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

Two things about kids and friends and foreign countries

1. An unexpected benefit of moving to a different neighborhood in Turku (after two years of being in Finland) is that we all got a bit of a fresh start with our neighbors. In our old apartment, it was impossible to escape the spectre of being Clueless Foreigners, because that's what we were when we met our neighbors. But last year, when we moved to this townhome, we had learned Finnish and knew how to operate a little better and even though we sometimes dip into English with a few neighbors who speak it, it's so nice to just be a little bit normal.

This is all especially true for the kids. They've been able to make friends in the neighborhood without anyone forming lasting impressions of them being the weird foreigners who don't speak Finnish. And it is priceless.

So I wouldn't necessarily recommend planning on doing this if you're moving to a foreign country (moving to a first home, and then after you've settled in, moving to another home), but it certainly had some great consequences for us!

2. Now that it's summer and our kids and their friends are running in and out of our house all day, I've been reminded of when I was a kid, playing at friends' houses whose parents were immigrants to the US and spoke English as a second language.  See, there's this weird thing these days with me and my kids and their friends where I feel compelled to speak Finnish to be polite and so that everyone understands. But if I need to discipline one of my kids then I will switch into English. I remember this exact thing from being inside friends' houses when I was a kid! The parents speaking semi-good to really good English to us all, but going off, rapid-fire, in another language when needed (i.e., when their kid was misbehaving or the parent needed us all to go outside, please!).

June 2018 books

June 2018 books

June 22nd, outsourced