best weekend

These past weeks have been busy and don't seem to slow down too much.  I turned nineteen last Saturday in Jyväskylä.  I went there on Friday evening and came back late Sunday night.  It's about a three hour train ride from Helsinki to Jyväskylä, but the six hours I spent this weekend in the train were worth it.  I just love Jyväskylä.  It's my second hometown and some of the greatest people I know are there.  It was a perfect birthday.

I have two very wonderful American visitors coming here to Finland in January for two weeks and we're thinking about taking a trip to Stockholm or perhaps to even Copenhagen or Oslo.  I've now noticed that I know virtually nothing about any of these cities.  Do any of you Scandinavian bloggers have any tips about which city to visit when comparing Sweden, Denmark and Norway?  How about where to stay, shop, and eat?  I would very much appreciate it!


to let go

I'm a routine kinda gal.  I don’t know what it is about them, but whenever the simple idea of having a routine, or even better, getting into a routine comes up, I become quite giddy.  I suppose it has something to do with the order aspect.  I’m big into organization.  As a child in grade school, I tended to favor the teachers who, for example, color coded our folders and alphabetized the words in our spelling tests.  I can’t go to sleep until things are stowed in their rightful place.  I’ve been told by some that I’m bordering the OCD line.  I’ve learnt to make peace with it.  If you’re like me though, you know too just how well routines can make organizing days so easy.  It’s the planning and the execution.  It's the hair raising feeling when you’ve just accomplished something and will move onto the next scheduled activity.  Not only will these be today's activities, but tomorrow's too, because it’s your routine. Somehow I find beauty in this, the predictable and safe.

Now that I have settled into my life in Helsinki for more than two months now, I have a routine going.  Mornings are reserved for reading and long breakfasts, early afternoons for work, and late afternoons and evenings for class and homework.  It’s nice, I admit, but there’s still part of me that feels like something is missing.  This part, however prevalent it is in me right now, is telling me to let go, to explore, to gain new experiences, and to even let the routine slip sometimes.  I don't know why or where it's come from, but now that I've become more and more familiar and even comfortable with my surroundings, I seem to have come down with what I like to call "The World Is Your Oyster" Syndrome.  

Yes, as corny as it may sound, I can't help but wake up every morning only to think this city is mine.  


helsingin kasvitieteellinen puutarha

The Botanical Garden of Helsinki in Kaisaniemi is such a lovely place.  Autumn is surely coming if not already here, but in the garden, it was so easy to see that summer is still trying to hold on, if just for a moment.  The garden is situated exactly in the center of the city, where people move quickly, brushing your shoulders, hurrying to the next destination.  But in the garden, no such things are tolerated. There seems to be an unspoken rule that one must stop and watch at least one bee pollinate a flower, preferably whilst sipping hot tea. The sun's rays beat against my back, cool air entered my lungs, and I took time to breathe.  I find it's nice to do that every once in a while.


the beginning

I don't always remember everything from school, but I do remember reading A Farewell to Arms during my junior year.  I didn't love the novel, but now when I think about it, all that comes to mind is the rain Hemingway seemed to love so much.  Rain, the symbol of death, or so according to our teacher it was.

I think that Hemingway would have loved this time in Helsinki.  It's raining here almost constantly these days. During the nights, raindrops beat against my window, waking me repeatedly as if to say, I'm here and I shan't leave.  The morning comes, the streets dry, the rain has left only to come back again later in the afternoon.

Even so, I think my English teacher and maybe even Hemingway had it wrong.  To me, the rain is clean and washes away everything.  I feel lately like I'm beginning to know myself, becoming stronger in who I am.  I am growing up in small ways, facing situations that I never thought I would, and here's the shocking part:  I love it.  I'm only beginning.

Bring on the rain.