…I won’t be sighing about 48 hours of rain and mosquitos and 80 degree Novembers. I’m sitting at my desk in Lafayette, wearing my new snow boots- sort of aversion therapy – reluctantly experiencing the dead weight of rubber and felt and leather on my normally bare feet. I also spent way too much money on a coat, convinced that each dollar bought me an extra degree of protection. I have some adjusting to do.
My blog’s title – five or six weeks -is a little playful. But it also captures an interesting observation. It seems that most Finland Fulbrighters blog faithfully for five or six weeks. I understand that this early time in the exchange is riddled with confused feelings of guilt and disorientation and euphoria. The negative reactions spring from feelings of uncertainty when we suddenly find ourselves in situations where we are not required to account for every minute of the work week. A new freedom to think deeply, critically, creatively- does not settle in quickly or easily. Accustomed to jam-packed days where a lunch is gulping down food while supervising students and a planning period is time to sub for an absent colleague, attend a meeting, give make ups, tutor, work on club business and only rarely get some planning in- we are uncomfortable with freedom. So we blog. It feels productive. Blogging is scholarly-ish. And we have data to demonstrate our productivity.
Then something happens at around five weeks, For me, this will be mid February. I suspect that by that time, there will be more definition to the days. Perhaps by then a research routine will emerge, a few friends will have been made, and a yoga studio has been discovered cross country skiing has become a new interest. Relaxation sets in as lives become fuller and richer. So I wonder- does the blogging slow down because more legitimately work-ish things take over, or does blogging slow because we lose our work guilt after five or six weeks?
Beside the cold, the right clothing, my gray roots, the incredibly difficult Finnish language, the unexpected expenses, worries about coffee and food choices, and public transportation cluelessness, I wonder about the Finns I will meet. My Finnish residence card arrived in a Moomin decorated envelope. Could these nationally adopted cartoon characters tell me anything about the new neighbors who figure importantly into how I stand at five or six weeks? The Moomins are melancholy, sort of Eyore / Daria characters. Read more about the Moomins at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moomin. The creator and artist, Tove Jansson, hails from my host city neck of the woo. A Disney like amusement park- Moominland is in Naatali- a small place near Turku. My featured image for this blog is an Easter postcard. It looks like the characters are dressed up and in the middle of some kind of celebration or procession. I am curious about the female figure, who looks like a little freckled girl, but with a severe hairdo and bags under her eyes.
By beginning my blog two months before I arrive in Finland, I am sure to exceed the typical five or six week blog life. I intend to blog about Lapland, Sweden, Russia, Iceland, music, language learning, creative writing opportunities, craft education, play, libraries, elderly care, nutrition, sustainability, introverts, nutrition. I hope to share lots of travel, cultural, educational information and insights and surprises. And along the way, I’ll be aware of viisi tai kuusi vikkoa.
My Finnish five week mark will land around mid February. Look for a Valentine’s Day blog to measure my five or six week change!
This blog is not an official Fulbright program blog and the views expressed are my own and not those of the Fulbright program, the U.S. Department of State, or any of its partner organizations.