Thursday, August 19, 2010

{finland, day 6, isosaari}

on day 6 of our trip we got to visit isosaari (=big island) where i lived for couple of years as a child (i think i was 8 & 9 years old). not just anyone can visit this island because it's the finnish army's training island. we had to be invited by a couple we knew back then (T & K, my then best friend's parents) and who still live on the island. we had to give our personal information beforehand so that the army was able to do a security clearance on us.
i have so many fond memories of my time on this island.
the many boat rides on various army boats. sometimes in rough weather which meant fun big waves that would sway the boat like crazy. we used to love it.
being close friends with all the students in the school. there were only 11 of us so it wasn't too hard to do. :)
we were always outside playing. i don't remember ever being bored. the island was a beautiful playground for us kids.
needless to say it was great to go back for a visit after all these years. it had been over 25 years since my last visit.

vasen, vasen,
vasen, yks, kaks.
yks, kaks, yks, kaks,
vasen, yks, kaks.
en tule koskaan unohtamaan tuota.

in finland, all the men must serve 6 months in the army to get basic army training. 12 months if you qualify for leadership training.
another friend of mine (M, whom i first met as a teenager) and her husband (E) now live on the island as well. E took us for a tour to see non-operational and operational artillery cannons.
and here is my old school!
no longer a school but some sort of a workshop.
it was cool to see the soldiers walking around. when we were visiting at T & K's, sitting in the backyard, some soldiers quietly walked close by in the forest. it was such a cool feeling. like we were being watched. :)
i remember how our windows used to shake and rattle when the soldiers trained with the cannons.
K is a real sea captain, "merikarhu". he was born in isosaari and has lived there his whole life. he used to drive all the various army boats. this is his own boat now. K took us to mainland with it in the evening.
K & T used to fish for salmon and then smoke it themselves and sell it all the way to france even.
T & K used to have siberian husky dogs and K would take us for dog sled rides.

i love the cliffs! great place to suntan when it got hot in the summer.
one time we saw hundreds of ladybugs in a little puddle like this one. must have been the mating season or something.

T & K still have the same fall trees wallpaper in their bedroom from the 1970's!
i used to love the wallpaper back then and still do.
we got to go eat at the same time as the soldiers in the building where my mom used to work. we had salmon soup and vanilla/licorice ice-cream cones for dessert. :)
we also went for donuts at "sotku" where we used to go buy candy as kids and were the soldiers go to hang out and by treats and smokes.
T had saved three of my childhood drawings and i was so excited to get them.
at the end of the day K drove us to the harbor with his tractor. we all sat on the tractor trailer. no need for seatbelts. :)

who knows if i'll ever be able to go back to isosaari so this day was a real treat to me.

being by the sea soothes my soul like nothing else.

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