Tuesday, January 20, 2015


I am going to dedicate this post to answering some of my students' questions. Many of the questions were about food and stores.  We are living in the middle of Helsinki, which is the capital of Finland. It isn't a large city like, New York City, but is definitely a city nonetheless, and about half a million people live here. There is probably a grocery store about every 2 or 3 blocks. However, most of them are very small.

We travel to the city center if we want a lot of things because the store there is the largest (we think). However, this grocery store is still only about half the size of our major stores at home. This is because there is less choice on products. So instead of having almost a whole aisle of salad dressings, you have maybe 10 to choose from. Personally I like this better. It is way easier to make decisions and I doubt there is as much waste. One very interesting thing we have found in the grocery store is that whole plants are sold, such as lettuce and herbs. People must have grow lights at home because there certainly isn't enough sunlight to just put them on their window sills. (The sunlight is presently from 9:00AM to 4:00PM.....and getting longer!)
These are all whole plants waiting for someones home!

The majority of the stores are very small, except in the main downtown part of the city. The only really large store is called Stockman's. It has about 7 floors and carries most everything. It also has a restaurant and a very large bookstore. It is a beautiful building.
Stockmans is the lighted up building in the back
One of your questions is "what is the food like?" From what I can tell it seems that the people around here eat a lot of soups and stews. Fish is especially popular and salmon is sold everywhere. I'm never quite sure what meat we are buying because I haven't learned the words yet, but there is type of meat that I know. "Poro" means reindeer. The Finnish people in the northern part of the country raise reindeer and it is a meat that many people eat. I had my first reindeer in a soup I ordered and it was delicious.
Smoked reindeer soup

This was not the reindeer that I ate!
Finland uses euros as currency. The euro, , is the official currency of the eurozone, which consists of 19 of the 28 member states of the European Union: Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania,Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain. (wikipedia,2015) The exchange rate changes daily but as of today the rate exchange is 1.16 dollar equals 1 euro. When we first got here 1.30 dollars equaled one euro. The money itself is very similar to ours except that coins are used until you get to 5 euros. They have also gotten rid of 1 cents so when you buy things they are rounded up or down by 5's.

Garrett asked me about the night sky. Unfortunately, I have seem very little of it. Since we are in the city there are many lights and we have had few clear days. It is usually either snowing or raining. I will give you more information on that after I get out of the city.

There are lots of things to do here. There is a zoo close by, an amusement park (which is closed in the winter), many parks and tons of museums. The parks are well used and we see many people jogging. My husband and I walk whenever we can and, believe it or not, we have started jogging. Not like you, Forest, ours is more of a snail pace! The other weekend we had about 6 inches of snow and all the children were out with their sleds, people cross country skied, and a man brought his horse and sleigh to the park to sell rides to anyone interested.

David I don't believe I have offended anyone yet. I did get rather strange looks when I said "nakemiin" to people as we left. It means, "good-bye." However, I have since learned that it is a very old fashioned word! Most people say "hei hei or moi moi." Which leads me to the word for this post; Hyvaa. This means good. So until the next post nakemiin......oops I mean moi moi!! And be hyvaa!!

1 comment:

  1. The pictures and your story make it all seem like a cool movie!