Posts tagged “helsinki

Where I Cling To

Posted on 8 August 2016

Ten years ago I saw an empty city. The sun still glowed above the roofs, despite the hour, and brightened the grey streets that hardly anyone trod upon, apart from me, my family, and my friend. We looked for food and all that was open was a McDonald’s. I think I ordered an ice cream for dinner. And yet, in the photos I’m grinning, my cheeks almost uncomfortably wide, flashing a thumbs up. It was juhannus, midsummer, and it was my first time in Finland, in Helsinki. My first impressions of Helsinki were a bit weird, being based on the unusual reality of the city’s population clearing out for the holiday. Finland drew me in, to be sure, but my first visits were centered…

What’s Mine and Isn’t

Posted on 8 February 2015

I don’t know why, exactly. From 2006 on, there has always been a tug. It can get severe. In 2007, on the departing train, I cried for an hour, by myself, heavily. I was leaving a place that wasn’t wholly mine, but felt like it should be. I was leaving a place that felt more like mine than anywhere I’d been before. Always the question: what if I were Finnish? What if I could stay? And when I am gone, well, there floats a weight of absence somewhere in my chest. It dimmed somewhat when I knew that I’d be back, just like the year before. Until I wasn’t. Until I sat at my computer, doing my graduate school work but really half examining…

Finland! What to Do in Helsinki.

Posted on 20 January 2015

Truly, if I had to choose one favorite city, I would pick Helsinki. I happily had the chance to live one full summer there, sharing an apartment with a Finnish friend and studying Finnish at Helsinki Summer University. This was my first proper experience in Helsinki, since the first time I chose to visit Helsinki, it was empty. In 2006, my family landed at the Helsinki-Vantaa Airport, spending one night in the capital before taking the train to Seinäjoki the following morning. We arrived in Finland on midsummer, Juhannus, which is an important holiday. People leave the city and flock to their summer cabins. No joke, the streets were basically empty. However, now I have ample experience both living in and short-term visiting Helsinki…

Finland! A Packing List.

Posted on 12 December 2014

Planning a Finland travel adventure? Great choice! Finland is one of my favorite countries. I can’t keep myself away—I’ve been seven times so far! All of my trips to this country with its Nordic sheen yet undeniable quirk have given me some travel wisdom that I would like to share with you. Let’s learn from my mistakes and observations and talk about what to pack. Read More… This is the first article in a series I have been asked to write for Pink Pangea as their new Country Expert on Finland.  

Ode to Finland

Posted on 12 June 2014

Finland is the one country I constantly miss. There are many, many other places that I would like to return to and explore more, but Finland feels like coming home. I step out of the bus at the train station coming from Helsinki-Vantaa airport and the crisp air envelopes me like a sheer blanket of buzzing joy. Six visits later, and I’ve never tired of this country. Just being there makes me happy. I couldn’t exactly tell you why. Surely it’s a combination of things—wonderful friends, beautiful places, fun music—that blend together perfectly. But I don’t know if that’s all. Finland, to me, seems as nice as you can get yet with a certain rough edge to keep it interesting. But, I suppose it…

A Day In A Place That Should Be Known

Posted on 15 February 2014

I have been thinking of Estonia recently. Lately, the few times I’ve mentioned it, I’ve been faced with bemused replies of “Estonia?” My disappointment is misplaced. They are the ones who are missing out. I’ve only spent one day in Estonia, in Tallinn. I took a ferry from Helsinki, where I was visiting a host of friends for spring break during my semester abroad in Russia. Not entirely content to spend all my time in one country, I squeezed Estonia into my schedule—not at all difficult given the ample amount of ferries shuttling back and forth between these two glorious cities. Perhaps I’ve been thinking of Tallinn because it has been a bit cold here. Once again, an episode of Leah’s Left Arm Turns…

Helsinki Behind Our Apartment

Posted on 12 September 2013

I was never truly bored in Finland. All through my computer-less months, when I was home by myself after Finnish class while friends were still at work, despite multiple re-reads of the English books on hand (luckily I can read Harry Potter endlessly), my oft solitary afternoons weren’t dull. I lived in Helsinki, see, and it’s too pleasant for boredom. Behind our apartment sprawled Kaivopuisto. Puisto, for those who don’t speak Finnish, means park. I needed only meander a few serene blocks away, and I would be striding by the gulf under the bluest skies. So, if I had nothing pressing to attend to—which was often—on went my shoes (never worn in the home) and in went my headphones (Ismo Alanko already queued up)…