Just another day in July / on the Finnish West Coast

Late July is always the hottest time of the Finnish summer. This year is no exception.

I wake up to the stifling heat in Rauma, where I’m visiting my mother, and maybe even more than her the surroundings that built me as a child. This was home. For most of my life, this was home, but not anymore.

It always feels odd coming back here, to everything that I’ve so carefully left behind, but this time even more so, because I brought someone with me. A summer fling, I suppose.

In many ways we’re just getting to know each other, but somehow it feels like I’m spending time with an old friend. I feel safe. We start off the hot summer day by cycling around town, ending up on a nearby beach.

The fling goes swimming while I find a place in the shade and tuck into the picnic lunch I prepared – rye bread from a local bakery with some cream cheese and cucumbers. Nothing special, but incredibly good. I’m not quite sure if we both enjoy it as much, or if these simple tastes just strengthen the nostalgia I’ve fallen into.

I’ve never been a spontaneous person, but somehow the fling manages to trick me into a sudden road trip into Uusikaupunki, a beautiful town south from here. We drive along the coast with the windows open, music playing, my hand gently waving in the wind and absorbing the afternoon sun.

Uusikaupunki is a tiny little town, with not much else than a marina and some outdoor restaurants on the shoreline. We take a walk around town, jokingly insulting each other, looking at each other and then looking away to avoid too much eye contact, as if that could somehow reveal our deepest thoughts or fears.

Crayfish season has just begun, and we grab some fresh crab salad at one of the restaurants. The fling tries to talk me into continuing our little road trip to Naantali and then to Helsinki, but I’ve stretched my spontaneity to the limit for one day. We drive back and say goodbye on the steps of my childhood home.

 

And as so often happens in life, at the end of the day I find myself just where I’d begun, alone.

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