Welcome to my blog. I write about fitting in, sticking out, and missing the motherland as a serial foreigner.


Last month I went on a trip by myself to Finland. Yes! I flew Norwegian Air from Dubai to Stockholm. I had a long enough stopover there to take a train into the city and join a walking tour. It was fantastic and cold and I was so tired thanks to DXB's penchant for red-eye outgoing flights. I took the following pictures:
At Sergels Torg in central Stockholm, waiting for the walking tour to start. So tired.

Yes, I took three pictures in Stockholm and one of them was of a fruit stand. I could not believe the berries they had out, and for such low prices!

In front of the building where they hand out some of the Nobel Prizes. We saw some other stuff too, but I didn't feel like taking lame tourist mobile phone photos.

Then I flew from Stockholm to Helsinki. Then I took a bus to Turku and in the already unnaturally extended daylight that evening, I walked myself to a hotel and slept for ten hours straight without waking up. I have not done that in literally years.

The Kauppahalli.

The River Aura.

The cathedral on campus at the University of Turku.

On the way home, I connected through Oslo but there wasn't enough time to go into the city. However, I did walk on the tarmac to get to the plane, so technically, have I "been" to Oslo?

The only things I brought home with me were some licorice chocolate bars for me and the girls (drooool, they were so good), and a job offer from the University of Turku.

That's right! We're moving to Finland. I promise I will share more details soon, but we are in the thick of getting residence permits, etc. lined up and so there's a lot we just don't know right now. The basics:

1. We are so happy here in the UAE and Sharjah in general and at AUS specifically, but this is a good chance for me to do something with my career. Jeremy has been granted a one-year leave from AUS (this is not at all uncommon - professors do it all the time for research, etc.). Everyone is asking us if we are going to come back after one year. We intend to, but if I love my job and we love Finland and it's better for our family, then we intend to stay there, you know what I mean?

2. We will still visit the US this summer, which means we will probably move from Sharjah after school gets out, visit the US, and then move to Turku. My main stressor right now is waiting for the residence permit approval. We can't go to Finland until that is granted, and even though I have all the necessary documents, it's one of those bureaucratic processes that can't be rushed. Grr.

3. We plan to send the girls to Finnish public school, and I promise it is with our eyes wide open that this will likely be a really, really hard thing for them for at least three or four months, and probably longer. That said, we watched the "Everything is Awesome" video (from The Lego Movie) in Finnish the other day and Magdalena was singing along, in Finnish, with the chorus, by the second verse. So.

4. I will be teaching classes like Academic English, Academic Writing, and possibly other topics, too.

That's all for now!

What to do about school?

Signs and posters