On Strike

The public supports us.

Being on strike makes me proud. To see and hear the support of the public every morning on the picket line, I am further convinced L.A. teachers made the right choice to leave the classroom. It is not an easy choice for many single income teachers, but it is one of the reasons we are striking. Teachers should not have to live paycheck to paycheck when educating society's children.

But our strike is about more than that, and it seems the public is aware of what we have been concerned about for years. In the middle of one morning's picket session I realized that the education reformers had been so very wrong in what they were telling us. The public knows and understands that we know what's best for children in schools. They place their precious children in our hands to educate, and want us to do our job unencumbered by district edicts and structures that get in the way.

The public supports us.

Being on strike is not what I thought it would be. It is be…

The Concept of Time

There are 48 hours in the day in Finland.

Not really.

But it is amazing how much time you have when you are not busy being a mother, teacher, daughter and wife.

As Fulbrighters, we are encouraged to take time to get to know our new environments, whether in Botswana or New Zealand or Singapore. There are many A-type personalities in the group, and many of us don’t know how to take it slow. But I heeded the advice and moved slowly.

I've been getting familiar with the transportation system. Venturi is the national train system with an app that helps you look at timetables and purchase tickets. 

Electronics-Finding the right adapter to connect to European power supplies. 

Currency-what is the value of a Euro in comparison to a dollar? It’s important to know. Do I really want to spend 99 euros on a blender? (About $125)

Setting up my apartment involves connecting to the WiFi (important!) and seeing what needs to be purchased for day to day needs.

I was fortunate to find my apartment through AirBnB, and the hosts have been so accommodating and have made me feel welcome. 

These are just some areas of focus along with meeting with my dynamo faculty adviser, Hanna Poylio.

The illustrious Hanna Polio from Niilo Maki Institute

But back to time; due to my body’s fierce love of jet lag, I have been waking up every morning around 4:00 am. The sun doesn’t rise until 9:30 am. That leaves plenty of time to work around the apartment.

I’ve never had so much time to do my hair.

Time to read? Yes.

Make your bed? Done before 6:00 am.

Write and blog? A cinch.

And that’s all before the sun rises.

Knowing there’s only 6 hours of “sunlight” (it should be called graylight), means carefully planning your outdoor activities. So far, some include:

A city walk, to get the lay of the land.

Exercise spots for walks/hikes.

Comparing supermarkets and stores in the city center.

Finding the post office, museums, and coffee shops.

Or watching the President of Finland speak to local residents at the mall.

Reindeer art

President Sauli Niinistö

Harju walk

Gingerbread Jyvaskyla

Lake walk

Local church

Art everywhere

I could get used to this new concept of time, but I don’t want to worry about that yet. The three hours of commuting time in Los Angeles traffic is a bad nightmare that won’t return for another eight months.

In the meantime, I am embracing the time I’ve been given to be a Fulbright Teacher, and to go in-depth into my inquiry project.


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