Saturday, April 30, 2011

H . O . M . E

Parting is such sweet sorrow! We just did not want to leave Finland. We knew that chapter of our lives would be over.....and we would definitely look forward to the next chapter....whatever and whenever that might be.....and hopefully someday back to Finland! President and Sisar Haikkola saw us off at the airport. What great people they are. We love them!

Fortunately, Wayne had the foresight to ask the British Airlines clerk, at our checkin at Helsinki, to get a 'cart' so that I could get to our connecting flight at Heathrow. Going from Terminal 3 to Terminal 5 would not be an easy 'task' at best. With a sprained ankle it would be almost impossible to make. Good thing he did that.....we would NOT have made our connection otherwise. Door to door service was wonderful with BA! Hopefully I won't need that service again, but if I did I would not hesitate.

When we got to Dulles, IAD Airport, we had lots of family and friends there to greet us. WONDERFUL!! Kiitos Paljon to you all!! Made us feel so welcome and loved and missed here! And we came home to beautiful weather! tornados or rain or snow or.......our surprise was that our sons David and Andy flew in with two of their children (Chelsea and Tyson) to help greet us. WOW.....what a wonderful surprise! I convinced my 'wheelchair driver' that I really did want to WALK out of the secured area to greet my family.....funny, he really didn't believe me I don't think because he followed behind me with the wheelchair! He was very helpful and attentive!

H . O . M . E . never looked so good.......

AAAHHHH....the green green grass of home!

SUNDAY.......while we feel we should be attending STAKE CONFERENCE in TAMPERE we will be meeting with our Stake President to get our Mission Release. We just hope we have done a good job as missionaries!

Friday, April 29, 2011


Our last SUNRISE as we head to the airport!
Ready or not Brunswick, HERE WE COME!
We WILL be back FINLAND!!
1......DAY LEFT

Not liking this!! Can't do anything about it. We will just have to come back after our next mission
We have a very warm, loving 'exit' visit with the entire Temple Presidency and the Matron and one of her assistants before leaving the temple this morning. We were given our RELEASE certificates. A real treasure for us. Bittersweet. We hope we have served well! We have tried.
'Paparazzi' Zaretski came up to the temple just in time to take a picture as we were leaving. Bless his heart.
Wayne and 'Paparazzi' together.....
and me with 'Mamarazzi' .......
Getting down to the asuntola proved to be a great 'journey' and seeing everyone. Veli Jäkkö with his salute! Don't know how that all started almost 2 years ago but it did. That is our greeting each time we see each other!
And he wanted to take another picture of us......great job!
With the 'summer benches' in place as of today, we had to sit on them and try them out. The flowers will be planted on Monday.....missed them by 2 days! Oh Man.....
The gardner lady wanted to take our picture by 'her' flowers because they are so pretty and she is proud of them....rightfully so too!
We were able to 'wrap things up' ...... productive afternoon......last 2 boxes mailed, suitcases packed.
When we got back from the Posti, Maiju was waiting for us. She wanted to say one last good-bye! She is counting on our return in 2 years. She will be waiting for us in OULU!!
F.I.N.L.A.N.D.......WE WILL BE BACK!!! We have left a LARGE part of us here...we need to come back and 'claim' it! NÄKEMIIN......Good-Bye!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Before we go home from our mission here in Finland!

We noticed that the days are definitely getting long-er and longer! this was the sunrise at 6:30 a.m. By 5:22 a.m. the sky was light. We are really going to M.I.S.S. this!!
Because we are on the afternoon shift this week, we had decided to head downtown Helsinki one last time to visit a couple of our favorite SPOTS. The TORI is one of them. The first cruise ships arrive this coming Sunday, May 1st! Things were a hoppin!
We walked over to our favorite FINNISH / RUSSIAN SHOP across the street from the big white LUTHERAN CHURCH. We sat and watched as they brought out the REINDEER and put it in front of the store. It is a popular tourist attraction and foto op!
It was a beautiful spring day for being out and about!
Had to get a foto of Wayne with some of his 'favorite' rocks. Actually, any rock he sees is FAVORITE!
Back to our little Finnish / Russian shop! This is the owner of the shop....well, her family is. She is from St. Petersburg, Russia. They have had the shop at this location for the past 13 years. We told her we would be going to our home in America in two days but that we would COME BACK when we are in Finland (maybe in about 2 years). She was happy about that. She is holding a couple of things that I purchased.
She was gracious enough to let us photograph two of our favorite Russian hand painted black lacquer boxes she has for sell in the store. This one was 650 euro! All hand painted. Would love to have this one.
And another favorite......this one was 750 euro! Gorgeous. Also hand painted.
WHAT IS THIS you say. What has this got to do with our trip to downtown Helsinki? Well, wouldn't you know it would have to be an adventure....after all we have been lucky for the past 2 years with no injuries from the ice and snow. And here we are two days before leaving and I had to have an accident! Yipper.....As we were getting on the '26' to take us to Sello where we would catch the train, I stepped up to get on the bus and fell flat on my face. To quote Wayne...'in a pile on the floor'! Not fun. Apparently there was a big hole in the floor of the bus just as you get on. My shoe apparently caught on it and down I went. Scratched up my hand.....
I know it doesn't show real well, but gave me a little 'burn' mark just below the temple of my glasses.....
and worst of all I ended up with a BAD SPRAIN on my ankle! Now, come another 2 days and it should be 'ripe' for hurting, Wayne says! In 2 days where will we got it....trying to run from one terminal to another to catch our connecting flight from Heathrow to Dulles International. This may call for one of those little 'buggy people carriers' in the airport. Not sure I will be able to run with this.
And one final SPRING foto of our chair arrangement outside of our apartment.
All in was a great day and 'THIS TOO SHALL PASS'!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


And we started the day off with RAISING THE FINNISH FLAG......It was Flag Day. The Finnish Flag only flies on a designated 'Flag Day'.
We were so glad we got to have one more before we left.
Love this flag!
And then it was off to the POLISI.....we had to turn in our Finnish Drivers License so we could get our MARYLAND DRIVERS LICENSE back before going home.
We drove past my hairdressers place so I could get one last picture of the outside.
Tulla has been great for the past 2 years. This afternoon we worked in the temple. Said lots of good-byes!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

We are on the afternoon shift this week (except for Friday when President Haikkola put us on the morning shift so we can do the 'final packing' Friday afternoon).

We were trying to FINE-TUNE the weight limits for each box being shipped home and each suitcase to be checked on at the airport. It will be close! Very, very close!
As we headed over to the POSTI again this morning to mail more boxes we noticed the DAFFODILS in full bloom and just gorgeous!
We have our little 'routine' for going to the Post with our boxes! Get the CART first.......
and that makes it easier to 'carry' the boxes inside. Saves greatly on the muscle-power.
These FOUR boxes were right at the weight limit of 15 kilos each. That would be about 33 lbs each.
And then there were 4 DAYS LEFT!..........

Monday, April 25, 2011

Days until we go home!
our LAST P-Day....

It was a very productive day. Got a lot of cleaning done in the apartment and a lot of packing! Last minute 'things' are always the hardest it seems!
Had a little snack in the midst of it all.......
And then it was off to our LAST DINNER APPOINTMENT to the Suominen's home! We love that family! They have been vey special to us while we have been here....and even before we got here to Finland. Outi's mother was one of the 3 women in the Savonlinna Branch some 47 years ago that Wayne remembers as a Young Missionary! We had them write a little something in our 'memory book' that was given to us by the temple presidency and missionaries.
They are a great family! The dinner of Salmon and New Potatoes and Salad was absolutely fantastic! KIITOS PALJON! We will miss them. We will miss EVERYONE!!!
Cute little hanging on the outside of their door.
Back at the asuntola....can you believe the flowers BLOOMED TODAY!!! Just for us.....
So we could actually see them before we leave in 5 DAYS!!!