“Näkemiin” my beautiful Suomi but back to reality ! (Auto-biography)


There is no wedding video and the bride did not swoon or got swept away by a Sharif-like groom  on horseback with manes flying, galloping along the shoreline of the Golf of Bothnia. Instead the both of us spent some weeks in a cottage at Ankeriasjarvi where we lived on lots of pancakes, smoked eel and fruits of love. I tried to catch fish in order to prove I would be a good provider for the future. After hacking a hole in the frozen lake and lowering my fishing line, all I got was frozen feet and hands. I improved a little, a day or so after, when I promised to make her tea in a billy in ‘the Finnish bush’. I explained this was a cultural initiation ceremony in Australia for all newly weds. Omitting to tell her that often it was a string of  beer cans being pulled along a VW Kombi van instead. I made the best of the present romance enjoyed on the shores of a Finnish lake, sipping  Billy tea.

When the day warmed up to a balmy  -20c and a shy sun peeked a bit yellow, we both walked towards the edge of the frozen glistening lake and the pine forest surrounding and protecting it.  In no time did we find enough kindling to make a fire. Snow in the billy for pure water and … on the fire…and soon we had a cup of tea… “Bob is your uncle,” I mentioned unthinkingly. Even though this latest was said in German, Helvi did not get it, but gave a  smile anyway. “Bob ist ihr Onkel” . “Aber ich habe kein Onkel Bob,”  she said. It was then that we realised that a better common language would have to come about in bits and pieces. There were so many funny episodes, we laughed our heads off in between.

One day we also went to a piano concert being performed in the nearest city named Jyvaskyla. There was a train service between Ankeriasjarvi and Jyvaskyla.  Helvi  must have got a timetable and as we had walked to the cottage and train station a few times during the day we thought we could venture the same after the concert finished which would have been  close to 11pm. I forgot what  piano concerto was being played or the name of the pianist. It might have included Sibelius music as an extra. It should have! At the time I only learned about J P Sibelius through Helvi. My knowledge about Finland was so limited. All I wanted to know better was the girl from Finland at the expense of everything else. The hall in which the concert was held was designed by Alvar Aalto. He was the world’s best known architect and no wonder, his buildings are beautiful and so is almost everything designed in Finland. Simple, utilitarian and a pleasure to look at, always beautiful, never kitsch.

We notified the guard on the train we wanted to get off at Ankeriasjarvi. It all seemed rather simple. That’s how train travel was in the time I was there. The train would have stopped at around 11.30 or close to midnight. It was pitch dark and quite a step down onto the timber platform. Perhaps someone helped us to lower ourselves. We had taken a torch to lead us back through the snow and along he path that ran along the lake’s edge. I could add that there was a gentle moon reflecting in itself on the white frozen lake but also helping us along and back to our cottage. It was a walk that could  never have been repeated. It would have been a cliché. Our little cottage was still warm and we put on another log. Perhaps we had tea or coffee before hitting the sack. A great unforgettable evening.   We both liked the adventure and excitement of that walk during that arctic winter’s evening along the lake having listened to a wonderful concert.


30 Responses to ““Näkemiin” my beautiful Suomi but back to reality ! (Auto-biography)”

  1. Julia Lund Says:

    What lovely memories – I could see it all.


  2. Carrie Rubin Says:

    What a lovely memory to carry with you for years.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. berlioz1935 Says:

    Almost like Doctor Shiwago – minus the sledge of course.

    Alvar Aalto designed an apartment building in Berlin.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Dr Zhivago with Omar, who confessed and became a gambler and lost lots of money. Still, he left a lot of people that enjoyed the movies as did Alvar Aalto with his buildings (and his chair).


  4. hilarycustancegreen Says:

    It gets more and more romantic with each episode.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. rod Says:

    You are going from strength to strength with this narrative. I don’t know how you can produce it so quickly, but you can.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thank you Rod,
      The time left needs to be taken seriously but am at least half way at 1966. I do enjoy putting words down and hope this will continue. Your encouragement and of others hit the nail on the head each time.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Yvonne Says:

    There are some blogs I skim through, there are others where I eagerly anticipate the next post, and read carefully. Yours falls into the latter category, Gerard.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. gerard oosterman Says:

    Compliments of Sedwith.


  8. bkpyett Says:

    I’m so pleased you mention Jean Sibelius, he must have been a very special man as well as a talented composer. Your memories are wonderful Gerard and really take me back to the 60s.


  9. Andrew Says:

    The simplicity of young love, even through a 3rd language. I smiled when Helvi said she didn’t have an Uncle Bob. Und damit basta!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. nonsmokingladybug Says:

    Smoked eel…oh my Gosh this is my all time favorite. Can’t get it here for nothing. Oh darn you had to remind me didn’t you?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. elizabeth2560 Says:

    You paint a beautiful picture of wonderful love and romance in a magical setting.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Finland is a magical setting for any event, marriage or divorce, 21 st or 75th. We had snow here last night. Woke up, opened the blinds and thought I must have carked it, all white ouside but no angels. Lovely!

      Liked by 3 people

      • elizabeth2560 Says:

        Sounds magical.
        Thought I would let you know I am having internet problems and difficulty reading others posts. I will catch up with yours when its all fixed in about 2 weeks.


  12. Lottie Nevin Says:

    Aah, swooon! what lovely memories. I’m glad that there weren’t a whole load of beer cans being towed by a camper van – that would have spoilt the idyllic picture that you’ve painted for us.


  13. Forestwoodfolkart Says:

    No wonder it was a magical time, with that frozen lake, a clear night and reflections off the snow. Even reading about it, makes me feel closer to my beloved wintery Scandinavia. You are indeed fortunate to have such a fairytale start to your wedded days.


  14. Patti Kuche Says:

    What a dream!


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