Sunday, August 28, 2011

Being Reminded of Reality

I love routine, I love organization and maybe I love the fine execution of a plan, but what happens when things take a sudden turn. Our lives seem to go in circles some times, where we left off once before we seem to come around to again. How does that happen? Is there such a thing as deja vu? Do you get that when something comes up and you know you have had this conversation before, been in this place, but it isn't realistic? It could not have happened.
So my thinking brain tries to make sense of the weird phenomena called deja vu. Is is real? It comes from the French word, already seen. Does that mean I have seen it? Does that mean that God planned for this time and place to happen again because I didn't get it right the first time? Questions, absolutely, answers not so much.
As we settle into routine here at home and praying for some major life changes for us, we are reminded that reality is what you make of it. It is what it is...we have said that many times. Right now as we get the hay in the barn, a few weeks later than usual, it is still routine. We miss the banter of many friends from the church that come out each year to help, but with the amount that needed to be done in a short time we hired a crew. I have done this before, every year for 15 years here and prior to that at my parents farm, same fields, same tractor, green square bales scattered throughout in random patterns. Yep this is normal.
I know God continues to teach, I know He provides us with routine, I know He gives us glimpses into His plans for us, but have I been there before, no, He has. He has set a path before us. I am so glad he can see the finish line, or the big picture, because now I need to believe in the impossible.  Don't you hate a cliff hanger... email me: hearts4africa@ymail.com if you would like specific prayer direction on our behalf. C

May God bless you with discomfort
At easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships
So that you may live deep within your heart.
 
May God bless you with anger
At injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people,
So that you may work for justice, freedom, and peace.
 May God bless you with tears
To shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger and war,
So that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and
To turn their pain into joy.
 
And may God bless you with enough foolishness
To believe that you can make a difference in the world,
So that you can do what others claim cannot be done
To bring justice and kindness to all our children and the poor.
Amen
Ps Jerry missing you, thought you would like to hear and see...ps we miss you too T

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Home again, home again, jiggidity jig...

Well the vacation is over, the pictures are downloaded, the luggage unpacked, laundry done and now reality is setting in. We are busy with cutting hay and getting it in the barn this weekend thankful for the sun. I have bills to pay, banking to do, groceries and such. As I weed though the mail and the phone messages, I am reminded of how important communication is.
I am so thankful for the internet and my ability to post a few posts while on vacation. I will add a few pictures and thoughts post vacation because posting was not as easy as I thought it would be.
Next up, a new school year and wondering all that God us going to do through and with me. I am thankful that I am a vessel that He can fill and nothing else. Looking forward to routine. Wow never thought I would say that, but already the dog has resettled back in to his sleeping the day away and not ever watchful of where I might be. I am sure if he could talk he would ask where we went and explain why he hates it when the luggage comes out. I will be sure to put it all away today! Have a great day, more later, C

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Bucket List Item #1

Russia was everything I dreamed it would be and more.  The history and the culture had me standing in awe so often I had to be prodded along because there was so much to see. Saint Peterberg history for me was shallow and my desire to see the square that had captured my heart as a child from the movie Dr. Zhivago the motivating factor to travel to Russia.  I was not at all disappointed but the best part was Jussi was as captivated as I was and we both soaked in the culture, history and romance of an era gone by.
To say I was awestruck is a better word. After a three hour bullet train ride from Helsinki on the Allegro, traveling at 230 km/hr backwards (because it doesn't turn around from point to point) I was ready to see the sights. I was not prepared for the breathtaking beauty of the entrance hall of the famous Winter Palace The Hermitage, home to the most priceless art collection. Our tour guide Maria and driver Vitalli had met us at the train station in a black Mercedes with dark windows which added to the mystery and excitement of the adventure. We did not join another group it was just us and Maria and we were ushered to the front of an enormous line and right into the Hermitage.
As we stood in the entrance hall I was nothing short of speechless which as you know rarely happens. I teared up and tried to say how beautiful it was, what a dream come true this was but I fanned my eyes to stop the tears and just looked. Maria was then at ease, we were going to be in love with her country and culture as much as she was.  After standing and visualizing the
many historical greats that had walked on the same staircase I regrouped from my lump in throat and grabbed for the camera and the bucket list dream became a reality. 
I will write of the history and the beauty of the many palaces and buildings in the following post. This post I will recapture life on the street as two okeys from muskoeys travelled to SPB.
What I learned, noticed, found interesting, laughed at and felt deep in my heart to try and grasp the history of.
-the weeds in Russia were the same as home, fireweed, thistles, bull rushes, horsetail and dandelions
-there were barns with hubcaps on the wall, old farm equipment, beaver ponds and lilies, wild mountain ash and alder
-the train tracks were sometimes twelve wide
-the reminders of war times..watch towers, razor wire, military with German shepherds, big lights at the border...abandoned shelters
- a time of teary remembrance for Jussi's grandfather Jalmari Yrjana as he fought to protect the border of Finland, freezing his leg off in a fox hole during the winter, for a war that ended in a stalemate
-tiny farmhouses dotting the landscape, with a frames, wood windows, long ago deserted, reminders of economic struggles, war, famine, and saddness
-the pine trees like our Arbutus trees in that they shed bark and reveal a glossy beautiful red underneath
-29 rubbles to 1.00 cad. So...six bucks for a latte lol
-traffic is insane in SPB there are no legal left turns, so cars, pull uturns in busy streets, stopping traffic in four lanes, police watch for this but it is everywhere. Pedestrians do not really have the right of the way, although they are supposed too, the strongest and boldest get to the other side.
For example crossing most streets was four lanes, so the crosswalk is often by lights but often not, so you would start to cross when lane one is clear, then lanes 2,3,4 would still go like crazy, teas you walk across 2, lane 1,3,4 would be going etc...the cars only stopping if you were in the lane they were driving in, took some guts to step out..the cars drive really fast with motorcycles going like madmen. It was also often a mother with a stroller and small child in tow would be in the middle of the road and cars were dashing in front and behind, this I found difficult not to scream out be careful.
-historically the buildings are stunning
-less smokers than Helsinki but stronger cigarettes
-in the supermarkets everything is packaged
-the water was not safe to drink, unless bottled
-I ate pickled plums with yogurt, it was good
-McDonalds was not good, the meat tasted like game...no dipping sauce lol
-the city only sleeps about an hour each night, other than that the traffic goes back and forth, and the streets are washed every evening, making everything look so clean and tidy every morning
-fashion is very vogue...all tourists can be spotted because we have comfortable shoes on...all the ladies wear very high heels, and dress clothes
-men only wear pants, not shorts, and their shirts are always tucked in and have a collar, worn with a belt. flip flops and shorts, with a back pack, that was how we recognized tourists
-see through whites on men and women, not exactly modest
-acid washed jeans are making a comeback
-jeans so tight they look like jeggings...
-fifty channels on the TV
-we could only find pepsi and no coke
-there was a fried sunny side egg on Jussi's pizza
-the coffee is fantastic
-sushi is everywhere it is the in thing for the under forty set to go out for sushi
-we ate ate hot dogs in a blanket where the mustard, relish and ketchup was squeezed inside the tube, then the dog stuck out the top, excellent!
-pancakes were like crepes, served with caviar, because I didn't want vodka in the morning, as a chaser for the caviar, we politely declined staying with porridge, and croissants with meat and cheese and boiled eggs
-Avril Lavinge was coming to the city for a concert
-we took the subway or Metro, that was a treat, it was from he Soviet era, wooden detail on the cars, underground 100 meters, longest escalator we had been on. 
-stores like us.. H and M, Hong Bank of Canada, Pizza Hut, Subway, Esprit, United Colors of Benetton, Zara, everything upscale, like Prada, Gucci, D and G, Tiffany's
-they have underpasses for pedestrians, which works fabulous, then traffic move quicker above ground
-the work day is 10-7 with a break for lunch no paid coffee times
-most people spend the weekend at the summer house because the city swells by three million tourists each summer
Russia and SPB will forever be etched in our hearts as a memory that will be priceless, we encourage visitors to consider SPB on their bucket lists. We pray it will not be the last time we visit but if it is, From Russia with love we travel back to Finland to search Yrjana history. Our memory of your beautiful city, your rich history, incomparable art...spasiba- dasvidanya 
(thank you and goodbye)
This post was finally posted on free wifi from the parking lot of Ikea in Sweden lol. Pics to follow

Friday, August 5, 2011

Helsinki ...Tourist Days with Jussi's Dad

http://s1126.photobucket.com/albums/l611/CYrjana/Helsinki%20Yrjana%20Tour/?albumview=slideshow
I have been trying a dozen ways to post pictures.
First the free wifi did not allow enough bandwith and then using the iPad limits me and I never bought my computer because I thought this was going to work. So if you copy and paste this link. It should take yo to the pictures .c or if you have high speed it may let you view all...I will have to visit an internet cafe I think...


Helsinki the city of cultural diversity. The thing that struck me most about Helsinki is that you could recognize languages being spoken everywhere so many different people, so many different colors, so many going somewhere. it is a city where people sit and visit for hours at a time. The coffee is big but so is the beer. Beer gardens are fancy sidewalk cafes and dot the sides of the road, filled with chatter all day long. In fact I am not sure what time of the day beer is being sold, seems to be early lol. The architecture is amazing and I walked around like a tourist snapping pictures of steeples, beautiful cherub's and guilded facias. The transportation system is top notch. People value getting somewhere so the systems are efficient, move lots of people and go often. There are so many things I want to tell you but I will tell you in short form or this post will capture my excitement but bore you to tears lol.
Things that are the same...as home!
Wild roses, birch trees, fireweed, 
H&M,Ikea,Shell gas,Holiday Inns,DHL,McDonalds, Burger King,Pizza Hut
Road construction everywhere it is summer
Things that are different or things that I noticed.
Pedestrians don't have the right of way...smile
Lots of bicycles
Stamps cost .75 € about one dollar
The buildings are all...I mean almost all , yellow, beige or red brick
No stop signs out of the city just yields across four lanes...scary
The street lights sleep, so the city is all yields in the early morning
Gluten free and lactose free is everywhere
The yogurt with fresh wild berries has been my staple
I ate cherries imported from Turkey but they do not hold a candle to BC's!
The GPS speaks in Finnish and when you exceed the speed limit it beeps..yep it recognizes where you are and the posted speed limits.

It is windy in Helsinki 
They serve beer on one of the trams...interesting commute
The gypsy people come from Romania to busier and beg on the streets and we loved the accordion music  every  street corner
Everything is very utilitarian and big, I got lost in some of the chairs, Naomi would have been like Lily Tomlin off of Laugh In..
The playgrounds for children are also plain abut functional. they have swings and slides and there is no posted signs anywhere in the city that's speaks of using at your own risk. No waivers on transit or while sightseeing. People use common sense and teach their children how to be safe.


The country of Finland is very trusting. WE arrived without customs and immigration, just walked right into the arrivals level of the airport, that was funny, nothing to declare, just come on in. 
The hotel we are staying at at the end of the week, let us store our bags without us being there or checking in yet...trusting
Stock mans is a huge dept store boasted to be the biggest in the world. The deal is if cant find it at Stockmans you don't need it.
The taxis are very expensive but are Mercedes and BMWs, driver wear ties and speak many  languages
People stay up all night on the street, maybe because the bars are open late and maybe because it never gets dark at this time of the year.
On first glance you will notice, many tall, blonde people, with straight hair. Never saw many curls or men with facial hair.
Men wear man capris, and colored jeans...Jussi not ready to grasp this fashion trend.
Everywhere you look there is stripes and plaid...I need to get me some.
I bought a purple and red scarf, it is a must have accessory, even in summer.
So far we have had a ton of fun, sightseeing old naval forts, the city, markets and shopping. The streets are all stones and very clean. The music is very 80's and the food great. My newest experience was beet lasagna. It was good, different but good.
I forgot a few important things, shampoo, conditioner and my shoes lol, but guess what...easily replaced in a shoppers paradise like Helsinki.
Right now we are on the Allegro train going to St. Peters berg , Russia, going backward upwards 230km per hour past farms and lakes and the scenery is breathtaking, the fellow in front of us is snoring rhythmically to the trains moves and I am smiling. Bucket list item number One...
I having issues posting from the iPad so I will try and get the pictures posted up ASAP...thanks c

Monday, August 1, 2011

First stop Amsterdam

We had a long few days but we arrived in Helsinki via a day in Amsterdam. Amsterdam or what I remembered was a beautiful city full of flowers but in 20 years my thoughts have changed. Amsterdam needs Jesus. The first problem is sex, alcohol,cigarettes and legalized pot. It reeks everywhere you walk, people openly smoke pot on the street and even have pot coffee bars where we saw people laying on couches on coffee bars with water pipes, and pot smoke billowing out the windows. We also saw many sex related and immoral t shirts etc. We were saddened with the cigarette butts all over the place and unclean streets. Graffiti was everywhere and I mean everywhere. Train windows,walls,buildings, vehicles,streets, etc. It was everywhere. On a Positive note everyone spoke English so we had no problems with directions, and shopping. Everything was super great quality, the food was good, the trains easy to travel and well organized. Coffee mmmmm....
So the day ended with a late flight to Helsinki, broken luggage, an gregarious character to share a cab with, a smile and a bed to sleep in. Yahoo.


Canals


Marijuana shops everywhere


Mcdonalds


Shoes oh my


Polyester


Practicing my Dutch


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