Prior to our arrival in Finland I’d heard that Finns were a quiet bunch. Or that no one ever talked. Or that they all preferred silence over noise. I wondered if it was true and what it would be like. And, really, all of them? Maybe nearly 18 hours a day without sunlight in December … More Hello darkness, my old friend
I spent part of the summer in China a few years back and tried to get a handle on survival Mandarin– you know, the basics, nihao (hello), zaijian (goodbye), hěn gāoxìng rènshí ni (nice to meet you), jiaozi (dumplings), and píjiǔ (beer). Those phrases were all I needed until an unfortunate incident landed me at … More A slap in the face
When in Finland do not say fantastic even if you are really excited about something– Finns do not talk like that, I am told. Oh and don’t say please either… please. Last Thursday I attended orientation at the Fulbright Center in Helsinki. Fulbright Finland, is my home base organization and Tehri Mölsa, executive director, … More Nothing is “fantastic”
Several years ago I read a piece in which the author criticized parents for being paranoid about child abductions and terror attacks when, statistically-speaking, their children were more likely to be hurt as the result of a household accident or heart disease. It talked about too much hovering and not paying attention to the things … More Warts and all
I have always believed, “I can do cold.” If I have the right clothes, I can do anything (thank you Patagonia). I have even experienced some extreme temps living in beautiful Steamboat Springs, Colorado where I have been blessed with epic powder days and (maybe not-so-blessed on this one) a few run-ins with frostbite. (I … More Baby, it’s COLD outside.
Lou, our two-year-old, started at school on Thursday. He is attending an “English Playskool” which has Finnish teachers speaking both Finnish and English and about 40 kids ages 3-7. Lou, who will be three in July, is the youngest but so far he is undeterred. When we went on Thursday we thought we were merely … More Our first days of school
I went to my first Finnish language class on Monday night. When the instructor, Heta (complete with a permed mohawk and wow, does she rock it!), showed us the textbook (above) I got really excited thinking we might be incorporating some yoga poses into studying one of the world’s most difficult languages. I got even … More Finnish champion?
Pre-post two-minute brainstorming video. In the late 1950s, psychologist Erik Erikson (yes, his real name) put forth his theory on human development, essentially identifying a series of stages that all humans go through on our way to forming our identities and learning how to navigate life on earth. Erikson asserted that during each stage … More Crossing the pond: Trust vs. Mistrust
My family of three left Colorado two weeks ago to spend the holidays in the motherland (for those of you who don’t know me, that’s New Jersey) and then headed to Finland this past Wednesday. Before flying to Jyväskylä we had some time in Helsinki’s airport. Lou, my two-year-old, was having a blast pushing the … More So what exactly is a Moomin? (aka traveling with a toddler)
I have been following Finland, or more precisely its education system, since the spring of 2011 when I was teaching Sociology. Leonard Sax wrote about Finnish schools briefly in Boys Adrift which we were reading in class. Sax described the American kindergarten of today as one which more closely resembled a first grade classroom of 30 years ago postulating … More The Here and Now