Upon these two things rest all others

In setting up our lives here in Finland, I've learned that two things above all others open the door to getting other things done: a Finnish social security number, and a Finnish bank account.

So that's my advice to anyone moving to Finland without existing family ties: get a social security number, and then get a bank account. Everywhere else you go, anything else you do, they will ask for the first thing and possibly need the second thing to complete whatever task it is (Finns use bank accounts for identity verification purposes).

Otherwise, all you have to do to set up your life in Finland is go to one government office (the Magistrate, say), complete the appropriate task, and then ask them what to do next. Repeat until everything is done (if ever! is what it feels like right now, especially since I kind of was done...and then my family arrived with four more sets of immigration procedures to take care of). Lucky me, Turku has located most of its government offices in the same part of town. So going from office to office is as simple as walking a few blocks. I am so grateful for this.

My favorite thing about Finnish bureaucracy is the numbered queue system. You don't actually have to wait in any physical line. You just take your queue number slip from the machine and then have a seat until you're called. Then, when you get up to the counter, they have a tidy little mini bin for you to put your used queue number in. I find this charming and completely practical. And considering how many offices I've been to in the last week, those sensible little bins are the only reason my purse isn't overflowing with wads of used queue numbers.

In the meantime, Jeremy and the kids are slowly getting over their jet lag, which continues to be the worst. As I tried to wake Sterling up from his "nap" the other day, which was actually his body trying to sleep after what felt like staying up all night, it came to me that jet lag is like going through withdrawal after quitting some horrible drug...except the drug is sleep and you need it to live.

But each day gets better and better!

First day of school in Finland

August 21st, outsourced