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


Have I mentioned that Sterling started päiväkoti (daycare) this week? We had been told it would probably take months for him to get a spot at any päiväkoti in the city, let alone one of our top three choices. The application for a päiväkoti spot is filed at a central city office, taking into account how much/when I work, how much/when my spouse works, where we live, if we have a car, if we need part- or full-time care, if we want an English (or Swedish or Russian) program, etc. The employees in that office punched in all our details and our lucky number came up sooner than we expected - he got a place at our #1 choice after only about two weeks of waiting!

Miriam went to preschool a few times a week starting at age 4 (in Ithaca). Majd started preschool at age 3 (in Sharjah), but the same day she started preschool, I went back to work (and I had already been doing my MA). Sterling is starting at age almost-two, and while Jeremy technically has plenty of research to be doing, I hope he allowed himself at least one dance-crazy-in-the-living-room moment after dropping Sterling off on Monday.

Highlights of Finnish päiväkoti so far:

-Even as a part-timer, Sterling is entitled to eat breakfast and lunch there. Due to scheduling issues, though, he's been eating breakfast at home and just having lunch and snack at päiväkoti . My favorite thing about his lunch is that it's usually the same thing the girls eat at school!

-His age-group name is Mustikat = Blueberries. The girls cooed about that for days.

-They have outdoor play for a couple of hours in the morning every day, even when it is wet and cold (which it has already been a few times). This is one of those countries where there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. We got him a nice välikausipuku (mid-season suit - like a snowsuit but waterproof and not as heavy) and he's good to go.

-Sterling takes a nap at päiväkoti. I still can't believe this. Each kid has their own bed. They strip the kids down to their diapers (because their clothes are "dirty" and they want to keep the linens clean...?) to sleep.

-They are already encouraging potty training. The kids sit on potties after outdoor play while a nurse sings to them.

-Everything is in Finnish (duh). The main teacher does speak some English and I'm sure she breaks it out now and then, but it warms my heart to think of Sterling being immersed in Finnish...and probably also wondering what is wrong with these people that they only speak jibberish. Well, he'll learn their jibberish soon enough.

Random thoughts on Finnish

First day