This weekend my husband was in Livorno meeting up with his childhood friends. Since I was traveling for work last week and the kids really wanted to stay home and take it easy this weekend we agreed to split activities.

Being alone with the children in Trieste used to scare me, as I do not know anyone here and feel in general somewhat uncomfortable with getting around by car here, main reason being - I hate trying to find a parking spot!!!

Well I have decided that 2018 is going to be about taking control and learning to love this city where I will likely spend the coming 10 to 15 years. So how did we manage???

Saturday we went to the park and over to Slovenia for picknick by the sea and indoor swimming.

Today we started day the by making vegetable soup together, and sandwiches for the beach. After that we headed to Grado, where we spent the whole afternoon enjoying the sunshine, building houses from driftwood and decorating with seashells. I think the children felt the same feeling of empowerment as I today, we will make this place our home.

I drove home as the sun was setting over the fields spreading a golden light, and the children softly snoring in the back!

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Moving to Italy was wonderful but stressful. In particular for the children. Last summer they spent 4 weeks alone with their grandparents, came home to Finland in August for a couple of weeks and then went back to Italy with my husband (I remained another week in Finland to take care of final closing arrangements).

They started a summer kindergarten for 3 weeks with “new” language, new children and teachers and long days in August, which lasted 3 weeks and then mid September they changed to their more permanent kindergarten with 25 children, per teacher, in ages three to five.

On the evening when my husband and the children left Vasa and me, after a 2 weeks soft landing in the environment they know so well, Rocco started developing ticks.

When I arrived in Italy a week later I was shocked to him, the ticks he had developed made him squint with the whole face up to 10 times a minute. It was difficult to have any conversation with him without noticing and worrying about his ticks.

The dramatic part of me was certain it was something neurological and the logical part tried to reason that it was stress related tics. To be on the safe side we took a visit with a neurologist. She, after inspections, verified what I had also googled, that it was ticks caused by stress and should pass within 3 months.

It took a-bit less than that, and now we have our happy, lighthearted boy back! But I never before realized that children can also experience stress and the dramatic effects of it.

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2,5 weeks without the children was difficult. They have had a fantastic time at their grandparents and we have enjoyed the simplicity of being only two grownups... but oh my goodness how much I love being around them, fantastic little people.

Well over to another story. So the luggage of my parents never arrived for Christmas in Slovenia/Italy. It got stuck in Helsinki and ended up on a detour to Reykjavik, missing the 1 week holiday here completely, and instead arrived back in Vasa on New Year. The luggage contained all the gifts for the children (and us).

During Christmas Eve we had one gift each for every person. I had decided not to buy more than one gift each for the kids as I knew, based on track record, that they would get enough gifts anyhow, and I really wanted to consciously reduce the amount... but maybe not this much...

In the end the kids never complained during Christmas, they instead played thoroughly with the gift they got... we enjoyed a qualitative Christmas with lots of love, open fireplace, long wonderful meals, nature, sauna and peacefulness.

Well last week I was on a business trip to Vasa, so yesterday I arrived back here with a luggage full of gifts that “Santa had delivered to wrong address” he must not have known that we all celebrated Christmas abroad. Thus yesterday evening we had 2nd Christmas, and the joy of watching them open all the gifts...

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We are counting the days till the big move. Original target is to be in for Christmas, after many ifs and buts today we signed the paper and are officially owners of this wonderful piece of real estate. Keys will be handed over 1st of February and then we move in!

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Once a collegue told me… Sarah you can make a video about anything and you will get 9 millions views, there are always someone who will enjoy the niche.

Well here is a fantastic TED Talk by Ashkan Fardost on exactly this topic, watch and enjoy.

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This week the kids are partying in Livorno with the grandparents, cousins, ants and uncles. And they love it so much that we fear they might not want to return. They have already broke two “1st time ever”s with first friends sleepover and first time to the movies.

We have a weekend alone! This happens rarely so when it happens we need to utilize it fully. This weekend we decided for a SPA weekend in Austria with a stop at Kranjska Gora to watch the women’s giant slalom competition. Stefano is really into skiing (eller “skiiidase” as we say in Ostrobotnia). But none of us had ever been to watch Slalom competitions live.

But we liked it! First of all the audience was quite small (looks bigger in TV) which meant we got good positioning to slope and broadcasting. The feeling in the crowd was superb like a big afterski party with gluewine and hotdog scent in the air and lots of good music. The icing on the cake was that Italy got in on third place and Sofia Goggia (super sympathetic) came to greet the audience and take pictures. The ski fanatic husband of mine was off course ridiculously enthusiastic about the whole event and it seems next weekend we’ll attend another one.

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The kindergarten is still closed in Trieste for winter break. So last day of December I first drive my parents to Ljubljana airport, then back to Trieste to pick up Stefano, we then changed driver for continuing to Livorno an additional 5 hours. The children spent a total of 9 hours in the car that day, but complained max 5% of journey, they were absolutely amazing, and I really see how they are growing and maturing.

We had a fantastic New Years celebration in Livorno with friends, it still warms my heart! As I have written earlier, friends are what we miss most at the moment, but we of course just need to give it time.

The air in Livorno breaths vacation and love.

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New Year and New Challenge, and I am really embracing this new year with open arms and heart...

So many opportunities and possibilities....

2018 for me will be about growth, personal development, change and leadership.

This year I will push my comfort zone by

- changing job and responsibilities

- take on work as change leadership consultant and workshop facilitator.

- go in for a more vegetarian (90%) vegetable based diet.


The environmental footprint is also something that I care deeply about, and I will also evaluate and take actions where I see my family can make a positive impact on the environment.

Apart from above items, we will continue having fun with the family who remain with highest priority always. 

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Christmas came and went, and we spent it in the loving company of my parents. We ate, enjoyed fantastic weather, we had forest walks, we went sledding, some exercised.... We had long saunas and enjoyed a saunabeer on the terrace, in the sun, overlooking the alps. We danced to Christmas music, we played, laughed, ate some more and just enjoyed the need of doing absolutely nothing in particular, but enjoy, the quietness and comfort of the moment.

The kids got two gift each (this partially due to a lost luggage), out of which one was a game that we played together several times. They never complained it was too few gifts instead they actually had time to properly play with the toys. So next year, 1-2 gifts is more than enough.

S: “Rocco, how was Christmas?” R:”Bellissima” (Said with warm heartfelt conviction)

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All set for Christmas, we arrived in Krvavec at the house that we rented for this weekend around noon. The weather was sunny and mild. As we drove through the village it was very foggy, but as we started climbing the hills we left the grayness in the valley and up here the views are spectacular.

The house is fantastically cozy, and after a walk on the hills we heated the sauna. We all love Sayna and I really enjoy watching the children relax and just breath in the hot air as we throw löyly. It is part of the Finnish inheritance that I hope they will carry on. Also I in some strange way I found an Italian husband who (if possible) enjoy the sauna even more than me.

All the Christmas food is prepared, a Christmas movie is playing in the background. I love that Slovenian TV is in English, no dubbing. In a couple of hours my parents the children’s grandparents land in Ljubljana and Stefano will go pick them up. We are all longing the reunion tremendously.

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