Saturday, April 20, 2013

Tears in Finland

I can't tell you how many times I was brought to tears this week;  I have fallen in love with the depths of Finnish culture, its people, and its natural beauty - and I think it took the winter, and the emergence of spring, to understand its effect on me.

And it took the music.

I had tears when I heard the children sing in Terhi Oksanen's music class.

I had tears again when I heard the lyrics students had written for the songs they composed themselves.

I had tears again when I realized what education could be, and what it isn't, for most of our children in the United States, and the tears continued when I told myself that as hard it is to believe, we have the ability to improve it on a large scale.

I had tears that evening when I heard a concert by Maria Ylipää as she sung the music composed by Anna-Mari Kähärä. The lyrics to the songs were the poems by Onerva,  a feisty Finnish feminist from the early 1900's.

And today I had tears when I walked the harbors around Helsinki and once again felt how fortunate I am to be learning about Finland, its people, and its education system.

I hope I have the words, and the video and pictures, to accurately share this experience; I am terrified that I won't be able to do it justice.   But like the students in Terhi Ohksanen's music class, I will try.  I will try.

Thank you, Fulbright Program.


  1. This is such a beautiful, touching post. As I read, and re-read what you so eloquently expressed brought you tears, it's clear that these are all different kinds of tears - tears of joy, tears of beauty, tears of disappointment, and tears of hope. I know that Eskimos have numerous words for snow, I wonder if Finnish has different words for tears. Thank you for sharing your tears.