Sunday, 15 April 2018
Meeting my Finnish friend
I have a Finnish friend who lives in Helsinki, Finland. We started our friendship as pen friends when we were in high school many years ago. After graduating from university, I did a backpacking trip in Europe. One of the stops on my itinerary was Helsinki to meet my pen friend in person.
I was travelling by ferry from Stockholm to Helsinki. I remember my anticipation of our meeting, and my hope that everything would be alright. Would I recognize her first, or would she recognize me first in the crowd? Would we get along in person as we have been by letters? Would there be any awkward moments? These were some of the questions in my mind. At the same time, after having been in touch for about five years, I felt confident that we would have a great experience.
My friend came to pick me up at the ferry terminal. I don't remember who recognized whom first. I remember that it felt natural right away. She took me home and introduced me to her mom, boyfriend, and neighbour. Everyone was so nice to me as if I was part of the family. We spent time exploring Helsinki for a couple of days, then my friend's mom drove us to their cottage, about three hours north of Helsinki. My friend's dad had built the cottage, with wooden stairs and a long pier all the way to the lake. I still remember the quietness and the beauty of the place. It was there that I experienced the authentic Finnish sauna ritual and cottage life with my Finnish friends.
We stay in touch all these years and share our life events now via email. This spring as I was planning my trip to Tallinn, Estonia, it occurred to me that since there is regular ferry service between Helsinki and Tallinn, perhaps we can meet in person during the weekend that I'm in Tallinn. I contacted my friend with my idea. The answer is Yes! She had been to Tallinn before, as recent as March this year.
I'm really looking forward to meeting my Finnish friend again. Would I recognize her first, or would she recognize me first in the crowd? We'll chat over coffee or a meal. We'll walk to see some sights together. We'll create new memories.
Many years have gone by, and here we are again, one of us is taking a ferry ride to a foreign country, to continue our long-lasting friendship. I feel grateful to have my Finnish friend in my life and the opportunities to meet her in person, more than once.
Your turn...I'd love to hear your friendship stories.