And it was the best weekend ever. So good that I was a little homesick for a couple of days after we got back to Finland. Being around such wonderful friends and family for a week will do that to ya. Especially when you come back to dead land and freezing cold weather. (That day of 80+ in Dallas was such a tease.) But we're beginning to get back to life as usual again...this time as newlyweds (so weird).
I now understand why they say that this time of the year is the hardest for the Finns. It's miserably cold everyday, only a couple bleak hours of sunlight and very little snow on the ground. So you can't really do much. No summer activities because it's too cold and no winter activities because there's not enough snow. Snow makes all the difference. I'm amazed at how significantly brighter it is with all the white to reflect the light. Plus, it just makes you want to get out and build a snowman. So we're hoping for a lot of snow in the next couple weeks.
Last night was our first time with friends since we've been back. These friends live on the other side of Joensuu. It took about 45 minutes, riding our bikes in the dark, to get there. We don't do that for just anyone. But I've figured out a pretty baller way stay warm (relatively) while riding around. You put on all the usual - jacket, gloves, boots, beenie, but the scarf is the key ingredient. The scarf needs to be spread out, width-wise, completey and then wrapped around for the first time to cover your mouth and nose. If the only thing visable is your eyes and you can feel your breath on your face, it's on right. Then wrap for the second time normally and tie the two ends tight enough so that no wind, snow or incredibly weak person could pry it off of you. And then you're ready. You may feel like you you're stuggling to breath or eating scarf fuzz, and you are, but that's what it's supposed to feel like. I promise you although your scarf (and mouth area) may be wet from condensation afterwards, your face will thank you.
Our friends, that we trekked across the world for, hosted a "Hamburg Night" to teach us all about their hometown in Germany. Since Hamburg is a port city they made all the traditional sailor food for us to try. Then we watched some videos about their beautiful city. Definitely on my long list of places I want to visit now. After spending a week at home it was nice to realize that we do have good friends here too.
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