We are at the point in our time in Finland at which we are considering what gifts and souvenirs we might take home. Moomin mugs? Of course. Alvar Aalto vase? Maybe. Iitala candy dishes? Perhaps. Marimekko tote bag? Hmmm. A years’ supply of salmiakki? Sign me up. What to take home as a remembrance of … More Parting gifts…primary school?
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
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
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
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
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
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?