I'm the one in the middle. My sister is on my left.

I’m the one in the middle. My sister is the blonde on my right.

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I just turned 50 this year (2014) and it’s going to be a year of big changes! I moved to Finland in September 2014, and this blog is about preparing for that move, and about being an American living in Finland.

I have three daughters and one dog, Shiva. Shiva arrived on our return trip from the US in December, the daughters are having to visit at some undeterimed time, unfortunately. The youngest is starting her freshman year at Louisiana State University. The middle one is a wonderful photographer. Here is her website: http://natashakraus.wix.com/krausphotography. The eldest is married to a great guy, and is an accomplished artist and avid roleplayer (and she works at a bank to fund her hobbies).


(clockwise) Sam, Natasha, Victoria, Anastasia

Thsi grass feels so good!

Shiva Diva!


I was born in Fort Worth, Texas in June of 1964. I’m a fifth generation Texan, on my mom’s side. My dad, who was from Mississippi, was in the Army, and my mother worked as a computer programmer with IBM. Yup, they even had computers back then! Until I turned five, my mom and I lived in Texas, Virginia, Maryland and a few other places, as my dad was posted in Korea. When I was about five, we moved to Panama, where my dad was stationed. My mother began working for Gorgas Hospital there, and I started school at Balboa Elementary. We lived in Panama for about five years, riding horses, exploring the jungle and doing some deep sea fishing. My youngest sister was born during this time, and she and I would spend summers at my grandparents’ home in Texas. Those were great times!

Michele Neiman Marcus006

Aren’t I the cutest thang?

After that, we moved to back to Arlington, Texas for a couple of years, then to the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, where my dad was originally from. While in Mississippi, my parents got a wild hair, and decided to buy a sailboat. We moved on to the sailboat, and in 1977, we took off on what was supposed to be a round-the-world cruise.  We visited all through the Bahamas, the Virgin Islands, the Turks and Caicos, Puerto Rico and a bit more south, I think to the Netherland Antilles. Due to our parents’ job requirements, we didn’t make it much further, and in 1980, we moved back to the South (Louisiana), where I graduated from Slidell High School in 1982.


Collage from our sailing trip

From there, I went to the University of Texas in Arlington, got a job, got married, moved to Georgia and had my first daughter, Anastasia, in 1987. After a few years in Georgia, we moved back to Texas briefly, then on to California, where we lived for seven years. The next two girls were born in Southern California (Natasha and Victoria), and when Victoria was about three, we moved to Louisiana, in 1999. I lived there for 15 years, during which time I ran a game shop, sold it, worked, got a divorce, met a Finn, got remarried and now I’ve moved to Finland. Life never sits still, and we can just hang on for the ride!

My girls are grown and entering the next phases of their lives, and so I enter mine. I hope you enjoy the stories.

I welcome the feedback on my site, and especially any questions you might have about this process!



17 thoughts on “About

  1. Howdy!

    I’m from El Paso, Texas! Nice to find a fellow Texan :). I have really enjoyed reading your blog and was hoping you could offer me some advice in moving into Finland. I’m a current Peace Corps volunteer with hopes of moving to Finland after I finish my service in Costa Rica. It’s been a long dream of mine to live in Finland. I was hoping you probably knew if its possible to do this with your experience in Finland’ with people you’ve meet like myself. I know your path to living there was different than mine, but I would appreciate any advice. I’m 29 years old with a Bachelors in Business Administration. I’ve taught English and Spanish, plus worked in international development, project management and sales. I hope to go there and find a job. Once that is taken care of, I would apply to grad school. But first I would need income to support me living there. I do have some savings but not enough for a whole year for living there. Hope you can help. Thanks!


    • My husband says that you might be better off trying to get a residency permit in the UK (for example), and then move to Finland. By having an EU residency permit, you can pretty much move freely within the EU where you want. Coming directly to Finland is rather a pain. They do not make it easy to do.

      Also, I did do a reply to you, but I can’t seem to see it. I’m wondering now if it actually posted. So forgive me if the above answer seems curt, as I had typed out a lengthy reply this afternoon, complete with smiley faces. 🙂


      • Thank you for your advice! Sorry it took me so long to reply. I’ve been following your blog. I’ll be coming in to Finland on January. Maybe we can meet up. Keep enjoying Finland!



  2. Wow, we really do have similar backgrounds! I started in SoCal, moved to Dallas, you started in Ft Worth, moved to SoCal! Also, my husband is from Arlington – we’ll be back there in a few weeks for the holidays. I can’t freaking wait!!!!!


  3. Hope you like in Finland! 🙂 And your daughters pictures are absolutely wonderful! I am enthusiastic photographer as well, you can follow me rixutin.wordrpress.com


    • Thanks for the follow! I took a look at your blog, and it is so entertaining! I especially love the bit about the American Girl dolls. I dropped enough green on those with my three daughters, back in the day. 🙂 Take care, and see you on the interwebs!


  4. I found your blog on http://www.expatsblog.com/articles/1857/american-expat-living-in-finland-interview-with-michele.

    One suggestion on moving to Finland for marriage is to get married in Finland and your permit gets processed very quickly. I have several friends who did this and they got permits within two weeks. On the other hand, those who got married in another country, started the permit process and then moved to Finland got their permits several months later.


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