I took a night bus to the Helsinki airport this morning from Turku, where I was visiting my wonderful cousin. It was hilariously fun. My cousin is a few years younger than I am, and I’m relatively certain he’s a genius. As one of his friends put it, he speaks Finnish that makes angels cry with joy. He’s half Finnish though, so I suppose this is not what makes him a genius. He also speaks German (and English – fortunately because otherwise I would be at a communication loss). He’s also one of those people who really likes other people, and doesn’t ever say mean things. And he let me sleep in his bed, having procured a mattress for the floor, which was super nice, especially when I slept 11.5 hours while he was in class. And probably the best part, he let me make annoyingly extravagant dinners despite the fact that this may have interfered with all the rest of our plans and despite the fact that this meant he had to play sous chef to my rather inane and wildly unpredictable head chef.
1. Strange Finnish bouncer who insisted on employing either a Texan or Australian accent in all interactions with English speakers and wore a cowboy hat. I managed to get a photo of him on someone else’s camera – this was definitely an appreciated move and may have made Tommy’s friends like me more.
2. I met Tommy’s grandmother, two of his aunts and a fisherman uncle, as well as a tiny cousin named Cecilia who reminded me of the twins and who did not (shockingly) speak English even though she was already three years old so I could only smile really enthusiastically when she let me hug her Mickey mouse doll.
3. Kia came to get me at the airport! Kia is wonderful, too.
4. While grocery shopping on Sunday, Tommy and I discovered that the Finnish are very serious about closing times. At 6 pm promptly, a voice announced over the intercom that they were closing and we should precede to the check out lines (obviously I had no idea what they said, but Tommy informed me). Of course, thinking like Americans, we race off in different directions thinking we’ll grab the last of what we need and meet t the front. The we remember that I don’t speak Finnish and can’t read any labels, which is surprisingly necessary with food. So we go as a team and are quickly intercepted by a clerk who says, “We’re closed. You have to leave.” to which Tommy replies, “Can we pay?” (I think this is a reasonable question) and she says, “if there are still people to check you out.” Fortunately, there were, but I can’t help wondering what would have happened if there weren’t. Would we have been forced to sleep in the store? Would we have been awarded free groceries? Would someone have chased us out with an ax? It all seems plausible.
5. Trainspotting. We watched it last night before I left and I think I might have understood the most of it because of my newfound Scottish expertise. Ewan McGregor is so skinny in it, but still fun to watch, other than the times he’s sticking a needle in his arm, which might actually be 75% of the time, but whatever, just be like me and cover your eyes with a scarf so that you can tell when the scene changes but see zero details of heroine injection.
6. Norwegian Air allows only one carry on, but is apparently less strict than Ryan Air or Easy Jet, both of which understand that enforcement equals money. I know they are less strict because on my flight to Stockholm the woman in front of me appeared to have three bags (large purse, small backpack and large camera bag looking thing) and this did not perturb anyone but me.
7. Tommy and I impulsively bought a mango yesterday and I brought it with me to the airport as I was concerned he wouldn’t eat it due to the large quantity of leftovers I abandoned in his refrigerator. So I got into the airport about an hour early, ordered lemon tea, reorganized my bags into a single bag (thinking I might otherwise be charged exorbitant amounts of money) in front of a shocked-looking pilot who was enjoying a paper and a coffee, and then attacked my mango with the dullest table knife I have ever held in my hands. I think this was the more disturbing activity, but I was very pleased with myself for having the mango and the man seemed to lose interest in watching me stab the mango. It’s really an anti-climactic activity.
8. We made banana bread that overflowed and began to drip batter onto the floor of the oven. The outside was ok though, so we ate it anyway. And discovery: Tommy really likes batter.