Tuesday, May 27, 2008

50 years ago today

a half century ago we took a transatlantic flight from paris to montreal ... thus began a new life in canada ...

i don't have very many of my own memories from that trip ... or the second part of the journey - a train ride from montreal to winnipeg ... i do know that at the end of it, i was a very tired little girl!

50 years ago a trip from finland to canada was almost an epic journey! ... i mean, were jets even invented? i don't know - but all the commercial flights were on those propeller planes (4 props were used on the long haul flights, across the ocean) ...

i do have one memory of paris ... i remember our whole little family running on the tarmac, towards the plane ... my folks could only speak finnish, and somehow they had misunderstood the departure time - we were really late! ... i guess the stressful situation stayed with me ... i still remember the cool air hitting my legs ... it was dark, with a light rain falling ... and the plane looked huge as it loomed in front of us ...


we started out as a little family of 4 ... mom and dad were excited about a new life in a vast new country ... starting fresh ... they had big dreams and plans ...

the couple who sponsored us in winnipeg, were total srangers ... they were transplanted finns and wanted to help a little family start out ... we met them for the first time when we arrived in winnipeg ...

my brother and i quickly adjusted to life in canada ... we were itty bitty kids ... i think it was more stressful on my 28 year old dad and 23 year old mother ... even though they were still young - they had left everything familiar behind ... they were the first of their families to leave finland ... my dad remained the only one of his people to immigrate ... mom was blessed and thrilled beyond words when her older sister arrived in canada - one year later ... followed soon after by my widowed grandmother and 4 younger children ...

this post could turn into a little novel if i wrote all the stories from those first few years ... slum housing (though my folks weren't poor - just taken advantage of) ... with rodent problems (one mouse even ran across mom's face during the night) ... a curtain dividing our living area from another families ... one bathroom - shared by 4 families ... yup, those were interesting times!

it has been an adventure ... a journey that has made me into who i am today ...

so today i celebrate (along with my mom and my brother ... dad died in 2001) 50 years in a country that is now home for us ... thank you Lord!

"t'was grace that brought me safe thus far ... and grace will lead me home ... "

20 comments:

Ginger said...

Happy Anniversary, Saija! Just think, if you'd stayed in Finland we probably wouldn't be enjoying your blog ... in English! Glad you came over the Atlantic.

Cathy said...

I enjoyed your story, Saija.

Carol-Ann. said...

Hi Saija,
I read your blog in bloglines but just had to come over this time in order to comment! Wonderful post! Happy Anniversary! May this be an entire year of being blessed and feeling at home! Jubilees are to be celebrated!

Fred said...

What a fascinating story. Someday, youll have to tell us why your mom and dad decided to leave. Regardless, Happy Anniversary!

Mari said...

What a neat remembrance of this life changing event! Thanks for sharing it.

Felisol said...

Dear Saija,
Half a century in Canada, that is some anniversary.
Happy anniversary to your family, mother and brother included.
Maybe you've got the best of two worlds?
Canada seems to be a nice , but vast country to live in.
From Felisol

Mrs. Mac said...

Sweet family picture! Happy anniversary northern neighbor. Do you have many memories of life in Finland before your move?

Gavin said...

Wow

Deborah said...

happy anniversary! and thanks for sharing a little of your story...hope to hear more!

Amrita said...

Its good to read how God guided your family. Great is His faithfulness

Maggie Ann said...

I love to read anything you write. your family sounds like it came through some deep waters. I'm glad you have the Lord. And I do too. Thinking of the hymn...'no one ever cared for me like Jesus'...oh how true and how we need that love. Its late...I have to hurry and get ready for bed. We got our screened in porch scrubbed up Mem. Day. What a job! thankfully I only had to do the furniture...hubby & son tackled the rest...ceiling and all. That screen is nice but gets soooo filthy over the winter. *hugs* I'm off and away...smile.

eija said...

It would be very interesting to read those stories!

You know a couple of weeks ago we had a visitor at our church - he's an old friend of our "oldies", but has been working in Canada among the Finnish immigrants since 70's. Maybe you've run into him? His name is Tuomas Jäntti - a real man of God.

auntibeck said...

What a wonderful story, replayed over the years by millions of immigrants in your country and mine. Praise God for His providence in our lives...

Mimi said...

what a wonderful anniversary...you and I'm glad part of your family were able to migrate to Canada to be with you,,
I would love to hear more stories about your early life in Canada...
we can know that God will take care of us...

Nancy said...

What an intersting life you have had. Your parents were very brave to start out new in a strange place. Glad you shared this..

Pat said...

I loved reading this. I wouldn't mind one bit if you told us more!
My grandparents immigrated from Hungary, no one speaking english...like your family I am amazed at their fortitude and desire for a new and better life.
Happy anniversary!!!

Debra said...

Oh! Loved the family photo--you've hardly changed, Saija! :) And I loved your story of how you arrived, as well. Please tell us more stories if you'd like--I know I'm not the only one who would love to read them. Oh, wanted to tell you there's a certain tv commercial with a woman who *always* reminds me of you everytime I see it. She is holding a kitten up to her face and she looks so much like you--at least I think she does. :) As always, thanks for your comments at my blog! Blessings, Debra

Saija said...

dear buds ... i value your comments and your encouragement, as we blog along side each other - cheering each other along! blessings on ya!

Flip Flop Floozie said...

I think that you need to expound some more on this story..there is a lot to write about and have written down for years to come. I would do this If I were you. I think that this is one of the advantages of blogging..Put down those memories before you forget them...I loved reading this and look forward to more. Sandy

Catherine said...

Happy anniversary! :) It's funny the things we remember about traveling when we were small. I have a lot of snippets of memories from our trip back to the US from Hong Kong when I was four. We took the scenic route and first traveled through Asia, Europe, and Israel before taking a ship back to the States and then a long train ride to Illinois.