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

Student stuff

1. It is a fact that if I'm ever feeling a bit low at work, I can pull up some old student evaluations to read and improve my mood (as long as I choose the right ones, ha). My all-time favorite piece of feedback came last month: "I learned a s*** ton of things [in this class]" (asterisks in the original). It just makes me laugh every time I think about it.

2. Classes are starting up again so I'm meeting new crops of students. I always like picking out trends in Finnish names. I haven't worked here long enough to see a true shift in name style over a period of years as students' birth years progress, but every once in a while I get a bunch of doubles (or even triples) in groups. There are always Emmas and Annas but today I got a few students named Mint (Minttu - that is a girls' name here!) and Pearl (Helmi). There was also one named Dewdrop (Kastehelmi)! Isn't that gorgeous? In the past I have had Ray (as in "of sunshine" - or maybe Beam would be a better translation? - Säde) and Cinnamon (Kaneli). In general, Finnish names are far more nature-y than American names. I have actually learned a lot of vocabulary from putting together names with their meanings.

3. I met one of the student teachers who worked in Magdalena's classroom the fall we first moved here. She told me that one day Magda started crying because she couldn't understand the Finnish. I told her to just wait until she saw her again - she won't believe her ears when she hears how she speaks Finnish now!

4. This is not related to students, but it must be said: the weather we have had the past few days has been awful. I learned in the UAE to turn the other cheek to crappy weather, but yesterday after riding my bike home in horrible wind, freezing temperatures, and an inch-thick layer of ice on the ground I turned to Jeremy and said: "That was extremely unpleasant." We got some snow today so it should perk up soon, but yeesh.

January 13th, outsourced

Finnish team