Up Close and Personal. Going Home.

During my recent trip to Europe, I went to see my dear dad for a few days. At the respectable age of 91, he lives in his house at a beautiful lake in Finland.  He built it himself when I was about four years old. I grew up there until my educational pursuits and work brought me to the big city. And later to Sweden and around the world.

other end of the lake
Our lake around sunset time…

It’s good to go home. Apart from having some wonderful quality time with my dad, these visits are always relaxing and pleasant. With quiet time for reflection, nature walks, deep conversations and sauna baths. This time my visit was also a tad nostalgic. I saw many places I hadn’t seen for a long time. Like this church where we lived in the side wing when I was born.

the church my first home
My first home was in the “west wing” of this church…

My first memories are from here. I manage to climb out of my crib for the first time and surprise my mom by running into the church where she was preparing for a mass. A little later, I “paint” mom’s green kitchen chair with fresh apple sauce. And I’m very proud of my accomplishment.

Then my elementary school. It’s still standing and proudly providing education for the kids in the village. When I stood there in the school yard, I got another, not so pleasant, memory flash.

my first school
My elementary school…

I’m on my back on the gravel looking up to faces staring at me in a circle. I’ve been hit on the nose by a baseball bat swung by a fellow second grader. Sporting accident. Blood. And a very swollen nose. Most of my field of vision is filled by a huge nose. Luckily it didn’t stay that way.

My dad drove me around to see houses where I had played with friends, all of whom now lived elsewhere. And beautiful spots that I used to frequent. A full day of nostalgia. Everything changes.

partly frozen river
Lily pads frozen in the river….

Although it was still October, winter was clearly on its way. Some rivers were partly frozen, and one morning I saw a hint of snow on the ground too. Just a hint in a shady spot in the forest. It’s kind of treat for a Floridian. Provided one is appropriately attired. My pea coat was no match for the wind chill, but luckily my dear sister had left some warm clothes there for me to borrow.

hint of snow
A hint of snow!

We did many walks in the nature and although most of the colorful foliage was already gone, it was still beautiful.

fall colors
Some autumn colors were still there….
ice on the river 2
A frozen river…
Rowan-berries in the forest...
Rowan-berries in the forest…

Some of you may wonder if I saw any birds. Yes I did. Two different kinds. Although the migratory birds, like ospreys, swans and swallows, had left several weeks earlier, I found many Great Tits congregating around feeders or looking for rowan-berries.

The Great Tit 2
A Great Tit

And I saw a rooster 🙂 Mind you, it was not an ordinary rooster. But one that made a lasting impression. I was visiting my cousin’s house and snapped this picture with my phone. Just to have evidence.

the rooster 2
The handsome rooster…

He was impressive! And although he was not a bit scary, I’ve asked him to serve as my “Halloween bird”.

It was a wonderful visit, but it’s good to be back too. Happy Halloween everyone!



46 thoughts on “Up Close and Personal. Going Home.”

    1. Thanks Val! The rooster was something else, his feathers were spectacular. The hens were beautiful too, but went inside before I could get a pic. Wish I’d had my real camera…

  1. Thanks for sharing those wonderful photos and memories. It’s really something to reconnect with our history. Sorry to hear about the nose.
    I can’t imagine what it would be like to live in the same area for 87 years, much less in the same house.
    I see you saved the rooster to last – sort of the Big Finnish. 🙂

    1. Happy you enjoyed it, Vincent. I still remember how I couldn’t see anything for my huge nose. That’s what I got for being too nosy. My dad could not imagine living anywhere else…he’s so happy there. He built his house when I was 4 so it hasn’t been 87 years quite as yet 😀

  2. I think that rooster is wearing a Halloween costume . . . he wants to be the abominable snow rooster. 😛

    Sounds like a lovely trip, filled with memories and nostalgia and nature’s beauty. Wonderful that your dad is still in your childhood home ~ does your sister live near him?

    1. You’re right, I too thought the rooster was ready for a Halloween Parade. My sister lives in Stockholm, Sweden (our whole extended family is half-half in both countries), which is very close compared to FL – half an hour flight or overnight ferry boat away.

  3. What a beautiful place to call home. I smiled to read that your father drove you around. I hope I will still drive when I am 91. In the first photo there is mist or steam over parts of the lake; hot springs?

    1. I had to make the point that he drove me around…it was remarkable. I’ve seen that mist at the south end of the lake many times at cold weather so there must be some warmer spots there, but no hot springs we’re aware of. It really is a beautiful place.

    1. Yes, I feel privileged to be able to visit my dad and see how well he’s still doing. And the rooster took me by surprise…first when I saw him from behind, I didn’t know what it was 🙂

  4. Wonderful. It must have been interesting to see Your old places after years. I tried to find out which was the church You presented, but I did not recognized it, although I have photographed in Finland about 430 churches.

    You had in this post wonderful set of photos. I love especially the rooster photo. Thank You for this interesting post!

    1. Thanks Matti. It was really interesting. My grandma’s house was no longer there, most of her plot was now a grocery store parking lot…development. This is in Langelmaki, not the main church there, but a smaller one, a “Rukoushuone”, as they call it.

  5. How nice that you went home to see your Dad, also visit such wonderful places in the area were you grew up as a kid. Your photos are very nice as is your post. Blessed be your family! 🙂

    1. It was wonderful! Having a dad, sharp as a knife at 91, is a true privilege. My sister lives in Stockholm, Sweden, which is very close compared to me, just a half hour flight or an overnight ferry away. She visits dad more often of course. But I talk with him a couple of times every week. Just finished talking to him and told him about the post 🙂

  6. Sweet Tiny what absolutely gorgeous pictures. What a beautiful place you visited. I so love the rooster picture, he was really strutting his stuff for you wasn’t he? Thank you for sharing some of your trip in pictures. Hugs

    1. Happy you enjoyed them, thanks for coming along Maggie! the rooster was nothing I’d seen before, and the hen were colorful too! Hugs!

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