Last August, I wrote a post called “The Traffic Years,” telling you that my life had changed. We no longer had any toddlers in the house and I felt, for the first time in years, that I had some breathing room. In other words, I could justify returning to blogging.
As promised, I did return to writing once we moved to Reggio Emilia, Italy, but my comeback was short-lived. I wrote two blog posts in November and then published nothing. Until now.
I can’t really explain what happened, except to say life got in the way. And life always beats out blogging.
On the Move
Moving our family to Italy was crazy. Returning to Finland and then relocating to the United States at the end of 2021 was even crazier.
The move was unplanned, but it was something we needed to do (for reasons beyond the scope of this blog). For years, my wife and I had discussed the idea of moving back to the United States. We just didn’t think it would happen so soon.
Relocating across the pond was never going to be perfect. And it certainly wasn’t ideal when we relocated in December 2021. The whole thing felt like Mission Impossible.
My wife Johanna and I had about one week to do three things:
- pack up our stuff and clean out our rental in Italy
- drive back to Finland with our three children (and dog) in our stuffed mini van
- and then fly over to the U.S. (after a wild weekend of figuring out what to bring with us)
My stress level had never been higher.
It was a smooth trip, with the exception of one big mistake. I confused the departure time of our ferry, the one that would get us from Travemünde, Germany to Helsinki, Finland.
I read that our boat would leave at 2:45, so I assumed that it would depart in the afternoon. Well, I realized my error around 5:30 am. I checked the schedule on my iPhone and, sure enough, I had mixed it up. We missed our ferry and it cost us about 500 bucks.
In the end, it all worked out. On the next ferry to Helsinki the following day, they had one cabin available for our dog and the five of us. At 2:45 am.
Life in the U.S.
Thankfully, we survived the craziness of that week and the United States has been our home now for 9 months. Honestly, I still can’t believe it. Once a week or so, I’ll turn to my wife and say something like, “What are we doing here?”
That might sound like complaining, but it’s not. We lived in Europe for 8.5 years and then, unexpectedly, we moved to the States in the span of a week. So, lots to process in a short period of time.
The good news is that, instead of making another transcontinental move in 2022, we’ve decided to stay put. The U.S. will be our home for at least the 2022-2023 school year, and we’re at peace with that.
You might be wondering if I’m teaching in the States this school year. I hold a master’s degree in elementary education and I spent six years teaching in Finland. Why wouldn’t I return to an American school, right?
In the next blog post, I’ll tell you what I’m doing here and why.
Tim Walker is an American teacher, writer, and speaker living in Connecticut. He is the author of Teach Like Finland: 33 Simple Strategies for Joyful Classrooms and he created two online courses: The Finnish Education Insider and The Joyful Reader.
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I’m a US teacher and would love an opportunity to learn from Finland. Do you know anything about Fulbright opportunities? Or do you have other recommendations?
Hey, Tami! Yes, there’s a Finland Fulbright program and I’ve heard great things. I’ve met a bunch of Fulbright scholars from the U.S. and they’ve seemed to have really enjoyed the Finland program. Within my new course The Finnish Education Insider, I’m putting together a lesson on opportunities to teach in Finland, including how to land a job. If you’re interested, you can learn more about the course here. Hope that helps!
I’d love to learn about that, too: there would be nothing like teaching in Finland to really understand it. I fear my child is too old now to do the bouncing back and forth, but I’m always considering it. Thanks!!
You’re welcome, Kerry! Nice to hear from you. Hope you’re well!
Welcome back! To blogging AND to the U.S. Life definitely should take priority over blogging ~ but I’m certainly interested to hear more of your story now that you’re able to tell us.
Thank you so much, Angela! Yes, life definitely took priority. I’m looking forward to sharing more soon. Hope you’re well!
Hello! Great to read of your incredible journeys. Wow- congrats on managing unexpected adventures. I look forward to reading more. May this year be the sweetest yet.
Thank you! Very kind of you, Leigh Ann.
Welcome back to this side of the pond, Tim. And to blogging – I look forward to what you come up with as you do life. As an artist, teacher, and parent of a bi-continental family, I can relate to your experiences – thank you for your refreshing honesty.
Thank you, Sonja!
I’m a retired US first grade teacher. I love Finland! We had a Finnish exchange student when I was in high school (1969) and I’ve been back to visit a few times. She was a teacher in Helsinki! I feel like Finland does it right! I dream of the US trying some of their methods. Oh! And welcome back!
Will you work in a Waldorf school next? Hawaii has Waldorf schools! Preschool to Grade 12.
Welcome back to North America! I’m looking forward to your next story!! Jane Jacobs, Whitehorse, Yukon Territory.
Hey, Jane! Thank you for the welcome! Waldorf schools are fascinating, but I haven’t planned on teaching at one. Hawaii does sound nice though…
I’m curious about what aspects of education you think could realistically translate to schools in the US. Country size, culture, valuing of education, etc seem so different. Welcome back, for however long you’re here! What a time to be in education- anywhere!
Thanks, Sue! We’re definitely going to be unpacking that topic on this blog. In the meantime, you might be interested in checking out my book Teach Like Finland, which essentially seeks to answer the question that you raised.
Wow! Big changes! Good luck with life in the US!!
Thank you very much, Vanessa! We’re here for at least this school year.
Welcome back Tim. I was just telling my college students about your blog and adventure to Italy for Reggio. Glad your back in my neck of the woods. Remember meeting your mom a few years back. She was beaming with pride for you.
Thank you, Kellyn! I can remember my mom telling me about you. Hope you’re well!
Welcome back Tim, and welcome to the Bookbag Tours Team! I am looking forward to you leading a trip to Reggio and back to Finland.
Thanks, Kenny! I’m excited too! Had a blast during the BookBag Tours trip to Reggio this past summer. Excited to do both Reggio and Finland next summer! 🙂
Can’t wait to hear part two to this story and welcome back to the US. Glad everything worked out after all the craziness of the move.
Hi, Emma! Thank you so much!
Welcome back, Tim! Wow, that’s definitely a lot to process in such a short time. Did you experience reverse culture shock? I know the feeling all too well after my experiences teaching abroad. Can’t wait to hear more about what you’ll be doing now that things have settled a bit for you and your family.
Thanks, Brittany! It has been a lot to process 🙂 Yes, I have experienced reverse culture shock. As you know, it’s a real thing.
looking forward to the next episode🙂
Thank you very much, Marissa!
Hola Tim! I’m the local founder at a Helsinki International School (HEI Schools) in the US. So happy to hear you are back on this side of the pond! Are you open to being a speaker/guest lecturer at our school? Our book is what inspired me to open a school with the Finnish curriculum in Nashville!! We have the book on permanent display in our school lobby!
Hey, Jen! Great to hear from you. And thanks for your welcome!
I’d love to visit your school. I’ll reach out to you later today. 🙂
Yikes, just re-read my comment. I meant to type Your book, not our book. Sorry!
No problem at all! 🙂