Monday, June 16, 2014

Field Trip to Finland…and Nicknames

You know my passion for nicknames and how I have bestowed 3 nicknames of Finnish origin on my kids.1187040_10152299298574669_451437989_n

So, I decided that with school out, it was a chance for them to connect with their “newfound” roots.

I contacted the Finnish Ambassador to the US.

From: Jeremy Epstein
Sent: 1. kesäkuuta 2014 10:28
To: WAS sanomat; Koukku-Ronde Ritva; Mäkeläinen-Buhanist Soili

How I am teaching my kids to appreciate Finland

Dear Ambassador Koukku-Ronde,

Considering that  my family and I have no connection to Finland of consequence, I think you will find this story quite amusing.

(I travelled there once about 25 years ago and have 1 friend in Finland, but that’s about it, unless you count the Nokia phone I had in 1999).

How my kids got Finnish surnames as nicknames

4 years ago, my kids and I were watching women’s ice hockey in the 2010 Olympics, as Finland played SIMG_20140601_100905weden.

I have a certain fondness for creative nicknames and, for some reason, I started calling my 3 kids “Tikkanen,” “Jokinen,” and “Lakkanen” (turns out her name was Laksonen-sorry about that).

The nicknames have stuck (I blog about it often) and recently I bought them ice hockey jerseys with their nicknames on the back, which they wear proudly. (Pictures attached).

We are talking about a family trip to Finland one day.


We live in the DC area and wanted to know if we could have an “official” visit to the Embassy during June (as they will be out of school).

Nothing too crazy, but we thought it might be fun for them to wear their jerseys and meet some Finns, take a few pictures, and learn a bit about the country.

I certainly realize that you have many important things to do, so anyone on the staff will be fine (even if only for 4 minutes). At a minimum, it will be good pictures for your Facebook page and Twitter feed!

Let me know if this is something we could do, as I know it will be educational and memorable for them as well…and who knows, you may create fans of Finland for life!

Have a great day. Respectfully,

Jeremy Epstein

And I got a response

Dear Sir,

Thank you for our message. We would be happy to give you and your kids a small tour of the Embassy on June xx, at 2pm. I will show you a little bit around our building and at the same time tell you about Finland. It will take an hour maximum. Please let me know if this sounds good to you.

Also, can you send me the names of everyone attending the tour by Friday June xx.

Best wishes,

Pauliina Pennanen

Cultural and Media Assistant|| Embassy of Finland
3301 Massachusetts Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20008
The Embassy of Finland in Washington D.C. is the first LEED certified green embassy in the United States.

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