I haven’t played bingo in a long, long, looooong time. However, along my morning walks with Shiva, I have been passing these signs for bingo being played each Friday at noon at the local…community center, I guess.


After catching up on some sleep when the guests left at 6am for the airport (and I caught the bus back, etc), I decided that doing a bit of bingo might be a fun way to practice on the numbers, since I have to pretty much count them out on my fingers, as well as have them repeated a half-dozen times. Makes it hell to get someone’s phone number like that.

I got there about 2 minutes after noon, as I thought it was one place, and it was actually at another (still walking distance), and they were already about a half dozen numbers into the game, so I had to wait for the second game. Cards were .50 per 3 number set, and five rounds per were played: 1 bingo, then 2 rows, 3 rows, etc., until you get to “blackout”. After that, everyone writes their names on the back, crumbles up the paper, and tosses it in a basket along with .20 per card, and a winner is drawn. That person wins the pot. Trash bingo.

I bought two cards (1€) and settled in to play. Overall, I think I did alright. I messed up 60 for 16, but my tablemates helped out with that, and in the 3 row game I missed a number, but it didn’t really matter in the end.

They won’t play next Friday due to a concert being held, and I will be gone the next 3 Fridays, but I do plan to go back and play when I can. I think it makes for a fun way to practice hearing and associating the numbers in Finnish.

(P.S. I am still sorting through all the photos I took on my trips, and will write up a post as soon as I am organized. I promise!)

It comes down to practice.

Yesterday, I talked my husband into just speaking Finnish to me for the day. There was a lot of asking him to repeat slowly (hitaasti) and me trying to translate in English what he was saying. I actually understood more than I thought I would! It was a struggle for me, trying to find the words for the simple things, and I used the wrong form for most of them, but I was understood, and I felt more bold about speaking out loud. We’ll do this once a week, then add another day and so on, until I finally get it!

In other news, it looks like spring is finally here. I figure it must be spring when they collapse the ‘bubble building’ next to the dog park. It’s weird to see the field and all now. Today there were several soccer (oops, I mean futbol) games going on today. It was a beautiful day, and we went out and joined others from our complex in doing some raking and sweeping.


I leave next week for Greece and Italy, and won’t be back for about three weeks. I’ve been faithfully taking nearly daily pictures of how the seasons change, and now I will be gone during the big spring bloom. Everything has buds and little green leaves, but when I get back, it will have burst forth fully. Oh well, it will make for a dramatic before-and-after picture.

I will be a bit less active (even moreso), although I may post a few pictures through my Facebook page. So bear with me, as I get to explore even more of Europe and spend some time with my mom! Then back in Helsinki, to spend time with my youngest daughter, too!

And we slosh on…

Ugh. Slosh. Slush. And it is still snowing! Although at this very moment, not quite as much as before. But it was snowing a good bit during the day.

Tracie and I were hardcore, though. We still toughed out the morning walk, getting in our steps and resistance training at the same time! I think we should be credited for double the steps from this morning, given how tough the going was. I know, I know, the natives are telling me to stop whining, that this is nothing. Wah.

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This is what it looked like at the dog park this morning. About ankle-deep in the frozen slush. Just add rum and flavoring, and we’d have a giant daiquiri!


I tried a tip I read about on the internet. I wanted to wear my sneakers on the walk, but I knew they’d get soaked, and then my feet would freeze. So the suggestion was to put on a pair of thin socks as a first layer. Then slip your foot into a plastic bag, then put on a thicker sock. Supposedly, this will keep your feet dry. Tracie called them my feet condoms. Well, mock if you want, but it worked! My outer sock was soaked, but my feet were dry and warm. Nyah. Great suggestion I will use again tomorrow.


On the way to the bus stop, I saw this. A lone mitten in a tree. Actually, it’s not too uncommon to see. Apparently, mittens and gloves get lost along the way, and for some reason, people pick them up and put them on the bushes. My guess is that there is the chance that the owner will be passing that way again and may see their lost half, and be able to reclaim it. It’s kinda neat. This one is so young though.


Went by the store to pick up a few items on the way home.  Shiva needed dog food. I had been feeding her Canagan, but her poops have been a bit…loose. So asked the clerk there, and she suggested I try Barking Heads and see how she does on it. I’m going to start transitioning her over tomorrow. While there (at Prisma, not Musti ja Mirri), we picked up some luncheon meat and bread. I got some “exotic” (for me) meats to try.


And lastly, school work. I am really trying, but my recall sucks. I listen,  I write down, I practice, and fifteen minutes later, I can’t recall what was said. Oh well. Sooner or later, hopefully.


I really need to stop by the pharmacy and see if they sell the Finnish equivalent of No-Doze here. About 1300 or so, my eyes start to droop, my head begins to drop, and it’s a battle not to just say screw it and put my head on the desk. After about 1430, I’m wide awake again. I just need my midday siesta!

Now, let’s try some Finnish.

Tänään on loskaa. Tänään on maanantai. Huomenna on tiistai. Huomenna minä olen kurssilla myöhään. Huomenna on kolmas päivä helmikuuta.

Minä koira nautti ja hyvää tyttö.

It’s pretty basic and simplistic…but baby steps (and baby talk!).



Walking on sunshine…


hahahaha…I wish! Haven’t seen sunshine in a long time! But now you have an earworm. Enjoy! 🙂

This has been a pretty good week so far. Nothing really to pinpoint, but just generally going well. I feel like I am finally getting the hang of some itty-bitty part of the language. I still have CRS (Can’t Remember Shit) when it comes to recall, but my pronunciation is getting better, and I’m actually understanding some of the grammar rules, which is more than what I could say about the rules of English grammar. We get to do fun things in class, too!


Tracie and I have been hitting the trails every morning so far, and we upped our distance so I’m reaching and surpassing my step goal each day. I even raised my goal by quite a bit. So I feel really good about that! Being outside in the morning is really a great way to start the day, and the scenery is beautiful, and it gets Shiva out on a longer walk for her to explore all manner of new landscapes.  Plus, I get to vent with another expat about all sorts of things!

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I was wandering around a store the other day, and remembered Wellu telling me that Valentine’s Day is not a big deal in Finland. Of course, in the U.S., it’s huge (for the candy makers, the card companies, florists, etc), and the aisles are festooned with red and pink for as far as the eye can see. So, this is what I see in the sort of place that back home would be gaudy with the season:


That is it. The extent of the offerings. I guess I’ll just have to be content with a trip to a resort in Antalya, Turkey for Valentine’s Day (or Winter Holiday). 🙂

These are my notes from my classes today:

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In addition to Finnish lessons, I took advantage of my international classmates and learned how to say greetings in Japanese, Turkish and Arabic, and I learned how to write my name in Arabic:


I think that’s it for now,

Nähdään huomenna!




These boots were made for walking…

Actually, it’s my sneakers. Tracie (of beets+birch fame) and I have walked every morning this week. We tend to do about ~3 miles, mainly because my of my knee, and take our time. Not exactly a stroll, but not a fast-fast pace either. I really appreciate her taking it slow with me, and putting up with Shiva doing all her side-to-side sniffing and stopping. And then she ends up power-walking with her hubby each night, too. Fierce, woman!

In any case, we walked a little over 5 miles this morning. It was snowing lightly, she showed me another dog park, and the scenery along the walk was so serene and pretty. She says that in the spring/summer, it is especially breathtaking. Can’t wait!


When did I decide that -4° was a decent, comfortable temperature??? I can remember bitching about needing to take Shiva out when it was 40°F. I don’t think I’ll be complaining about that again! The key is to dress appropriately, of course. But -4 without wind is a lot different than -4 and the wind blowing. Fortunately, we haven’t had too much wind, so it’s actually been pretty pleasant to go out and walk each morning. I took these snapshots of our walk this morning:

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Tracie brought me some of her ‘fancy ass carrot soup’, which I totally meant to have for lunch today, but forgot about lunch today until it was really too late to fix anything. So I may have it for dinner or lunch tomorrow. I love having choices. 🙂

Something about walking in the snow…people can sneak up on you! I don’t mean in a creepy, stalkerish way, but you’re walking along and think you’re the only one around so you ‘shift lanes’…and bam, you’re cutting someone off! I’ve finally started to glance behind me, just to make sure now. Cray-cray American walkers.

This has, overall, been a pretty good week. Even with the way it started, with the leaking incident, everything shaped up. While I feel like I’m still not learning anything in class, I do feel like it’s less not-familiar, if that makes any sense. And if I think about it, I can say more now than I could a week ago, so that’s something. Not enough to carry on a conversation, but maybe one day. In my mind.


Moi moi!

Nähdään huomenna!

Want to learn Finnish?

I didn’t have much to talk about today. It was grey and cold, but not so bad. Took Shiva on a few walks via new paths. Oh, and she went to S-market with me, and sat outside and waited patiently for me. So that is going well.

December 7, 2014

This morning’s picture. December 7, 2014

I decided today to make this post a public service message by providing some helpful links on how to learn Finnish. I only wish that having these links did anything for my ability to learn the language, but it does appear that the requirement is that you open the links and actually study. Always a catch. Translates to “Our new language”. Very detailed. This one is really cool, as it comes from the Foreign Services Institute (FSI) and was published around 1987. It contains links to the textbook and audio tapes. VERY comprehensive. This one gives you tests. Very good to see what you really know. I seem to have this obsession with flashcards. I just think they are a great way to help self-learn something. This one has a lot of graphics, and is a bit fiddly to use, but could be a good supplement This isn’t so much about learning to speak Finnish, but is an indispensable tool for going shopping. I have it booked on my smartphone. It breaks down all the foods and gives you the Finnish names for them. It’s a 5-star! This one has a lot of graphics, and since these are user-generated, I have found some mistakes on a few cards. Not enough to be off-putting, but you may notice them as you go through the cards. If you want to make flash cards to study with on the computer, you can use this program. A very basic course in learning a rudimentary level of Finnish. Still, more than I know yet. This also has user-generated vocabulary and flash cards. I haven’t been through this one quite enough to say how good it is.

I’d also purchased (when it was on mega-sale) the Pemsleur Approach CDs for Conversational Finnish. Yes, that is from the ads that you see popping up about the way to learn a language in 10 days and all that malarkey. While I need to listen to each lesson at least ten times to finally get any of it to stick (Teflon brain!), and the phrases seem pretty cheesy, I am finding that some of what stuck (and what I have forgotten but can recognize) are bits and pieces from every day conversation. I am probably going to dust it off and start off again. If you find it on sale (I think it was $24.99 on sale), it’s probably worth it to get.

My mom made me these flash cards from Avery business cards and lists that I sent her. I can put 48 of them in a 96 card business card holder (so that I can see back and front of the same card) and practice my Finnish words on the bus. Right now, I’m concentrating on common phrases, colors, months and days of the week, plus a few random vocabulary words tossed in. As I learn words, I can pull those out and replace them with new ones. I have about 500 other ones in the bag. I’ve got my work cut out for me!


I’m sure there are more links out there. Let me know if you’ve found any that worked particularly well (or that you think look pretty, but haven’t gotten around to using yet…) 🙂

My girls!

My girls!

Day 7 challenge (I remembered!): What do you feel guilty about right now? What I feel guilty about every day…that I can’t bring my kids over here (yet) to experience what I am experiencing. It’s probably a variation on the usual “mom guilt” of not being there on the spot when they need me, that uncomfortable part of them learning to stand on their own two feet, of making their own mistakes and me not being there to help pick up the pieces. Skype and Facebook are probably enough in principle, but not enough for the emotion. I just comfort myself with the knowledge that I’ve raised great girls, that one is getting here for Christmas, the other will be here for 2016 (hopefully), and the third will come when she can. I know it will work out, but I can’t help but feel some guilt.