Fall left work early this year.
Because winter was running the show this week.

At least, what most people in the world would consider winter. In Finland, however, it is called October. No biggie.

About a week and a half ago, I took the top picture in the set below. This past week, I took the second one. That is how much autumn gave up in a short period of time.

Suddenly, I have noticed that every store has an extensive collection of wool sweaters, in every color and cable knit every manufactured.

Fortunately for me, Jimmy bought me a new parka for his birthday (lucky me!). I took her out for her inaugural run this week when the temperatures had dipped below freezing and the wind was whipping poor shriveled leaves around the immense squares. 
Verdict: It is a pretty dang warm coat. It is even warmer when you pull up that Finnish raccoon-trimmed and rabbit lined hood, and secure it with the industrial hardware-sized clip. Do that, and you are ready for the polar vortex. Bring on the Baltic winds!

It is hard to complain a whole lot about the weather this week because we were graced with the sun’s presence this week.
That illusive bastard is dropping lower and lower in the sky each day. He is running out of gloomy sick days, too, because I felt like a disoriented vampire when I opened the blinds to find a blue sky and actual sun light this week.
On the days that he does clock in, though, Helsinki completely sparkles. It is so beautiful.
But it doesn’t really beg to be beautiful like Paris’s grand boulevards or Italy’s ancient bridges. Helsinki is casually gorgeous. Like that girl who “just woke up like this,” but you know she didn’t, even though she has managed to make her 2-hour morning routine look effortless. Helsinki is that girl.
The many pockets parks are bright and open, with massive deciduous trees and lined with buildings from every decade and style rubbing shoulders. The water in the bays sparkle off of masted ships and tiny islands. People walk in pairs, pop into cafes, run along the water front and happily carry shopping bags around the center.
Despite the freezing temperatures, you have to get out and enjoy it. So after meeting Jimmy of lunch, I diverted through some parks, popped into some shops I had wanted to see, climbed the steps of the big Lutheran Cathedral, and walked along the Esplanade, taking in the expensive bistros and visitors.

…And then it snowed.
Or dusted, at least.

Which was depressing after the gorgeous sunny days. But at least it is cold, and cold with a purpose. It was letting us know that winter was here.

In other news, Jimmy and I recieved out Finnish Residence Permits this week. I had to obtain one of these during my stay in Italy 3 years ago, so I am starting a bit of a collection. 
Note that the Finns don’t let you smile (even in the slightest) but the Italians encouraged it. Hm, I wonder which one produces wine and which one exports timber?


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