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So why Finland? (travel log entries – final installment)

June 5, 2014

Just in time for Throwback Thursday! This installment is the last of snippets from my travel log back in 1997. Enjoy!

July 5, 1997: (Masala camping area, just south of Veteli) I cannot believe how much I have travelled in just over one week (well the last 2 and half weeks…) I have been to three different countries and I have been from one end of Finland to the other in less than a week! It will be nice now that I am in Veteli to not have to live out of a suitcase for a little while… Last night I went and watched pessapallo [pesäpallo] with [my] cousin T, she’s a lot of fun (I think she would be fun to party with…) I learned a little bit about the game, so now I think I could follow a game if I ever went to watch. When I got back from the game, U’s sister’s and mother were at the house. I laughed so hard when Toini said, “Hello my darling,” in perfect English. I was happy to see her. I think she was happy to see me because she said that I “was home again.” We sat around the table and drank tea and I told stories about Lapland (U laughed her head off!) They thought the Canada Day story was funny – beer, koskankorva [koskenkorva], coniac [cognac], reindeer skins,… R [a guy I met] – it was funny.

I can’t believe I have been here for almost 7 weeks… I think it will bother me to go home now because I have developed the idea that I could actually live here in Finland. I will have to explore the job opportunities when I get home – or maybe even when I go back to Helsinki in a few weeks. I will definitely miss it here, when I have to leave. Then I will have to settle down – get a life and get down to the business of getting a job… That time is not so far away now… but I suppose I could make an adventure of it.

July 8, 1997: (on the train between Kokkola and Kannus) I am heading back north for a few days, to Tornio – hopefully to golf if I can get a tee-off time. [At the Green Zone golf course which straddles Finland and Sweden – and two time zones!]… I decided that since I had a few extra days of travel left on my rail pass that I would head back down to Helsinki to see M [my cousin]. I think I am going to explore the job possibilities while I am there – what the heck, it’s worth a try right?

July 9, 1997: (Tornio, Finland) Well I went golfing today at the golf course that has holes in Sweden and Finland. My golf game was not so good today – it really stunk to tell you the truth!… It cost 200 mk to golf – but I was able to keep the golf balls – the ones I didn’t lose and the golf tees… I also rented a bike today and did some riding around in Tornio and over in Hapanranta [in Sweden]. I went to see the Alatornio church as well – it took me forever to find the place… My butt is really sore because I haven’t ridden in so long!… I have to get up at 6 AM tomorrow so that I can catch the bus out of Tornio and then catch the train to Seinäjoki from Kemi. I was thinking of stopping at other places, but I think that Seinäjoki is my best bet…

July 11, 1997: (Seinäjoki, Finland) I came to Seinäjoki yesterday. I think I came at a bad time – right in the middle fo the tango festival. I think I was lucky to find a place to stay!I stayed at a place recommended by my book [Lonely Planet Finland]… it was cool! The older lady that ran the place didn’t speak a word of English – but we got by… She was really nice. To her dismay, I asked if I could take a picture of her before I left – so I took one. Yesterday I gave her one of my [Canada] flag pins and she was so pleased – I’m glad! 🙂

July 17, 1997: (on the train south of Tampere) … I bought another Finnrail pass so I can do some more travelling around, I have some places to go and people to see over the next couple of weeks. I talked to T [my university exchange student friend] yesterday and he asked me to go back to Kajaani for a few days to visit – I think I can fit that in – but it’s going to be tight! 5 days of train travel in less than 2 weeks – I’m going to be happy to stay put for a bit!

July 20, 1997: (Veteli, Finland) …In the next few days I have to pack up my stuff and head somewhere else – to Lapua to visit U.R. [my grandfather’s cousin], then to Espoo to drop off my stuff – then Jyväskylä, maybe Kajaani, Lapeenranta [Lappeenranta] to see S and then back to Helsinki… I’m going to be so busy that the time is going to fly over the next few weeks. As of today I have 30 more days in Finland. I’ll be home before I know it!

July 23, 1997: (Veteli, Finland)…Well now I will have to admit that I am getting excited to go home. I have seen and done so much in Finland that I have run out of things to do. (I wish I could go back to Lapland! I know I could have done much more there!) I think if (and when) I come back to Finland I will definitely bring my bike. Today I rode to Småbönders (Swedish-speaking community) just west of Veteli and I found places that I could have gone off-roading, Having my own bike here would have been a lot of fun!

July 26, 1997: (Lapua, Finland) (early AM) Today (well yesterday) I went rowing in this AWESOME boat, the best one I have tried since I have been in Finland. And I was thinking how neat it was that I was rowing on the same lake that my great-grandfather probably rowed on. T [a cousin] said to me that he thought it was fascinating that we had a common ancestor who at one time lived off the land and from the waters of Lappajärvi and it was interesting that we were both at Lappajärvi – me being from Canada and he from a different part of Finland… Cool!

I am staying at the R’s house right now with U and K – so far we have managed with sanakirja [dictionary], kynä [pen], paperi [paper] ja “hands.” K speaks a little bit of English, but not a lot… we’re getting by though… U is a really neat man – very interested in family history, so tonight I wrote down a whole pile of stuff for him and then when he had questions I answered them for him…

August 4, 1997: (Lappeenranta, Finland) I am staying at S’s place with her kids and her mother. Her kids are quite shy (too bad), but S’s mother speaks English (cool). The weather today was great!… Lappeenranta is situated on the biggest lake in Finland. From here I could visit Russia or Savonlinna just by taking a boat – I’ll have to remember to do that the next time I come to Finland!… Today I visited the harbour area in Lappeenranta, as well as the fortress . which was neat. The stuff in the shops was very expensive however : ( I did make a very nice purchase though at a ceramics shop – a really nice vase for 100mk…

August 9, 1997: (Espoo, Finland) …M and I are going to see the hockey game tomorrow – 7 pm. I went and picked up the tickets yesterday. Should be a good game. M and I will also be making our trip to Tallinn on Friday. I can’t wait for that! It’s going to be great, I just hope the weather stays nice. Well I go home in 9 days… I can’t believe it! I [am] really anxious to get home now. I have so much to do! I also want to tell everyone about the cool things I did too.

The other day when I was in Helsinki, I met some people from Seattle… They asked me if I had been to Tallinn yet – so I told them all about my trip and told them all about the good places to go. It was nice (again) to speak with people who spoke English – my English is getting really bad because I’ve spoken in short sentences for so long! (Although my Finnish is much better now than it was.)

August 11, 1997: (Espoo, Finland) They hockey game yesterday was just awesome! I loved it. The Hartwall Arena seats about 10,000 people, yesterday there were about 9000 people at the game…

August 15, 1997: (Tallinn, Estonia on the Apollo at the harbour) Today was a great day!…

August 18, 1997: (in the plane – somewhere over Europe) Well… it’s over – I left Finland just over an hour ago and I cried… I knew that I would! I don’t think the excitement of being back home in Canada will hot me until we land in Toronto… I can’t believe that 3 months is up already! Now I have to look for a job!.. M, N, myself and M’s friend Esa went into Helsinki last night to see a FREE concert… It was really good – there were so many people at Kaivopuisto. We looked in the paper this morning and it said there were 50,000 people at Kaivipuisto last night. I would believe it because the place was just crawling with people!…

I can see out the window! I am almost home! But you know – I really miss Finland already . I was getting used to everything the way it was; hearing the Finnish language all the time, speaking with people who’s [whose] English wasn’t so good… I think mine is suffering! HA!

September 4, 1997: (Elliot Lake) It’s hard to believe that I have been home for 2 weeks already! I can’t believe that 3 weeks ago I was in Finland – to me it feels like a lifetime ago. I was an adjustment to come home – but now it is okay… I really miss Finland . I had a lot of fun there – although the trip had its ups and downs…

Maybe I’ll go back to Finland… or go to some other country, I’m prepared to do it – now that I know I can get over my homesickness! The world is mine – time to get out! Well time to get out there – that’s what I meant to write. The adventure begins…

My trip diaries - I still have them!

My trip diaries – I still have them!

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