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Interlude: May 1 2020

May 1 2020: I’ve been here for 6 years, and I still feel the need to explain to my American readers that today is a holiday for much of the world. It’s May Day, or Walpurgis night. It’s called Vappu in Finland, and it’s one of the four major holidays here along with Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, and Midsummer. A celebration of spring. You drink sparkling wine, a low-alcohol mead called sima, and eat funnel cakes. Well, in other years you do those things. This year most of that stuff has been cancelled.

It’s also International Workers Day. What Labor Day was supposed to be in the United States. So let’s celebrate the working class today, especially those essential workers who ensure that we have food to eat, that our trash is picked up, and so many other services that we take for granted.

May 1 2020

  • This week I’m avoiding the outside world by writing about my favorite professional wrestling promotions. Don’t worry, this isn’t going to become a full-time wrestling blog.
  • Wrestling is not fake. It is choreographed and the outcomes are predetermined, just like your favorite scripted televisions shows, action movies, and music video dance routines.
  • I am checking email and Twitter DMs twice a day, once after lunch and once after dinner EEST (UTC +3).
  • The majority of my time is spent writing and reading.
  • Current work in progress: DoubleZero, which I’m blogging about on the company site.
  • Currently reading: I’m taking an interlude from Agnes Grey to re-read Seth Godin’s Tribes. Since I’m blogging about DoubleZero in the hopes of expanding that audience / my customer base, I can use a refresher.
  • Currently watching: I’d like to start Ozark, which I have not seen any of yet. But I’ve also been in the mood to re-watch The Sandbaggers, because dry Cold War spy stuff is my jam. In a complete shift from those darker tones, I’ve also had an itch to rewatch Gilmore Girls.
  • Today is Day 46 in isolation. 
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Happy Easter 2020: Gratitude and Happiness

Happy Easter 2020! Katie had the foresight to buy mämmi and vanilla sauce on the last trip out. We’ve been stashing chocolate and other Easter candy since it first appeared in stores this season. What I neglected to do was plan for any sort of special dinner. No herring, no salmon, no traditional Easter foods. I’ve been so focused on stocking up for a long haul, I forgot to plan a holiday feast.

Fortunately it’s just Katie and I, and we’re both mellow. We’re having spaghetti and meatballs. It’s one of her favorite and most-requested meals, so she’s happy. I’ll pull meatballs out of the freezer and bake a fresh loaf and make garlic bread. It’s not traditional Easter fare, we’re together and we have food to eat. Other people are experiencing far worse disruption.

Happy Easter 2020

It snowed — and stuck — on Good Friday. They’re calling for snow again today. We barely got a White Christmas, but we’re going to have a White Easter. I’m trying to lean into the weirdness of this new reality that we’re all living in. What else can you do?

I’m hoping that everyone has a safe and healthy weekend. My wish is for people to stay home and watch a streaming church service, if that’s their thing, rather than packing churches. While there’s a melancholy vibe to missing a family get together, I’m optimistic that phone calls and video conferencing can fill that void a little bit.

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Infinite Questions: What’s Your Favorite Holiday?

My favorite holiday used to be Thanksgiving. I know a lot of people hate it for any number of reasons. Because I love to cook, and I love all of the traditional foods associated with it, I always had a good time. Annoying family members aren’t something I have to deal with since reaching adulthood. It’s always been what some people refer to as “friends-giving”. There was never any American football involved, just the parade, the dog show, and an annual viewing of the original Miracle on 34th Street.

Since moving to Finland my favorite holiday has become itsenäisyyspäivä, Finnish Independence Day, on December 6th. Totally low-key. Everything is closed. It’s like American Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Academy Awards red carpet, and the Vanity Fair Oscar party rolled into one. Allow my to explain.

Itsenäisyyspäivä

You stay home, and you watch TV. In the morning, the President and the First Lady go to war memorials to pay respect to fallen soldiers. At noon there’s a televised multi-denominational church service that the first family and other dignitaries attended. A short military parade, held in a different city every year, comes next. It’s less of a Soviet-type to-do and more like a Veteran’s Day parade in the U.S., but with more tanks and helicopters.

In the evening is Linnanjuhlat, the Castle Ball, which is a big party in the main government building. Invited guests include scientists, artists, athletes, first responders, and other Finns who have distinguished themselves. It’s about three hours of a reception line, where the guests shake hands with the President and First Lady. Yes, people watch this. We see what people are wearing. We learn who’s been honored with an invite, and I gain new insight into Finnish culture. Finns daydream about doing something worthy of an invitation to the Castle Ball.

We drink glöggi (mulled wine) and baking traditional prune tarts during all of this. Once all of the guests have gone through the line, there are performances by notable Finnish musicians. We get everything from classical to jazz to metal, because, seriously, Finland.

What’s Your Favorite Holiday?

How would you answer this question, reader?

Do you have questions you’d like to ask me? Leave them in the comments below, and I might answer them in a future post! Thanks for participating!