Wednesday, March 30, 2011

K * E * S * K * I * V * I * I * K * K * O

It was a fun day! Just 'little' things happening.....

I realized, after looking out this living room window taking a picture of Wayne, that I had never taken a foto of our little Swedish Flower Hanging we have had in our window for the past two years. Well.....need a foto of that don't we!
We are on the afternoon shift this week. It is TAMPERE VIIKKO. Kyllikki was there today. Wayne baptized her about 47 years ago. We had her over for a little dessert after the temple closed. She didn't get to stay long because she needed to catch a bus to her daughter's home. How fun to get caught up on things with her. We will miss her terribly!! It was the last time we would see her before going home next month!
SO MANY 'LASTS'!! They are hard to do!
Just for fun I thought I would add what sometimes shows up on GOOGLE.....celebration thingies! This was a cute one!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A * S * U * N * T * O * L * A

The 'hazard' of our apartment facing the temple is that we see lots of 'things'! It is NOT that we sit and watch for 'things'. It is that you just can't miss them when you are right in front of them. Tuesday was no exception. A bus pulled up and this group of folks got off. Wayne was 'summonsed' to the asuntola desk. Matti was having trouble understanding their English. As it turns out, this is a group of American School Teachers teaching English in Moscow Schools. They are on a break from school and decided to 'tour' around. Hence, they came to Finland and decided to come to the temple.
AND....again, while looking out the window guess who (or what) came hopping by!! Yes.....the TEMPLE HARE!!! It is just one BIG guy! And we were able to get some good fotos of him this time. He is a slippery little guy.
While visiting Antero last week he pulled out a picture 'from the past' of Wayne and gave it to him. This was taken by Antero about 47 years ago. Wayne, as a young missionary, was making some homemade ice cream with his companion. Now there's a picture!!
WHAT is this......more snow!! It is suppose to be SPRING!! Well, Wayne was out doing more SNOW WORK!!!
We hope we are almost D * O * N * E with the snow work!!
Tampere Stake this week. Lots of familiar faces and friends here. So good to see them again!

Monday, March 28, 2011


What a GREAT last weekend trip we had to Savonlinna! We have loved going there for our visits. The Saints are so wonderful. BUT....we can say that about everywhere we have traveled in this great country of FINLAND!! We truly hope we can come back some day. Another mission here?? We would love that. We will have to see what the Lord wants us to do.

We had a FOTO OP with 'Flat Stanley' by the castle before leaving town. I think 'he' enjoyed his little visit there.....although it was COLD and WINDY and SNOWY! But...this is Finland and it IS still winter afterall.
Another shot of that gorgeous CASTLE!!
OH MY.....we actually ate in this RESTAURANT last summer or fall when we were in Savonlinna last!! OUCH....this can not be good for business!! Poor folks!
While Barbara Michie and I were doing a little last minute 'shopping' on our way out of town, Wayne and Kent decided to walk around downtown and take some pictures. They came across this nice man walking his dog and struck up a conversation with him. They talked about the Mormon Church in town....they are great missionaries! The DOG was so friendly.....and he proved how friendly he really was by leaving a bunch of SLOBBER on both of their coats! YUCK......they had fun though.
Love this SCULPTURE in the roundabout as we drove through Mikkeli on the way home. We will miss these neat sculptures everywhere!!
Beautiful ice on the rocks as we drove home.
We got back to Espoo as the sun was setting.....GORGEOUS SUNSET AS USUAL!!
And as I was taking the sunset picture out our window guess who was coming home from Lidl's!! Yup.....Veli ja Sisar Zaretskja. They are so good.
Looking forward to a wonderful week with TAMPERE here!

Sunday, March 27, 2011


What a special day it has been.....we woke up (and it seems like the day has begun getting lighter earlier starting TODAY) to a beautiful day. Some sun, Some snow....after all, this is of cold and snow and beauty.
This was the view from our Hotel balcony.......overlooking one of the many LAKES surrounding Savonlinna.
Don't let the 'no coats' fool you!! It was about a -8c outside. We had already taken our coats off and hung them inside when Wayne said we needed to have our picture taken out front. Didn't feel energetic enough to put my coat back on so we braved the C-O-L-D!!
The Savonlinna Branch is small branch.....but oh so MIGHTY! Such wonderful people here. Sisar Niiranen is so wonderful....faithful temple attendee and was just at the temple this week. Her daughter and husband and grandchildren were visiting from the Miikkeli Branch today as well. "Small world story" with them is that they are related to Sisar Roslöf. She has become very important to us over the past 6 months. I had no idea until the last couple of days that they are related! Sisar Niiranen got a bookmark on Friday and her daughter got a picture today.
After church we were invited over to Sisar Massinen's home. She and her family have a special place in our hearts. Our history goes back about 47 years ago with her when Wayne was a young missionary here in Finland. She was one of three women in the branch at the time. What a stalwart in the church!
I have always loved this picture hanging in their home.....a painting of the CASTLE here in Savonlinna....... the OLIVANLINNA CASTLE. We will visit there with 'Flat Stanley' tomorrow for a foto op!
IDA is one of Sisar Massinen's grandchildren. She made the sweetest little pictures for me. We told her about 'Flat Stanley'. SO....another picture with all of us.
What a delicious always! Sisar Massinen is a GREAT cook. We had REINDEER MEAT and mashed potatoes today. This was my first time eating Reindeer. If it is always this good I am hooked!
A visit is never complete without a family picture......L to R: Sisar Massinen's sister (Sisar Halmetoja), husband, Sisar Massinen, and her daughter Jenni with granddaughter, Ida, in front. Sisar Halmetoja is the 2nd of the 'original sisters who were stalwarts in the Savonlinna Branch way back when. We will so very, very much miss them!! We are going to miss EVERYONE in Finland. Can we just take the whole country home with us!!?? PLEASE!
It was over to visit Sisar Voima as our last stop for today. She is the 3rd of the 3 faithful sisters in those early days of the branch. This is also Outi's mother. My or My.......another stalwart in the church.
Our talks (in Finnish, of course) went well today. I have to share one word with you that is especially difficult to say.......YLEISAUKTORITEETEILTA!!! Say that 3 times really, really fast! Well, how about just once! It means 'General Authority'. Apparently when I said that in my talk today the Branch President looked over at my husband, gave him a thumbs up and smiled. He, apparently, thought I have said it perfectly!! That made me feel good.
Tomorrow morning, after a little shopping and looking around, we will head back to Espoo. This has been a wonderful trip (our last weekend trip before we go home)!

Saturday, March 26, 2011


As a young missionary here in Finland some 47 years ago, Wayne spent a lot of time in Savonlinna Branch. He has some wonderful memories of his time spent here....the wonderful people especially. And several of those people are still here and very active in the Branch! We are so excited that we had the opportunity to be here one last time before we finish our mission and go home in one short month!
It IS still winter here in Finland......and the beauty of the drive made the 5 hour trip so nice.
And, of course, we had the company of our 'weekend traveling buddies'.....Kent and Barbara Michie. We have LOVED traveling with them and always have so much fun. Kent and I must have been have a 'good discussion' about something....and Wayne got us on his camera! We stopped at this ABC for a little snack to take with us on the road.
We happened upon sections where it was snowing. Got to love those HUGE snow plows. They know how to get the job done here in Finland!!
And in other sections of our drive it was just 'clear road ahead' which was so nice.....and getting a pretty sunset to boot!
We are staying 2 nights at this BEST WESTERN RESORT and CASINO. We found out from the desk lady that there really is NO Casino.....the builder thought it was a 'catchy' title and therefore stuck that on the end of the name. We can't wait to see the view of the lake out are room window in the morning. AND DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME starts tonight! So, already we have lost one hour.

Friday, March 25, 2011


So, as we were walking up to the Temple on Friday morning with a group of missionaries here from St. Petersburg (visa renewal) it was snowing ever so lightly. A pretty snow. We had one of the missionaries take our picture for us. Why not.....we don't really get those that often.
Friday evening we had a dinner appointment with Antero and Raili. We were able to have a very nice visit in their home. There is a 47 year 'connection' with Wayne and Antero. Wayne was able to teach the gospel to him oh so long ago. It was a wonderful evening. KIITOS PALJON....we will miss being able to see you.
KISSA, KISSA.....kitty, kitty!! They have two of them. This one was sitting on the steps poking it's little head through the opening. Just a watchin' everything! So Cute.
We thought we better get a picture of this 'whatever you want to call it' at the roundabout leaving their city. Very interesting! As all of these types of things are here in Finland. I would love to do a book just on the great statues and 'things like this' that they have here. The Finns are such great 'creators' of light!
Off to SAVONLINNA BRANCH this weekend. Our last weekend trip before leaving Finland! :-( We are realizing each day that time is slipping away oh so quickly!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

(that would be GRANDMA sitting.....Russian style) is NOT just the Finns who do this......put their babies, wrapped up of course, in a baby buggy and sit them outside in the COLD WEATHER to take naps!!! This was just the cutest picture of a sweet little BABUSHKA watching guard over her grand-baby while the mother and father were attending the temple.
Because this is PERHE VIIKKO (family week), we has been here all week attending the grand-baby while the parents attend the temple! Dedication, plus!!
This was yet another KAUNIS (beautiful) WANNABE - SPRING day here in Finland. Beautiful sunrise......
Beautiful BLUE sky all day.....wind was blowing quite a bit.....just like it was trying to be MARCH-WINDS or something!
And ending the day with a beautiful sunset!! Our days are definitely getting longer and that is so good!! AAAAHHHHH ........LOVE THAT SUNSHINE!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

S ~ P ~ R ~ I ~ N ~ G ~ !!!

It felt so good outside!! Wanted to be out there to enjoy the beautiful weather. It gave us HOPE that Spring just might come after all this year! And before we leave Finland!
As we were walking home from the temple this afternoon we saw the green bushes peeking their little heads out from under the snow!! Looked like they were even smiling a bit!
And even the RHODENDRUM bushes had their heads peeking out! (sorry, can't remember how to spell that name anymore....but you know what I mean I am sure!)
We just could NOT stand it any longer. We wanted a little color in all of that white stuff. We put our little wooden flowers (that we bought in Tallinn last year) in the snow to brighten it up.
Looks pretty good HUH!! AAHH.....spring WILL come! We are sure of it!

Monday, March 21, 2011


We were at home for P-Day today. Can't believe we only have 5 more of these days before we go home. We packed another box to mail home.....and ran across this box that we received here last year. It was a 'fun' box because of all of the different postage stamps that were put on it. The Posti-lady in Brunswick did that for us we think! It was so fun!
I had my next-to-the-last hair appointment. We walked up to Tuula's place....about a 30 minute walk each way. There were lots of folks out walking in the 'spring like weather' with their ski sticks to help them avoid any falling on the slippery walks. There have been many, many broken bones lately because of the slick conditions! And it even snowed a little bit more today. SPRING - OH - SPRING - WHERE - ART - THOU!!
And...Oh, My, Goodness.......look who has arrived back at the asuntola!! YUPPER....Veli ja Sisar Ojala!!! How fun to have them back living here again. They will be here this time about 2 - 3 months. Long enough for us, at least, to enjoy them a bit!
We thought we better get a picture of the temple from 'their' living room window. They have more trees in their view than we do. Still a good view though don't you think!
Back in our apartment. We will be in SAVONNLINNA this weekend. We will be speaking in the Branch there. I wrote yet another talk, Wayne translated it for me. I then read it out loud so he could hear if he translated it correctly. Bless his heart. He is such a good translator for me!
THIS WEEK at the Temple: PERHE VIIKKO.....sure we will see lots of families we know!

Sunday, March 20, 2011


We made our next to the last visit to Haaga Ward on Sunday. Our last Sunday in Finland will be attending Haaga Ward. That is the first ward we attended when we came here to Finland almost 2 years ago and it will be the last one we attend before returning to our home in Brunswick, Maryland! It was a wonderful day!
I made a cross stitch bookmark for Sisar Kuosmanen-Nyman and Sisar Lindross. They are both faithful temple attenders. We love seeing them there. Sisar Lindross also volunteers in the Temple office. She is great. Sisar Lindross asked me to give the opening prayer in Relief Society. I was, of course, happy to do that. It had to be in English though. Didn't feel comfortable doing that in Finnish! Apparently, as I was returning to my seat, she announced that we would be returning home from our mission soon. After R.S. was finished I had several sisters ask me about it! My we will miss these wonderful people and this great country. We love all of them so much!!
It was a very special day for our 'miracle baby' to have his blessing in Sacrament Meeting. Heini is the 'miracle mother' as well!! We are so proud of this little family. They are so wonderful. We are so thrilled for them!!
After church we drove over to Sisar Roslöf's home to visit with her. This guy was coming from skiing on the outdoor tracks from behind the asuntola. Don't know what these folks will do when the snow finally melts away!! It has been a beautiful winter with lots and lots of SNOW. It will be nice to have SPRING again though. Don't know that we will have much of a spring before we leave to go home!
We had a wonderful visit with Sisar Roslöf in her home. It was so good to have her there! It has been a very, very long 4 - 5 months for her recovery from her broken hip. She got some of her handiwork out of her closet to show us. Here she is explaining to Wayne how she got the pretty leaves on this table runner. She gave this particular one to us so we could take it to our home in America. She wanted us to have it! Bless her heart. It is beautiful.
We will always treasure it knowing that she made it with her own hands. It has been a wonderful Sabbath Day!

Looking forward to PERHE VIIKKO! (Family Week)