"To Have One's Own Cow In The Ditch"

…is something we say in Finland when we mean to imply that someone's not being helpful for entirely selfless reasons. Which would be an accurate description of my intentions when I invited Roosa to come and stay with us for a few days. She's a Finnish gal on a three-month-long tour of the West Coast and Hawaii, hitchhiking, couch-surfing, and just seeing this part of the world for herself. 

Of course, I thought she might like it here, maybe enjoy a chance to see something a little different from mainstream US, relax in our guest bedroom, and gather her thoughts, but I also thought it might be real nice to visit with someone from the Old Country. 

I don't get to speak Finnish often, or visit with fellow Finns. My language skills are slowly deteriorating. I try to keep them up the best I can, writing letters, reading books, magazines, blogs and online newspapers, but really it's not quite enough. 

It was lovely to have a few uninterrupted days of Finn-talk about newspapers, politics, the youth of today, social media, freedom, happiness, Tove Jansson, America, the future, high school…all the things that people talk about when they get together, but in the context of a culture we both grew up in.

Of course, it was particularly lovely, because of who Roosa is; a smart, passionate, kind, funny, brave, and sensitive young woman. I felt super-honored to have her around and was really inspired by her courage in heading out and seeing the world for herself. Talking to her made me even more excited for journeys, big and small, and how being open to adventure and pushing your comfort zone can really help you be more true to yourself. 

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When she took off for her next adventure, she left behind a beautiful print of yellow lilies, a Finnish book about "The Good Life" and a card she drew, featuring Charlie, me and herself, and…Beyonce...

The last I saw of her, she was sitting in the back of my friend's pick-up truck, waving. I have a feeling her journeys will continue to be very interesting to follow. Safe travels, Roosa.  All the way out there and all the way home!

ps. If you would like to follow Roosa's adventures, you can do so on her blog, or her instagram (@mangomalen).