Friday, July 22, 2011

A Finland State of Mind

This time last year, I was dealing with Ephraim's fourth surgery and preparing for our family trip to Finland. I've mostly repressed the whole surgery thing. I've been thinking about the trip a lot. I didn't really write about it much. I meant to. It was a mixed bag as trips go. Some of it was absolutely fantastic. But some of it wasn't.
For example, eating blueberries and lox and crusty fresh bread was great. Taking a boat to the island zoo was great. Having Kinneret stung by a bee for the first time on Shabbat in a campground in Helsinki - less good. Managing to pull the stinger out and giving her Children's Advil and having her calm down pretty quickly and her breathing remain even for the next several hours - better.
The worst moment was in Russia. (Remember, we flew into St. Petersburg, spent an overnight there, took the train to Joensuu, spent a week there, took the train to Helsinki, spent a week there, took the train back to St. Petersburg, spent three days there, and took a flight back to Israel) We had two strollers. We'd loaded our luggage on one, and Kinneret in the other. Ephraim was on my back. We walked several blocks looking for a taxi, going over several large curbs. One of the wheels popped off of the stroller that the luggage was on, and everything spilled into the street. We hailed a taxi and told him to take us to the hotel. He took us to what was clearly the wrong address, dumped our stuff out on the sidewalk, demanded his money, and pulled away. I cried.
People came out of the apartment building we'd been dumped in front of and asked what help we needed. One lady spoke some English. She helped us call the hotel we were supposed to be staying at, and the hotel sent a taxi to pick us up. The taxi came and took us all the way to the hotel. We managed the rest of the trip with the backpack carrier and the stroller.
We never did get that stroller fixed, though we did bring it back to Israel.

Anyway, I've been thinking about the trip a lot, thinking about blueberries and thinking about swimming in icy water and living in a little cabin. I miss Finland. I miss three weeks of undivided family time. I even miss cooking in a tiny little travel cooker and eating sandwiches for most of my meals. I miss the adventure. I can't wait for our next family adventure. I know it won't be next year in Lublin (EJC 2012), but maybe the year after... In the meantime, I'll be in a Finland state of mind.

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