Monthly Archives: February 2012

A Trip to the Doctors

We did have a trip 2 weeks ago to the doctors.  The overall experience was good, but very different than the States.  We will receive KELA cards which is our Social Security and Health Card, but we have not received them yet.  We have the numbers, but the official card.

Public healthcare is available to all residents in Finland, regardless of their financial situation. Public healthcare services comprise primary healthcare, provided by municipal health centres, and specialised hospital care.

With the help from Christian (and help from his office) we found the local health center – a  short walk into Tapiola Center.  The hardest part was figuring out where to go since there was no English or anyone to assist when we walked into to the building.  We saw a number machine so we picked a number.  Eventually, our number lite up above a door and we walked into the right place.  I was so happy to have Christian’s help.  The nice lady at the desk checked us into their system.  She informed us that there were 5 people ahead of us.  They close at 4pm and it was getting close to closing time.  We waited for 30-40 minutes and then our second number was called.  The very young female doctor spoke English pretty well.  She used Google to translate the Finnish to English with what she thought we were dealing with.  In English, the diagnosis was nettle rash, which she believes probably was connected with the stomach virus we got on the airplane.  She prescribed Hydrocortison cream and Aerius(I think a form of Benadryl).  The doctor’s visit was free (ok paid by the tax payers).  We then headed to the chemist/pharmacy.

Christian headed back to work for a conference call and we walked up to the pharmacy.  The pharmacy is called Tapiolan Otso Apteekki.  The procedure once again is to pick a number.  It was not too busy when we got there and we sat down and met with the chemist.  Like many others, her English was quite good.  Again this experience is a little different than the States.  I handed the prescription over and then paid for the medicine.  I think is was around 18€, but we will mail the receipt in and get 40% back when we get the KELA card.  Not too bad.  Oh, and I didn’t have to come back or wait 20 minutes.  She climbed up a ladder and pulled out a drawer to retrieve the medicine.  CVS could learn a little from this whole medicine process.  Kittos Tapilan Otso Apteekki.

Whatever the case the medicine worked and in a few days the rash was gone!

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Ice Skates for the Family

Sello – PRISMA stop for Ice Skates

After going to IKEA  we headed on the IKEA bus to Sello.  We wanted to hit PRISMA, basically a mix between a SuperWalmart and a SuperTarget.  The girls have been begging to go ice skating and after doing research most places if not almost all do not rent skates – only the tourist places.  Most Finns own skates. Kids can bring their skates to school and can skate at recess.  Most schools have a ‘rink.’  We decided this would be worth spending a few euros.  We have several outdoor skating places near us and we have the Barona Arena walking distance from our house.  We can see it from our new house.  On Monday evenings they have open skate time.  We will try indoor skating first and see  how it goes.

Natalie picked out traditional looking skates – pink and white naturally.  Ella picked out Fila skates which are pink, purple, white and gray.  Her skates are pretty cool.  They look more like a downhill ski boot and they expand (size 28-32).  She will be able to wear them for a while.  Christian picked out ice hockey looking skates and I have the traditional white ice skate.

I hope to get the girls into skating school next season.  We got here after the spring season and they fill up rather fast.  They will have to learn from mom and dad.  When I was a kid we skated at North Star Pond and that was a lot of fun.  We also had the University of Delaware Skating Rink.  I also skated when we would go to the Poconoes.  Christian not so sure how much skating he did growing up.  He said it must have been a few times because he remember North Point Mall skating rink.

Later that night he had the girls practicing inside with pillows. I’m thinking skating was not a winter activity so much in Texas.  He might be the one to watch on the ice.  The girls’ center of gravity is much lower than ours.

The girls have been putting their skates on everyday and cannot wait to go skating.  We have showed them some YouTube clips on beginner skating and some young skaters performing.  Natalie keeps putting on her bathing suit to practice.

We hope to head to Barona next Monday for Open Skate.  Stayed tuned for that video.

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Sledding in Espoo

One of our favorite things to do in Espoo is sledding!  I think that is a good thing and we will be doing that for awhile.  Here is a fun video of the girls sledding narrated by them.

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Hockey Bird

The girls spotted “Hockey Bird” at the Helsinki skating rink.  They thought it was one of the Angry Birds.  Angry Birds was invented by a Finn, Rovio Mobile.  Hockey Bird is actually the mascot for the 2012 llHF Ice Hockey World Championship.  The championship will be in Sweden and Finland.   There will be 16 teams competing in the championship.   The event will take place May 5-20, 2012.

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Helsinki Ice Skating

While walking through Helsinki last weekend we stopped to show the girls all the ice skaters in the center of the city.  The girls cannot wait to go ice skating.  Most places do not have skates to rent.  I guess most Finns own their skates.

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Ground Hog Day! Brrrr…..

I think this is one of the coldest Ground Hog Days I’ve ever experienced!  Notice the FEELS LIKE

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Reindeer – Yummy!

We visited Tapiola Center to do a little shopping and decided to eat lunch at Tempo above Stockmanns.  Tempo has a buffet.  The girls’ meal was an estimated 5€ each and that included bread, water, milk, entree with fries/potato, veggie and a ice cream dessert.  Christian decided on the reindeer entree with mashed potatoes and he also got a veggie, salad, bread, water and milk (11.20€).  I was boring and just went for soup and salad(9.30€).

Reindeer is very popular in Finland.  It was good, but I personally prefer venison.  I find that the venison is more flavorful then reindeer.  Reindeer tasted more like beef from a stew.  The girls wanted to be sure the reindeer was not one of Santa’s.  Once we reassured them of this, they tasted it.  Natalie decided it was not one of her favorite things, but Ella didn’t think it was that bad.

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BEST Finland Purchase YET!

Our family has made a decision that we want to save money so that we can experience Europe while living over here, but we did find something that has been one of the best purchases and a must for young children living in Finland without a car.  The best part was we only spent 8€ each.  We have seen many families with furs in the sleds.  Older folks use the sleds to carry their groceries.  We pull the girls on these whenever we walk to places and we can leave them outside the shopping areas and guess what…they don’t walk away.  It is a common thing to see skis and sleds outside of schools and other buildings.  The endless trails in Espoo are so wonderful!  Might have to get some dogs and a bigger sled.

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Where is Espoo, Finland?

Espoo is in Southern Finland just outside of Helsinki – kind of like Alpharetta to Atlanta or Hockessin to Wilmington or Steiner Ranch to Austin.  Those of you needing a brush up on your World Geography, Finland borders Sweden, Norway and Russia.The population of Finland is 5.2 million mostly concentrated in the South. Nearly a million live in metro-Helsinki area which includes the cities of Helsinki, Espoo and Vantaa.  Some of the other big towns you might have heard of are Tampere, Turku, Oulu, Lahti, Kuopio, Jyväskylä, Pori, Lapeenranta, Vaasa, Kotka and Joensuu.  43% of households live in apartments and 40% in detached housing.  There are 1 million residential buildings and an estimated 2 million saunas.  Finnish is the language spoken here, but also Swedish and most speak beautiful English.

I guess we are still considered Southerners! 🙂

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Let It Snow Let It Snow Let It Snow

Our first week in Finland looked like this

And then FINALLY we saw it…Yes we did and I captured it with the 5-10 minutes that it showed itself.  It’s the SUN!!

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