Here I am in this lovely city – Day 6. I have found Helsinki enchanting and Finns very helpful, quiet and beautiful.
I understand that I have enjoyed fluke weather as it was clear, sunny and quite warm for several days. I expected chilly and wet – the same weather I left in Seattle. It’s been cold and cloudy both yesterday and today, however. I am grateful for the cloudy chill as it’s perfect museum weather.
I hoped to be taking an Admissions Course to a University here this week. I was not selected, however, and therefore have 12 days to explore. I was disappointed not to receive an invitation but am somehow comforted by the fact that no Americans were chosen. So it goes. Twelve days to wander in a city that loves art and design is a generous consolation prize.
I am moved by the amount of green space, public art and parks in Helsinki. Children are deeply valued and considered here. I immediately trust a place that so obviously treasures people, especially children. Learning about the remarkable Finnish public school system was the spark that started this whole adventure. Now that I am here, I see evidence of many other ways that Finns cherish their youngest citizens; from the quiet way they are addressed, even when they’re falling apart on the tram, to how they are treated by strangers when riding public transport alone (from very early on). More proof in how Finns value their people (politics aside) is in the outstanding air and water quality and how they use their public space. From the flat where I am staying (amazing host & flat found through Air BnB), I can see three playground-type parks, a fabulously red maze sculpture and several great stretches of green for running, field hockey, soccer and just lying around. This is typical throughout the entire city.
I am staying a few minute’s walk from the Vaanta River where there is an arterial system of groomed trails filled with bikers, hikers and walkers. Men of every age sit and stand along the river’s edge and fish, mostly silently. They are catching then releasing largish speckled fish (trout, I think). Actually I did see one girl. If my daughters were here, they would definitely fish there.
I haven’t worked as much as I thought I would. I only wanted to explore the first four days I was here and I’ve been to the museums and galleries yesterday and today. I brought roving, yarn, muslin and hand-made felt – all my favorite materials. They call to me from the kitchen table and I say, “Later. Later.” If it’s still wet and cold tomorrow, I may stay in and work. Or not.
Thank you for visiting. Kiitos.