Trip Start Jun 10, 2008
16Trip End Ongoing
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When we met I was still in Rio, wanting to take some time off from hosting people and use that time to be alone. But then I got her request by e-mail, and by the name on the subject I knew she was Finnish. That got me thinking about making an exception and, since the e-mail she sent was nice I thought - why not? She spent only three days at my house, but they were really good days. She was, and still is, an exceptionally interesting conversation partner, as even though she often seems to be too different from me in her ways of thinking, she provides a very useful counterpoint to all my carefully constructed ideas, forcing me to overcome my excessive pride, reconsider what I need to reconsider and to look at old subjects I am usually so sure about in a new light that can still brighten up some of its dark corners. Of particular interest to me is talking to her about religious stuff - I turned agnostic to atheist not very long ago, and she is what I'd call deeply religious. That should be the biggest possible difference in two people's thoughts about this, yet sometimes I feel like we are talking about the same thing, sometimes it looks to me as if the religious path she chose and the atheist path I chose tooke us to very similar conclusions... maybe we are talking about the same thing after all, who would know? God is a metaphor, she says. Anyway, I felt that she could understand me well and that I could understand her well and to get this kind of feeling in such a short time from a (so-called!) total stranger is priceless - I consider her one of my very good friends now. But, well, the reason I chose Marjaana out of all the possible people I could talk about is that I also intend this as a thank you note, as, by chance or design, it was through her that the Finnish soil was softened up enough for my first root to pierce it, and that was because on the day I visited her in her Helsinki home, a job fell on my lap right out of the blue sky, and with it came a place to stay.
But that is a story to be completed at a later time, what I really want to say with this post is that there are three Finnish people who I am bold enough to openly call my friends, of whom Marjaana was the third I met. The second was Satu, who was living in Granada when I visited Betuca there last year, and who later passed by Porto twice while I was living there. She used to live in Tampere, but coincidentally moved to Helsinki shortly before I came, and hosted me for my first days in the city. The first one I met was Tomi, who was one of my first guests in 2006, along with his wife Vera (who doesn't figure in this friends-count because she is Russian :) and who was later my host in his hometown. For a while it felt like we were neighbours, as we were meeting often, then I left Finland and a while later they moved to Kuwait, but coincidentally they came back to Finland this year for a one-week visit shortly after I arrived here and we got another chance to meet. Then I met again some other people here in Helsinki - Emil, from Porvoo, who was my guest in Rio last year; Claudio, the Roman guy I met in a camp in Espoo in 2006 and lives here; Magda, who I met in the same camp and introduced me to some Finnish music that is still among my favorites, and who would later ask me to stay at her place for a while (where I am right now) to take care of her cats while she visited her hometown. And also, on a day when I was supposed to attend a Björk concert that was cancelled, thus allowing me to go to a CS meeting instead, I met Juanjo, my Spanish friend and first guest who just showed up there without we being aware of each other's presence in Finland. It was really great to be reunited with all these people, adding to the overall feeling that everything is working out just perfectly for me, without even the need for great effort. Marjaana asked one day how could someone not believe in God after so many coincidences. Well, I still don't, but I do believe in metaphor - god is a human heart and, since I set foot in Finland for the second time, mine is... ¡whole again!