As of today, we’ve survived 1 week in Finland! We now know roughly how to count to 10 in Finnish, and can say ‘cat,’ ‘dog’ and ‘uh oh, this is not good’ – essentials for small animal veterinary learning.
The temperature in Helsinki has occasionally dipped below 0°C in the time we’ve been here, but mostly it stays in the positive single digits and the sky is sunny or grey. One day this week there were some real beyond-the-Wall winds (the GoT references will probably continue) but they brought ‘proper’ snow that currently blankets our walk to the university so we’re glad that they happened.
It turns out that the only shoes we have that can handle the snow are the steel toe-capped boots we brought for equine work, which are heavy and clunky and so are giving us the workout we will probably need if we continue to eat chocolate and drink beer (for cultural reasons; it’s a Finnish lager called Karhu) at the rate we are now. The discovery that my mum’s old fluffy snow boots were not up to the job came at the cost of me landing on my arse shortly after taking the above photo, bringing our collective fall tally to 1 (near misses are at 3.)
One of the things we’ve noticed on this walk is that a lot of the children at the nearby primary school have little plastic toboggans, which they use to happily make the most of the snow. We’re hoping to buy a toboggan of our own before it melts and take on a hill in the park (we have health insurance and there’s a hospital just down the road.)
A surgeon at the small animal hospital remarked to me that they see few dogs for orthopaedic treatment during the snow season but the human hospitals see plenty of people with broken limbs. The only conclusion I could draw was that people worry about their dogs pulling them over on the ice so they leave them at home and go out and fall over by themselves instead.
One creature who will probably be happier when the snow stops and the temperature rises is ‘Everything is Possible’, the huge (nearly 17ft) gorilla made out of used tyres (complete with nostrils) who sits outside the Viikki campus library. I have already recommended to the University of Liverpool library that they get one immediately.