As a Finn and a Laplander the most important thing for me is the North and its nature.
I lived my younger years (21 of then to be exact) in Rovaniemi that is situated right on the Arctic Circle. My home city has been a cradle for Finnish tourism for centuries due to its unique location, the breathtaking nature surrounding it and the astonishing flow of the four seasons that cannot be found anywhere else in this country of ours.
In my youth I did not know what I had in terms on the luck to be living in a place like that. I got used to the flashing Northern lights that people fly all the way from Asia to stare at. Always having a skiing route, untouched forest, ice skating ring, slopes or a lake to fish in a few kilometers radius was an everyday thing for me. The winters where always white and so was the snow. I took these things for granted until I moved to the Southern part on the country. My conception on Finland and Finnishess quickly turned upside down.
After spending a whole year in Tampere, the things that I had built my identity upon and held the most Finnish of all did not exist partly or at all.
The summer was sweet and hotter than ever but then again, the winter months where darker and wetter than ever and the ground was grey. The snow hardly came at all and quickly melt and froze again. The slippery ice covered the ground and black trees bent in the cold wind. Deep green spruce woods had to be traveled to and fort the first time I realized how differently people in various parts on Finland speak. When I talked about my family and our ways of life, it sounded somewhat exotic at times. The difference between the folks from the South vs North and occasional lack of knowledge was surprising.
I realized how privileged I was to had been to grow in such a place. I felt home sickness, not because of the people (since 99% of the friends I grew up with had already raised the switch to say and moved before me) but the surroundings, snow, silence, nature, the trees!
Luckily quickly came the Christmas Holidays, it was time to head back to up North again. When I hopped out of the car and breathed the crisp wintery air, my laughs almost ached. ( I had gotten soft in the South…) But damn it felt good! I new I was home.
The pics are from my mothers place in Vuotso. It is another 300 km more North from Rovaniemi, which basically makes me a Southerner in their eyes 😀 As a teenager my mum could not get me there on weekends neither by force or bribe. Now, 10 years later (and as much wiser) I would kill for a day in the cabin. The distance made me realize the awesomeness of the Northern wilderness.
Its a way for me to reset myself and get in touch with my roots. My way endorsing my Finnishess.
– Milla Kuoksa / 14IBA