I think it was in January when I had a Skype date with my best friend in Slovakia. She’s one of the most amazing and funniest people I’ve ever met and every time we talk on Skype (accompanied with wine, just like we would do after-work if I still lived in Slovakia) it resembles a therapy session. And that particular time we made plans for her to come for another Finland visit.
That’s what we do; I go to Slovakia once a year, she comes to Finland and we’re both as happy as ever. I visited Bratislava in December and now that Spring has finally arrived, my darling girl popped over up here again. Here’s a recap of the best week so far this year:
Slamming the facts to the table, the week started with a proper, big scale fight with my boyfriend. And it was a bit of an eye-opener. I must admit, I didn’t think there would be many more eye-opener experiences left in my life for now but it seems very much that I was wrong.
There aren’t many people on this planet who dare to challenge or criticize me. But I am actually really, really pleased that my boyfriend, as it turns out, has the balls to catch me out if he feels I’ve treated him unfairly! I’m never gonna admit myself that there’s anything wrong with me, anyway, so if I need to change my behavior the initiative has to come from outside.
Nonetheless, I am just a human being and swallowing the criticism wasn’t painless. But by the evening things started to get back onto normal track. Thank heavens because there was no time for more drama; I was off to Finland straight from work on Tuesday!
And on Wednesday I became the first ever to test a ‘home office at the office’-kind of a solution that I had come up with the moment I found out that we had no home office option at all. Basically we contacted someone in the company’s office in my home town in Finland and when we got the green light that there was a spare table available for me it was agreed that I could just as well work from Finland as from Estonia. Anything to enable me to be in Finland when my friends need me!
On Wednesday morning they provided me with a glass cubicle of my own where I was pretty much hidden from view. But I doubt there was anyone who didn’t notice the stranger at the office; there’s no hiding when you are the only one wearing high heels. The clip-clopping on the marble floor echoed all the way to the top floor I think.
Turns out nobody had told the staff that there was going to be a temporary addition to the team. While I was trying to figure out which of the many printers was the one that my laptop had chosen to co-operate with I suddenly saw a very familiar face approaching the same printer. A friend from University whose name I had almost forgotten. We agreed to go for lunch together to catch up and the moment we stepped out of the office people started messaging him “Who’s the date?”, “Do you know that girl, who is she?” and “Who’s the loud one?”
It’s good to meet people who have lived in one place all their life; usually it’s a good reminder of the reasons you decided to leave in the first place. On the other hand they remind you of the little things that might be better if you had stayed. For example this particular friend couldn’t help but laugh at me (and pity me) when I almost pissed myself in the restaurant when I realized that the 10€ lunch included a salad buffet AND coffee+dessert. For Finns such a perk is an obvious thing. Just like getting paid double salary for no reason whatsoever when they go off for a holiday.
But even without complimentary coffee and dessert I would have been extremely happy; I was in Turku and it was sunny and people around me were smiling and laughing (my Finnish readers are choking on their coffee right now but YES, comparing to the working environment in Estonia, Finns are bloody smiley people!). Not that I regret leaving: I love visiting Turku but I can’t see myself moving back there.
On Thursday I accompanied my 2 best friends for a trip to Harjattula where one of them is due to get married in August. We went there to check that the party place was still standing and to measure and plan what sort of decorations will be needed. The glass building itself is a beautiful place to celebrate in, but it’s a bit ascetic so some greenery is definitely needed, maybe a photo corner, etc. This wedding is going to be epic and I can’t wait for August!
Finally Friday arrived and with it the main reason for my being in Finland this week: my friend from Bratislava! But before I could catch up with her I needed to work one more day. I hadn’t had the opportunity to get to know many of the people at my temporary office so I thought it would be nice to at least say thanks and bye to everyone. So I went and bought a thank you card. The moment I stepped out of the store I heard a voice behind me go “You whore”. I didn’t register it at first but the muttering continued so I glanced back and there was a woman following me, spewing insults at me and especially at my high heels: “…such skinny legs as well, just sticks they are, you don’t even look good, horrible shoes you’ve got…”
Now, I have always known that high heels are a sore point for Finnish women. In Finland we appreciate comfort more than looks, whereas I have always thought the opposite way and worn high heels ever since my mum allowed me to get my first pair. There were years when I didn’t own any flat shoes, not even a pair of sneakers. And the abuse I got (at school especially) for such an insignificant thing as wearing a pair of heels was incredible. I guess my crime was the fact that I didn’t even try to blend in with the crowd. But I have never taken the name-calling as an insult, because it’s obvious that a person who does not suffer from self-esteem issues or other insecurities has no need to criticize a random bystander for looking good. And the ones that do suffer of such issues, I will leave to suffer on their own.
This particular woman probably meant to ruin my day, but unfortunately she just made it. Her reaction was so honest and heart-felt, she was so incredibly insulted by the way I looked that I couldn’t do anything else except laugh into my scarf and feel a little bit proud.
The hilarity of that situation kept my spirits up for the rest of the day and in the evening things only got better when I got together with some of the most important people in my life. It’s been a long time since I was home at 5AM and on Saturday I got a hard-felt reminder of why; I’m not 20 any more so it takes a lot more time and effort to recover from the night before.
But by evening I had recovered sufficiently to be able to go for couple of drinks with my Slovak girl. The couple drinks stretched a bit and I came home at 3AM, which would’ve been fine except for the fact that I wanted to arrange a brunch for for my brother and his girlfriend on Sunday. So I had to be up and cooking before they turned up. In the end mum did everything else (scrambled eggs and bacon, porridge, Karelian pies, etc.) and I only managed to make us all smoothies. It was the perfect start for the day, even though I probably over-ate and felt extra sick because of that, not just hangover.
As much as I hate the boats between Helsinki and Tallinn, it was all made worth it when the boat arrived to the Tallinn harbor and my man was there waiting. As a huge bonus he had decided to cook for once, instead of always ordering in. So, we made some salmon with mushrooms and mozzarella salad, and I have never been so glad to be back in Estonia. <3