Tuesday, August 31, 2010

{finland, day 10, kajaani}

day 10 of our trip.
first we visited kajaani's old wood church.
this church is special for our family. many of the family weddings happened here, etc. i was confirmed to the lutheran church in this church when i was 15. i'm no longer lutheran but of course these memories mean a lot to me.
the graves of the soldiers who died in the war. we visited my grandma's older brother's grave who was 25 years old when he died during the last part of the war. i have always felt close to him for some reason. i have always been interested about his life and love to look at his pictures. he played the violin and won many speed skating competitions. there were newspaper articles about him wondering how on earth did he do that with such old skates. he was handsome and i'm sure many girls were sad when he didn't come back from the war.
war is such a waste. such a terrible thing. i hope finland will never have to be a part of a war again. or any other country, of course.


across the church is my old kindergarten. little bit further ahead is one of the elementary schools i attended.
then we visited my grandma. Y
this was probably the last time i'll see her in this life. i know i'll see her again one day and she will be her beautiful, young self then. no more alzheimers or other physical ailments.
it will be a great reunion, for sure. Y
in my grandma's apartment, i found things that i had made and given to her.
this walrus, for example. done by scraping.

a butterfly tablerunner. my first attempt at embroidery.
an angel wreath made out of wood.
is this called needlepoint? i made this when i was 15 or so.
after visiting with my grandma, we went to my uncle's place to visit with him and his wife, my cousin and her two children. my cousin lives in holland so it was great that we were in finland at the same time.
jay has wanted my uncle's rocking chair ever since he first sat on it 15 years ago. we joked a lot about how we'd come and snatch it from them. :)
we ended the day by taking my uncle + wife + my cousin + kids out to eat.
i spotted this in a shop's window. cute.
not the most exciting day to tell about here in my blog but this day meant a lot to me personally.

Friday, August 27, 2010


i just spent almost two hours drawing with sienna. i was supposed to be cleaning the house for tomorrow's birthday party.
choose the right! :)
ps. the poem in my drawing is by kirsi kunnas. my grandma used to say it to me when i was little and it is burned in my memory for good. i Y this poem! it's about a little cat with a "rose mouth" who dreams about a tree that has mice growing in it just like apples grow on trees. if she just shook the tree, a hundred mice would fall down. then she'd eat them under a small mushroom. Y

{finland, day 9, summer cottage}

the guest house we stayed at in kajaani.
four bedrooms, two bathrooms, sauna, living room, kitchen, laundry room, lakeside sauna.
day 9 started with us checking out the horses and hearing about them from heikki parviainen's son antti.

then it was time to enjoy some summer cottage life. this is a favorite past-time for finnish people. "almost everyone" has a summer cottage or at least have access to one. some are fancy, some are not.
my grandma's cottage is definately not fancy. but i couldn't care less about that fact. this is where i spent most of my childhood summers. my grandpa (whom i never knew) built this summer cottage after the war from scrap materials (money was scarce). it's tiny. everything is in one room plus you sleep like sardines on the attick. no running water, no electricity. i loved it! i have so many fond memories of time spent here with my grandma, two uncles + their families. kids don't need luxury. they need time spent together.
there's a separate sauna building and everything is surrounded by a large lake.
we used to swim for hours in the lake.
build bonfires at night and fry sausages or fish we had caught.
sing songs.
stay up late.
us kids would make up shows for the adults. once my uncle's wife fell off a chair as she was laughing so much when we were acting.
gutting the fish by the lake.
making mudcakes.
picking blueberries.
picking wild flowers.
drawing inside when it was rainy.
playing cards.
various games.
dancing together.
going to the outhouse or peeing in the bushes late at night when we were too tired to go to the outhouse.
waking up to my grandma listening to the radio, singing songs, talking to the birds.
taking the rowboat out on the lake.
words are not enough to explain how i feel about all these memories.

my grandma no longer goes to the summer cottage. she has alzheimers and is up there in age. my two uncles have built their own summer cottages on the land now.
it was great to see my relatives, to say the least.

one of my favorite things to do is to sit in the wicker swing on the porch at the sauna and just listen to the waves. such peace and tranquility! love it!

sauna is almost a sacred thing to us finns. we love it. the feeling you get afterwards is undescribable. you feel so relaxed and good. muscle aches and tightness are gone. life's worries have disappeared.
fresh out of the sauna and feeling good!

my uncles' cottages now have electricity and running water in the kitchen.

many of my pictures didn't turn out. i have got to read the camera instructions one of these days. for me, reading instructions is like pulling teeth. but it's gotta be done, i guess.

the outhouse is still IT. :)
my cousin's play cottage. now her children use it.

our day:
we stopped to drink water from a natural spring.

we visited.

we swam in the lake.

we went in the sauna. some of us swam again in the lake.

we played mölkky. croquet. darts.

some of us relaxed in a hammock.

my uncles barbequed sausage and chicken for us.

us girls went for a rowboat ride.

what a wonderful day! Y

i love the finnish custom of handmade rugs on floors AND on the tables AND on the walls. :)

i had forgotten how tall the trees are in finland.
Yennenkuin me lähdettiin, mun isosisko ja sukulaiset lauloivat minulle kainuun nälkämaan laulun. Y
he lauloivat kohdan "raukat ne menkööt merten taa!" tosi lujaa monta kertaa ja osoittivat minua sormillaan. :D
and this is how the day ended back at the guest house.
more these kinds of days for me please!