! Thank you so much for your blog; it has been a real pleasure to read it. I think your blog is really only one of its kind. There are billion blogs about fashion, clothing, cosmetics, travelling, decorating, parenthood, relationships, living abroad, Finnish people living in U.S etc but no another blog about an American (family) living in Finland and experiencing Finnish things. So I could say your blog is unique. Thank you for sharing. And glad to hear you didn't hate Finland or Helsinki :)

    I've always thought that tumble dryers and dish washers are very common in Finland, but maybe I have been wrong.

    Btw, I spent some time in Chicago 6 years ago. I fell in love with the city... I'll never forget visiting Hancock Tower and seeing Lake Michigan up from there. I also miss the Big Bean. You have such a lovely city there.

    - Sofia (originally from Espoo, right now living in So-Cal where experiencing and dealing w/ all American stuff :)

  4. Thank you for sharing your thoughts - pros and cons - with us. I enjoyed very much having been able to "share" your stay in my country.
    All the best to all of you!

  5. I dunno. It would seem to me that you miss a lot about Finland! :) I well spotted some Fairy liquid in one of your photos too! ;) Actually, that is the only thing I (still) call "dishsoap"!! I guess it is like Canadians calling tissues Klennex!!


    PS - You need to start blogging again! No pressure!! ;)

  6. Thank you for writing this blog! You photography is amazing and I thoroughly enjoyed it all. I just read all your posts yesterday and today. I live in Greenville SC, and grew up in lake worth FL, which has a Finnish community there including bakeries that serve pulla. Both of my parents are from Finland and All my relatives live in Finland. I am actually heading to Finland in May and I just can't wait! Your blog has gotten me even more excited! The last time I was there was when I was 17, of course back then I didn't appreciate the same things. I am now in my mid 30s and have 3 kids. Unfortunately my husband and kids will not be able to come along but I am looking forward to a mom and daughters trip to Finland! Thanks again!

  7. Hi,
    Seagulls! Yes, ice cream monsters!!! You must take care of them in Kauppatori, I've have seen it many times, they love chocolate!