24 hours in Finland – August 2010

Aug 10, 11.50 am, finnish sky

Within 30 min the airplane will lend in Helsinki Vantaa airport. Under the clouds, I can already imagine wide expanses of green, contrasting the gray sky (not gray for pollution, only the natural color of a cloudy day).

My trip to Finland started at 4 am, when the i-pod alarm woke me up with some happy song I can’t recall..it must have been a real wake-up song though, cos I woke up with no effort at all despite having slept for a little more than 3 hours..of course the great excitement for the forthcoming adventure played its part!

At 4.30 my mom and I were heading towards Cadorna train station, where I took the Malpensa Express train at 5 am.

First flight: Milan-Monaco. We landed with 20 mins of delay because we had to give priority to a plane with an emergency. Luckily, a bus for those having to catch connecting flights was waiting outside the airplane, so I didn’t enter the airport at all but went straight to the other plane. It was interesting and unrealistic to see the cabin completely empty, all those gray, plastic Lufthansa seats. It gave me the sensation of being in a movie or in an abandoned place. The enchantment was soon broken by people entering and filling up the cabin..

Hearing the emergency instructions in FInnish, along with all the other flight announcements gave me a strange feeling..like hearing a well-known foreign song, once on top of the playlist, after a very long time. The meaning of the words is still unknown, but the sound, the tone and the pitch are so familiar, and make you inevitably smile. And a similar, dejà-vù sensation will affect me once I get to JKL, I imagine..just the thought of it, walking in the wood, by the lake, in the city center, gives me a sense of peacefulness and excitement at the same time.

Aug 11, 11am – Lozzi

Once in Helsinki, I took a train to Espoo, where Leszek works, and we had lunch together at a Thai restaurant (I LOVE Thai food!). It was so nice to see him again! Last time we had met it was actually in Spain, at the beginning of my 2°Erasmus. It’s amazing how people’s paths cross in space and time in such an unpredictable (but often plannable) way, and having friends worldwide enhances these chances exponentially. My like is a continuous living proof of it. Anyway..unfortunately my meeting with Les was very short (his lunch break), but very intense, focused of updates, and Im glad to know he’s doing well. “Leszek, thanks again for lunch and see you soon(ish)..!”

A 6.30 hour train ride from Helsinky to Jyvaskyla gave me time to enjoy the beauty of the untouched, Finnish Nature, where raws of green pine-trees alternated with even greener meadows and sky-coloured lakes. It aslo gave me time to rest, read, listen to music and get bored. Seeing JKL red train station woke me up from my mental numbness and filled me with excitement and expectation. Expectation of dejà-vues and of seeing everything how I had left it more than 2 years ago.

Sarianna met me at the train station (no need to say how excited was I to see her as well!) and after a cup of coffee at Coffee House we reached her house at Kortepohja. EVERYTHING, from the short walking through the city center to the bus ride, gave me the same excitement one feels when doing something the for the first time, and the same sensation was caused by the fact that I HAD ALREADY DONE all those things, a long time ago.

Arriving in Kortepohja caused a rush of overlapping memories in my mind, on top of which numerous runs in the cold to get to Rentukka for the Stammtisch parties, with only a t-shirt on to avoid the line for the cloakroom.

After dinner (riisi Kaarjalampirrakka, my faaaavorite Finnish food!) Sarianna and I went back to keskusta (city center) and met up with William, his friend Mikko, Leila and Gintas, a member of our buddy group (we were joined later on by another Mikko and a friend of him). 3 members of the buddy group assembled after such a long time! We had a drink at Passion, then went to Katze, a very familiar place to me, where we used to jam most Sunday nights (me as a spectator…). I knew most of the people and for a little bit it felt like being back on the golden times of my erasmus, with a cold Lonkero and the nice cool breeze.

The following day, early in the morning, I took a walk in the Kortepohja area. The plan was to walk through the woods, reach the lake behind the buildings, maybe even reach Laajavouri, but there wasn’t eanough time, so I just walked the perimenter Rentukka-Building M (up to the third floor, in front of my old apt door) -Supermarket-Sarianna’s house, taking pictures every few minutes(/seconds). After hugging Sarianna good-bye I headed towards the city center, suitcase in one hand and camera in the other. The bus passed right by me, but there was no way I could make it to the bus stop on time, and waiting for another hour wasn’t really worth it, so I dragged my bags through the city, slowly walking my way to the train station. I passed by the big K mart down the road, then walked uphill on the street I used to struggle on riding my bike (laaazy butt) and then downhill again towards the university. (The whole path can be traced on the sequence of pictures, taken basically every other minute).

I am in Lozzi now, sipping a 1€ kavi. WHen I arrived here the place was almost empty, except for some Finnish couples having an early lunch (at 11am we normally have late breakfast, but for Finnish people this is a plausible time to have early lunch). The place is gradually filling up now, and there’s a group of foreign people on the table next to mine. What a weird sensation..it feels like the end of the movie L’Auberge Espagnole, when Xavier sees a group of Erasmus students and starts smiling with that happy but sort of melancholic look. If any of those students sitting next to me turned his/her face he/she would have seen the same stupid look drawn on my face, probably thinking I’m a freak or smth. Btw, where did we use to leave the tray at?

18.30 – Helsinki Vantaa airport

I walked through the city center taking pictures of basically everything that raised memories of more or less special moments of the Erasmus time there: the library, where we spent a surprisingly amount of time, the Chinese restaurant where my buddy arranged the first meeting, the church and the little park where we used to lie down during our last, sunny days there, the pizzeria-kebab where we used to get giant pizzas at the end of long dancing nights at Kharma, and so on..sillier the episode, stronger the memory.

FInally, after one last Karjalampiirakka and a huge, warm PULLA, I finally stepped on the train. Again, 6 hours spent on napping, thinking absent-mindedly about the past 24 hours, half-asleep mood.

In about 1 hour the plane will take off once more..destination: New Delhi


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