Sunday, June 22, 2008

Finland, Part Two: The Bad

Okay, so not everything here is great. There are some things that really get under my skin. Here's the list:

the summer cottages: I know I wrote about them in the things that I love, but they need to be on this list too. Why the heck do they NEVER have showers? The cabin can be simple or super fancy, it doesn't matter, there will still be no shower. People go in the sauna and then wash up in a series of buckets of water. I know its about nature and roughing it and all that, but for crying out loud, if you have bothered to pipe in running water (for the sink and dishes), is it too much to ask to have it come out of a showerhead??? Also, the Finns tend to be a little obsessed with their cabins in that if the weather is good, one must head to the cabin. Every time. Holidays can't really be taken between May and September because then you would miss out on cabin time. Come on people. Your cabin will still be there even if you miss a couple of weeks one summer.

the baby food: strangely enough, the baby food selection here is pathetic. There is almost no organic jarred food. But worse than that, all the food has some weird added ingredients like corn flour etc. In Canada, if you want a jar of blueberries, then that's all you get in the jar. Of course you can get a mix, but it still doesn't contain all kinds of filler flour. Joonas actually refused to eat the food here so we had to get my brother to bring some from Canada.

the produce: I guess that I have been spoiled growing up in BC, but the produce selection here sucks. Exotic fruits are either non-existant or inexhorbitantly expensive. No one seems to carry Romaine lettuce. How can you make caesar salad with iceberg? You can't, its wrong.

travel Finns are pretty good about traveling abroad. Thailand, Spain, Florida and a lot of other warm climates are very popular. That's not my beef. My problem is travel to Helsinki. People who don't live there think that going there is a huge deal. It needs to be planned weeks in advance and you must stay overnight. Its weird. I guess living in Canada one gets used to traveling long distances. Going for coffee 50km away is not considered unusual. In Finland, 50 km requires at the very least a day trip; leaving in the morning and returning at night. Anyway, it irritates me and I think that it contributes to the smallmindedness of Finns. If you stay in your own town 24-7, with maybe the occasional trip to Spain in the winter, your horizons are not very broad and you become small minded.

Finland, Part One; The Good

So there are things that I love about Finland and things that I don't like so much. One of things that I love is the nature. There is so much of it. I mentioned in the previous post that there are more than 150,000 lakes. But there are also trees and wild flowers and parks everywhere. Driving around, you see pastoral views on all sides, kind of like when you used to drive on Knight Street in Richmond way back when and there were flowers and cows grazing in the grass. In Richmond and almost everywhere else, the cows and fields and flowers have been replaced by warehouses and buildings and apartments. Ugh. But not so in Finland.

Anyway, here is a list of the other things that I love about Finland:

the food, its to die for. Chocolate, baked goods, bread, yogurt, candy, cheeses...I could go on all day

the cleanliness the public washrooms are clean and well-supplied and even smell nice; I kid you not

the weather here in eastern Finland, the weather has been great; mostly sunny and warm. This is especially great after the horrible weather we had in Vancouver this spring (btw the weather in the rest of Finland has pretty much sucked, but that's not my problem...)

transportation I haven't taken a train or bus yet but they are awesome here, and run on schedule. So far, I have been able to walk everywhere in Lappeenranta, and that is a good thing in itself. Everything is close by and people walk, or bike, A LOT.

summer cottages everyone has one, and they are almost always beside one of the many lakes

the 'tori' An open air market, kind of like Granville Island, but actually outside. There are flowers and produce and fresh baked goods and people milling around. Every city in Finland has one. This is where we go to get the best lihapiirakka (meat pasty) in town...mmm...I can taste it now, especially looking at the pic above....

Well that's all for now. The next edition, will be the 'the bad'.

Friday, June 13, 2008

See Ya

We are off to Finland, the land of 150,000+ lakes. The pic above is from my in-laws summer cabin, which of course sits on a lake. Later.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Happy Father's Day (a bit early)

I have a really great husband who is an awesome dad to the boys. I don't know how I would manage, or maintain my sanity without him. On weekends, when he is home, he is usually the one who gets up with the boys and the one who changes all the dirty diapers. During the last week, I have gone out for three evenings and he has stayed home to watch the boys. Now you may think that its only fair that he watch the boys since I stay home with them all day. True enough, but he does work long hours and watching two boys all evening after sitting in the office for eight hours isn't exactly relaxing. So, in honour of Father's Day, I think he deserves an award. Seriously. I am amazed at the number of husbands that I come across who are absolutely no help to their wives in taking care of their kids. I have heard one dad refuse to take his kid because he wanted to get seconds for dinner, meanwhile his wife had eaten nothing. Another dad "makes" his wife take the kids everywhere with her even if he is at home. The more I see the more I think two things: 1. that I (and my kids) won the lottery with my husband 2. that no wonder dads have such a bad rep as being deadbeats. More than anything though, I really wonder about the wives. In the 21st century why would you let your husband get away with that?