Saturday, June 21, 2008

The longest day of the year

Today is summer solstice, the longest day of the year 2008. From now on it´s downhill; every day is going to be shorter than the day before until we reach winter solstice on December 21st.

Back in Finland this weekend is an official bank holiday weekend. Everything is closed. In all official buildings and homes flags of Finland were hoisted at 6 pm on Midsummer Eve (yesterday) and flown all night till 9 pm tonight. Finland is full of festivals and happenings. People are celebrating the light. Traditional bonfires can be seen all over the countryside. In region Lapland people all over the world come to see the midnight sun.

I´m thinking all of this now, sitting alone here in our second home in Solingen. I came here a few days ago to work a little; Angie is on her way arriving later this afternoon.

We´ll get visitors from Finland tomorrow morning. My sister Maukka and brother-in-law Arska are coming to a late honeymoon. The wedding took place in Salo, Finland, on February 16th but only now could they take some days off from work and kids. The all-inclusive trip was our wedding gift to the newlyweds.

It is really nice to have my sister here. Too bad the visit is so short, they´ll stay with us only five days. We will pick them up from Düsseldorf Airport tomorrow at noon, staying here until Tuesday afternoon and then drive through Germany to Leipzig to show our real hometown. Thursday evening I´ll take them to Berlin, only an hour and half’s drive from Leipzig, where they stay a few days by Claudia. She´s the German exchange student who spent a year in Finland by Maukka´s home a couple of years back and is now considered as one of her own kids, sister for Aino, Venla, Santtu, Eero and Lauri. Maukka and Arska are flying back to Finland from Berlin Sunday week from tomorrow.

Claudia is by the way the only German I know who speaks perfect Finnish! She´s finishing her school this week (abitur in German, about the same as A-levels or High School Diploma, or YO-tutkinto in Finland). Maukka and Arska decided to come now so they can have a few days with us and then celebrate with Claudia.

I like my sister a lot. I think in Arska she found a real soul mate. I´m really happy to have them here.

Have to start cleaning, Angie arrives about 3 pm.

Welcome Maukka & Arska!

Hyvää juhannusta, as we say in Finland (have a great midsummer).

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Nice memories

"Mein Schatz" (literally: My Treasure) Angie sent a photo a few minutes ago. She left Rome yesterday evening so late she could drive only about 400 km (250 miles) before stopping to sleep. She spent night in Lerici, near Ligurian border to Tuscany in Italy.

Small coastal town of Lerici is for both of us a really nostalgic place. We met when both of us were living in Italy. On our first date we had a typical Ligurian dinner in this restaurant Angie photographed this morning.

Believe it or not, but it´s true: I still remember exactly what she was wearing that night, a hundred years ago. Clothes, jewelry, everything. I remember how she had her hair. But I didn´t remember this restaurant, until I saw the picture.

She did.

I am a happy man.

Monday, June 9, 2008

YES! Angie comes home!

Eyesight is back, a ten-day sickleave is over. Work keeps me busy. Life goes on, summer is really here (see the picture).

Angie called a few minutes ago. She´s seen enough of Rome to last a while so she starts late tonight or early tomorrow the long drive back home, arriving here in Solingen late tomorrow or early Wednesday.

I can not describe how much I´ve been missing her. And, according to her, she feels likewise. This past two weeks was ment to be a holiday for her, to let me to concentrate for my work so I could have a full week off when my sister Maukka arrives here with her husband. They´ll be here Sunday 22nd for a weeks visit.But like almost always with our plans, this one backfired when I got ill. Angie offered, of course, to drive straight back here when she heard about my eye infection, but I said no. She had plans for this holiday, a lot of friends to see, a lot to do. I had all the help I needed here. Not only my cleaning lady made an extra effort to assist me when I couldn´t see a thing, but also my friends and neighbours here helped me a lot with cooking, cleaning and shopping.

Now I can see myself. Tomorrow is a preparation day for operation "Welcome Home, Honey!". Shopping and cleaning, preparations for a romantic candlelight dinner.

Old cliché, but so true: I´m only half without my Angie!

Friday, May 30, 2008

I´m (half) blind!

Woke up today with a terrible headache, feeling pain in my left eye. Couldn´t see nothing with it. The sight in my right eye was a little foggy, too.

I had no choice, had to see a doctor. Luckily the eye specialist my local doctor recommended had an opening in the afternoon. He told me what I already suspected: too much computer display lately.

According to him, there is or was no foreign parts in my eyes, no infection. He found out that my reading glasses, which I use when working with a computer, are too weak. It means my eyesight is getting worse. I got the reading glasses about six years ago and was told then my eyesight otherwise was really good. Today I heard I should absolutely not drive a car anymore without a complete check and new glasses. This time not only the reading ones, I´m going to need glasses all the time. I guess this hobby of mine is over now, at least for a while.

At the moment I´m seeing nothing with my left eye and not very good with the right one. It hurts to try to watch the display or television so I think it´s better if I finish now and write more when my eyes are feeling better.

I just hope the drops I got will help!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Alone again

The weekend was as nice and relaxing as I had hoped. Angie arrived late Friday afternoon and left yesterday to Rome, Italy. She´s back here in about two weeks, and then we´ll drive home together. My village here, this small second home, is really a nice place to be and to work but enough is enough. I miss home in Leipzig. Sunday lunches with my mother-in-law, my friends there, the most beautiful Zoo, the pulse of a big city after weeks of small village life and intensive working.

Like I said, we really enjoyed each others company. Bobi from Paparazzi cooked us a marvelous dinner Friday night, as well as Pedro from Casa Pedro on Saturday. Nice walks and talks, a good movie (DVD) with a couple glasses of heavenly wine. Long periods hand in hand, close. Quality time together; I even managed not to touch my computers nor made I any work related calls during the weekend. I know Angie likes that.

Our village had a also special happening this weekend, the 11th "Classicar" old timer race. It is a meeting of old timer enthusiasts, organized by a local automobile club. Here´s some photos:











Friday, May 23, 2008

Nice weekend ahead

Over a week now without Angie. Because of my work situation, I´ve not been home in Leipzig in three weeks. On the other hand, Angie´s mother has been needing her help and care there. We´ve met weekly, of course: two weeks ago two days in Nijmegen, Holland, and last week she was here from Monday to Wednesday.

The project I´m working now keeps me occupied until mid June. Angie could now have a couple weeks off, so she said yes when an old friend from Rome asked her help. She wants to move back to Germany and Angie goes to help packing.

But first we have a full weekend together. She drives here (Solingen) tomorrow, bringing back my laundry which she took home to be washed after her last weeks visit. Doing the laundry is always a problem when I stay here longer. Home in Leipzig Angie keeps always an extra stock of clothes for me so I just change my luggage when staying home before returning here.

I guess you can see that basically I have nothing to say now. Cant´t concentrate, can´t sleep, can´t read, nothing in TV. Always the same feeling when waiting Angie or closing this "home away from home" and heading towards the real home; I love and miss "Mein Schatz" (literally "my treasure") very much and can´t wait to see her on the doorstep.

Almost everything is ready. Fridge full, tables for dinners for Friday and Saturday reserved, apartment cleaned. Tomorrow only fresh sheets, fresh bread from local bakery and some flowers. And a long wait: she can leave home about noon and 500 kilometers on Friday afternoon traffic takes almost five hours; no speed limit is a nice theory but on Friday and Sunday afternoons autobahns are really full.

Sunday afternoon Angie starts her two day drive to Rome, where she stays at least 10-12 days. I am missing her already. I hope I don´t ruin our weekend by thinking the next two weeks separation too much. I must really work with myself to prevent that feeling to come between us this weekend.

I want to have fun with my wife this weekend!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

"Writer´s block"

Writing code for a website or software can sometimes be very frustrating. That was the case today. A project should be presented to a client tuesday next week, but nothing came out from my brain this morning. A total block.

Luckily I know the medicin for this problem: "Autobahn", the highway. Pointless driving, very fast, no plans. Maybe a cup of coffee in some service area, then back home.


It worked. Inspiration is back.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Still problems with videos

Videos still not available, but at least we now know where the fault is. Blogger´s service team told today: "Blogger is currently experiencing problems with video. We're working hard on a fix and we'll post an update when the problem is resolved." (info from http://status.blogger.com/)

THURSDAY, MAY 22, 2008
All videos seem to be working now.

Being sentimental

As I have told you here I can now see Finnish television over the Internet. I´m using this service mainly to watch news, a couple of my favourite series and an occasional film, mainly when wanting to see and hear the original version instead of one dubbed in German.

Yesterday evening I found something that made me cry. Yeah, I know. A chauvinist, ugly middle aged man, should not be sentimental but I just couldn´t help it. I found a film called "I´ll be there" (UK, 2002). The story is set around Cardiff in Wales, where an aging rock star is trying to find himself but instead of that finds a daughter he´s never been aware of. Nice and harmless story, nice to watch and storyline actually quite good, but not worth of buying the DVD.

So I thought. Until this scene:

The singer is Charlotte Church. In the movie she plays the role of Olivia, daughter of rock star Paul Kerr, who is played by Craig Ferguson. WHAT A VOICE! She sings here "Summertime" from George Gershwin´s folk opera "Porgy and Bess".

I can not understand why my reaction was so overwhelming. Maybe because I´ve always loved Gershwin´s music, maybe because I´m home alone in Solingen and Angie in Leipzig (She´ll be here on Friday!). Or, maybe, she just has the most beautiful voice.

Enjoy!

About my nickname

"Beloved child has many names", according to an old Finnish saying ;) In school, in my early teens, I was called "Kaapo" or "Anselmi". Both names are old, typical Finnish names and behind both names is a story too long to tell. Besides, only my mother still sometimes uses "Anselmi"; nobody has called me "Kaapo" since I was 16.

My ex-wives call me shortly "Idiot" or "Stupid". Good names, nothing against. And really deserved!

Since 1988 I´ve been known as "Larry Laffer", or "Larry". Here´s the story behind the name:

Sierra OnLine, an American computer game publisher, published a game called "Leisure Suit Larry in the Land of the Lounge Lizards" in 1987. It was the first of a successful series of computer games introducing a beer and whisky loving computer nerd called Larry Laffer, seeking for female companionship in (several) wrong places. Larry´s movements were controlled with a mouse. If the player wanted Larry to do something like pick something up or sit or say something to other characters in the game, you had to type your instructions. Maybe this picture from the first Larry-game explains it better:

The game found it´s way to Finland just before Christmas of -87, I got mine early 1988. First weekend I played it through and the rest happened almost automatically: my mates and friends started to ask me about game tips. How to find a certain object Larry was supposed to find to advance in the game and so on.

Keep in mind that a graphical computer game was something new then. We had Amigas, Ataris and Commodore 64:s; IBM had published the first PC-computer only 5 years earlier but nobody could afford it, the price was (in Finland, that is) about 25000 Finnish marks, when a normal worker was making about 3000 marks a month. "Leisuresuit Larry Laffer" (Teryleenipuku Larry in Finnish) was almost instantly a cult.

I do not remember who was the first person to call me Larry. I didn´t like it at first; who likes to be named after a beer licking womanizer who is all the time on the run, chased by the police? I got the name and it stayed, whether I liked it or not.

Today I am OK with the name. When I meet new people socially outside my professional life I present myself as Larry. My blog carries this name, as well as my other private web projects and albums.

Satisfied, Jukka & Sarah?

P.S. Interested to learn more about "Leisuresuit Larry"? Check him out in Wikipedia

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Problem with videos

At the moment the videos are not working. I have checked everything, and don´t find the problem. I´m working on it, though. Patience, please!

Some blog statistics

To see who has been visiting my blog, I use Sitemeter free counter and statistics. It gives me all the information I need. From which country and city my visitors come, which pages they read, how long they stay.

ve been happy to see the results. Starting this new blog, deleting the old one, I was sure I get about 2-3 readers a week. Family and closest friends checking in once a month, that was my idea. This is not a commercial website nor is it advertised. Still, I get an average of 4 visitors a day, each visitor stays about 8 and a half minutes.

And the visitors come from all over the Globe. Just check this picture, taken today from Sitemeter statistics. It shows the country and the city of the last 20 visitors:

(Click the picture to see it bigger)

It´s nice to know there are people in Argentina and Iran, in Canada and Belgium, reading about my life as an immigrant. Thank you.

You anonymous visitor: please send me your blog address. I´d like to know who you are. You will find my email on the profile page.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Schwebebahn

The Schwebebahn (schwebe = suspended, bahn = rail, railroad) is something to see when visiting this part of Germany. It is a suspended monorail tram in Wuppertal, neigbouring city to our Solingen. It´s track is build above streets of Wuppertal and the river Wupper that runs through the city.

Photo here shows the Vohwinkel Schwebebahn station.

Here´s a video I shot a couple of weeks ago on my way the to the Main Railway Station of Wuppertal.

video

Official opening of Summer 2008

Past weeks the weather has been really beautiful here in Gräfrath. It´s been like in the middle of the summer. This weekend when our village had it´s annual 3-day fair, the weather gods decided to show we people should never take nature and weather for granted. Temperature dropped 15 Celsius grades, sky has been gray and rainy these past three days. Fair ends tonight, forecast shows warmth and sun are back tomorrow.

Early this morning. Cold and rainy, people still in church or home in the bed.

An hour later looking out from Kaffeehaus, my local pub.

Gray sky. Bier, bratwurst and brass band. So typical German!

I am really happy these ugly bear stands and tents disappear tomorrow.


I also made a short video with my mobile phone. If interested, click the video to play it. Video is quite big (86 MB), so you need a good, internet connection. First minute or so shows only the brass band from behind, so you might want to skip it. (TIP: With a slow internet connection, videos can be quite jumpy. When you pause the video, your computer continues to download it to a buffer. The longer you pause, the longer you can then watch it without annoying breaks.)


video


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Hello again

I just noticed I haven´t updated this blog in over a month. Have been working really hard, slept more nights away than here at home.

This time at home in Solingen. Looks like the right place to be right now. My computer´s weather station showed this information a couple of minutes ago, 21:10 o´clock (9:10 PM, see the picture):

Helsinki 7 grades Celsius and cloudy. Our former hometown and still our mutual favourite Rome 16 grades and rain. The other hometown Leipzig 18 and sunny, but here in Solingen 21 and a beautiful sunset. Keep in mind I am talking about 9 o´clock in the evening!

Summer is finally here!

No time to write more, our village market square with it´s pubs is calling.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Work versus Relationship

Last weeks have been very busy. A couple of work projects have been taking almost all of my time. Every now and then a couple of days home with Angie and then on the road again.

This weekend we celebrate our birthdays (me Tuesday last week, Angie yesterday) together with our German friends and family. I will arrive in Leipzig about 18:00 (6 PM), reception starts 19:30. Early Saturday some customers of mine will arrive, I´ll take them to see AMI, one of the main European car exhibitions. Nothing to do with my work but a nice way to corrupt the customers. Traditional Sunday brunch with Angie, my mother-in-law and Angie´s aunt, and Sunday evening on the road again on a two week trip.

Those who read my old blog know one of my eternal themes: Is this work-oriented life really the only alternative we have? Simply, I do not spend enough time with Angie. When we have an argument it is normally because of this lack of time together. Going to bed alone in some remote hotel is not nice when your biggest desire is to fall asleep enjoying (and be waked up by) the warmth of the body of the love of your life.

As a young man I decided I´ll save money so I can retire when I am 50. That Big-Five-Oh is now only a year away and now it seems I´ll have to work quite a bit longer than planned. To pay the bills is keeping me on the road.

Life sucks! Today. Not always, but clearly it sucks today. Tomorrow evening, home with my Angie and our friends, I will not think so. But now, LIFE SUCKS!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter

This winter has not been a normal one. End of January and beginning of February we were enjoying the sun. Daily temperatures between 8 and 14 °C, about 46 to 57 °F. Street bars and coffee shops were open, people were talking about an early spring.

Now, end of March, we´ve got snow here in Leipzig, first time this "winter". It´s cold, windy and dark.

Anyway, Easter is here. Long weekend with Angie. No work, no stress. Picture here shows Easter decorations at Leipzig Hauptbahnhof, central railway station, where we went day before yesterday to buy some flowers and Easter eggs to our friends. Click to see it full size.

Happy Easter to everyone.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

TV from Finland

About a month ago life became easier for us Finnish immigrants. Finally after years of waiting Finnish television is available to everybody with a flat rate Internet connection. Best part is it costs only €10 a month. Viewer should also have a Finnish TV-license paid. I can now watch everything from channels TV1 and 2, Yle Teema, FST5, MTV3, Nelonen, Sub and Jim. It´s not live; I can start watching a program about 5 minutes after it´s finished. For me it´s OK. The provider TV-Kaista stores all programs for two weeks so I can watch my favorite shows whenever it suits me. The quality is super! Watch yourself; the photo here is from my favorite soap Heartbeat, "Sydämen asialla" in Finnish.

It is a tremendous pleasure to watch a nice film or show with original sounds and speech!

Here in Germany they dub everything. Sometimes it is a bit comical, like a musical where some famous American star sings with his / her own voice, in English, but his /her spoken voice is a totally different German voice.

As my friend put it, I rather hear Arnold Schwarzenegger say in his own voice "I´ll be back!", than a totally strange voice in German with bad lip-sync "Ich komme zurück!"

Eero & Teemu in Germany

Finally some time to update this blog. I´ve been quite busy these past two weeks. First Eero´s and Teemu´s visit, then this week a lot of work.

My keenly expected guests Eero and Teemu have already been back in Finland over a week. We had very intensive and fun four days. I really enjoyed, I hope I get guys here quite often. The best part for me was how natural it was between me and Teemu. I hope he is happy, too, but it is not my business to tell how he feels. I am expecting nothing, just happy of this new found contact. Thank you, Teemu. And Eero, of course. It was really nice to have you here.

The visit started well: First drinks in a bar at airport, beers for guys and a cappuccino for me (I had to drive) and I was so confused that I forgot to pay. Next day Teemu asked if I had noticed that we didn´t pay. No, I had not noticed. Anyway, next evening the same happened: visiting a local pub to meet my friend there, we had a couple of drinks and left without paying. Let´s not make this a habit, guys. Next time we will pay!

To find words to describe how good time we had is really difficult. We saw Schloss Burg and the Cathedral of Cologne and quite a lot more. Domenico, my best friend here, heard about Teemu´s first visit to see me and invited us to a superb first class Italian dinner in his Paparazzi restaurant, 50 meters from my door. We had some nice Alt (local dark beer) in my local Kneipe (pub) Kaffeehaus. We talked a lot, Eero watched Salkkarit a lot, we slept incredibly little. My guests ate almost all of the Finnish sausage and bread they brought for me. And of course, we saw the Cebit!

Here´s some photos of those days. Like I´ve mentioned earlier, I am not a good photographer, so please no comments about the quality of my snapshots. Click a photo to see it full size.

To start, here´s Teemu telling a Good Night-story to Eero, first evening.



Next day, in Köln (Cologne in English). Teemu and Eero having a coffee outside Köln Hauptbahnhof (main railway station). Behind the guys the "Kölner Dom", Cathedral of Cologne where we lighted candles.



Of course Teemu wanted a photo of him standing besides a German police van.



Following day was the main event, Cebit-fair in Hannover. Teemu on the wheel, driving on the highway A2 between Dortmund and Hannover. According to him it was his first time legally over 200 km/h. Eero´s comment to me during a coffee break a bit later: "Over 200 is OK, but rather when you drive!" I don´t know why; Teemu is a good driver. I was feeling a bit ashmed to think that I have to know him better before letting him drive. Sorry Teemu but next time it´s no beer for you: you will drive, I´ll sit back with Jekku.



First thing to do was to take a photo to send to Angie, to show we were where we were supposed to be.



For some reason we stayed here longer than planned... To check this company´s products, of course.



Nice car ;)



Teemu found a new keyboard.



Going to have a break in a truck with a cabin bigger than my apartment.



Back home, I promised Teemu can take my smaller car to look a bit around...



Düsseldorf Airport, about one and half hours before the flight back home.



Thank you for you visit, guys. Already planning the next one.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Home sweet home

We had a terrible storm here in Germany last Saturday. In Alps wind speeds up to 220 km (about 135 miles) per hour, inland up to 180 km per hour. Terrible drive for us both, but finally Sunday afternoon we were home in Leipzig. Some quality time together, tonight I have to drive, again, across Germany back to Solingen. My much awaited visitors from Finland arrive at 22:15 in Düsseldorf Airport.

For myriad of reasons Angie stays in Leipzig. In a way I think it is a good decision. This is Teemu´s and Eero´s first visit to me and Angie and me both thought it could be better if I can fully concentrate in my guests. We can speak and communicate only in Finnish, without need to translate all the time, both ways. One main point for me and the guys is Cebit, the computer fair I mentioned earlier; Angie goes to computer show only in her nightmares ;)

I feel incredibly good, having Teemu and Eero here. I hope in a few days I can post some nice photos here.

Now a cup of coffee with my lovely mother-in-law, before hitting the highway. One reason I like Germany: If you like driving fast, here it is possible. It is a nice feeling to accelerate to 210 km per hour and hit the cruise control button! From a bit more than 500 km between our homes, over 300 km is with no speed limit. The rest is limited to 130 km per hour, but it´s only good. You need these breaks; driving over 200 km/h you really need to concentrate.

If you are interested to see this route in a map, here´s route description: From Leipzig A14 to Magdeburg, then A2 to Kamen near Dortmund, A1 to Wuppertal and finally A46 to Solingen.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Logistics of love and family

Maukka´s wedding week and a half ago brought us a logistical problem. Angie´s best friend’s birthday was only two days before the wedding. Angie had long ago promised to organize the party. Problem is this friend lives in Rome Italy. From the beginning it was clear she makes the trip with her car, so she can bring back some important things from the warehouse where we still have a lot of stuff, put there after selling the apartment summer of 2006. She enjoys driving; we both like the trip through Switzerland very much and make it normally very slowly, 2-4 days for a bit over 1300 km from Leipzig to Rome. When you for example check Morcote (homepage and map), a small town by Lake Lugano, you understand why it is almost impossible just to drive through.

The plan was OK, we both thought. She drives alone to Rome, I stay at work and fly later there for a few days to visit some friends, too, and to help her to pack stuff from warehouse to car, and then we would drive back together.

When the invitation to the wedding came it was too late to cancel everything we (she!) had already organized. It was time for Plan B: she drives to Rome, I drive to Solingen to work a couple of days on that side of Germany. Friday 15th she catches a plane in Rome, I do the same in Solingen (Düsseldorf Airport 30 km from home), and we´ll meet at Helsinki Airport driving together to Salo. Sunday after the wedding back to Helsinki, nice and quiet evening in hotel, next day some work stuff of mine and then rental car back to airport, late lunch together, Angie flies back to Rome, me to Solingen to work. Then yesterday evening I was supposed to be on a plane heading Rome, to drive back home to Leipzig with "Mein Schatz" (= My treasure) over the weekend. In Leipzig on Monday next week, 3rd of March and following day, Tuesday the 4th after the work, this already routine 4-5 hour drive to Solingen to pick Eero and Teemu up from Düsseldorf Airport late same evening.

Plan B worked until yesterday. Like always, something came up. This time only five hours before I was supposed to be on the plane heading Rome, having a cold Campari Soda in my hands and anxious to meet Angie after a week’s break. Now, instead of drinking cappuccino in Piazza Navona hand in hand with a beautiful lady, I am in the middle of nowhere in the Dutch countryside working with ugly men. Luckily from this part of Holland I´ll drive home to Solingen only an hour and a half, so I can sleep home. Spare parts to fix the crashed system, ordered earlier today, will arrive sometime Friday. I assume the job is done late Friday / early Saturday.

Plan C is now active. I have to finish this job. Then maybe late Saturday evening I can drive to Leipzig. It is a 511 km drive one way; there is also a 60 km shorter route between our homes but it takes about an hour longer to drive. Sunday lunch with my wonderful mother-in-love and her sister, Angie´s aunt. Schatz arrives late Sunday or Monday, depending on the conditions when crossing the Alps.

After that back to Plan B: on Tuesday back to Solingen to pick our Finnish visitors from the airport.

Motto: Life is a logistical nightmare!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Links are now working

I got a couple of calls, links to photos and city maps were not working. Problem is now fixed, links OK.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Sad news

Called my mother tonight, just to check if she is alright. She told me my father´s older brother Jouko died earlier today. Pirkko, Sirpa & family: My deepest condolences. Just yesterday, writing about Maukka´s wedding I thought how nice it would be to meet you all.

I am so sorry, I hope you can cope.
Otan osaa suruunne.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Maukka & Arska 16.02. 2008

My sister Marjukka, Maukka, got her Arska in Salo, Finland, Saturday last week. A beautiful sermon, a beautiful party, the most beautiful bride.

For me it was a nice but confusing weekend. I haven´t met most of my family in years, keeping in touch with nobody else than my mother and sister and her family. Maukka put it nice in her speech: "This is the first time in 26 years that me, all my brothers and our mother are together, same time and same place." It´s true. Last time we all (mother, Maukka, my brothers Esa and Timo and me) have met was our brother Pekka´s funeral back in 1982.

I also found Teemu. Biologically he is my son, but like he says I am not his father. That´s OK with me, I wasn´t there since fall 1983. My side of the story don´t belong here, so I´ll just say he has a mother and a father who brought him up, doing a good job I think. I don´t know what would be the right word to describe our relation to each other, or is it even important to find an expression for everything. I´m completely happy just calling him Teemu.

I have to admit I am a bit anxious now. Teemu and my nephew Eero are coming to stay with us a couple of days early next month to visit the biggest European computer fair Cebit in Hannover. Nice to have visitors from Finland. Welcome, guys.

Both having kids from previous marriages Maukka and Arska decided to go with a special sermon designed for reconstituted families (FIN: uusperhe). Here´s a short video from the beginning of the sermon, made with a mobile phone so quality is not very good. The bride was given away by her two sons Lauri and Eero. Bridesmaids were Maukka´s daughters Venla and Aino: (All videofiles are quite big. If you are using a volume based connection, let me know. I´ll burn a DVD for you.)

video

Next video shows Arska´s son Santeri as a "deputy bestman", giving the ring:

video

Arska shows why he can´t make his money by singing :)

video

Eero and "stepbrother" Juuso, pure Pop Star Quality:

video

And of course, the walzing couple

video

The waltz went well, although there were some doubts: Santeri, Arska´s son, and Aino, Maukka´s daughter, were talking about wedding some time before the big day. Santeri told Aino "My father can not dance waltz". Aino, clever as always, looked Santeri and said: "Hm! My mother can! She´s been married before!"

The bride, my mother and Angie were not the only beautiful ladies I met there. It was, I´m happy to say, really positive surprise to see my cousins Anitta, Arja and Paula. I remember three giggling small girls with freckles; I met three beautiful and intelligent, friendly women. I hope this is a new beginning, I would be very happy to keep in touch. Talking about beautiful ladies, my uncle Raimo´s wife Kerttu, Arja´s mother, was really elegant. I don´t understand why I look older every day but these relatives of mine stay always young? Erkki, my father’s brother and my godfather was there. We´ve met some 15 years ago but he was exactly the same. I hope someday I have the possibility to meet his two younger kids, my only cousins I have never met.

All my photos from the wedding are here. They are not so good, I have to admit. I would like to have more photos of my sisters big day. If you have some nice shots you can send them (any digital format) to this email. Please mention if it is OK to publish your photos here. Print photos you can send by mail, address can be asked from the same email.

Thank you Maukka and Arska for inviting us!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Welcome

This blog is about 12 months old, so why are there no earlier stories? Where are all the posts, photos and videos between beginning of this blog (March 2007) and today?

After my sisters wedding last weekend In Finland, meeting some of my family members and friends first time in years, I wanted to make a fresh start with this blog. Archive, all my old stuff, was deleted, so that I don´t have to think to whom I could tell about this blog. From now I am writing only about stuff I think is harmless to everybody to read and see. By doing this I can tell about this blog to everybody. My mother and sister, her new family, my brothers and cousins. And of course all my friends, old and new.

Earlier version of this blog was normally read only by 4 guys. It was more of a diary than a blog, communication between friends going back more than 20 years. When Peter, my oldest and dearest friend died last year, there were only three living souls sometimes checking in to my life by reading this blog. That´s how I wanted it. But things change, life changes. I´m getting old, the big five-oh is only a year away. I´ve been living abroad, long away from my family, so many years now I thought I do not miss anything from Finland. How wrong that was! I miss everything: my mothers smoked fish and pastries, real sauna, Venla & Aino, Pekka & daddy, Heinon Grillikioski, Iltis in Kesoilin baari with kahvi and munkki, pizza in Rosso and Iso Kolmonen in Assan Pub.

Opening my blog to everybody helps me to think I am closer those important to me. Friends around this globe, family here and there.

Welcome.