I often want to write about our time here in Finland, but whenever I sit down to do so, I don't know where to begin.

There's a million things I want to remember. If I'm honest, there's at least half a million I hope to forget. This season has been a wild mix of adventure of struggle.

These past few weekends, however, I've felt the haze of the overseas life clear a bit, and it's given me moments of feeling 'normal.' I find us doing some of the same things every saturday, I see Eowyn and I start building up a routine, and I'm finding the energy to let those creative bits that keep us breathing spring up again. I can't overstate how large of a feat this is.

I don't think I could have ever prepared for the unanticipated struggles of this, but I think we're reaching that point where our 'resourceful muscles' have now gotten quite a bit of exercise, and after 3-going-on-4 months of flexing them daily, we're able to lift more than we anticipated.

We live in an area of town that used to be an old shipyard. Now it's becoming more residential, and we have a flat right next to the water. Here, cruise ships drop off tourists and we see them arriving from all over the world. It's fun to hop on the tram (when it's not wildly busy) and play a game of "where are they from" based on the languages. Russian, German, Estonian, Spanish. It's wild. And it's such a good perspective at just how small I am.

It's also fun to be helpful to said tourists. I remember the first time I was able to give directions, I felt pretty amazing. I know this place! Now to be fair, Helsinki is wildly compact and incredibly navigatable. You really only need to know three or so tram lines to get to all the major monuments, and yet, it felt pretty awesome to have a better grasp of our city than a tourist (since so often I feel more like them, and less like I live here.)

But it's all coming slow. We're finding our favorite haunts. We're sllloowwwlllyy building friendships (why is it so hard as we get older?) and we're finding ways to entertain our ever curious girl. My heart feels less heavy as the days go, and the tears are nearly infrequent. Ben's a smart man and fills this place with flowers and good conversation. Our place definitely feels like home. 

Now we just need to fill it with our out-of-town loves! Even that is coming soon! Family is sprinkling through from Nov-February, and I can't tell you how much my heart has set its eyes on those dates. It seems like once late fall comes, we'll be in good company through July! While there's obviously month long inbetweens, getting to see people every couple of months vs. the 7 month stretch we'll be at once family arrives feels like a real treat. If you've ever wanted to see Europe, Helsinki is a great place to start! Plus, free housing and some pretty awesome hosts (we'll even feed you.)  You all are most certainly welcome. 

We're currently surviving our first cold sickness. It hit Eowyn, then me, and most recently Ben. So, we've now figured out pharmacies, and the like. We've got our first ER visit under our belt from Eowyn's head-pavement collision, and we've done basic dr. visits. 

I even found myself a crockpot, so life is pretty much normal now (and all my minnesota friends say 'amen.') It's all these little every-day things that feel like such accomplishments, and yet cause the greatest headaches. I dont think I understood how precious 'normal' life is until nothing about it is normal. Even reaching the point where the cashier at our little corner grocery store recognized me felt like such a feat. I no longer have to pardon myself in english when the questions come, now she looks up, smiles and says "hello!" I could kiss her.

Today we went to a kid's 'Jungle fitness' thing-an american equivalent would be like a gymboree, or a kid-music class out in the burbs of Helsinki, and I've got to tell you, I've never seen Eowyn so excited. She follows instructions like a champ and kept laughing, mouth-wide-open. It's 10 Euro each visit, and I can definitely see us going every week. She crashed on the way home-a true sign it was a good time. Seriously, this place gave us a glimmer of hope for the impending winter. It's a short bus ride and after a small hike up and down stairs (with a stroller, oy vey!) it's easy to access. It's fun how much physical activity we get without even trying.

It's just as hard to know where to end these posts as it is to begin them. So I'll make a list of the few things I'm learning these past few weeks:

1. Asking is ALWAYS better than choosing timidity and not getting anywhere. People universally will help if they can.
2.Toddlers are travelers too. Making time for their adventure makes for a better time all together.
3.Consistently showing up has always proved to have the best results. 
4. Things are always harder than expected, and simultaneously not as bad as anticipated.
5. Life is never without struggle. The choice on which end of contended we'll be on is largely up to us and less to do with when our circumstances change. 
6. As with every other struggle in life, people will speak on things they do not know. There has got to be grace and a deliberate looking for the heart. Overseas living, unless experienced, just can't be explained. Still try anyways and still hear anyways.
6. As travelers always say, the people make a place.
7. There's a lot of opportunity to relate, if willing to step out of the usual connecting points.
8. Figuring out the must-haves is just as important as realizing how much you can live without.
9. Getting to adventure with one person through all life is kind of amazing.
10. Seeing family values and priorities take shape from myriads of experiences is pretty awesome too.
11. Saying 'yes' to invitations is one of the best ways to experience things, even if that means rearranging schedules a bit.

I hope some of you readers can come and sit on our balcony with us and check out the occasional night when the moon looks like this and the cafe below is booming with random local artists. I don't necessarily hope you experience the cruise ships dumping the waste from their boats and the whole island smelling like a sewage tank for a good 30 minutes. But the moon-the moon can be really beautiful.

There's the romantic and the not-so-much everywhere you go, I guess.

Happiest of Mondays.

No comments:

Post a Comment