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



Every spring there's been one day that stands out to me as being the day that Finland comes back to life. This year, it was last Saturday. It was sunny and 11ishC and I was downtown with the kids and there were...people. Truthfully, there have been people all winter, too, but we were all keeping our heads down and our collars up. On Saturday, we kept almost making eye contact with each other and for the first time in a long time, we did not have to watch our footing so closely to make sure we weren't about to slip on a 4-inch-thick sheet of ice.

I said that this has been the best winter, and it really was (look at that, using past tense for winter!). It lasted a long time but then it ended so suddenly. I remember last year that ugly winter-into-spring season ("Grey") just taking forever. This year, I woke up to snow one day, sun and thaw the next, and then a few days later to the hum of the street sweepers brushing the gravel up and away.

Sterling is so in tune with the seasons, and it's been fun to see how he interprets this change in the weather. He keeps asking if he can "play outside in fleece and kengät" instead of a heavy winter suit and boots (kengät is shoes). The first time we pulled out his shoes this spring, he looked at them and said, "what are those?" as if they were some distant memory. Which...they were, to him.

We're having family competition where the first person to see new spring greenery gets a candy bar and the first person to see a blooming flower gets ice cream. Miriam claimed the greenery prize on the way home from school the other day, but we have yet to see flowers (I hear there are some around, I just haven't seen them myself yet).

Today I rode my bike home from work in short sleeves and stretchy pants instead of layers of coats and buffs and rain pants and pillow-like biking gloves. And the best part was that I was in this accidental cohort of seven (!) other cyclist commuters who kept bunching up at each stoplight. It was good to have everybody back. It's good to have spring back! FINLAND IS AMAZING.

April 13th, outsourced

Common Finnish names, in my experience