Saturday, January 12, 2013

A Little Local Flavor

Today I'm learning to be a little more Finnish.

It's 8:30 Saturday morning and the sky is just getting light - so why fight it?  I crawl back into bed and climb under the covers so I can read my book and wait for the sunlight.  

In Finland they seem to have a different idea about work, time, and stress.  Wait, let me re-phrase that.  They don't seem to stress. For example, one typical high school teacher might teach eleven or so classes per week with each class lasting only lasts 60-90 minutes. If he or she is done by 1:00 she can go home - no problem! "That's why we're not stressed like you Americans," one teacher said.   She also shared with me a conversation she overheard as a school counselor was talking with students:  "If you're not good at math or Swedish or Finnish, that's okay.  You're probably a very good friend."  She said this attitude is very typically Finnish ... and then with a giggle she said, "That probably wouldn't go over very well in some cultures."

So I'm adapting.

And feeling better about it.

I have a lot of work to do but Kari Sormunen has been a tremendous help getting me settled and introducing me to some very strong science and education teachers from preschool through college. I hope we can do some good work together and that this semester will be valuable for us all.  Thank you, Kari!

Yesterday I wandered down to the Joensuu marketplace because they were having their seasonal flea market - the town square was filled with all sorts of things to sell; there were furs and long underwear, sleep shirts, socks and hats, and used ski equipment; there were sausages for sale and honey and colorful strings of licorice. The color of these items really stuck out compared to the monochromatic tone of the day - heavy clouds and no direct sunlight. 

Tonight it's colder: 9 degrees F/-13 degrees C.  It's the first day I've felt a chill and I'm in my apartment wrapped up in wool and my beanie snuggled down on my head.  Maybe I should have purchased some of these woolies!  :)


  1. Did you find out about some of these foods - looks like some of them are licorice veins in different colors!!That would be the place to get your x country clothes! Looks a little different than the Market Place in Costa Mesa!!!!!!!

  2. I love this attitude. I personally get so much more done working on my own timetable.

    Love the colors! Warm thoughts, M

  3. While the weather in Finland is so very cold, the Finnish idea of work, time, and stress sounds so warm and inviting. It falls right in line with what Pasi Sahlberg shared in his TED Talk this past summer. "It's not about how much time you spend, it's how you use the time you have." Here in the US we spend so much time and effort with testing and programs meant to hold our teachers accountable, we no longer expect them to be responsible. As Pasi said, "Accountability is what is left when responsibility is taken away." There is so much we can learn from our Finnish neighbors.
    By the way, here is a link the Pasi Sahlberg's TED Talk: