-pirkkola swimming pond (uimalammikko). in the central park network there is this large sports center area in pirkkola. there are various sports fields, an indoor pool, a gym, trails, and this awesome outdoor swimming area. the woods are cleared away and this man-made pool/beach was created with sand, grassy areas, a small water slide, a fountain, a center area of dry land and the pond can be walked into on the 'beach' side of it and the depth never gets to more than a meter. there is also a playground, bathrooms, and a cafe on the premises. it is free and it is heavenly. i wish we had a car to get back to this place more easily.
(view of pond/pool from the 'beach')
(the velvet swimming cat with her papa)
-rastila beach. rastila is a big nature area in eastern helsinki. there is a nature preserve, a beach, a camping area, and more im sure. my friend hannah and her daughter were visiting her mom for july and they invited us to this beach. its near where hannah grew up and we had the perfect summer day to enjoy it with them. it is a lovely beach in an easy-to-reach location. so nice to know about.
-monte etna. a chain italian restaurant in finland. we needed a place to grab lunch after Ys doctor visit one day. blah. very mediocre food at prices that were too high for my liking. also didnt like the lack of AC on a second floor place with no windows able to be opened.
-parenting independent kids. kids in finland are very independent. society allows this to be so, but of course its also sowed at home. while im all for independence, ive been a little shocked at the pushover parents here. i cant count the amount of times i hear parents telling and retelling their kids that its 'time to go home' or 'time to head in for dinner' and then the kid totally disregards their parents and continues to do exactly what they want for exactly how long they want. only when they are finally ready does the activity stop. i dont think so. im not saying you have to get rude or rough, but you can follow through with your 'its time to go home' by moving your body toward your kid and gently help them end the activity and listen to what you said. since ive rarely seen a public parental/child struggle or temper tantrum, this must be the way they avoid it...by not engaging in any disagreements. it does make for quiet public spaces, but it seems that it also makes for kids who arent able to take anything their parents say seriously.
-racial mix. the other day i went to the grocery store and saw a dark-skinned couple in what i would call 'american clothes' (casual, jeans). as they passed me i realized how struck i was with a feeling of homesickness. they would be just part of the regular mix of the population back home, nothing to make note of, but i dont think ive seen a couple like them since i arrived. yes, there are people from africa here, but most still wear their african print clothing and have different accents and looks. there is also a large population of muslim somalis here, whereas where i grew up pretty much any muslim person i saw was fairer skinned, from the middle east...and i rarely see them here. there are also gypsys here who dress in very large, heavy, black velvet skirts and sequined white shirts (well, the females anyway). the first time i saw them i thought some cast of an opera had just let out. i realize that while there is diversity here in finland, its quite a different diversity than back in michigan. of course the diversity from home doesnt feel like diversity, its just...normal. its makes me appreciate though that no matter what kind of societal mix you are used to, or how 'diverse' it is, it still doesnt mean you are blind to differences, or potential discomfort/confusion/curiosity from not knowing enough about the people you are living amongst.