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

Things Finland does differently (church edition)

"Different" meaning "different from most of the US-based wards I've been in."

1. There is a lunch/snack break for kids, held in the kitchen after Sacrament Meeting and before Sunday School. This makes so much sense to me and I don't know why it isn't built in to ward schedules worldwide. I mean, I suppose there isn't anything keeping you from feeding your kids lunch at church anytime you want to, but your kids will for sure miss opening exercises of Primary or whatever. I like this lunch break because besides giving time for the little ones (or big ones!) to eat, it gives time to breathe, catch up, connect with other people, and spend 20 fewer minutes out of 180 sitting down in a classroom.

2. Friday is the day for activities: Activity Day boys and girls, YM/YW, institute, and seminary.

3. When Miriam turned 12 in September, they moved all four girls around her age up to YW together. It just so happens they all have late summer/fall birthdays, so rather than have them trickle in piecemeal to YW they did it all at once. Also, the older girls literally carried the new 12-year-olds up the stairs on their backs, which I thought was a fun tradition. Lucky that 17-year-old girls are so much taller and stronger than 12-year-olds!

4. Similarly, Sterling is technically in Primary but still goes to Nursery sometimes. I'm the pianist in Primary and during Sharing Time he just could not keep himself from coming over and bothering me. So he goes to class with the Sunbeams and then a nice lady comes and takes him for a lesson, songs, and snacks in Nursery so I can keep my favorite calling.

5. This isn't a specific church thing, but in my casual observation, babies in Finland tend to not have their names revealed until christening/blessing. So that adds an extra element of celebration to baby blessings at church - you get to hear the name!

6. The annual kids' presentation in Sacrament Meeting is so low-key here...and it still gets the job done. I was in charge of that beast for a few years in Sharjah and I wish I could travel back in time and tell myself to chill out. I never went overboard or anything, but I did stress out about hoping it would go well. But the thing is, those things ALWAYS go well. You give a four-year-old a live mic and the magic happens and the audience is happy. Here in Finland, the kids sing their songs and every one of them gets their chance to breathe heavily into the microphone and it all works out. So chill.

The cosy season!

The cosy season!

October 6th, outsourced