Thank you all for your patience! It has been an amazing last few weeks, which have set me far behind on the blogging train!
My mommy came out to visit us in Helsinki at the very end of March. We were SO fortunate to have her stay with us for a week and a half! I finally got to do all the fun things in Helsinki that I have wanted to do, if only I had girlfriends or my mom and/or sisters out here to do it with! Jimmy is a great shopping buddy, but he wont last long in stores with pretty floral patterns. We shopped, we toured, we had champagne on bistro tables in the sun while watching the people go by, we sat on her deck and ate nuts and more wine until we were too cold, we cooked dinner together, and we did a ton of wandering (she was a champ! These cobblestones are not easy!)! It was so amazing to have my mom out here after nearly 7 months! It is the longest I have ever gone away from Boise and family. It was just what I needed to carry me through til I see them all again!

Of course, with a Helsinki guest comes a guest post! So without further adieu, I give you my darling, fun, selfless, kookie mommy: (photos added by yours truly, for effect!)

I am on my long flight home and have decided that this is a good time to write my guest blog for Newlyfleds. Best to do it before I get home and get lost in the catch-up that is waiting for me after being gone for 10 days!

I had the wonderful opportunity to spend 10 days with Amy and Jimmy in their new hometown. My whole goal was to see what their daily life was like in a new country, and hopefully add in a little sight seeing along the way.

I think I accomplished exactly that!

Amy and Jimmy have settled in to life in a European city. They have no car and rarely use public transport. And they seem to love it exactly that way. They live in a small apartment on the fourth floor of a building that has no elevator but has big windows that allow a wonderful view of their cozy street….and the lady across the street who keeps her milk in the window to stay cold. Wonderful tall ceilings make the apartment seem much bigger than it is. The kitchen is tiny but functional, and perfectly adequate for Amy to prepare wonderful meals! The entire place is very homey and they have done a great job of making it their own.

 All in all I would say it is a perfect first home, one they will look back on with great fondness.

Their neighborhood is quiet but very near all the action downtown. It is dotted with little boutiques, small restaurants, a couple of liquor stores, and a couple of small groceries. What else do you need?! Jimmy walks to work every day, rain or shine. It is a wonderful walk through the neighborhood and over a bridge….unless the wind is blowing and it is raining/ snowing (which we did). Then it is brutal. I applaud Jimmy for making the trip every day without complaint.
Very Finnish of him!

 So, for my impressions of Helsinki and the people:
1. Clean.
There is no trash anywhere. We wandered through a food festival on the second day that I was there. It was really windy and quite chilly. There were napkins from the food vendors blowing all over the squares. The next morning we walked through the exact same area….not a scrap of trash to be found. You would never have known there were food trucks and hundreds of people there 12 hours earlier. Public restrooms are incredibly clean. The air is clean, probably because the wind blows out any pollution that is produced!
2. Practical. 
In Paris and Florence and Rome every woman looks chic. In Helsinki every woman looks……warm. Fashion takes a back seat to warmth, and yet they still look lovely. Somehow they manage to make puffy coats look good! Everyone walks everywhere, no matter what the weather. Kids are all dressed in boots and snowsuits. And babies are cocooned in prams that are lined with animal fur on the bottom and down all the way around.

Escaping the cold to the Helsinki Winter Garden

3. Trusting.
 I have never seen a big city like this. They follow the rules and expect that everyone else will, too. I saw women at bars leave their drinks and purses at a table to go outside and have a cigarette and then return to finish their drinks. Isn’t that the first thing we tell our kids NEVER to do?! Women leave their babies bundled up in their prams outside the coffee shop while they go in and have a cup of coffee with their friends (whose babies are also parked outside!) One shop owner told us that the King of Sweden was walking down the middle of the street one day, without any security detail. It is so refreshing to be somewhere that has the absolute assumption of safety.

Matching morning warm ups!

4. Shy but gracious. 
The Fins are initially shy, but will be happy to have a conversation with you once you engage them…..or give them a few drinks. I did not see a single person roll their eyes when asked if they could speak English. They just flowed seamlessly in to speaking better English than many people here in America! I would have loved to try to pick up some Finnish, but it is impossible. It is such an obscure language, but so fun to listen to. It sounds Italian, French, Russian, and Swedish all at one time. Selfishly, as a tourist it was so much less exhausting to know that no one will be mad at me because I asked them if they could speak English.
5. Champagne and Ice cream. 
They love both! No matter what the weather, I saw people eating ice cream….outside! The Ben and Jerry’s store was always busy. Every restaurant has chairs, bean bags, or blow up seats outside, each with a blanket to wrap around your lap. The only time I didn’t see someone having a glass of champagne in one of those chairs was when it was pouring down rain, in which case you would just go inside and have champagne! Unfortunately, I grew quite accustomed to having a glass of champagne at lunch and/or before dinner.

Bubbles for lunch!

6. Entertained. The city of Helsinki puts on over 3,000 festivals/events every year! They have gotten
very good at keeping the citizens occupied during the long dark days of winter, and keeping them entertained during the wonderful but short months of summer. They even have some events that don’t involve drinking! Very smart.

Food Festival!

Helsinki is definitely a wonderful place for two newlyweds to have the adventure of living abroad. And Amy and Jimmy have really embraced the entire experience. They are learning to adopt a new culture without losing their own traditions. They have jumped in with both feet. I am sure that they will love Helsinki even more once the weather starts to get nicer.
I am so proud of both of them, and so glad that I got to see their new home.

I am her Mini-me!

Thanks, Amy and Jimmy for taking care of me during my trip! I can’t wait to visit again in September!

Mom

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