Monday, November 21, 2011

It's finally getting cold here in Finland.  For awhile I was starting to think that maybe Finns exaggerate their winters for the sake of storytelling, but no, they're not kidding.  It's plenty cold.

The sun is setting by about 3:30 in the afternoon these days.  The effect of the lack of sunlight is also something I thought maybe people were exaggerating, but this is also no joke (I think the common thread here is that I should start believing what I'm told instead of just thinking I'm smarter than everyone else).  My brain is telling me it's dinnertime by about 4 and time for pajamas at around 6.  By 8 o'clock my brain thinks it's midnight and by midnight I'm expecting the sun to come up any minute.  It's very disorienting.  Also unless the sky is perfectly clear during the day (which is rare) it never gets truly light outside, so it's basically either twilight or deep night around the clock.  Lyndsey and I are going to have to be super careful not to go all The Shining on each other.

Apparently it has now become expected by my friends and family that if they come to visit me in Helsinki that I'm going to embarrass them on this blog.  Only partially true!  If you come to visit Helsinki and you embarrass YOURSELF, then you will be embarrassed on this blog.  I consider myself only a reporter of facts. Far be it from me to stand between the people and what they want, which is humorous anecdotes that they can read at work and have a chuckle, telling themselves that should they find themselves in a foreign country there is no WAY that they would do one of the foolish things my friends and family seem to do regularly.

So, Dustin and Sofia, your fate is in your own hands.  If you, for example, fail to grasp the complex bus pass system used in Helsinki and have to have a Finn help you use the machine even though young children regularly ride the bus by themselves with no trouble, then you have no one to blame but yourself.  Or if, for example, you tell me that you think salmiakki tastes like "an old man" and I relate it here, I cannot be held responsible.

Tonight we are going to see Gogol Bordello and on Thursday we're going to St. Petersburg.  I've heard many times that Helsinki is a crossroads of western and eastern European cultures, and I think it's high time we started exploring the eastern parts.

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