Wow. That pretty much sums up how I feel about this last year.
Wow, as in "That went fast"
Wow, as in "I can't believe how much has happened in so short a time!"
Wow, as in "I'm so thankful for how well it all has gone!"
The months leading up to our move, were such a blur. So much happened in such a short time, and with me still recovering from child birth (= the brain is sort of disfunctional on a regular basis), I felt like I never had time to fully reflect about what was about to happen.
Coming here, the pace kept up it's speed. And things that took place, things that I had only dreamed about doing with my family in some distant future, felt sort of unreal. Almost like it didn't happen. I wish I could have done it all in slow-motion, so that I could have savoured it more...
We've gone places, visited friends and family and done many things that I longed to do in the past.
And now when they've taken place, when the places and people are available, it just feels so "normal"!
Maybe it's a bit like when you as a kid wish for that SUUUPER special toy, and you think that you will NEVER get it. And then you do get it, and realize that... "Oh, yeah, it's so neat, and I love it so much, but I am still the same person, and this thing didn't dramatically change my life!"
I guess I'm still the same old me. Nothing has changed dramatically. Each morning I get up, get the day going, drink my coffee, the day hums along and some chores get done, kids need their attention, there might be some errands to be run... and it's all life. Strolling quite happily along. Just like in the past. My address has changed, my group of friends have changed, the food, nature, climate, language etc, have changed. But I'm still with me. And I'm with my dear hubby and our dear kids.
This year has emphazised how important my immediate family is to me. I guess I really can live anywhere, as long as I have those 8 people along for the ride!
And those 8 people seem to feel more or less the same way, since it seems like they also have settled in quite smoothly over here in Finland.
Some of the things that I looked forward to before moving are now my everyday life, and many days I forget how nice it is to have these conveniences, but sometimes it really hits me, and it makes me so thankful to be able to enjoy these things. Like having a hubby who doesn't have to cross over to the States and back every day to go to work! (he did that for more than 11 years) Same thing when we go to church... only 7 minutes away versus at least 50!!! Also being able to travel to other cities and meet friends there, and it's only a few hours drive. Our diabetic daughter's care has also been greatly simplified. Here everything is covered. No sending papers in to get reimbursed etc. Very nice for us, since her care is something that affects us on a daily basis.
No packing school lunches, they get a hot meal at school every day. The whole school "thing" is something we really appreciate. Our kids really enjoy school here. Shorter days and more "hands on" activities, and a lot more time outside; it all adds up!
So... Is there anything we miss from over there???
Of course. At times I miss some of my friends with an ache in my heart. I wish I could pop over to have a good chat with many of them... Some food items I might miss at times, but these days you can find most things everywhere, so no biggie there (not for me anyway!) Stores and restaurants? Kind of. I shopped so rarely that it was pretty easy to leave that behind, besides, shopping here can be quite nice, especially the 2nd hand shopping.... when I do go.
When it comes down to it, I guess I'm a person who is quite happy to hang out with our kids, and hubby, even just at the playground; rather than looking for a good deal at some store.
Spending more time as a family was one of the main reasons behind our move, and THAT we have done! I will never regret that! And again.... if that goal is easier to achieve in one place than another, I don't really care what the name of that place is!
Maybe this 2nd year here I will have more time to reflect over things. Get to know Finland a bit more from the heart. I can't say that I have any strong opinions about things here yet, it wouldn't be fair! It feels like I'd jump to conclusions if I said "This is how they do it here!", after only 1 year in the country. There are some things that I'm picking up on, but I'll save that for later :)
We keep living this life, one day at the time, and we let God guide our way, and .... things will stay good!