Posts Tagged ‘Emma’

30.09.10 – Yes!!! I went to view an apartment yesterday and it’s sweet! I took the kids there in the evening and we all agreed it’s “the” place. The landlord seems very cool too. It’s across from the park I’m currently staying at so it won’t be too much a move. I’m familiar with the neighborhood and I really enjoy it. Max, Emma and I got up to the place just before sunset and the views are amazing. The bedrooms, there are two, have views of the ocean and some rooftops of the neighborhood which are very colorful. The living room has a balcony and views of the park. The apartment is on the top floor which is the eighth. Hopefully I can move in next week! Keep fingers crossed.

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25.09.10 #2 – It was so nice to get back to Helsinki and make a beeline to Jaana’s place to see the kids. Unfortunately, my little girl Emma has become miss popularity since moving to Finland. Apparently, the night before she was at a sleepover and by the time I got home she had left to visit a friends summer-house.

Luckily my boy, Max, was ready and waiting. I hadn’t slept much the night before because my flight left at 0605. Max was ready to just chill with me so we rented two movies, The Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time and Kick-Ass. We also picked up some candy at the movie rental place. I’m not sure if all movie rentals are like the one I’ve been going to but at this one they have bulk candy that you can create your own bag.

It was a great homecoming!

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30.08.10 – Well our belongings have cleared customs and at least one of us has found an apartment. I helped Jaana get her stuff into her new place. We had to sort thru everything so my boxes could go back into storage. I did get my bike!!! Hopefully I’ll have my cycling shoes in a couple of days too so I can start hitting the road. Just in time because the weather is starting to take a turn for the worst.

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29.08.10 – Jaana, Max and Emma are settling into their new place. They did most of the work but I helped out a bit painting the high spots, the ceiling is really high, 10′ at least. Both kids painted only one wall in each room, Max chose green and Emma chose blue. The pictures here aren’t exactly accurate for color. Their stuff arrives tomorrow, so we had to get things painted today.

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17.08.10 – Well, it’s not all fun and games here in Finland. Between Jaana and I, we’ve moved 5 times already and we have another two to go before we land in apartments which would be considered permanent. Luckily we haven’t received our belongings yet, which are currently somewhere on the high seas but due in around the end of this month. Jaana doesn’t move to her place in Katajanokka until the first of next month and I’m currently looking for a place in the Ressu neighborhood to be close to the school Max and Emma will be attending.

We’ve also been securing local phone service, Nordea Bank for new accounts, registering at the Maistraatti, the Finnish tax office for the kids and at the Poliisi for me. Every step is a challenge which usually starts off with a “Sorry, I’m afraid you can’t do that.” I had problems switching my iPhone over to the local DNA service. It required 4 trips to the DNA shop in the city center and a number of software updates to “jailbreak” my phone. Even the bank didn’t want to give me an account because I didn’t have a job. The banks in Finland are more worried about money laundering then just plain old money.

One thing I’ve learned is you can get mad but don’t waste your time getting discouraged ;)

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16.08.10 – A new chapter begins, I hate to say it but the honeymoon is over. I don’t mean in a bad way, it’s been fun so far, but I’m ready for change and now seems the opportune time. Max and Emma started school today, rather early by the rest of the worlds standards but Finnish schools begin in the middle of August. Max’s principal even commented that his class is small now, only three kids in his group focusing on transitioning into Finnish school, because the “immigrants” will start looking into school in the next couple of weeks thinking it will start the next month.

Luckily the school days were short for both kids. Max’s school, Katajanokka Elementary School which is a Finnish School with a program which will focus on getting him up to speed with his Finnish language skills and slowly integrate into an all Finnish classroom, ended at 1215. Emma’s school, Ressu International School which is taught in English, ended at noon. I went to pickup Max and we headed over to our favorite pizza place in Kamppi to meet Emma. Both kids were ecstatic about their first day and were fighting for turns to tell a story about their day. A good sign ;)

We decided to spend the afternoon at a new “swimming hole”, The Swimming Stadium, an outdoor swimming pool located in the Helsinki Olympic Stadium. The pool actually has an interesting history. It was originally built for the 1940 Olympics which ended up being postponed due to World War II. The construction was slow due to the lack of funds and manpower during the war, plus the boat that was delivering the heater was sunk! When it was finally finished it was used to store herring and root vegetables until the war ended and finally used for it’s intended purpose for the 1954 Olympics. TGFW, Thank God For Wikipedia.

The pool was divided into three sections, an area for lap swimming, a diving board area and a separate wading section for kids to hang which ranged from about 2-5 feet deep. Max and Emma hung out wading area while I hit the diving boards. There were occasional messages over the PA system, first in Finnish and then English and Swedish. I was with Max at one point when they made an announcement which caused a flurry of commotion. Max translated before they got to the English version, “There opening the big diving platforms!” The center section of the diving area had a structure with 5, 7.5 and 10 meter diving platforms. I elbowed my way amongst the other teens for a shot at the 10 meter. I had to ask a kid what to do and I found out there was a lifeguard at the opposite side of the pool holding up paddles saying which board could jump. I waited for the 10, fought the urge to scream like a pansie and jumped. It wasn’t pretty and Max told me later I made a sound like “FaaWwwoPPP” when I hit the water but it was fun. At one point a girl about 10 was on the 7.5 meter, almost 25 ft, and everyone around the pool started to clap for her to give her confidence. She didn’t hesitate in jumping and the whole crowd started cheering and whistling for her when she came out of the water. Bazaar but it kinds of chokes me up when I think about it. I love this place!

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15.08.10 – There was no avoiding it, I knew the trip to Paris was going to fly by and it did. It was raining so we decided to head to the Musée D’Orsay, the train station turned impressionism museum. Unfortunately, so did the rest of France. We didn’t have much time anyhow because Emma and I were flying out at 1530.

We decided to have a nice meal at a restaurant Kim was familiar with in the neighborhood. I went way French ordering Steak Tartare. The staff kept double checking with me making sure I knew what I was ordering, which I did, kind of. I knew it would be raw but I didn’t expect to get so much. It looked like a raw whopper. The waiter told me if I finished it, I would be a true Parisian. Well, that’s a club I’ll have to join some other time. Everyone took a taste and I tried my best to finish my meal but there’s only so much tartar I can take. Seriously, I couldn’t figure a cooked burger that size.

My sister Kim was the perfect host, always making sure the apartment was stocked with great food, we were never at a lack for entertainment and was the perfect guide for Paris. It was also great to spend time with my sister Cici and my niece Nicole. I will travel with all of you again and again.

I would like to say Emma and I enjoyed a peaceful trip home but we didn’t. I don’t want to go into it here but it was… a nightmare. Enough said on that subject although it made it much easier to feel so glad I was home ;)

Note! If you would like to see some more pictures, click here to view a slide show of some of the other shots from our trip.

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14.08.10 – Wow, a full day in Paris and we definitely made the rounds. Kim and I started off the day heading to the Cimetière Du Père-Lachaise which is within walking distance from the apartment we’re staying at on Rue De Charonne. Maybe you’ve heard of the cemetery? It’s the one with Jim Morrisson buried in it. We had a quiet, solitary walk thru graves dating back to the 1800s on over 109 acres but it wasn’t long before we felt like we were in the Amazing Race as we ran into 2, then 5 and then 10 people asking the same question, “Where is Jim Morrison’s grave?” By group effort we found it ;)

Kim and I regrouped with Emma, Nicole and Cici and quickly came up with a plan for the day, Eiffel Tower to Arc de Triumphe to Champs-Elysées to Musée d’Orsay. Ambitious, non? The plan looked good on paper because the distance was a bit long but there were great spots to stop all along the way but I forgot I was travelling with 4 “girls.” We made good progress from the Eiffel Tower to the Arc de Triumph but once we hit the Champs-Elysées things ground to a halt. I assumed the role of pack mule as I waited outside stores with more and more bags as the girls shopped. At one point I considered calling in Police Nationale and when Kim went to pay, use a bullhorn to call in “Kim, step away from the card, we have the place surrounded!” Everyone had a great time, even Kim who picked up gifts for everyone. Emma and Nicole scored big time.

I headed back to the apartment with a load of purchases to drop off and then made my way back to the girls. I decided to do some shopping myself. I was looking for 2 iPads, one for me and Max, and I found them the day before but I couldn’t use my card because it wasn’t a Euro version with a chip. Kim headed over earlier to try her Amex but had to revert to cash and could only get one. I headed over to the Mac Store at the Louvre which was a mile or two away, yet another plan that looked good on paper. It took almost an hour to get to the neighborhood and that was the easy part. I almost gave up because I needed to be back in less than 30 minutes and I still hadn’t found the Carrousel du Louvre, the shopping center the Apple Store was in. With less than 15 minutes left, I found it, walked in the store and picked up number two iPad! The Metro was right outside the Carrousel so I made it back and I was only a couple of minutes late ;)

Needless to say, we all slept well.

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10.08.10 – Emma and I decided to rent bikes today and we ended up at a popular spot in Helsinki, the cemetary. The weather was a bit overcast and windy so the beach was out of the question and Emma has been interested in using my Canon SLR so Hietaniemi Cemetary was a great choice. Most of the tombstones are dated between the 1800 and mid 1900. Some of the most popular Finns are buried there, Field Marshall Mannerheim and Alvar Aalto to name a few. The cemetary is located next to the ever popular Hietaniemi Beach which is known for it’s nightlife as well as the largest beach in Helsinki. Apparently there are “nightly parties, flirting, petting, and more, are recurrent concerns in letters to the editor alarmed by alleged dishonourable conduct at the gravestones.”

Emma shot some really cool pictures too. I’ll post them later.

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06.08.10 – A car is not needed for this city, I’m actually not looking forward to the arrival of my beloved Honda Element, I’ll have to find a place to store it. Helsinki is best experienced on foot and when things are a bit too far to walk, there’s always the trams and buses.

One tram, the 3B/3T (it’s actually one route but the 3B goes one way and the 3T goes the other), is considered a sightseeing trip because it snakes through some of the most interesting parts of the city. Max, Emma and I decided to check it out. What I learned, next time I’ll go by myself. The kids weren’t bored but it would have been easier to go by myself. If you take the tram, you’ll want to plan on jumping on and off whenever you find something of interest. I saw a football (soccer!) game going on, The Ice Hall, and a cool skate park for kids, each one was worth a longer look but the kids were glued to their seats. I was pretty tired too ;)

Expect more on the 3B/3T. I’m definitely going back for more and more. I actually just learned that the route forms a figure 8 and I got off after only one of the loops thinking it was the end. More to follow, fo sho!

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