The real deal

For most of our time in Finland I have had a rather conflicted relationship with the place. It was a tough adjustment for me during the cold, dark days of winter when I had no language skills, no ski gear, and no Finns to call my friends. Despite enjoying the overall experience of living in an … More The real deal

Moominmamma

In one of the Moomin stories by Tove Jansson, Moomin and Little Dragon, Moomin has found and brought home a baby, fire-breathing dragon which he is hiding in a jar in his bedroom.  He wants to keep the dragon a secret until he can show it to his best friend Snufkin.  When he is leaving Moominhouse … More Moominmamma

The kids are all right

Up here in the northern latitudes, adults start placing trust in their youth from a very young age.  Moms place six-month-olds in the arms of their 18-month-old siblings on plastic sleds and pull them around town as a mode of transportation in snowy conditions.  Toddlers ascend impressive heights on the playgrounds while their parents nonchalantly … More The kids are all right

Get on the bus, Gus

Moments that remind us to be humble can be moments that change our lives.  At the same time, what is humbling might also feel temporarily humiliating.  I recall learning to snowboard at 22 when it felt like everyone else had been doing it since birth. Trying to figure out telemark skiing at 37 renewed feelings of … More Get on the bus, Gus

A slap in the face

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

Warts and all

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

Finnish champion?

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?