Friday, January 20, 2017

Journey to Jyväskylä

And we're off!
It has been a long season of preparing to live in Finland.  We went to bed on Saturday night feeling ready for our big trip...and then Lydia threw up.  What timing.  In the interest of not paying $,16000  per ticket to reschedule, we decided to stay the course. 

We flew Minneapolis, to Chicago, to London, to Helsinki.  Our first flight was great, but while we were waiting in Chicago, Lydia wasn't looking so great again.  I was holding my breath that she'd be alright, but as we were boarding the flight, she threw up again...right in front of all the other passengers.  I stood there, holding my 3 year old over the garbage can, pretending that the hundreds of people standing around me, waiting to get on the same seven hour flight as us weren't seeing what was happening.  No one said anything, so we got on.  And then as the plane was taking off I had this sinking feeling of, "what have I done?"  It was like the reality of moving across the globe with my family was finally sinking in.  The romance of the entire situation was somehow lacking from this scene. 

Luckily things perked up.  We made it to Heathrow airport, had some coffee, let the kids play a bit, and enjoyed people watching.  Europe has some fun fashions!  At Heathrow, I took a little walk to buy some plug in converters for our electronics.  While checking out at the drug store in the airport, I was totally struck by the workers there.  They looked happy and even proud to be doing their jobs.  When we had been in Chicago, I ordered some food from a restaurant in the food court.  I observed the workers looking tired, miserable, and not terribly put together.  The funny thing was though, I didn't even really process that observation until I was buying tooth brushes and converters in London. It made me wonder why there was this juxtaposition.  Do service jobs pay better in Europe?  Are these jobs more respected?   I don't really have an answer, but the contrast was striking.  

And then...then we boarded our Finnair flight to Helsinki, and I swear to you, I think angels started singing.  The plane was spotless, there was gentle music playing, everything was bright, and these two lovely people greeted us on our screens throughout the flight.  Look how much they love their jobs!!!  For real though, the Finns are a beautiful bunch of people.  And it was a lovely flight!

Once we landed in Helsinki, w e took a cab to our hotel.  The driver spoke not a word to us, but was rocking out to a Backstreet Boys cd, circa 2000, so that made up for the lack of conversation.  It was especially fun to watch him play air drums on the stick shift as he drove.  

We had not the greatest night of sleep ever and were wide awake by 5:00 am or so.  Fortunately for us, Finnish continental breakfasts are AMAZING!  I wish we could eat like this everyday!!!

After breakfast we packed up and boarded the train to Jyväskylä, a university town in central Finland that will be our home for the next five months.  The three hour train ride was awesome!  I'm going to be taking this train route on a weekly basis to study with the Tapiola choir in Helsinki, and based on our first trip, this is not a bad thing!  The scenery was beautiful, as were the houses.  Those of you reading this who know me from my childhood will understand what I mean when I say Finland is like a whole country of "Taylors Falls."  The land looks SO much like Minnesota, but the houses are all cute little houses that look very old.  The only difference is that instead of all of the houses being white with green shutters, like they are in TF, they are all bright colors - blue, yellow, red.  Beautiful!  And it was so nice to sit at a table as a family where we could read, color, play with legos etc, rather than one of us driving, or all of us being crammed into airplane seats.  I think I'm gonna get used to train life. 

When we finally rolled into town, my adviser and the father of the owner of our rental house met us at the train station and drove us to our new home.  It is ADORABLE!!!!!  And to say the girls are delighted with the toys at the house is an understatement.  It's a small house, and it is definitely going to encourage the simple lifestyle Jerod and I were hoping to embrace.  I think we are going to like it here.   

Home Sweet Home
Our house at the top of the path we walk to the bus.

Our bedroom and wardrobe - right off of the kitchen.  #Finnlife
We love the big table in the kitchen.  

We also love the wood burning fire place!
Looking into the kitchen from the living room.

Sweet little play store upstairs.

Antique beds for the girls.

Playhouse in the back yard.
Cool swing set in our yard.

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