Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Bicycles in Finland

This has been our first day in Turku, our new home. So far we have seen very little. After a night of ups and downs where we all slept differing amounts, we headed back down to the market square to tackle banking. We needed a Finnish bank account and we will receive the Finnish cards that people use rather than money. The bank had rows of chairs facing the tellers. When you enter, you take a number selecting from a menu of options. We were mostly guessing, but with our number we could sit and wait and watch our fellow customers. It is all very orderly. Your number flashes telling you which teller to visit. You take a similar number in the grocery store, but they don't provide seating while you wait for your kaalilaatikko.

While Chris waited, Sophia and I went to the library for her library card. The library is closed for the week, but you can use the reading room and they have a small selection of books for people to check out. But, you can't explore the stacks. Chris and I got our library cards last night. I feel that is the sign that we are home. The banking took a while and we went back to our apartment for a meal (either lunch or dinner--our internal clocks don't care which) and then headed out for the 5 pm showing of Avatar. Once at the cinema we learned that the Finns consider 9 to be too young for that movie so we headed to the library and checked out books and movies off the rolling carts to sample at home.

I must explain the posted video. I am fascinated by the fact that everyone bikes here even in the nonstop wet snow of today. This past February Chris was pulled over by the Concord police for riding his bike on a snowy day. Luckily he was on his way home from the dentist, but the police insisted he push his bike because he was holding up traffic. That won't happen here!

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