Day One in Finland (and a bit more)

Wow. First I wasn’t updating because not much was happening, then I haven’t updated because so much has happened! Life, make up your mind! 🙂

Got the bags to Charlotte, thanks to a wonderful brother-in-law, checked in without issue. One bag was 56 pounds (lightweight!), the second was 68, and the third was 70 on the nose. 🙂 I did have to wait while the agent double checked the policy, but since I was at the airport four hours early, I was patient. Everything checked out, and I head to my gate. Charlotte has an interesting queue for Security: First Class passengers get their very own check-point, which made things go really smoothly and quickly.

The fact I was carrying a desktop CPU seemed to baffle Security, but I did make it through with a minimum of comments (“that’s one helluva laptop you got there”). And my two passports seemed to just confuse matters. Not sure why I was told to bring two, as they never seemed to look at or want the one that matched the name on the ticket, just the new one. /shrugs

Spent an hour or so in a restaurant noshing on an appetizer and nursing an iced tea, then moved on to the USAirways lounge, which I had walked right past. Couldn’t find a spot that had computers, but managed to charge my phone and chat a bit before heading to the gate. Since we were flying in to Toronto, there was a passport check at the gate, and again, my two passports just confused the issue. The First Class seats on the hopper were nice, and I am starting to get really spoiled for the extra room and service.

An hour and a half later, I am in Toronto, heading for my luggage to grab it, turn in my claim form, and then recheck it again. Everything is good, the bags show up quickly, there are free carts to lug them with, and I get them rechecked. Then on to the gate area. Can’t find the lounge, but Toronto-Peterson (YYZ)  has hundreds (if not more) iPad stations throughout the gate area that you can just settle in with and converse. I can’t get WiFi on my phone, but at least I can chat via Facebook over the iPads while my phone is (not) charging. For some reason, it just trickle-charged at the station. I was seated right next to my gate, which was nice, though.

Get boarded on to Business Class with Finnair, but as we’re standing in the bridge, there’s some commotion at the entrance to the plane, and then my name is called. Whoa, what did I do? Apparently, the flight is practically half-empty, and I was seated in a section of the cabin that no one else was, so they wanted to know if I wouldn’t mind moving up. Still my own row, just up with about six other people (yes, BC was practically empty). Oh, I really love the Finnair blankets. 🙂 That nice green and white Marimekko print, with a pillow. I will say, though, the onboard kit was sparse. If you want anything more than the blackout eye cover, socks and earplugs, you do have to ask for them.

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I took my meds, and zonked out about an hour into the flight. Even slept through meal service, although they did leave it at the seat next to me. Woke up, ate (it was eh), then went back to sleep. Probably slept a total of five-and-a-half hours, which was nice. They also have cameras that you can view through the seatback screen, with a front and belly view. Very cool when we got over land and were landing.

Landed safely in Helsinki, and walked a bajillion miles to passport control and breezed right through, then to luggage claim. My luggage was right out, except my hardside case was split open. So that was fun to wrestle with. Nothing seemed to be missing, so I made a claim with Finnair for that. I have three months to take it to a list of their approved store to either be fixed or replaced. Since it was on the belt and opened, but nothing was missing, I have a feeling some caring baggage handler tossed it on the belt and it split at that time. At least it didn’t split earlier!

Found Veli-Matti when I finally got out to the main area, and we got a cab home. Helsinki in the late summer was actually HOT! Probably the high 70’s. I wasn’t ready for that, and was sweating in my long sleeve sweater and two jackets. It was supposed to be in the 40’s! 🙂

Got to the apartment, and we sort of lounged for a bit to unwind. I unpacked most of my stuff, then we headed to IKEA. I so love IKEA. 🙂 We bought a mattress to double up with the existing one (more on this later) and a mattress pad to cover the entire surface and hide the split. An office chair, a small desk, and a few more odds and ends. You don’t want to know what all was spent. 🙂 Delivery is for Wednesday.

The next day will be all about running around to get registered and stuff. All the legalese that has to be performed so that I can actually live here.

Let me add that we did get the wild boar that Astrid and Bernie gave us as a wedding gift out of the cellar. It’s rather well-dried now, so it’s more like boar jerky, but OMG, it is delicious. Here’s a picture!

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