Wishing you all a very Happy New Year. And sorry I missed last week too. Schools are back in session, Winter is in full swing and adventures that come with both.
It did start snowing well before Christmas so we did have White Christmas. We spent our Christmas with family in mid-Finland. With all traditional dishes like Rutabaga casserole, carrot casserole, potato casserole, rosolli (beetroot salad), potato salad, italian salad, Ham baked in wood oven overnight, rye bread and of course desserts!. Temperatures were mild enough to enjoy outdoors a bit if not too long. New Years eve, it did snow but we still managed to go and watch fireworks sponsored by the city of Ylöjärvi. Short but sweet and spectacular.
Winters in Finland are cold and full of snow (although I shouldn’t complain too much. My friends in Alaska have it even colder temps right now). I am not a winter let alone cold person. San Jose, CA was too cold for me in winters:) . I complained about it, wore a sweater and socks even inside our home there. But I have to admit here, in Finland, homes do feel warmer than California. Triple pane windows and built for minimum heat-loss could be the reasons of course. I do enjoy having a roaring fire in the living room and looking out the window to see 10cm thick snow on the roofs and trees….till it snows a lot and have to go clean the driveway yet again…
Last time we lived in Finland, I never even tried to shovel/clean the snow. I had much harder time dealing with winter last time around. We lived in a more rural landscape which actually had the greatest perk! One of the neighbors in the long stretch of the road (that has a steep grade in certain parts) had a tractor and for a very small yearly fee, he used to clear up snow for everyone. The private roads leading to city roads, private driveways too. If needed, multiple times a day and always made sure they are cleaned before 7am so everyone can drive out to work, schools etc. aah! how i wish that little perk is available where we live now:) .
Last winter when we moved to Finland, we lived in an apartment in the city. Advantage of that was someone else cleaned up the driveways and private roads. All we had to worry about is cleaning the car (since we didn’t have a garage). When we were looking for a home, our current home was last in the list for us. My husband, being a Finn, was reluctant of this house because it has a steep driveway (and a few of the friends who visited us over the last few months commented that too) but we liked the house so we are learning to deal with it. Believe it or not, I started shoveling snow! It’s actually not so bad… good upper body workout!
Not just me, our 12yr old also helps us out cleaning up the snow!. Good to start early right:) . He actually offered our 80yr old neighbors (he still cleans up snow in his driveway multiple times a day if needed and kinda puts me to shame) that any day they need help, he would be happy to shovel snow from their drive (Free too). It makes me smile that he wanted to offer it and it was his idea too. Sometimes we have to clean twice or thrice in one day (today we did twice and hopefully it doesn’t snow till late night. It’s not too bad shoveling snow and it’s good upper arm workout.
It’s also nice that the side walks get cleaned by the city. My only gripe is the piles of compressed snow that gets left behind when he machine cleaning the side walks…. right at the edge of the driveway. It takes me more effort to clean those piles than clean the driveway itself… I know I know… First world problems. But a note was left in our postbox telling us we have to clear up all the snow for postman (or woman) to be able to drive the vehicle onto the sidewalk and deliver into the postbox. I just spent an hour doing that so it’s fresh on my mind.
Either close to a playground or school (a lot of the times they both are not mutually exclusive), there is always a skating rink formed. little kids (and big kids) come and have so much fun but amazed me how conveniently they all are located in every neighborhood!. And they are maintained diligently removing extra snow and smooth it down.
This winter, the lake (lake Lestijärvi) in mid Finland froze earlier than some years. It was already frozen when we visited for Christmas. So, of course we walked on the frozen lake. Our dogs love running on the frozen lake as they can run free! We worried about them when we moved here as they both are such California dogs (used to lie down in Sun even in summer time) but they seem to have adopted quite well. They still love going for long walks even in snow. When it gets too cold, we do put sweaters on them but around -4C, they don’t mind it all and we are glad.
Our son likes skiing especially downhill skiing.. He and my husband went once so far and are looking for ski’s. I, on the other hand, am quite happy with just enough exposure to snow with snow shoveling:) . But one of our friends said, to be a true “Indian Viking” I have to ski as well… hmmm.. have to give that observation some thought.
ps: Today Sun was out for a little while and this was the Sunset around 3:30pm. Taken with my iphone and no photoshopping or changes of any kind..