05 August 2013

How Time Flies...

It's the old adage... But it still applies. I can't believe that it's been over a year ago since I posted. But what I can tell you is that we haven't been making much lemonade... And that's a good thing! I've found more employment opportunities than I could have asked for, and Dad Squeeze did too! So we are one busy family... and that's why I haven't been posting more...

Mummi Squeeze is about to come home from her LDS mission... it's been almost 2 years! Now you're asking, "How could it have been 2 years when Senior missionaries can only serve 18 months?" Well... she has been able to extend her stay because she regained her dual citizenship (so she could get health benefits), and has been staying to take care of her 89-year-old brother who will turn 90 on September 5. She wanted to stay until that milestone, so I am going over to Finland to pick her up, see my extended family (I only have 1 sister here in the States — everyone else is in Finland) and accompany her back home to the United States. It will be good to have her home...

But before she comes home, Son Squeeze will be leaving to serve an LDS mission with the good people of Tempe, AZ for 2 years. He will leave on August 28, just a few weeks short of Mummi Squeeze coming home... She will miss seeing him for the next 2 years, so that will be 4 years before she sees him. Mummi is afraid she'll pass away before he comes home... I doubt that. Although she is 86 years old, she's stubborn and will make it :)

And Grandma and Grandpa Squeeze will be returning from their LDS mission to Durban, South Africa in November. Grandma is not happy that Son Squeeze will be gone before she will see him... I think she's going to find a way down to Tempe to see him ;) It will be good to have family back near us... It's been a quick (but long at the same time) 2 years!

19 February 2012

A bit of technical difficulties... but back online

Heipas,  terveisia nyt. I don't remember what I wrote in that letter but it wasn't anything special, just telling about things here. I cannot remember what really happened, I thought I was doing normal. It isn't either at that Draft file. 

I am going to Tampere this Saturday afternoon, since we have that vacation for 2 weeks. I'll be back on the 5th of March. Some of the missionary couples are going to Rovaniemi for a week, although they will stop in couple of places to give a talk or bear testimony. 

I am doing just about everything in the Temple now, of course I am doing in Finnish, but also in Swedish, those are Swedish speaking Finns, like Daddy was, who need that. Then they want me to learn Russian, because we have one Finnish couple who are leaving at the end of March and she did the Russians, so they want me to continue. We do have 1 Russian couple who arrived recently and the Russians have their workers with them most of the time when they come. But we need some who are here all the time and can do in Russian.

It has been pretty cold, like  --10 to 28 C, and between it snows, so that the city has to remove the piles when snow blowers clean the streets. I am getting used to this "life style", taking the bus and walking couple of kilometers a day to catch the bus ! Luckily Laila had extra pair of heavy boots to give me and I'm using Sister Squeeze's leg warmers on top of my wool pantyhose (!) and Mom Squeeze's heavy scarves around my neck and sometimes have to cover my face with it.

My Missionary couple friends are really so helpful and kind friends. They give me rides when ever possible (Temple has 2 SUV's for they use). One of them comes and pick me up every Saturday morning because Temple opens early, and I would have to leave here before 7 am  and it is still pretty dark at that time. They also bring me home after they feed me! I do my laundry Saturday also after the Temple closes. It is rewarding to work in the Temple, and people are at their best there, it's great to get to know so many people, and most of them come back every so often.

Monday is the P-day, which means it's a free day. I have usually spent most of the day with Aune, Daddy's cousin's widow. She has car and she picks me up and we go different places, there's so much to see. Something new to me, there was not when I lived in Finland, these big, big shopping centers. There they have hundreds of shops, and beautiful Finnish merchandise, and you want to buy everything!  And you can find anything here, maybe more than back at home (US).    

I miss seeing the children, and Daddy's grave. By the way I bought some grave side candles for him that I can bring home.    

Also, I found out that when I move to the Asuntola (it should be ready by May-June) I can have visitors in my apartment.  OK, Take care and I love to get letters, e-mails, pictures from you.  

Love, Mummi Squeeze

23 January 2012

It's been a while... so everything must be OK :)

Hi Family and Friends,
I got an e-mail from Sister Squeeze this morning saying, "We haven't heard from you for awhile, is everything OK?"
I guess time goes too fast, so this is telling you that I am OK, actually I am more than OK. The snow came fast and furious these past couple of weeks and it changes everything around you, you kind of feel up-lifted. The forests, that is what Finland has more than any other country, look beautiful with trees full of snow. They have so many walking trails, (wintertime they are ski trails) around the city limits and they are kept snow blowed. A one missionary couple just returned from a walk, and they said it is georgeous !  Few weeks ago I was so very unhappy about the wet and rain everyday, I had to use umprella everyday! Hopefully this snow will lasts till spring !
I was visiting Tampere last weekend. As you know that's my home town. I have 3 brothers and their families there. The senior missionaries, we have six couples (how I miss my husband, he would be perfect here) and me. We each (couple) get free Saturday every 6-7 weeks and do what we want, so for me it's perfect to go to Tampere, which is only 1-1/2 hours away, in a "paikallisjuna" (the one that stops at every stop because it is 7 euros cheaper) ! Every Euro counts, this is expensive country ! My sister-in-law, Laila, gives me more and more winter clothing every time I visit them. This time I got a good pair of boots that she hasn't used, hardly, and I bought wool pantyhose, yes, they use them here ! And you really need them ! I kind of forgot to take my own boots, and besides there was no room in 3 suitcases (!) I had. 
The Liahona person, who is in charge of the home pages in Finnish Liahona, asked me to write an article about the time I  joined the Church, which was the "beginning" of the Church in Finland, 1948-49. So, that has taken a little bit of my time in the evenings when I come to my apartment. By the way, they have started to add the extra apartment in that missionary and the patrons apartment housing, and I'll be moving there in the near future!
This past week was busy in the Temple, members from Estonia and around Helsinki district were dew. It was amazing that so many Estonians speak Finnish, and how funny, they are so close to each other, that even I can almost guess the words. This coming week will be Tampere district at the Temple, so there I'll meet some familiar faces !

I wanted to thank you, who sent me Christmas cards, even I hadn't let you all know my address on time, but some of you did not give up ! It was so nice to receive Christmas wishes from home. I wish you all a very happy and healthy new year and hope that you will  let me know how things are with you.

05 January 2012

Many Thanks for Christmas!

Note: It's funny hearing her English deteriorate :)

I am so happy to hear from you! Didn't I tell that I got Sister Squeeze's package, it was waiting for me here after I returned from Lappajarvi trip, so thanks again. Mom Squeeze, I got yours this Tuesday, it was nice that they arrived different times, so had a little longer Christmas !! Thank you, it was nice to get good herb tea, the gloves, mine, the green ones that I have had forever were showing little holes, so these are perfect, even for text messages in the bus, like the other kids are doing !!!!  And the umprella (I forgot my dictionary !) is great to have, since Finland is so wet anytime! 

So good to hear that you have happy times there, like Christmas and new year celebration ! Christmas season is almost over here, tomorrow is the last day, January 6th is called "Loppiainen", meaning "loppu", end of the season according to the Lutheran church's timetable. It is celebrated as a holiday, stores are closed, free day from work, etc. And the bus service is probably according to Sunday service, that means I need to find out when I go out to my bus stop ?!

This week is the "Russians week" and we have been very busy at the Temple. They are very faithful, they have their own ordinance workers with them. We, the missionaries are just helping them, where ever they need us, and we get to do it in Russian ?!! Yes, they give us some lessons to read in their language, but the letters are "Romanized", does that make sense ? So, we learn some Russian here, and of course, we do it in Swedish too, although that is so much easier and old Swedish starts coming back!  We also have Estonians coming here and the Lithuanians, but the Russians are the ones that need the whole week every so often for themselves. The members from these eastern countries seem very happy and bring us always some goodies, they have pockets full of goodies and when they pass you by, they stick candies to your pockets ! It's kind of fun.

The weather has been very unpleasant since I arrived, it is raining every day, that is the truth. I needed the umprella, which somebody lent to me, but now I got my own since Mom Squeeze sent me one! Thanks ! One day, it did snow, actually Christmas day, but of course it's gone now. I hear you don't have it either. 

Christmas was very nice, was able to spent it with my brothers families in Tampere and Lappajarvi. I took the bus from here to Helsinki, about 30-40 minutes, and got the train to Tampere, about 1-1/2 hours. The Transportation service is very good here, trains are very modern and fast, as are the busses. By the way the busses are very large and the middle door is wide so you can push the baby carriage  (the door is street level) in and you do not pay! Only others go through the front door and pay. That's one of the social benefits for having children. 

I am living by my self in an apartment, since the missionary housing is full (which is next to the Temple) and actually meant for couples, and are for the missionary couples. They do have 6-people apartments meant for people who come from out of town places and stay for few days to do work for their ancestors and others. They promised me that I will have my own apartment in few months in that same building, which will be used for other single people or maybe families, after I leave. I have been treated very friendly, it must be my age, they offer me rides to the stores, to Church on Sundays, P-day outings, and of course, I'm included in all the activities and parties (!!) 

Temple is a very special place, and you do feel the spirit there, it makes you cry often because it touches you, and how people seem to change there. They leave the outside world behind them when they enter the Temple and experience something special for few hours. 

Have a happy new year and take care, See you in 16 mos, I think !?  I've been here over a month now.

04 January 2012

Onnellista Uutta Vuotta! (Happy New Year... in Finnish)

(Squeeze family names have been substituted, but if you know us, you'll get the gist)...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO SON SQUEEZE !  AND HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL !  It's about 12:30 pm here and you must be sleeping.  Is he going snowboarding today or what is he doing?  I hope it is going to be a good day for him and all of you! 

Today is little clearer, and so far no rain!   We are wondering when the snow will come.

We are going to have a little party at the Asuntola dining room tonite for just us missionaries and the the Temple presidency. Veli Williamsom brings the pork and others potluck. I was going to bring Roselli (cooked beet, carrot, potato salad with Rahkaviili (like sour cream), but guess what happened, I got cold !!!! Me  !? I dont know what happened Thursday but I felt a little cold coming while at the Temple and then at night it started. I had to call and tell them that I was not coming, that was yesterday. Today, Saturday, Temple is closed anyway and open on Tuesday, so I have plenty of time to recover. I am not really sick, stuffy nose, sneezing and sleepy  They are calling me and keeping in touch with  me and asking me to take temperature all the time !  Aune Wahlstead called me and asked if I have time to go with her to Porvoo over the weekend, Porvoo is about 50-60 km from Helsinki southeast, small, old fasioned with narrow streets etc. town. We have to go some other time.

This past week was really busy at the Temple, it was Relief Society week and lot of Russians came. They have their own Temple workers with them. Some old members from my past are coming there and sometime you cannot recognize them ! But they seem to recognize me !!!  They say it's my smile ??!!

We had really good time at Lappajarvi with Hannas family and they are doing very well, Irkka seems OK but she cannot be too happy. Mom Squeeze, you talked with her after we did, she must have told you how she feels. Veikko spent his Christmas with Riina and Reija and Mikko wanted to stay in Tampere because he has "old girl friend" who lives alone, like Mikko, and she has no family, so Mikko feels kind of sorry for her, They are both old and have health problems, so they are supporting each other. Monday, after we came from Lappajarvi, we went to pick up Mikko from Aila's  ( his friend) and took some flowers to our parents grave. Then they took me to the train station and I arrived to my place about 7pm

Things are going fine here, I'm getting used to living here and taking the bus, so many times I get ride from one of the missionaries (usually with his wife or other elder) coming home. I'm getting to know the area and which bus goes here and there. There's a shopping center with Stockmann and also Marimekko not very far, like 10 min bus ride, so I can go by myself. By the way, they have lot of these huge, huge shopping centers around Helsinki laitakaupunki areas.

I really miss my family and think of you all the time and pray that all of you are well. I was so happy to hear that Sister Squeeze and family went to Church on Christmas day too.  I love you all

06 December 2011

Finally... an address!

Hello all of you, things are getting better, because I am learning what I am suppose to do. And it is very rewarding.  People are very nice and they are helping me in every way. I can get a ride when ever I need, but I still think I can get along just fine by myself.  

Last night one personel from the office, Veli (Brother) Koponen, he is taking care of office stuff and he came to set my computer in order and spent couple of hours but there was some little thing and he said it was something that will clear next week. so I am here at the Asuntola where missionaries (seniors) live, using computer and washing my clothes. It all free. This bro surprised me by bringing a TV for me! It was used at the open house and has been in the storage, so it is one of the flat ones. He put all together and it is working, so that is nice, I feel like I have company!  

I have met with Aune Wahlstedt (daddy's cousin's wife, remember?) She came to pick me up from the Temple and we went to her house for the evening. We'll go out again Monday, because it is P-day, Temple is closed. And then Tueasday it will be closed, because Finnish Indipendence day, and we'll have a party that day.
I am so glad to hear that things are going well. Before I forget, here is my address: 

Sister Stenfors
Helsinki Temppeli
Leppasillantie 3  
02620 Espoo, Finland

You dont have to send me anything, I've got everything, But thank you, maybe later, we'll see. I dont know yet what I am going to do for Christmas, if I can go to Tampere. Well, I getting ready with my laundry. I love to hear from you all. 
(Note: It is good to hear that she is finally adjusting! She is so independent and always has been that I don't find it out of the ordinary that she is not asking for help... she's a true Finn is that respect. Stubborn ;) )

30 November 2011

A Better Outlook...

Mummi update:
It is one week and a day that I arrived here, Finland, and what a time to arrive here!  If you are planning a trip (!!!) to Finland, do not come in October - November -December, although December maybe different because of the brightness of the Christmas lights!  It is so dark and gloomy, rainy and cold, I had forgotten all that.  Sun, if you can see it once and while, rises barely above the Horizon about 10 am, moves slowly, but does not rise much more, and then about 2 pm (here 14:00) goes down and starts getting even darker, and by 5 pm ( 17:00) it is night dark !  But people are so used to this and I will also soon again.
The MTC (Missionary Training Center) in Provo was another experience! Seeing about 2100 missionaries (this how many there can be at one time) and of course most of them are these fantastic young, anxious to go, missionaries. Makes your heart swell and you see Helaman's 2000 young warriors !
I had a very nice and friendly room mate, Sis. Horne, who went to Nebraska to be in the office. Most of the Seniors in our group (35 couples and 5 single sisters) went all of the globe, Phillipnes, Australia, Chile, Samoa etc, etc. and now they are sending e-mails to each other, it is fun !
I dont know if you have seen a picture of the Finnish Temple, it is very simple, classic Finish design, on a small hill, and you can see it from the main roads down below, and it has 62 steps to the main door. You can also use car to come closer, but small road is nicely hidden so it does not take the beauty of the Temple away.  AND ---- this is a multi-lanquage Temple:  Finnish, Russian, Eastonian, Latvian and Swedish !!!. So we are learning all those, Russian we are reading with regular Finnish, same as English, letters, because you would have to learn the Russian alphabets, and it would be too much !
Housing for the missionaries and patrons are just below the Temple, close and they are beautiful and roomy and very modern (as Finland is), but they are done for couples and the patrons quarters are made for 6 people, who come here from different countries to work for a week or so. So, they dont have a place for me, I am the only single. They rented a small apartment for me, and unfortunately I have to use a bus to get there and back. I do get rides from the others, specially if I am working in the evening shift and Sundays to Church meetings. The Temple president told me that they are going to add at least one new apartment, for me, and I am praying for that!!  But it does not happen until May-June. Right now I dont have a companion so it is kind of lonely.
I do miss Sandy and the Silver Pines [the Senior Community Mummi has been living at for the past 2 years] and you all, and try not to think about that it will be 1 and 1/2 years before I see you again! But this is a once in the life time experience and opportunity to be a Temple missionary, and I am thankful for this.