Years, guys. Three YEARS..
As I titled this post, I literally did not think about how that might sound to many of you readers. I thought it seemed like a cute way to announce that we have been here in Finland three years now!
Then again, we are a blog about Newlyweds (three years counts as newly, right? I think its a mindset) so I can see why you would think that I was making a different announcement. Like, getting a puppy or something, right?
All in good time, my friends. All in good time. (Jimmy, in case I haven’t told you this week, I want a puppy.)
I want to take a break from the travel posts and just chat a bit about what has been going on here in Finland in the in-between! You hear a lot about our big trips, but did you know that we lead normal, everyday lives too?? Here, I’ll prove it!
This last year, my personal event branding and graphic design company has really started to pick up. I moved to a new domain, built a fresh new website and finally started photographing some of the work I have been doing. I don’t get to do this as much because most of my clients are based in the States, so my work travels from my computer to my US based printer, to my lovely mother who packs and ships on my behalf.
While it has been incredible to be continuously supported and sought out for my work, there are some definite challenges of working from afar. I have lots of ideas that I just can’t implement while we live abroad. However, I am busy enough now- as you can tell with the massive break in posting this year.
Speaking of busy, that would be Jimmy. His workload never really lightened up this year, especially because we opted for fewer, longer trips this year, so he is always making up for that in hours at work. I am settling into my role as “FAST Widow” for the fall, as longer hours and mandatory working weekends become normal.
Regardless of work load, he still loves this company and our close group of ex-pat friends and all the experiences this life has given us. We love being expats and we really really love Finland.
So what about Finland, eh? Well, the summer is the greatest time in the world to be here. We have spent days riding bikes along the shore, playing yard games in the park, attending music festivals, and visiting friends. We were the sole Americans at this year’s Canada Day/ Forth of July party (our second year in attendance), hosted by our closest Finnish friends, Laura and her very welcoming family. Though I failed to take many pictures, you can see our patriotic outfits here:
Other summer highlights have included dinner on the fortress island of Suomenlinna,
A bike ride up to see the Rhododendron park in full bloom,
The visit of Jimmy’s parents in May,
and grandparents in August,
And our third annual visit to a Eurotrash techno festival because- as refined as he sometimes seems- Jimmy is a sucker for laser shows and fireworks:
Otherwise, our summer included a week in the Bahamas- 4 days of which were spent at Jimmy’s annual general conference at Atlantis Resort in Nassau. A group of us Finnish residents left early to have extra time to thaw-out; we rented a beach house, and spent very lazy days drinking coconut rum in the clear blue bay, taking in the sun on the deck, and eating fried conch fritters when the sun went down. It was perfect. (Also, I was momentarily turned into a sand-mermaid, which was a life-long dream.)
The conference was a blast, as always. This being our 4th year, it is always a fun time to catch up with friends from other sites and participate in the events. Finland fielded a beach volleyball team:
we played on the world class water slides, and got dressed to the nines for a 007 themed formal night.
I went to Idaho to visit family for two weeks at the end of July. I was able to be there for my new niece’s baptism as well as a week of the annual family gathering at our lake house in McCall, Idaho.
No matter where we travel, this is always the greatest place on earth! Aside from the stunning mountain-side lake and beach full of naked toddlers digging in the sand, there are mountains to traverse (which we did), great family cooked meals to be eaten on the deck, and night swims under a sea of stars. You can’t beat it. I am really hoping that Jimmy can join next year- he hasn’t spent a full week in a cabin with my crazy family, so he hasn’t earned his stripes yet.
Ant then, all of the sudden, the summer is gone.
It is the first week of September and already autumn is setting in. The days are shorter, the leaves are crispier, and I find myself seeking shelter in cozy cafes by day and making stew by night.
Today, I am writing to you from a Baltic-side bar that is a favorite of ours in the summer for a refreshing spritz with a view. However, the howling winds have me bundled in a blanket (over my turtle neck) with a hot Americano and enjoying the crisp air and changing light (not so much the wind, though).
Finland has been really good to us. We love our lives here and some days think we could stay forever. It has been a beautiful place to start off the first 3 years of our lives together- it seems as if we have already lived 1,000 lifetimes. We have striven to, at every turn, take advantage of the opportunities we have been given: We have taken nearly 30 trips around the globe on short weekends and long holidays; we’ve said “yes” to new adventures, new places and goodbye to the comforts of nearby family and friends, of Targets and Costcos and menus in English.
If we were to start again, I am not sure I would change a thing.
Except maybe insist on a puppy.