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
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
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”
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?