Forest cottage deck and chairs

Upon Reflection

I crawled into bed next to a sleeping Donna. It was hard to believe this trip was almost over. Our last night in Finland felt like the last night of … Continue Reading →



Taking the Plunge

The iron-chef style cooking show Jukka was hoping for never took place, I just wanted to cook alongside my Finnish buddies without competing. Out on the deck Jukka fired up … Continue Reading →


Tug Boat Party

We pulled into a hilltop parking lot above a small harbor. An old steam ship was moored at the dock. It looked out of place in this modern little seaside … Continue Reading →

Summer cottage

It’s a Murkee Style of Life

“Welcome to the Murkee style of life”. Jukka said, sticking his head inside our car window. He pointed to a parking spot along the side of a giant log house . We … Continue Reading →

Sunset in foggy forest

Midnight Light Shines

The house was silent except for the boys gently snoring. My head lay sideways on my pillow. I stared out the window at a silvery line making its way across … Continue Reading →

Red Pushpin on Map of Finland

Entering Donna’s Past

After three days in Helsinki, we loaded up Tuula’s van and headed to her mother’s house in Mikkeli – the place where Donna’s exchange student experience started. I thought of … Continue Reading →

Suomenlinna (Sveaborg) fortress in Helsinki, Finland

A Finnish 4th of July

Tuula decorated their dining table with a blue table cloth and served us hot dogs and macaroni on red paper plates as Risto plunked out patriotic American songs on their … Continue Reading →

Helsinki view with cathedral

One Month To Go

Our ship cruised into the Gulf of Finland. Watching land appear on a horizon was nothing new to me, but this felt different – like waking up and realizing it’s … Continue Reading →

Live music

Cruising with the Swedes

Our cruise ship made it past the tree lush straights and inlets and out to the open sea. Donna’s beloved Finland would appear on the horizon the next morning. The … Continue Reading →


My World Was Changing

The four of us ended up back at the dorm sitting on the ever-worn couches in the main lounge. It had been poker night on campus so drunken freshmen staggered … Continue Reading →