Sunday, November 24, 2013


It was around 1:00am and I knew we had finally arrived to Kuusamo because I remembered the main roundabout of the town from our trip during the holidays .  You can see from afar the sculpture in the middle of the roundabout and the lights of the two main supercenters of the town.  But wait.... we were not yet at the house!  My boyfriend's parents live around 30 minutes away from the town, so we were not there yet! 
My legs were numb, we were hungry, but most of all I was scared as hell!  How will I be received this time around in his parents house?  Will they welcome me with open arms? or Will I be received because there's no other choice?  These questions kept on bothering me throughout our journey up north.  I just met them last Christmas, I'm the second girl ever that my boyfriend has brought home, and after six months of meeting them I come back with a baby belly.  Awkward?!?!?! Uncomfortable?!?!!?!?  It sure was!
We got to the house and I didn't want to be the first to enter the house, so I was just walking behind my boyfriend at all times and till he didn't go in I was just being his merely shadow.  Finally the time of truth came... his dad was asleep, but his mom was waiting for us.  When she saw me she greeted me with a smile, open arms and the words "Welcome Home!".   Relief?!?!  Yes! 
When we arrived to the house, my boyfriend's brother and his family were visiting, so I didn't feel too uncomfortable, it actually felt like my visit during the holidays.  But once they left it actually hit me and the days that followed, I have to admit, I was very uncomfortable.   Even though they were nice to me and tried their hardest to be very welcoming, I was still feeling as an intruder.  A few days past and I decided to let it go and tried to enjoy this new life.  Surrounded by green forest, in the middle of nowhere where when you need potatoes for dinner you don't go to the groceries, you just go to your backyard and pick them up from the ground, where if you are craving strawberries, raspberries or currants you just go out to the backyard into the bushes and pick the berries yourself, trust me when I say....  "It wasn't easy!"

Some of you may think that a place like this it just exist in movies.  Nope, is 100% real!  But remember, you are talking about someone that felt awkward by even stepping out to her porch in an apartment in the city barefoot.  Not only the country but all this "farm stuff" was new and foreign to me. 

The months that follow were even more weird to me.  Not only because my body was going through so many changes because of my pregnancy, but because of the fact that we arrived just in time for the Harvest Season.  Whatever that means!!!!!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Road Trip Up North

I know this post will sound very informative but I just had to write about this... A Finnish Road Trip cultural experience....  Enjoy!

During our 8 hour road trip to Kuusamo it was natural that we would make stops along the way.  Either to just stretch our legs, get coffee and/or ice cream or just a bathroom stop.  It was very interesting coming from the states where road trip stops are usually in gas stations in the middle of nowhere and if it's after nightfall you won't stop unless is a QT Station or a fast food restaurant.  Here, the story is completely different.  The places where you make your road trip stops are everything in one; gas station, restaurant, fast food, small grocery shop and in some cases souvenir shop as well and there is always a traffic of people that are heading somewhere.  These places are called "Service Stations".  It's amazing... knowing that no matter where you stop you won't get robbed, you won't get any deceases for using the bathrooms or even by touching the door knobs because they are always clean!!!!.  Impossible you say... Trust me!  It's true!!!   People minding their own business not watching your every move since the moment you step out of the car till you get back in it.  Priceless!!!
In their restaurant area you can find good home cooked typical Finnish meal.  Steam vegetables, mashed potatoes and meat stew are always part of the menu, which I have to say it doesn't taste bad at all.  For those that just want to grab something warm to eat and continue their way, in the fast food area you can find burger meals as well as a variety of pizza, the taste is not the best, but it will do the trick to fill you up until you actually have the time to have a proper meal. 

The grocery shop area is something that I haven't seen before in my road trip stops in the US.  It's an actual grocery store, but in a smaller size.  From a variety your local fresh fruits, yogurts, juice, milk to hairspray, clothe detergent, etc., you can actually find pretty much anything.  But the most interesting thing of all is that you will get these products at the prices you would find at your nearest grocery store, not at the inflated prices of a gas station in the middle of nowhere anywhere in the United States.

These "Service Stations" are everywhere and you can find them in all shape and sizes.  From the modest models where you order and pay everything to the same cashier to those huge complexes where there is a closed in bridge over the highway connecting entire service station, where you can sit to enjoy your meal while you watch cars pass by. 

This country is amazing!  Since I arrived, I have been amazed with the Finnish way of living and I think I can get use to this.  ;)