Sunday, December 30, 2012

Laguna Beach Sunrise - Time Lapse

How do sunrises compare around the world?  Dennis Grice and I took this time lapse movie in Laguna Beach, California today to record what it looks like close to home.

When I'm in Joensuu, Finland I'll take another to compare.

Laguna Beach is at latitude 33.5 degrees north of the equator.

Joensuu, Finland is 66.2 degrees north of the equator.

I know they will be very different, but how similar will they be?

(I wish I owned a polarizing filter.)

P.S. I just realized that the sun is above the hilltop a little over five seconds as it ascends the sky.  The sky also glows about five seconds before we see it crest the hilltop.  It makes me think about the position of the sun - which was far below the horizon - when it started showing light in our morning sky.

Click on picture to see movie.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Pause

I woke up to the sound of rain and thoughts that in less than twenty days all the comforts I have grown to love and need will be far away; they will temporarily be replaced by people and sounds and patterns I do not yet know. The darkness and cold will be new realities, too; I've heard the darkness can be quite comforting and its stillness conducive to quiet thinking without distraction. I'm curious to see if I will feel the same way.

But now I lie awake at 3:49 in the morning, relishing the sounds and sensations of my "normal" life, unable to imagine how I will feel when I move to the other side of the world. I'm sure I will love the experience once I'm in it, but right now it's difficult to understand what it is that pushes me to do things out of my comfort zone. I'm driven to do such things, I know, because I believe in working to improve education and I have a great love of adventure, but for now I stay still, simply grateful, grateful for the sound of the rain, the people and life I love, and the comforts of my own home.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

A Visit From a Finnish Fulbright Family

(Pictured from left:  Iiris Sydanmaanlakka [16], Bryan, me, Olavi Sydanmaanlakka [father], Otto Sydanmaanlakka [11], and Saana Sydanmaanlakka [14]. The Fulbright Scholar, Marianna Sydanmaanlakka, was taking the picture [see her picture below].) (Honestly, this is not how Saana's neck looks in real life - but it seems to have become so in the virtual world of digital images.  [This image was not Photoshopped!])

Marianna Sydanmaanlakka (the mother in the hat below) is a school counselor in Finland and she and her family are living in Baltimore, Maryland  on a Fulbright grant for 4 1/2 months.  I wanted to extend a little American hospitality to this family so after meeting them at the Fulbright orientation in August I invited them to visit me in California.  This picture was taken during their first trip to the Pacific Ocean.  The entire family danced and spun in the sand and giggled with the experience - and then told Bryan and me we were "boring" because we weren't as exuberant as they.

The Finns will return to their US home (since August) in Maryland tomorrow, and then to Finland in about ten days.  I think they're ready to go home but they've had a marvelous time.  When I met them at the Fulbright orientation in August the children barely spoke English - and now they speak fluently.  The family carries with them so much joy, so much of a sense of wonder, and a genuine desire to learn about other cultures.

I love our new friendship!

P.S. I'll be moving to Finland in 25 days.  :)