Bloganuary: What is a road trip you would love to take?

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I’m taking part in Bloganuary this month. I don’t know if I’m writing every day, though. Today, the subject is a road trip you would love to take? I’ve been on many road trips in Finland. When people from other countries come here, all they see is Helsinki. But that’s not what Finland is about. We have a beautiful country. We might be small, but there are many places to see. Not even Finns themselves will see the whole country during their lifetime. The places I’ve been to is many, so here is places I’ve been to in Eastern Finland. There are cities like Lahti and Savonlinna, which are the places I’m gonna show you here. The photos are from 2009.

Probably the most famous place in Eastern Finland is the ski jumping towers in Lahti. I’ve been up in the biggest towers. You really have to admire those ski jumpers who have the courage to jump from there. It was kind of scary being up there for an ordinary person, but it’s a great experience to see it from that angle.

The next destination is Savonlinna. I was there the first time when I was a child. You see the city from a different angle when you’re an adult. The attraction St. Olaf’s Castle is an impressive sight. In the summer they have an Opera festival there. Other times you can take a walk inside it.

Last not but not least. The museum in Mikkeli, Headquarters museum. It was used as the headquarters during World War 2. Part of it it’s a school and the other a museum. There is a study that Marshal Mannerheim used. It’s a fascinating museum, especially if you’re interested in wartime in Finland.

So if you want to see more of Finland than Helsinki, check out Eastern Finland. The best way to see our country is a road trip. A trip I would love to do is a road trip in my own country. There is a lot of places I haven’t seen but also places I want to see again.

Advent Calendar, Day 15, 3 years ago

woman slalom skiing
Mother skiing in Lapland

Today it’s been 3 years since my mother died. It was one of the hardest things I ever been through. She wasn’t only my mother, she was also a friend. We had our ups and down but who hasn’t. When I had problems I could ask her for help. She had been through a lot in her life so she knew a lot of things. She was also very caring and helpful. She lost her father when she was a child. He also had cancer. She lost her first child (my sister) and it was really hard on all of us. That was the reason why we travelled to Europe. I was only 6 so I don’t remember much of that time.

I only want to remember the good times which is something we all should do if we lost a family member. We travelled quite a lot and when we did, it was fun. Of course some conflict came but nothing is perfect. Travelling hasn’t been the same again. Actually nothing has been the same. We went to ski trips to Lapland almost every year. I was only 2 months old when I was there the first time. We used to have a cabin there that my father shared with a few other owners. But when he sold his share, we rented a cabin or a hotel room somewhere else. Slalom was a family hobby of ours. He taught us both so we’ve never been to a lesson. I was 6 when I first started but I wouldn’t say I’m good at it. Me and mother skied a lot there. My father used to compete in alpine slalom when he was younger but I guess he got old and wasn’t as keen anymore.  Last time we were skiing was in 2011. Who knew that a year later, it would all change and our ski trips as a family would be history. (she was diagnosed with cancer in 2012)

Things change and sometimes it hurts but we have to move on. That’s what my mother would have wanted. Even if she was ill, she was still worried about me. She was a worrier and sometimes she worried too much. There were things that I left unsaid. I’ll regret it forever. It probably wouldn’t have changed anything. She would still have passed away. She was the one who cooked food for Christmas when we celebrated it at home. I always helped her in the kitchen so I learned how to cook. Making Christmas dinner is hard work so it’s not something you want to do by yourself. I don’t have anyone who could help so I don’t make it. We haven’t celebrated Christmas at home for a while and this time we won’t either. Last time was when she died and then Christmas wasn’t a celebration as you understand. It’s easier to go to a trip where everything is done for you. I think we would still go if my mother was still alive.

What I miss the most was the time we spent together. Going on cycling trips, going to the store, telling her about my day, baking and everything that we used to do. Doing those things now is not the same. Even though I had a good relationship with both parents, she was the one who I was closest to. She remembered things about the past that my father didn’t. I also miss when I could ask her about something from my childhood or if I needed help in daily things. Now I have to find out things on my own which is sometimes difficult. Those are times I wish she was still around. She was the one who went to the meetings in school and cared the most about my education. Both of my parents have always supported me in everything I do and I’m grateful for that. Everyone has their flaws but I’m lucky that I had parents that cared. That’s something not everyone have.

To mother. Till mor.  Äidille.

It’s been 3 years since you’ve been gone. I wish it wasn’t so. I wanted you to stick around and see how I’m doing. I didn’t want you to worry. I’m doing fine. Maybe there was a reason why you had to go. Why you were the one who got sick. I’m been wondering that many times. But what’s done is done. I still think about you. It was better to see you leave than seeing you go through pain. Suffering is the worse and no one should be in that place. It could have been better if you could grow older. But maybe then I wouldn’t be as strong and independent as I am now. Sometimes there are times I think about what if you wouldn’t have gotten sick and how things would be. You could see what I’m doing now and I could tell how things are going. Your advice and encouraging is what I miss on times like these.
Even though I miss the times when you were still here, it encourages me to know you’re in a better place. Maybe we meet again or maybe we’re not. I’ll shed a tear or two when I think about you because you meant a lot to me. One thing is certain, life goes on and that’s what you wanted me to do. Like you said once, I’m still young and have a life to live. That’s what I’m doing, moving on. I’ll never forget you and will always remember you. RIP.