Friday, December 08, 2006

Catching Up. . .

Hi all! Sorry it's been a long time since I posted, but I thought I would catch you up on what's been going on. As usual, work gets in the way of fun and fun gets in the way of work. So, at least I'm not bored despite the short days.

It gets light oustide about 8:30 a.m. and dark by 3:30 p.m. The best time to be outside is between 11 and 2.

On Monday Nov. 27, I worked another forecast shift, this time with Lea Saukkonen, formerly an on-air forecaster on the Finnish TV. (You may recall her name from a paper she did on polar lows with Mike Douglas and Mel Shapiro.) When the station decided to go with the Finnish version of Accuweather (Foreca), she left and joined FMI. She now heads the commercial forecasting branch. Even though she is in charge of that office, she still puts in a pretty substantial workload behind the desk, which was very impressive.

One feature that Finland has is a service where you can pay 3 euro to call a live forecaster (the day I worked, it was Lea) and get a personalized weather forecast. I thought that was pretty ingenious. Of course, the phone rings frequently the days you need to pay the most attention to the weather, but they seem to manage, they tell me.

On Tuesday the 28th, I played floorball again, and scored my first goal!

On Friday Dec. 1, the only other American at FMI (Gil Leppelmeier) invited me and several other expatriots (and others who had spent time in the U.S.) over to his house for pikkajoulu ("tiny Christmas," essentially a Christmas party). They served glögi, a warm spiced red wine, which is the Finnish equivalent of eggnog. You can find little shops all over town selling it on the sidewalk. That's Gil with the gray hair and tie.

That weekend I went to see the new James Bond movie. Lines to get into movies tend to be long and slow because you get assigned seats, so people get to pick their seats out while the rest of the line waits. Of course, you can buy them online ahead of time, but if you reserve seats, you need to pick them up at least an hour before the show. Ticket prices on Friday and Saturday night are 10 euro, so I don't want to hear anyone complaining about high ticket prices!

Saturday was also the first pool practice with the Sipoo Canoe Club. Clas picked me up and we went to a pool out near the airport in the suburbs to practice rolling. Clas is really good at rolling his sea kayak, which is pretty impressive if you've never seen it.

On Monday Dec. 4, I finally got my Finnish bank account, which means the university can pay me, and I can finally get a Visa card. That brings me up to Finnish Independence Day on December 6.


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