I can't tell you how many times I was brought to tears this week; I have fallen in love with the depths of Finnish culture, its people, and its natural beauty - and I think it took the winter, and the emergence of spring, to understand its effect on me.
And it took the music.
I had tears when I heard the children sing in Terhi Oksanen's music class.
I had tears again when I heard the lyrics students had written for the songs they composed themselves.
I had tears again when I realized what education could be, and what it isn't, for most of our children in the United States, and the tears continued when I told myself that as hard it is to believe, we have the ability to improve it on a large scale.
I had tears that evening when I heard a concert by Maria Ylipää as she sung the music composed by Anna-Mari Kähärä. The lyrics to the songs were the poems by Onerva, a feisty Finnish feminist from the early 1900's.
And today I had tears when I walked the harbors around Helsinki and once again felt how fortunate I am to be learning about Finland, its people, and its education system.
I hope I have the words, and the video and pictures, to accurately share this experience; I am terrified that I won't be able to do it justice. But like the students in Terhi Ohksanen's music class, I will try. I will try.
Thank you, Fulbright Program.