weather: it seemed like a very typical fall here, though the colors werent as brilliant or pretty as last year. i thought the leaves kind of dried up and went brown and crisp quickly. i found november to be fine (though we had a record of only 14 hours of sunshine for the whole month) and thankfully december was better than last year, for me, because we had some pretty snow mixed in there. thank you kindly finland. :)
-kids thrift store velmukirppis, in malmi. this was a newly opened thrift store just for kids stuff and it was well stocked and organized. lots of good finds. im sure we will be back.
-hoplop. this is a huge indoor playground and activity center. it is THE place to burn off pent up winter energy, such a huge space for moving your little body. and they made all the areas parent accessible too so you can go down the slides, climb through the tubes, jump on the trampolines, etc. if your little one is unsure about things at first. they also have food and comfy chairs there. our nearest one is in a really ugly location, but its still a great place, and Xs new favorite.
-food. we tried leipajuusto finally. its name means 'bread cheese' or 'oven cheese'. this is a tasty cheese that is made by baking it in the oven (you buy it at the store already baked though). you can eat it cold or warmed up, some finns apparently even eat it melted in their coffee (eek!) but we got it and warmed it up and put a dollop of cloudberry jam on ours (the cheese and cloudberry combination is the traditional way to eat it). i really like it. its also called 'squeaky cheese', because its kinda rubbery and squeaky when you eat it cold.
-birthday parties. from my amassed observations i find a surprisingly amount of local kids birthdays are on weekdays from 5-7p. whats up with that!? are people too busy on weekdays? what about work the next day, and how do you prep for a party like that? i dont fully understand.
-baby showers. they dont really have them in finland, or they didnt in the past. they are slowly becoming more popular i guess. otherwise people seem much more comfortable giving gifts once the child is born.
-our neighborhood (pihlajamäki) apparently has a reputation of being bad, like in the bottom 5 in the city. but, i think thats mostly historic...the first batch the families who moved out here back in the 60s came with young children and they all grew up together and became bored teenagers (before the city had sprawled out to really absorb it) and the teens would wreak havoc and fight, etc. i see and hear of none of that now, but apparently we are still tarnished by the past reputation. for me, i feel perfectly safe, X has lots to do and lots of kids her age to play with and we really enjoy the surroundings. plus, there really are no ghettos or scary areas of helsinki, perhaps areas with a higher amount of drunks, but they are mostly just dumb drunks, not dangerous.
-robin. there is tween pop singer named robin here. i suppose you would call him the finnish justin bieber in terms of popularity and cuteness (to clarify, i strongly dislike bieber, and also, i realize biebers popularity is finishing its 15 minutes of fame). robin, however, is a much nicer kid (and adorable too, i never liked bieber). because he is such a sensation among kids in finland we have one of his albums (a friend gave to X for her birthday) and we have been listening to several of his songs. his recent major single is very catchy, in any language, give it a try.
-finns are BIG creatures of habit. each season, month, holiday, procedure...has a ritual. you dont really deviate from the ritual because these repeated actions bring comfort. like in november, its typically tv watching month, when no one even tries to enjoy being outside. and it seems the month when the tv channels really do pay for the best selection of shows and movies (so far, that weve noticed. weve been watching tv since this summer). also, clementines seem to only be enjoyed around christmastime so they have finally gotten nice ripe, juicy ones at the grocery store and i.am.psyched. im starting to mold to the ways of these creatures...