First Stop: Finland!

June 17, 2011

I have been in a lot of airports in my life… Since I was two years old, I have been flying internationally and I have been in airports all over the world. Never – never! – have I gotten as lost as I did in Helsinki, Finland.

In all actuality, I’m sure the airport was very clear in giving directions and it was probably nowhere near as confusing as it seemed to us at the time. However, the only catch to reading signs in Finnish is that you have to be able to read Finnish. We wandered for hours.

No joke.


… At least one hour.

After three or so laps around the airport and a couple futile attempts to ask for directions, we conquered! I stepped out of the airport and right into the familiar sights of my childhood: cobblestone streets, european cars, colorful houses with fascinating architecture, a city marketplace, nonsocial and unfriendly people… It was all so beautiful! The wildest part of the whole day was that we had skipped the night before. What? No worries, I can explain – as we flew from America to Europe, we skipped nighttime and it was now the middle of the next day. None of us had slept and we would not sleep until that night, to adjust our internal clocks to being on the opposite side of the world. As we trekked through the city searching for food and trying to reach the Baltic Sea, I had this fuzzy feeling like the world was all moving at hyper-speed but also moving in slow motion at the same time. If you don’t know what this feels like, then attend a summer camp and stay awake the whole drive home. (Am I right?!)

We ended up eating McDonald’s and Subway for lunch and dinner (because where else would we eat in Europe?) annnnd a seagull pooped on my water bottle. Classic.

[Be ye warned: Helsinki seagulls are practically creatures from the Hunger Games – don’t let them see that you have food!]

Noticing later that there was bird poop on my water bottle, I did the only sensible thing that one could do in that situation: I tilted my water bottle sideways to look at it. After I had taken the lid off of course. I dumped water all over the floor of the store we were in. Reeaal smooth. We should probably leave. Now-ish.

Well, as Pastor Steve Munds always says: “ENJOY THE JOURNEY!” Finland was just a layover spot for us, but we sucked that city dry. We pushed past the fatigue and lived that day to the fullest. A friend of mine once told me that a runner never finishes the race and regrets giving their all. That revelation changed me – I will not get to the end of this life and regret all the hours of sleep that I did not get!

Enjoy your journey today 🙂

– Merie

(If you’d like more information about or if you’d like to give towards my next trip to Indonesia, please email me at!)


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