Thursday, April 11, 2013

Our Trip

We returned a day and a half ago from our trip to Finland and Poland and I am surprised by how busy I have been. Trying to reorganize after so much time away has been stressful and time consuming, especially when I have the added pressure/incentive of my mom coming to visit tomorrow. But let me take a moment to share some gorgeous photos from our vacation with you.

The first part of our trip was spent in Finland. We went to north-central Finland to a tiny town called Vuokatti, where I was an exchange student for a year in 2003-04. I stayed with my host family and it was such a special time as I reconnected with them and they got to know my husband better.

This is a photo from the top of the ski hill in Vuokatti
Me, my husband, and my host family
We also did all sorts of fun outdoor activities. There is nothing like winter near the polar circle!
We went snowshoeing in the beautiful forests. I stuck my pole into the snow and found it to be about 2-3 feet deep.
 We went cross country skiing, which has always been one of my favorite activities. I fell in love with it all over again.... except when I woke up the next day sore from head to foot!
 And we went ice skating on the large lake nearby. The ice was so thick that I could see the cracks in it extend down several feet. I even saw people ice skating and pushing a baby stroller at the same time!
And we enjoyed a lot of fellowship time. My host mom asked if we will have children soon because she really wants grandchildren. It was such a sweet sentiment and made me tear up. I told her that we are hoping God will bless us with a child someday soon

We then went to Helsinki for 2 days to tour around with my host sister.  This is a view of Helsinki from the top of the Olympic tower there. All the white is frozen bodies of water
We went into this gorgeous church called the rock church because from the outside it looks like a giant boulder. It is very modern inside. Finland is a Protestant country where most of the population is Lutheran.
 a street in Helsinki
 Then we went to Poland to spend time with my husband's family. His parents immigrated to the USA shortly before my husband was born, so we went to spend time with his grandparents, aunt, and cousins. They live in a very tiny farming village in a very simple home. It was definitely a humbling experience for me to see first-hand how privileged I am to live as I do.

This is a photo of us with my husbands family. It was a shock to me to learn that my husband looks just like his grandpa!
We then went to Warsaw for a few days with my mother-in-law to sight-see before returning home. It was very humbling to learn that 85% of Warsaw was destroyed during WWII. The below photos are of the "old town" of Warsaw, which was completely rebuild after WWII by using old paintings by Canaletto as blueprints.
One of the most humbling experiences was seeing the monument in what used to be the Jewish ghetto in Warsaw. During WWII the Nazi army put 450,000 Jews into a ghetto in Warsaw where they were walled-in. The conditions were terrible, and those that survived were then shipped off to terrible fates at a nearby concentration camp. Now this monument stands, showing the bleak-eyed forms of the Jewish resistance. Behind the statue is a new Jewish museum set to open soon.
We then returned home and were so happy to be back in our own bed again. It was a wonderful trip and we made amazing memories.


  1. WOW! What beautiful pictures, Amy! It looks like ya'll had a great trip, and fellowship(: Thanks for sharing, enjoy your time with your Mom.


  2. What an absolutely gorgeous trip! It sounds like you guys had a blast. =)

  3. Welcome back! So glad you all had a great trip! Love the pictures!

  4. What an amazing trip! We were privileged to get acquainted with two German exchange students a few years ago (from separate host families in different counties). Both young people saved their own money for a return visit last summer! Those ties are strong!

    As our family continues to learn about the Holocaust, we never cease to be stunned and sickened by the senseless decimation of so many lives. How humbling it would be to visit that former ghetto in Warsaw.


I love to fellowship with others and hear what they have to say. I would ask, however, that you be mindful of what you write and try to be uplifting and respectful. Thank you for sharing!