Friday, July 9, 2010

Konfirmaatiomessu pt.2

[ Confirmation party pt.2 ]

Time was short, and the events planned were dense. I was only in Finland for a week and a half so everyday I was doing something new and meeting another person. As exhausted as I may have been, the first evening with Fanny, I was able to meet her friends [ whom, after Fanny’s collections of photos from the states, were all excited to get to meet me once again] and go out into the city for the weekend night. Already I was experiencing Turku like I never had as a 17 year old and was able to go out dancing in the clubs – entering when it was sunny, and exiting… when it was still sunny. I had a lot of fun with Fanny. Our friendship has really grown over the years that I have been away and have become even better through our visits. We still annoy the heck out of each other. At least in Finland, I could threaten her that I could just find other friends on the curb-sides of grocery stores.

[ not Fanny's confirmation party anymore! ]

Sunday was Fiia’s confirmation party. It brought back memories of my first full day with my Finnish host family – how incredibly awkward yet memorable it was to be taken to the oldest church in Finland for the ceremony and then a party afterwards with dozens of Finnish people also noticeably not willing to start any small talk with me. I can't say that too much was different this time around. Everyone was dressed very nicely. There were also some great Finnish foods that I had missed, including salmon as well as cakes with fresh strawberries.

The day before the confirmation, I had visited the Salminen’s house to see the girls for the first time upon returning to Finland. Not only did the young twins remember me, but pulling up to the house, their faces were already smashed up against the window to see RISTO!!!! There was so much for me to see, since the house itself was one that I actually helped out on a few days in the summer I lived down the street at Piiskukatu 4. Now the house was finished and furnished, and the girls were grown up, and more chatty then ever.

Venla was her normal rambunctious self, but this time Aada seemed to have caught up to her level of outgoingness. Sanni was a little shy at first, mostly because she is now studying English at school, 2 years already in fact, and I think she was worried about having to speak with me. I was so pleased to see at the confirmation party however, that once she warmed up to the idea, out little conversation of basic sentences allowed us to really communicate without body language or a translator sitting nearby like years prior.

Anna and Jarno are also both doing very well for themselves. With the girls older now, Anna is returning to more normal working schedules. The house looks beautiful. It has many aspects that are so characteristic of a Finnish house. Large, spacial windows, a nice porch with a bbq, a bathroom dedicated just to the sauna, and then Jarno’s favorite place of the house – the theater room. In the basement, one room is equipped with a projector and two rows of theater chairs they purchased from a closed down cinema, and now it is an entertainment room for the house.

The weekend went by quickly, with the party and events of the confirmation, as well as spending time with everyone. For those that know Fanny, you would know that she is a very dedicated player to the sport of Ringette, and I went with her one evening to see what the sport was all about. I was lucky enough to just stay on both feet while skating as the other girls whizzed by me whipping the rubber rings around the ice with their sticks during practice drills. Embarrassing as it may have been, I tried something new, and heading to the ice rink on a summer evening in Finland was an unexpected surprise during this visit.

I am also happy to add that I met up with some old friends from Finland as well. Joni, the neighbor down the street now lives in Turku city center, and I was able to meet him in the city – which really exemplified how cool it is to travel abroad, and to be able to call up an old friend and say you are in town. I also contacted Maria, a finish exchange student to Göttingen for the first semester of this year. I had pictures of her previously, so you might remember her from other travels of mine from this year. We got together to walk around the city, grab a coffee, and for the first and only time of my trip away, speak German – which was exciting in its own right to think that we were adding our own little bit of multiculturalism and diversity to the terrace of the café with many different languages being spoken.

The first few days went by very quickly, and the real event of my return to Finland was about to begin. I was going to be going sailing for the first time in my life, traveling along with my host family, and celebrating the Summer Equinox – Juhannus – on an Island of the Finnish archipelago. It sounded like paradise, and I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a day where the sun would practically never set beneath the horizon!

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