Helsinki has finally burst into finer weather.
The temperatures remain around the low 60s, though it is still (and always) blustery.
It seems that the entire city has exploded in the last few weeks.
At the beginning of May, not a single tree was budding and the entry ports of the city were fairly quiet. Now, the city is chock a block full of tourists and blooming trees and gardens. We are even now just getting our lilacs!
With the weather finally agreeable enough to leave the boots and heavy coats behind, it is so much easier to fully enjoy the city. Also, it virtually never gets dark, so you feel like you have to take advantage of every light hour (especially when remembering the darkness of winter).
Jimmy and I take walks after dinner occasionally, or meet for a drink when he gets off of work. On the weekends, we explore around the city. Now, all of the little islands in the archipelago are opening their little restaurants and ferry lines. There is a small old fashioned Finnish wooden town preserved just north of the city, where people dress in time-appropriate fashions and practice the same trades that the original dwellers would have. The parks are ripe for picnics. Ice cream stands sit open every few blocks. Suddenly, there is so much to do!
It is almost unfortunate that we head back towards the homeland in just over a week.
While Helsinki is making a tempting offer, I can hardly contain my excitement for our first trip back to the States! Its been 9 months since I have tasted that sweet American air! I already have my packing list finalized (which, for me, means itemized outfits for every day & event) and it is taking everything I have to not start packing already.
If we didn’t have guests staying with us next week, I probably would.
So as it breaks down, this weekend is fairly busy; I run my first half marathon on Saturday and then co-host a baby shower on Sunday. Jimmy, I am sure, will be busy with his xbox. Then our guests come in on Monday and stay through Thursday. Then its time to pack and launder and clean and get ready to goooo!
And what a trip it will be! We make our first stop in Salt Lake City, to see our friends and Jimmy’s extended family. We already have plans for hikes, a baseball game, and -certainly- lounging around a fire and eating great food. I cannot wait to have a little girl time with my closest friends! I desperately miss the easy conversation and comfort. You never appreciate living down the street from your friends and family until they are a literal ocean away.
Our next stop is Las Vegas, where Jimmy has his annual company conference. I love this company because they treat us very very well and make sure that we really enjoy ourselves on this trip. One night is a Retro Vegas themed gala (and I am a huge sucker for themed parties- its the sorority in me! Yes, my outfit is planned. Yes, my hair is planned. Yes, its fabulous.), an we have a circus themed family night. Otherwise, I plan on working on the tan that has to last me through another dark winter. Jimmy and I are taking one night to ourselves to go see a show on the strip, which will be great!
Then –finally– we head to Boise, just in time for Father’s Day! Our families are doing a joint celebration the night we get in. (Jimmy and I are so fortunate that we really love our familes and they get along famously. It also makes these trips home way easier on us). We have few plans aside from spending time with our families, our Godson’s baptism, and some family photos. And, for me, snuggling my nephews and smothering my sisters! It will be a great way to end the trip.
For Jimmy. Because then he has to go to work and I get to stay in Idaho for two more weeks. My pay back for up and moving and leaving all hopes of employment behind. (Thanks for working so hard!)
And as sad as it is going to be to leave my beautiful family behind, I think, at this point, I will be ready to get back to the last few weeks of summer that Finland has to offer.
As Jimmy and I were talking about on our walk the other day, this is an amazing city to come home to. We have really settled into our neighborhood and it finally feels like home. After our little trips, I cannot wait to get back to our apartment. To sit on our couch and watch Netflix with a bowl of soup and a grilled cheese sandwich. To hear the little kids thumping around in the apartment above us. To walk to one of my corners stores and have the girls at the cashier talk to me in English and try to tempt me to buy macaroons (again). And the butcher to already know how I want my meat. I cant wait to walk to the grocery stores or run by the lakes and wave hello to my little swans (who now have babies). I love hearing the seagulls and the fog horns and the Finnish pronunciation of English words -I have really grown to like it.
I have seen pillows and shabby chic signs on Pinterest that say lovely cliches like “Home is where ever I am with you.” I think maybe Jimmy and I need one, because it has become pretty true. We were prepared to make our home anywhere, but this was the most far flung option. We have embraced it and loved it because we love being together; it certainly would not be the same if either of us were flying solo. And the impermanence of our situation makes it easy to view this place as just a stop-over.
In a way it is; we do not have any Finnish friends (not for lack of trying), we do not speak the language, and I have not seriously sought employment. Regardless of these things, Finland, with all of its quirks and customs, will always hold a very sweet place in our hearts, as it was the first place that we made ourselves a little home.
So for now, get me to the United States of America, please!
And when it is time to head on back, I will look forward to those little comforts in the entirely uncomfortable world that we live in!
Because that what being a newlyfled is all about: embracing the complete awkwardness of picking up and starting anew, reveling in the tiny accomplishments (like making it through an entire store transaction without requesting English) and sharing in the epic fails (like not being able to read the signs that look really important).
Until then…..I really cannot wait to feel educated again and be able to read signs and items and have all of the comforts that come with a long awaited homecoming!