Settling In

I’ve been in Finland for a few days now, and my impressions have been good. I feel comfortable here, and do not suffer from any anxiety. It’s hard to definite exactly, but things seem steady and reliable. My hosts have been exemplary. Everyone has been very helpful and receptive of me.

There is a distinct European and Finnish texture to everything. Some examples:
-Light switches are 3″,3″ teeter-totter-based units.
-Outlets have 2 prongs, and you do not have to plug into them in a certain way.
-Bed sheets do not have elastic to keep them on the mattress which makes them easy to put on and remove, but they may come off if you are tossing and turning too much. The pillowcases do not have zippers, just a flap that you fold over the exposed end of the pillow.
-Meals (in this house) are at 3 pm and 10 pm. The food is basically sandwiches and yogurt, with minor deviations. Of course, the food is Finnish and therefore a bit different than what we have in the US.
-Gas is very expensive. By my calculations, it’s about 6 USD/gal, (It’s about €1,3/L for gas )(In Europe they use a comma where we use a period to mark a decimal point) As a result, everyone drives small cars.
-Things are generally expensive here in Finland. Here in Finland, a Hotwheels car is ~4 USD, as compared with 0.9 USD in the US.
-There are half-pipe trenches on the sides of roads, etc. for moving water away.
-There is some English media. It’s primarily Finnish but you can find English on occasion. It is not enough to operate on, but it’s around. For example, Mythbusters and James Bond are on TV with Finnish subtitles.
-Many people speak some English. I estimate that a young person of about 16 has a vocabulary of 8000 common words, give or take. Older Finns have a smaller vocabulary and take longer to form sentences on occasion. I find myself generally speaking slower so that I am more clearly understood. Vocabulary size seems to be the most limiting factor for English speakers here.

While things are different here in Finland, I would not say that they are necessarily better or worse than what we have in the US. Both are the results of different histories and influences. That’s how I view this experience as a whole: different.

Thank you to those of you who are praying for me, I appreciate it greatly. God has been very good to me. If you wish to continue to pray for me, then please pray that I would be able to do God’s will here to the best of my ability.

The possibility exists that I might fail to mention an aspect of my trip in one of these blog posts. This blog exists to keep you updated on my experience, therefore, do not hesitate to ask me questions.


4 thoughts on “Settling In

  1. Jean Pemberton

    Hi Ben! I just read your two latest blogs and found them interesting. I’m glad to hear your insight into life in Finland, the differences and similarities. Very observant! It sounds like you’re living in a warm, welcoming home, and am glad of that. We are praying for you and will continue to do so. The weather has been beautiful–typical Copper Country summer weather–but we need rain desperately The lawns are turning brown and brittle, but that’s not unusual for August. Things are going fine at church. John is busy helping with Services during the vacancy at St. John’s in Hubbell and sister congregation St. Paul’s in Laurium. We’re going to lower MI the last week of this month, as well as spending Labor Day weekend at our cabin in the eastern U.P. That’s the news from the Pemberton’s.


  2. Don Kuiper

    Hey Ben, I just read all your posts to date. Thanks for the interesting information. i am excited about your stay in Finland, or, perhaps better said, your journey. i’m also more than a little bit jealous, I would love to do what you are doing. What an opportunity to develop very important skills that undoubtedly our Creator, our heavenly Father, through you, will use in His kingdom.

    The newness and novelty may/will wear off (somewhere in the three to six months of your stay) and you may begin to wonder what you are doing there. Its normal. Its OK. I’ve felt it when we lived in Mexico. Just keep learning and doing what you do normally each day. There were also moments in Mexico when I could feel, almost tangibly feel, the arms of God protecting us. Its good! I’m excited for you. Don


    1. I’m glad that you appreciate my posts! Thank you for the information, I’m sure it will be extremely helpful. I have also had feelings of God’s presence in this endeavor. How wonderful it is that he is watching us everywhere and all the time! It gives me courage.


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