We actually wanted to start this blog mainly for posting thoughts related to the big change in location we went through this year. It seems that we got so used to living here that there was not too much left to post πŸ™‚

When people hear that we moved from US to Finland they all say “that must have been a big change for you”. Of course it was, but it did not feel like we had to make any effort πŸ™‚ The only bad (or unpleasant) time I can remember was when our household stuff did not come for three weeks after we moved into our new apartment and we had to “camp” in the kitchen/dining room, almost on the floor and eat dinner on a bench we got from the sauna and put in the kitchen. Otherwise, things could not have gone smoother.

Thouch I was afraid of getting here and being among “cold” people, it turned out to not be like that at all.
Of course that, when compared with most Americans Finns could seem cold because they are not so fakely smiling at you and asking you how you are when they could not care less. For me, they are just normal people and I definitely feel better among them than I felt for 8 years among Americans. Finally, I do not have to fill air with empty discussions just because having silent moments during a meal is considered embarassing!
What I like the most is that once Finn people get to know you a bit and start talking to you they are so natural. I have not heard anymore words like “fantastic” and “gorgeous” since we moved here!
I am not saying that they are all like that, but it is much easier to find here people that are genuine and could be interesting conversation partners. In the short time we’ve been here we already had more social interactions with Finns than we had with Americans in the years of staying there.

Tomorrow we are going to US for a week. It would be interesting to see how I feel. Back with impressions…

The situation in New Orleans was the best example of how sick the American society is. In the first days after the flooding started, what you mainly heard was about looters and guns. Then, we saw how fast the government was able to send troops there to run around with guns ready to shoot people. But it did not seem possible to also send help like they sent troops. Not to mention that it did not seem that the soldiers were hungry at all, which means they had enough food and water. However, they stood there and watched people dying…
Last night, they actually showed on TV a bunch of armed national guards ready to shoot a guy that entered a supermarket to get some food and drinks. I would have thought that, given the situation there it would have been normal to give people everything from the supermarkets before letting them die and then deal with giving the owners the money back.
But in US what counts more is that the rich people remain rich and the poor people are treated like animals.

After a slight delay, our household came on Friday. The guys came quite late (around 1pm) since they had to first get the stuff out of the container and put it into trucks. First they said they’ll bring only part of the things but, in then end, they sent one more truck and brought everything. They did not stay to unpack too much, but it’s ok. This weekend we worked a lot in unpacking but it’s getting somewhere. We finished the kitchen, the living room and our bedroom (almost). Not too many damages happened during the moving, which is good.

I was really happy a few days ago when I got my EEA card (European Economic Area) card and it said it’s my residency permit, which means now I am a permanent resident here, in Finland. Quite nice feeling: to finally belong (somehow) somewhere. In US, I still have don’t have my Green Card approval. It’s a bit weird and I am not sure why they consider me such a dangerous element. Dirk was saying that it could be because I “suspiciously” cut my finger right before my fingerprinting appointment πŸ™‚

Anyway, it is quite nice to know that I have social security rights and guaranteed health insurance, not like in US, where I kept paying for these items but I never had them as rights.

Today is one of the biggest (if not THE biggest) holiday in Finland: Midsummer. Nobody is at work (except some non-Finns like us).
Everybody is supposed to get ready for the celebration tonight. We are also going later to see what’s going on. We’ll try the festivities from Seurasaari island, where there are supposed to be some bonfires and all sorts of traditional activities.
Here is something I found on http://virtual.finland.fi/netcomm/news/showarticle.asp?intNWSAID=26049 about the meaning and origins of the Midsummer celebration:

“The second high point of the year comes exactly six months after Christmas, when the interminable nights of winter have given way to the white nights of the Finnish summer. Midsummer, celebrated at the summer solstice, has been very important since pagan times, especially in northern Europe, where the difference between the dark and the light seasons is particularly dramatic. In the north of Finland, Midsummer marks the peak of the exotic appeal of the Arctic, as the sun remains above the horizon all night.

Midsummer in Finland is a celebration of the countryside. Towns and cities are deserted, as this holiday is traditionally celebrated in a rural setting, preferably at a waterside summer cottage. Anyone who has to stay in town over Midsummer can buy birch leaves and lilac at the marketplace to help create an illusion of the countryside. At Midsummer, trains, buses and trams are sometimes also decorated with birch branches.

Lighting a bonfire is the high point of Midsummer night. Originally, bonfires were only part of the eastern Finnish Midsummer celebrations. In western Finland, bonfires were traditionally lit on Ascension Day and at Whitsun, and in Ostrobothnia on Easter Saturday. Nowadays, Midsummer fires are lit all over Finland, except in the Swedishspeaking areas along the coast, where a Midsummer pole, similar to a maypole, is erected instead.

In the old days, every village used to build its own bonfire, as Midsummer was a village feast day. Today, the biggest bonfires are seen at public Midsummer celebrations, where you have to buy a ticket to get in. In addition to the leaping flames by the shore, the ideal Midsummer includes silver birches, maidens in national costume and, flying above it all, the blueandwhite flag of Finland. Midsummer is the day of the Finnish flag and up and down the country the white flag with the blue cross can be seen flying proudly through the white night.”

We were told yesterday that our household stuff is going to be deliver next Wednesday. Really happy about this πŸ™‚ !!! It got kind of annoying to sleep (almost) on the floor and eat mainly standing.
I just think that I will have to get used to the “shrinking” space when we start putting the furniture in the house πŸ™‚

All is going very well with us. We enjoy a lot being here, frankly speaking, more then I expected πŸ™‚
And now, after we moved in our new apartment, we are even closer to the center than in the first 2 weeks πŸ™‚

The new home looks really big now and there is a lot of echo so the cats are having a lot of fun meowing πŸ™‚
The cats had no problems with the last moving. They seemed to feel “at home” from the first night.
Peppe was very funny: when we started packing in the hotel he went to the door and started scratching. I guess that was his way of saying “I am happy to get out of here” πŸ™‚

The weather was really nice here this weekend, though yesterday was a bit moody.
Saturday was really good. We spent the whole weekend looking for all sorts of home items and cleaning a bit.

And, yes, we don’t miss the Boston weather at all πŸ™‚ Sorry for you that this summer is so bad.

However, we do miss you and we hope that you are all doing well,

Dana & Dirk