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Happy Midsummer!

June 23, 2016

It’s nearly here. Juhannus, aka Midsummer – the traditional kick-off of summer in Finland and it looks like parts of Finland will get the summery weather to go with it! It’s a long weekend here, so today people will begin the exodus to the countryside and tomorrow everything will be closed.

I’d like to take this opportunity to wish a happy Midsummer to everyone. Stay safe, don’t drink and drive (or boat) and arrive alive! Oh, and wear sunscreen!😉

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Police officer deaths in Finland (updated)

June 21, 2016

Last week on June 17, a police officer was killed in a confrontation with an armed man in Vihti. The suspect (who was later found dead on the property of a suspected suicide), was known to police and opened fire on the two reporting police officers without warning. The second officer was wounded seriously, but is said to be recovering well from his injuries. Four other officers were also caught up in the confrontation but did not suffer any injuries.

The death of the 30 year-old officer is the first since 2007, when a 20 year-old drunk driver ran down an officer in Kälviä in central Pohjanmaa. The offender was sentenced to five years in prison.

One of the most infamous police killings in Finland was in 1997. Danish criminal Steen Christensen gunned down two officers in Helsinki after robbing the Palace hotel. He was convicted and sentenced in Finland, and was later sent back to Denmark to serve out the rest of his sentence. Apparently he is still behind bars.

In March 1969 four police officers were killed in Pihtipudas when Tauno Pasanen opened fire on them. Pasanen was pardoned by President Mauno Koivisto in 1982. In 1996 Pasanen was convicted for the killing of his former wife. He was freed from jail in 2000.

Dozens of other officers lost their lives in Finland, more than 130 in fact, but a great many of those people were killed during the wars.

As the relative and friend of police officers in both Canada and Finland, I urge people to respect the dangerous work police officers do every single day. A man did not make it home last Friday and that is sad indeed.

RIP to the fallen officer, Tomi Keskinen*, and condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.

With information from the June 19 and 21, 2016 edition of Helsingin Sanomat and Wikipedia.

*Updated on June 22 to include the deceased officer’s name with information from Iltalehti.

Picture of the Day

June 14, 2016

Its warming up again, but it was a bit chilly this morning on the way to work. I rode my bike through the central park in Espoo, AKA keskuspuisto. At 5.40 a.m. the land was breathing fog, totally worth the stop to take today’s picture of the day.

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Things I didn’t know last week

June 13, 2016

Well, I have actually learned these things over the course of the last few weeks in meeting people and reading a few books I picked up last year. There’s no theme, just a mishmash of information.

  • Diplomatic relations between Finland and Canada were established in November 1947.
  • Suomenlinna was home to thousands of people during the second World War. Today only about 800 people live on the islands year round. I found a really interesting book at a secondhand store, which I am still reading…
  • I wrote about Espoonjoki a little while ago, so here are some other things I learned about  it: Espoonjoki is 27km and its source is near Serena in north Espoo. Five lakes are part of Espoonjoki’s catchment area and 22,000 people live around the shores of Pitkäjärvi, one of those lakes in the catchment area.
  • The Träskända manor house is owned by the City of Espoo, but is not currently being used. The city is looking for tenants. There are some huge oak trees on the grounds of the manor. There is also a small hiking trail system that is suitable for kids. I didn’t have a chance to spend much time there, so I have to make a point to go back.

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  • This is called the Temple of Love and is across the valley from the Träskända Manor. It’s been vandalized a lot in the past, but it looked in pretty good shape when I stopped to take a look at it.

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  • Last week, Finland was host to what is possibly the world’s biggest soccer (football) tournament for girls and women. The Stadi Cup was established in 1985. In 2015, some 330 teams from around the world took part!
  • The Finnish Canine Museum is an on-line historical look at dogs in Finland. I just stumbled across it the other day. So today’s new fact is, the Finnish Kennel Club was established on May 11, 1889.
  • On a more morbid front, and I am not sure how we got to this discussion point with the fellow I was speaking with… Finland was hit by different epidemics back in the 1800s, for example, cholera. Deceased victims in Helsinki were often disposed of in the South Harbour area (where the cruise ships leave from), or buried on the grounds of the Vanha Kirkko in downtown Helsinki. I am not sure if any of this is true, so if anyone knows, I’d love to hear more about this particular tidbit!

To do: explore more!:)

Today’s ear worm

May 24, 2016

Here is your EAR WORM for the day!

This is why I need to immerse myself more into the Finnish music scene. The Little Miss knew that this song was Finnish (she was walking around singing “Pekka, Pekka, Pekka” all the time) – and it was played ALL the time at the recent World Hockey Championships in Russia.

It’s a song about the Finnish hockey player Pekka Saravo who plays for the (2016) Finnish championship team Tappara of Tampere, coincidentally also Patrik Laine‘s current club.

A new watery world: Espoonjoki

May 20, 2016

We acquired a canoe a few weeks ago and we didn’t hesitate to put it in the water. After having lived in Espoo for nearly 14 years, it’s a real pleasure to have had the chance to explore the waters of the lower part of Espoonjoki.

We took the opportunity to explore on two different days. The timing was good because the water level has been dropping (with the end of winter and the recent lack of rain) and the grasses and shrubs have been filling in water space rather quickly in recent days!

A good starting point is the old cathedral near Espoon Keskus because there is a parking lot right beside the river. We decided to go up river first and that was intriguing because normally you can’t actually see much of the waterway once you cross under Turunväylä near IKEA (the motorway between Helsinki and Turku). Seeing it from a canoe was neat! We also met a man in a kayak and he said it was really nice to see other people out exploring. We went as far as we could without having to get out. Our barrier was a foot bridge that makes up a part of the “kuntorata” that winds its way through Espoo. The water was deep enough on this section of the river and we didn’t have to worry about rocks or sunken logs. The current was strong, but we were still able to make our way up without any significant effort.

A week later we headed downstream to Espoonlahti. It was a good thing I went and scouted things out ahead of time (by bike). It is pretty rocky through Kaukalahti and the water is moving fast enough that you have to pay attention to what you’re doing. Our canoe is sporting a few new scratches, but we made it through no problem. After we paddled through Lasilaakso we saw a few people fishing along the banks of the river.

Our next exploration challenge is the river right next door, Mankkijoki – now is the time because the weather is good!

If you want to know more about Espoonjoki take a look at Petri and Niklas Suominen’s (father and son) five-part series (in Finnish) on Espoonjoki, which was made in 2015. You can see it on YouTube.

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Picture of the Day

May 18, 2016

Hi ho!

Been busy lately again and the weather is so nice that thoughts of writing are just not in my head at the moment.

Anyways, I have added a new category of entries to my blog: New places. As part of life in Finland, my goal is to document and photograph new and interesting places!

A couple weeks ago, I was in the Lappeenranta region playing in the TiPa Open, an annual ringette tournament held at the Saimaa Holiday Club in Rauha, which is actually closer to Imatra than it is to Lappeenranta.

The tournament was a blast and the weather outside was fantastic. This view on Saturday morning was well worth the trip to the tournament.:)

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