Taylors in Finland

The Grand Adventure

Mary Ann's Fulbright Exchange to Oulu, Finland
August 2001 - June 2002

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6-14 April 2002

only two months left and there is still so much to see and do.

6 April 2002, Saturday
Sunrise/sunset 0618/2024
Hi/low 43F/24F (6C/-4C)

Marjo took the boys out on their bikes for the first time this year. Marjo and I walked the three kilometers. It was a very invigorating walk; Marjo sets a quick pace, so I got a great work out. Pertti was busy putting his summer wheels and tires on their car. That is the clue to the Californians that it is time for John to have our summer tires re-installed.

In the evening the Rees family came for dinner. We got out our Ireland map and Garth was able to track the course of his upcoming one-week bicycle race in Ireland, beginning 17 May. Jenni is looking forward to seeing the sights as she travels the course with one of the race vans.

7 April 2002, Sunday
Sunrise/sunset 0614/2027
Hi/low 41F/28F (5C/-2C)

We met Heikki, Riitta and Maija at Pohjankartano, the high school that focuses on students interested in dance. Dancers age 7 through 12 from all over Finland had come to Oulu to compete on Saturday in the Arktiset Askeleet. On Sunday the competition winners received their awards and repeated their winning performances. There were children doing classical and modern dance arrangements. I was impressed with the number of boys interested in modern dance; many of the them performed break dancing. Some were very good.

13 April 2002, Saturday
Sunrise/sunset 0552/2046
Hi/low 55F/36F (13C/2C)

This evening Heikki and his family joined us for dinner. We shared about things we want to take home from our experience in Finland. I have realized how important the arts and crafts are to the development of the whole child, so I will include more in my program when I return to Vallejo. We discussed how you grow as a couple when you experience a challenging adventure together and how you develop a better appreciation for the things and places in your own country. We got out our map of Scandinavia and talked about places we should try to visit before our adventure is over. It was a lovely evening. Maija did not know what to think of John and I since she could not understand us, but John was able to pull out a smile when he played "peek a boo" with her.

14 April 2002, Sunday
Sunrise/sunset 0548/2049
Hi/low 41F/34F (5C/1C)

As I am sitting here looking out the window while I write this newsletter I can tell that spring is trying to appear. We can see most of the front lawn, since only a few piles of snow remain. In the backyard the deck, totally covered on Tuesday, is now completely visible. As I think about the changes I've noticed, the weather is definitely getting warmer. It is now light when the alarm goes off at 0600. In the morning, when I am heading to the bus stop, I can hear the birds singing and I no longer need to worry slipping on the ice as I head through the forest. You can see the buds on many of the bushes and trees getting bigger. Oh, at school, the playground still had a crusty layer of snow on Wednesday. By Thursday the snow had melted and we had a small lake on the soccer field. When I arrived on Friday the water was gone. Pretty amazing! Downtown the street sweepers are collecting all the gravel laid down during the winter so you don't slip. (John - sometimes it is an inch thick on the sidewalks. After the sweepers, tank trucks arrive to hose down the sidewalks, streets and traffic islands.) Spring definitely must be coming. (John - And I will soon be back to mowing, raking, etc.)

This evening I talked with Marjo about a project at school. She had made an apple pie and invited us over for some. I had made an apple pie for dinner with Heikki and Riitta so we ended up sharing our different apple pies. Now we want to exchange recipes.

Mary Ann

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There were many different styles of costumes. (3576)

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Their performance lasted about five minutes. (3581)

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Mary Ann and I voted this group the best! (3591)

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Oulu's version of the Australian "Tap Dogs". (3594 )

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Break dancing - every performer had his routine for center stage. (3603)

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A very in-sync group. (3617)

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They followed their choreography very well. (3621)

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Kalle and Ossi finally get to ride their bicycles! (3628)

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Maija and Riitta Soini. Maija is starting with dessert first, a ginger cookie. (3841)

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Riitta and Heikki offer suggestions for our first two weeks of June before we leave for Sweden. (3842)

Last Update 2002 04 16

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