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.

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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!

Dare I hope…Spring?

It’s been a long damn winter, and I am looking for signs of spring every where. When I got back from Budapest a week ago, Helsinki was covered in snow again! Gah!

This morning, while out walking Shiva, I saw some hints that spring might be here…or at least peeking in the window. I have been told that Helsinki is gorgeous in the spring and summer. I am looking forward to seeing it for myself…assuming that this isn’t a false alarm.

But here are some pictures to prove that I’m not hallucinating:

The dog park the day after returning from Budapest (just a week ago!)

The dog park the day after returning from Budapest (just a week ago!)

These are pictures from this morning!

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In other news, I got in to see a physical therapist for an evaluation, regarding some issues with my MS and also about getting some rehab for my ACL surgery. Spent about two hours with her, doing all sorts of tests. Essentially, she is recommending some water exercises at one of the swimming pool halls, as well as relearning how to walk up and down stairs. Ugh. I hate exercising. Which is why I am like a fatted Christmas goose these days.

I have another few weeks of school left. My vocabulary has expanded, but I still can’t form sentences, which is a bit ego-deflating. I’ll take the summer off, then head back to another level 0 course for the fall. I’d do summer school, but we have trips to Greece, Italy, and France planned, so I am booked for the warm months. No, I am not complaining, not one bit!

Crazy busy!

I know, I know, I haven’t checked in for ages!

Finnish classes are starting to get really intense. I still feel like I don’t know any more than I did when I started, but every once in a while I realize that I’m recognizing words in conversations or can come up with the one that I need. I’m still struggling through all the darned endings and such, but hopefully, it will click soon. We have a mega-test on Tuesday (tiistai!), and I am simply not prepared. My recall is shyte.

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In the meantime, I have this thesis paper that I am proofing, and it is really taking up my time. I’ve agreed to do it, so I must, but I find myself starting to skim the words, and that’s when I have to take a break. Unfortunately, I don’t do anything productive when I do break from it. 300+ pages to proof. By the end of the month. Crunch time is coming soon!

But let us speak of more fabulous things! It has been a spectacular week for Helsinki, nature-wise! We’ve had spring temperatures (8°, 9°, even 10°!), with mostly clear skies. On Tuesday night, we had spectacular Northern Light displays, all the way here in the city! Nothing that I could take with my cell phone, but some folks got pictures of events just down the road from me. I was able to see them from my bedroom window, and they lasted for ages!

Photo Credit: Engelsman Finland

Photo Credit: Engelsman Finland

Then, on Friday, we got to experience an almost total solar eclipse. It was about 90% covered, and quite amazing. There was a bit of overcast, so I went and met Wellu at the university, where we looked through some special glasses to see the eclipse, plus “saw” it via a reflection from the telescope that was set up. I tried using the lens on the glasses to take a picture through, but it didn’t work.

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And then finally, Thursday night was a “super moon”. Nothing really amazing, just a point when the moon was at its closest to earth. Astronomer hubby sucks all the fun out of it, calling it “bollocks”, as the moon is only a few percentage points larger, hardly enough to notice, but hey, it was a cool event to have happen along with the other two. 🙂

Winter is supposed to return this next week, so time to bundle up again. Snow is predicted. But enjoying spring while it is giving us this sneak preview.

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Got Shiva her pet passport, except that they spelled my last name wrong and put in the wrong birth date for her. I don’t want to get stopped at some border because of technical issues, so we go back Monday to get it fixed. Sucker was expensive too…over 100€ for it! But, it means all her records are in one place and now she’s essentially Finnish, and she can travel around the EU without any problems. Just in case.

Heading to Budapest next weekend, then my mom comes to visit, then we head to Italy, THEN my youngest daughter and her friend come to visit…we’re going to do a ‘girl’s cruise’ to Tallinn, Stockholm, and St. Petersburg. After they leave, we are headed to France. Busy summer!