Archive for March, 2010

370 And Counting

An important date slipped by last week without my even noticing it. Caught up in the hubbub of work, the anniversary of my move to Helsinki came and went without a moment of reflection.

I moved.

As the inherited template of Important Days becomes less and less relevant, I find myself seeking events of my own choosing to celebrate with whatever seems most appropriate. Who doesn’t claim to hate celebrating their birthday? And do we really need to keep up the charade of celebrating some guy’s winter birthday by putting up decorated pine trees? I’d rather pick new days and wrap them in new rituals.

The anniversary of moving from one continent to another feels like a pretty significant thing. Particularly this move, as it was the culmination of an awkward and difficult period of migration between Europe and America spanning August 2008 to March 2009. I moved to Finland with two suitcases and a credit card ready for Ikea. I expected a new life but was foolishly unprepared for the extent to which that would become true.

Carbon sequestration

This is an easy place to move to and an easy place to like, but in some ways it’s a difficult place to love. Helsinki, more than many most cities I’ve lived in, holds its cards close. The best moments of my time here have been spent in the homes of friends, tucked in the corner of public spaces, or deep within the irrepressible beauty of Finland’s forests and parks. As with the glorious summer that follows Finland’s long winter, Helsinki rewards commitment and the longer I stay the more its wonders reveal themselves to me.

Three hundred and seventy days later and I finally find myself at home on my own street – in this city I’m starting to know.