What Finland Is Doing Right, I Don’t Know

People often ask me, “how is it in Finland,” and why Finland is doing so well with the pandemic.
I do not know what to say. Mask just recently started to be worn everywhere, and when I was visiting, people were still dining in, and I saw a lot of people inside bars and restaurants through the windows. Moreover, the number of tests is relatively modest. But somehow, they do it right; somehow, they know how to test the right slice of the population because the number of people in the hospitals, in ICU, and on the ventilators is remarkably small.

Finland’s population is 5.5 million people, which is a little bit less than half of Illinois ( 12.6 million).

At the moment, we have:
Illinois Finland
total deaths 14,000 414
current in hospitals 5,653 141
current ICU 1,134 21
current ventilators. 694 0 , although I do not have todays’

I already told you about the testing at the airport; this time, the result also came in 12 hours, and there was no line for testing. However, it was virtually impossible to get the second test three days after arrival, so apparently, that was already not in the national interest :). They have their models to follow, and as long as the results are as good as above, I thing they are doing the right thing 🙂

Glogg!

The biggest food/drink discovery of that visit to Helsinki – glogg! I have no idea why I didn’t try it before; it’s not the first time I am in Helsinki during the season. Perhaps, the previous visits at this time of the year were too brief, and also I could not imagine it is that different from what you can buy at IKEA… 

My only regret is that I didn’t buy any to take with me, although I had checked luggage. For some reason, I thought they might have it in a duty-free at the airport, and they didn’t…

How I Ended Up Being Away For Home For Thanksgiving

First, we were planning for a very small Thanksgiving, even probably in shifts. Even back in September, Boris and I were talking about him finally coming our way. By that time, I felt sort of in control of the situation and was sure that I know how to navigate the current situation, how to be safe, and what we can and can’t do. 

The last time Boris saw anybody except myself was last November, and he never saw Kira. So we drafted a plan, how to connect “in shifts,” and then cases started to rise, and then I think we all just got scared and were afraid that “it can become worse.” We all talked to each other for hours, and I am not sure who finally convinced me, but the result is that I am now in Helsinki. 

I got the ticket just five days before departure, and I booked it at the Lufthansa website directly, thereby not paying attention to who operates the flight. And even when I received my reservation confirmation, I didn’t look into details – there was a Lufthansa logo on the reservation email. 

On Sunday evening, when I realized that the check-in email didn’t arrive, I went to the Lufthansa website, and to my horror, saw the message: redirecting to the United website! Only then I realized that the flight number starts from UA! 

Continue reading “How I Ended Up Being Away For Home For Thanksgiving”

What Finland Has To Offer

My daughter sent me this link yesterday. She commented that one of her friends considered it as a backup plan if Trump would win. As for that statement, both she and I agree, that fleeing the country in difficult times is not right, and if Trump would win, we would stay here to fight.

But I also agree with her, that is is an example of excellent marketing, and moreover, both she and I know that it’s all true.

I am not saying I will never ever move to some other country; after all life proved I can’t ever make the “never” promises, but one thing I am sure about: I will never ever move somewhere for pure economic reasons. I like a lot of things in Finland, and I want many of them to happen in the United States, and I will work on making them happen here. At least now, there is ahope that some of thet will be possible:)

Funny Pictures From Helsinki

Monday and Tuesday were working days, and as usual, when you work remotely, the length of your workday increases. I was trying to keep track of my hours so that I won’t end up working 11-hour days.

I took a lot of walking breaks, not very far from the house. Here are a couple of funny pictures from my walks

Is it just me, or something is wrong with that picture?!
Never so THAT graphical 🙂
No idea about the meaning of this abstract art
This was SO GOOD, I didn’t want to check for calories 🙂
Me wearing a hat for the first time in twenty years

Walking

The weather forecast for these days in Helsinki was mediocre, but the reality appeared much better. So far, the only rain occurred last night, and it was over by 10 AM. I will need to work remotely on Monday and Tuesday, so I tried to be outside during the weekend as much as possible.
Boris still is not allowed to bike after the surgery, so we walk a lot. Actually, I went for a bike ride yesterday: he forces me out :), but that was a very short one, and with relatively low speed: I was afraid to get lost – I never biked in Helsinki alone.

Back to walking. It was always better in Helsinki than back home, plus I wore boots for the first time this season, and I walk better in boots. But still: yesterday, I walked for 2 hours 40 min straight with no stops! I think it was the first time in four yeast that I could walk that long with no hint of pain. In April 2017, when Vlad and I were in London, we walked a lot, but I already started to feel pain back then. Today, I walked for 1.5 hours in the morning and then again for two hours in the afternoon. Just one word: happiness.

Some pictures from our walks.

A tour by Sibelius Monument
Continue reading “Walking”

Supporting Finnish Economy I

I think that if the Finnish government issued a free COVID test for me, it’s my moral duty to support Finnish Economy. With this in mind, I headed to the center of the city, hoping that the stores in Forum will be open at 11 AM (giving Sunday plus covid restrictions). TO my disappointment, nothing was open till noon,

I had no other choice than to go straight to the central Fazer store, which was fortunately open at 10 AM!

A Word About Socialist Healthcare

As I mentioned yesterday, a free COVID test is offered at the airport, it is voluntary, but I gladly went. They assigned me a temporal Finnish social security number to enter me into their system. 

The total time to register for the test, wait, and have the test administered was about 40 minutes. They asked travelers to avoid public transport (sigh) and take a taxi, which I obliged. 

I was ready to be quarantined for my whole stay, but they texted me a negative result in the middle of the night, only 10 hours after the sample was taken. Which, in addition to today’s research results, delivers positive news. 

… Just remember how president Trump says he does not want our country to become socialist?! Yea, no chance, but… we can’t have THAT!

And BTW, do you know why Finland it rolling out this system? Because their economy is really dependent on holiday tourism and they want/need the tourist traffic. At the same time they care about their citizen and want ot be sure they are safe.

Departure

That time around, everything was different than back in July. First, Lufthansa allowed me to get a boarding pass online. Second, there was virtually no line to the LH counter in the airport. Third, the Terminal ! was packed with people!

also, now they do not allow masks with filters on board. I knew that it might be a case, so I bought a pack of KN95, and used four of them on the flights.

The documentation is still required, but this time, they didn’t consult the supervisor, but just marked me in. It’s so funny: we married for the only reason to make sure Boris can visit us here, no matter what. And the only time I really needed to use this document was for my entrance to Finland 🙂

Another new thing: even thought my passport was stamped in Frankfurt, they sent me to the border control again in Helsinki. So I had to show papers for the third time, and then they gave me instructions to quarantine, and I also went to take a COVID test (total extra time – about 40 minutes, free of charge).

This will be a very quarantined stay:)