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.)

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

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

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

And of course, the walzing couple

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


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.