Thursday, April 28, 2016

A letter from Finland

Today is August 5th 2015. I am writing this from my apartment room in Leppavaara, situated in Espoo, part of Greater Helsinki. This long stay of three months is coming to an end in a couple of days, and I can't wait to get back home.

This time around I came in the right season of spring. Surprised to see blooming flowers and lush greenery everywhere, this is a welcome sight compared to the end-of-winter visit last year. The sun was shining bright from the day we came, and all the folks here are in a jolly mood.

I am happy to note that people here just adore the sun, and I realize how lucky we are back in India to have sun all around the year. But the climate in most parts of our nation isn't comparable to the mild sun of the nordic region. The hottest it can ever get in a summer is 25 centigrade. To talk about of such things back home would be nothing but blasphemy.

Nevertheless, the folks were all jolly, more places were accessible by foot and by transport, and we had a hell lot of time at hand. In my normal form, I wouldn't know the limits of my excitement. But this time, I found myself struggling to focus on many things beyond the official business I came here to attend.

My expectations based on the last year's visits couldn't have been more wrong. The conditions in Finland, and my own personal conditions last year made the stay very memorable and excruciatingly adventurous. It was almost like a vacation, minus the official business which we never allowed to be tampered with.

With just four weeks, being my first overseas journey, and freshly out from depressing events back home, I had all the enthusiasm and energy to stretch my legs onto all major corners of the frigid country.

This time around, my journey was packed into an already time deprived schedule, and with a more difficult task to accomplish. I was equally sad and excited at the beginning of the journey. What I felt could be summarized in the quote from the movie "Motorcycle Diaries" of Che Guevara: "Melancholy for what was left behind and on the other hand all the enthusiasm for entering new lands".

As with all the journeys I have done so far, it takes a while of adjustment to get the enthusiasm kicked in. When I look back now, I realize that the first couple of months were mostly lacklustre, mostly owing to being completely absorbed in official business. We of course managed to cover our weekends with some exciting journeys, but most of the time otherwise was spent addressing our official problems.

This time around, the fun was all about getting to (or rather, having to) eat stuff I cook, finding cost effective ways to find nutritious food, fight boredom and travel to major destinations, while taking care of official business. With rudimentary knowledge of how things work in Finland, and a grasp of the tongue, it took me two months to start my adventurous explorations.

The season promised outdoor activities of all kinds, and the Finns just love their outdoors. I have high respect for the Finns in this regard, and enjoyed being there in that season to see them come out of their frigid homes and enjoy like normal human beings.

I haven't quite figured out how to put out the interesting experiences out here, but I guess I have to break em up to avoid very long blogs. I could add a few pictures to save a thousand words for me. Watch out those articles soon..


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