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

Kuusamo Cliff Notes

Kuusamo Cliff Notes

A post about Jeremy's run is coming, but the thing about an ultramarathon is that it makes you really tired afterward and you don't feel like writing (the same is true for holding down the fort while your spouse runs an ultramarathon). How about some brief road trip notes?

We saw 23 reindeer on our trip up north to Kuusamo.

I got breathalyzed!!!!!!! It was my first time. There was a police checkpoint blocking the road on our way out of Kuusamo on Sunday morning. At first I thought they were checking IDs or maybe looking for contraband cigarettes (this is what the Middle East has taught me to expect), but when I pulled up, the cop stuck a breathalyzer in my face. It was so awkward - the cop did it like I should be familiar with it, but I've never seen one in my whole life. Jeremy almost died laughing at me. (PS, I passed. They probably got a negative reading, even, ha.)

Turns out that when it doesn't get dark at night, the kids don't want to sleep in the car on road trips. Sterling and Magdalena were still awake in the car at 11pm on the drive home to Turku. Because the sun was shining, so.

We stopped at a gas station/rest stop outside of Jyväskylä and there was a TRAMPOLINE. Also a sandbox, play house, ride-on digger, and a dozen old tractors set up in the yard for kids to climb on. The kids jumped the dickens out of that trampoline. It was literally the perfect thing for a road trip pit stop and we saved it on the car's nav system so we can make sure to stop there next year, too.

You can legitimately learn a lot of nature-based vocabulary while on a road trip in Finland. The town names here lean heavily on words like lake, river, hill, mountain, rapids, etc., usually combined with animal, tree, or plant names - Pine River, Chicken Mountain, Heavenly Rapids, etc. It was fun to figure out the meaning of each town name as we passed it on the highway. I think the townspeople exhausted their imaginations by the time they got to the north, though - outside of Kuusamo is a place called Lake River. (Also a road called Matovaara, which to us sounded like Worm Danger Road, but maybe there is another meaning.) (And I know American place names use a lot of nature words, too, but when it's in your native language it seems less overt. Beaverton, for example, = Beaver Town, but I don't parse it that way when I say it.)

Our trip soundtrack was Eurovision. Envy me or pity me as you like.

May 2017 books

May 2017 books

May 26th, outsourced