That's Finn for Happy Friends Day, which is what they call Valentine's Day. I thought it was fabulous when I was there. I don't know how the holiday evolved differently in Finland than it did here, but the focus is really on friendship, and people make an effort to spend time with friends and show appreciation for them, rather than romantic partners.
So, in honour of Friends Day, I am publicly showing appreciation for my friends, most of whom probably won't even read this, but I'll feel good knowing I told anyone who stops by here what great friends I have.
Daph - my best American friend and the one who shared that bizarro year in Finland with me. After all this time, we are still close and there are still parts of me that don't get shared with anyone but you. Although our lives have gone in different directions, although we live in different time zones and different countries, you are still one of my best friends. The best thing to come out of my year away was my friendship with you. You got me through that year (well, we got each other through it, I think), and you've never stopped being there for me. "You're my best friend!"
Ismail, Darren, Monica, Shelley and Mel - the rest of the exchange student crew. You were also instrumental in helping me smile when Finland got to be too much. I'm so glad we're finally all in touch again, and would love to see you again sometime.
Sean, Kirby, Andrew, Jodi, Jess - my UW, V2 buddies. I felt so adrift when I came back from Finland. I had been part of such a close-knit group of friends, then came home and felt like I didn't fit in anywhere. Then I moved into North Quad and met all of you. We had an absolute blast over the next five years. I wish we were all still in the same city sharing the next chapter of our lives. Although we've drifted apart, you are still very important to me. You supported me through a lot of student years stupidity and shared many many good times. Hopefully some are still ahead.
Carrie, Marn, Kath - my fellow hockey widows. My mom told me that when she and my dad moved far from their families, their friends became their families. In the last six or seven years we have shared milestones like weddings, funerals, christenings and first homes, and ordinary fun stuff like camping trips, Oktoberfest, Rangers and Leafs games and ski trips. You have become my sisters. I don't know what I'd do without you.
Sarah, Christine and Jessica - my Highland buddies. I don't miss the drive to Cambridge, but I do miss working with you. I'm so glad we've kept in touch and still hang out.
Deb and Tanya - some of the best parts of the last school year were hanging out in the basement with you two, talking books and classroom management and coping strategies. I think both of you are fabulous teachers and your students are lucky to have dedicated, caring, giving professionals like you working with them. I love working with both of you (which is good, considering how closely Tanya and I have had to work!) and hope you stick around for a good long time.
Hey, maybe I should tell these people how much they mean, instead of just telling whoever happens by my blog. I think I'll go do that now.