The Hoys Family
A beautiful downtown apartment, overlooking the city of Milwaukee. That's where I met the Hoys Family. Mother Anu, father Tuomo, 2 year old Viivi and 9 months old Oliver. The first thing I noticed was little Oliver asleep in his stroller, outside on the balcony. It was freezing cold that late October day but Oliver was covered in super soft, warm and comfy blankets. Looking completely at ease and very happy.
No strangers to different cultures
The Finns moved here only 6 months ago. Tuomo works for a global corporation that has operations in Milwaukee and the family moved here with him. They are planning to stay here for now and are settling down as much as they can. Living in a different culture is not new to them. Anu was a MBA Exchange student at the University of North Carolina and Tuomo lived in Peking and Hongkong for a couple of years. But that was before they met, before they had children.
Adventure living abroad
Staying in Wisconsin with their two little ones is a great adventure to them. They are amazed by the friendly people and love the booming city of Milwaukee. They talk to friends and family from Finland on a regular basis via Skype and Facetime. That prevents them from being homesick. And many loved ones have come to visit them in the States already. They bring the chocolate and other goodies that they love so much, but can't find here. There is however one thing that the Hoys family truly miss: people being outdoors year round.
Come rain or come shine
Most Finns, like their Scandinavian neighbors, have their babies sleep outside. No matter how warm, rainy or cold. They sleep in the yard, on a balcony or sometimes even outside of a restaurant or shop. They consider it to be much more healthy for infants to be in fresh, open air than in a noisy home or establishment. No airco, no central heating. The children are deeper and longer asleep, as long as they are dressed for the weather. And if kids sleep well they are much happier.
Walk, play, sleep, repeat
That is why Anu and Tuomo are often outside with Viivi and Oliver. They can be found running along the Riverside with the kids, strolling through Lake Park or having fun at a playground. This time of year the children wear special outdoor gear from Finland. It is warm and waterproof. So even if it's raining cats and dogs, the Hoys’s are still to be found out-of-doors. It will be just them rocking the swings, because everybody else will be inside. Even if the temperature is nearing zero, the kids will be warmly dressed to play at the beach. And if it is time for Oliver to take a little nap, Anu just parks his stroller in a quiet spot and lets him sleep as long as he needs.
Sensible or not?
I love the fact that the children sleep outside. But not everybody does. Some people make comments that it is irresponsible, not sensible or unhealthy. But in my opinion it is the opposite. The Hoys kids are growing up to be strong and wholesome. Viivi and Oliver are two happy, enthusiastic, adventurous, cool little children. It was great to meet them and get a better understanding of their culture. It was inspiring to see how they stick to some customs while also adapting to the American life. Thank you for introducing me to your world Anu, Tuomo, Viivi and Oliver!