On Sunday, July 12th, I arrived to Marinkyla, the home town of my Aunt and her children, my cousins. This has been a special place for me as I remember my last visit with fondness and remember speaking with my aunt about my father’s life and home. She has since passed away in 2013. This homestead is still a farm of forests and working fields. Several old buildings and a large 2 story home, filled with artifacts and memories. I was also sad to learn of one of my cousins passing in recently in Switzerland. Life is passing too quickly these days.
My oldest cousin knitted some socks for me and they have come in quite handy, surviving the cool night and being used during the day too.
I needed to get flowers for both of my cousins and was able to do so at the local food store, no problem even for a Sunday. Upon arrival we enjoyed the typical fare of pulla, cookies, sour cheese pie and coffee for those that like it :-). I don’t drink coffee so I usually have juice of some kind.
I called my mom so that my relatives could speak to her in the native tongue and catch up quickly before my last hosts departed. After the call and a few more well wishes they did depart and I stayed with my new hosts.
We had a champagne toast, which was a nice touch ( something to think about when I have parties). We visited the old town of Stromfors, where my father was born and the grave site of my aunt. We also visited the local church where my father was baptized. Good memories here.
After returning home it wasn’t long before we were having dinner of moose, “old” potatoes, gravy- which was excellent and salad. After that was a great strawberry pie, all homemade of course. I took a quick nap for about an hour, only to get up to watch TV, The Tango King.
We did step out for a quick walk around the property and some wine. Good wine! I went to bed earlier and the bed was comfy, but I still needed to devise a contraption to cover my eyes from the near constant daylight. Land of the midnight sun!
Monday, July 13- Marinkyla
Breakfast has been a smorgasbord of food. Bread, butter, cukes, cheese, meat, yogurt, strawberry/ rhubarb mixture, coffee, juice, etc. There is always too much and is often the same delights, which are all quite good.
We went on a walk again today, to the sea, to look at the forest and look for mushrooms and berries. Its been too cold for blueberries but some of the smaller wild strawberries are ready to eat.
We chatted about many things, a vision for the new sauna and location, new spa location, who will take over the farm, all the work to be done, new windows on the front, and the Pori Jazz festival.
For lunch we enjoyed sweet potato soup. It was very good! Really good with one dollop of cottage cheese on it.
Its been hard for me to keep track of the days and not so much of time, but now I am on the backside of my trip….
R and T have planted young trees, a new breed, that may grow more resilient though not sure if quicker. As they harvest they need to replant, I assume within two years. We saw some lumber that should have been collected from the last harvest.
Also visiting was my 2nd cousin from Helsinki, this was my first time meeting him. He was a bit shy with English. His girlfriend was a bit more friendly that way. He had met his girlfriend in Thailand, how sweet is that!
Who’ll take over, that is the thought on my cousin’s mind. As they grow older and the next generation is not interested in the historical aspects of the family farm, what now, or what next?That’s the issue about “Who” will take over, in this “me” generation, and the all about me scenario, we do have much to worry about who will be next.
As we asked each other questions to make up for lost time wee spoke about her mother. It was sweet to know that my aunt kept every one of my fathers letters to her. I saw the ’73 notice of my oldest brothers HS graduation and a note from my sister. It’s all old school but it shows what was important to whom, when.
The switch came faster for me to move on than I expected probably because I was napping, but it does take place during the afternoon of the 13th . My next cousin arrived and we proceeded to have coffee and strawberry cake.
We drove by car to Kuovola, not too far away and plenty of fields to see, forests to view and on occasion a lake or river. Before we reached “home” I stopped at a florist for my traditional flowers, this time red roses, as I knew my host enjoyed red, red everything. After arriving and getting settled, seeing my room, getting some things in order it was time to eat.
We enjoyed chicken and rice for dinner, the first time I had chicken in Finland, a nice change. Of course salad with cukes, honey dew and feta. A delicious change of pace. Its the new home that I had reached, a new flat, row home with little yard to contend with and a very small individual garden. It was very close to town, walking distance was also the railway.
Once we finished dinner, it was time to relax with lots of updates on the family, who was who, health, travels. I was surprised that my host had DVR’d a show that was about my hometown church and it’s pastor, to my surprise, I saw my aunt and uncle. I had to take a picture as proof, as I do with most things these days and shared with my relatives that my uncle again was famous. There had been an earlier show the last time I visited that showed pictures of him, just lucky I guess. Maybe I am famous by association!
The land of the midnight sun makes it difficult for me to sleep. Most rooms do not have dark shades and eye shades are uncomfortable. I slept poorly but waking to revelations that some of my friends were finally receiving post cards from Krakow. It was nice to hear from some that they appreciated them.
Tuesday, 14th of July now in Kuovola
Breakfast was again standard fare, shared slightly different but all very good! Hot tea, museli, yogurt, meats, cheese, rye bread, butter, juice, strawberries, honeydew, water, all very filling.
The agenda for the day was Elimaki, the hometown of my grandparents on my fathers side. We visited the old church built in the 1600’s, it was restored well with help from the community and showed some interesting aspects I have not seen in other churches. Sketching on the walls around the windows and doors that were part of the original church were only rediscovered in 1960 when renovations were taking place.
We also visited a simulated village with restored buildings and tools and crafts from the late 1800’s, during which time my grandparents were there. A cute lady was our guide who offered insight to the artifacts and the history. She was very pleasant and very helpful. I inquired if she was interested in visiting the USA, she said she was more interested in going to Canada for the aboriginal populations. She said she was not on FB that I could look her up on ReindeerArt on Etsy, she has many buyers from US. We were soon on our way to the next point of interest.
We stopped for lunch at a place that was by the river, S likes to stay busy with walks, hikes, etc. and I appreciate that about him. The local lunch was a smorgasbord, with much to choose from as well as home made beer. It was a good filling lunch. The highlight of the stop was a local outlet store a brand similar to Iitala with its own brand of home-goods. Good enough that I spent 75 euros there :0). Some gifts for everyone, even when I try to save $, I am still thinking of my friends and family.
Dinner at home was Moose stew cooked in Red Wine, with onions, and broth. Mashed potatoes, broccoli, salad- tomato with mozzarella and pesto. It was very good. Dessert was ice cream with cloud berries. A delight in Finland.
Then it was time for packing or re-packing in my case. combine two bags into one. I had done it for my way over here and to Poland, and I thought it would be easier for the train, which has proven to be true. I also had 10 more post cards to write, realizing that I had some friends not on my list that I should have had. By the time I was ready for bed it was almost 1 AM.