For many people in Helsinki, Finland, life is all about nature and education. The excerpts here are from a diary written by a girl, Heinni Lahtela, when she was 12 years old. At the time, Heinni lived in Puistokatu Street located next to Kaivopuisto Park. She lived at home with his little sister Mitti and her parents. Her mom is a mobile company worker and her dad is an engineer. Every people in Finland have to pay forty percent of their income for taxes. However this money are mostly used for everyone’s benefit such as school and clinic, so most of the schools and clinics are free. Everyday after school Heinni’s Family visits a park or forest near by.
An ISB student later discovered Heinni’s diary, which led to its wonderful publication on This Beijing Life.
Day 1- Monday 28th April, 2010
Today was a sunny day, the trees danced and the lake sang. We packed our lunch, which were meatloaf with lingonberry (mountain cranberry) sauce, mashed potatoes, and gravy. We also took blueprint, and our safety helmets with us. Then we went off to the street not so far away. There was the house that we were building since I was 3 years old. My parents told me that when I was little, I played on the grass and watched them build and design the special own house. But now I’m old and mature enough to help them! And I am very proud of that. I try to give them some ideas and suggestions; sometimes so many ideas pop in my head like waves in the ocean that I have to write it all down. One of my suggestions was to hang one of Elias LonnrotI’s paintings; his arts just blew my mind away. I dream that soon in the future we can all live in our own house that we built by our hands all together.
Mom and dad had already finished putting the framework of the house. They designed the roof triangle because it snowed a lot, and if we build the roof triangle snow on the roof will slid away by it self. I wonder which country snows as much as we do. When we got there the first thing we did was build my room’s wall. I wanted my room to be blue, so I asked mom if we could buy some blue paint next week. Mom said we could just buy some paint for my sister Mitti and me after dinner.
Mitti is 9 this year old and she’s a peppy girl. I was very pleased that mom showed a positive answer, my mom was mostly optimistic as much as Mitti. She works in Nokia; which is the biggest mobile company in Finland. My dad is an engineer; he is the one who makes the biggest process when we build our house. Last year he made Mitti’s dollhouse, he was pleased that Mitti still plays with it a lot. My dad is quiet but whether he is busy or not he listens to Mitti and my worries and gives helpful suggestion.
I had a serious worry last week. It was about my future; don’t know why the worry popped in my head so suddenly. I think it is because of my art teacher, he asked everyone about our future’s goal, and I was the only one in my class who couldn’t answer that question. However my dad said it was perfectly fine. He said I still have time to think about my future and that is the best pleasure of being a child.
http://online.culturegrams.com Pesäpallo (Finnish baseball) is the national sport of Finland. It was created by Tahko Pihkala in the 1920s, and the first official games were played in 1922. Although pesäpallo is still a popular sport in Finland, other team sports such as soccer and ice hockey are gaining popularity. Pesäpallo is also played in Sweden, Germany, Estonia, Japan, and Australia. (Nurmo, Finland, June 2006)
When it was lunchtime we ate potatoes, cheeses, and a Finnish buffet smorgasbord, than we ate strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and lingonberries. After lunch we read some books and magazine on the grass to enjoy the sunshine, then we played Pesäpallo (Finnish baseball) and a game called 10 sticks on a piece of wood (combination of hide-and-seek and tag) all together. When we had enough rest everyone even Mitti went back to work. Mitti was the boss, she always order things we us. Sometime I think she’s annoying, but I could understand her because she’s still young. At noon we were all tired and went home.
Day 2- Friday 20th June, 2010
Juhannus (midsummer) holiday
Today is the start of Juhannus holiday, in other word midsummer. Dad told me that Juhannus is a prize for we Finns who lived a long and cold winter. Summers are short and cool here and the sun shines for about 19 hours every day. Summer lasts from late May to mid-September, and temperatures are usually from 17–20°C. South of the Arctic Circle, where most of the people live, the nights are never completely dark. Midwinter daylight lasts only six hours, and the sun remains low on the horizon throughout the day.
I like this holiday almost as much as Christmas because we get to have holidays about a month and stay up late to enjoy watching bonfire. Adults always light bonfires near water so that the fire won’t spread. This year we are going to enjoy this holiday in our villa at Tampere with our grandparents. I can’t wait; I’m very excited about it! When we get there I assume that we are going to have a barbecue party.
Last year Juhannus we went to Seurasaari, an island in Helsinki. It was still fun but dad got all tried out because of eukonkanto (wife carrying festival) and couldn’t play with us as much as usual. This is because last year about Juhannus we had eukonkanto festival, where dad has to carry mom and run. It was so fun! I learned later that this sport is originated in SonkajärvIt. It was a sham that my parent couldn’t win but my best friend Juha’s parent came first! Her parents got cash and same amount of beer as Juha mom’s weight.
At evening I went golfing in the park with my dad. Mitti was too young for golf so she stayed in the house with mom. Golf is always so fun. I think my dad is the best golfer in the world, he taught me how to play golf when I was only seven. Of course at that time I couldn’t understand him fully but I can remember that we had a lot of fun together. We liked playing golf so much that we played on ice in the winter. After playing some golf Mitti came to the park with mom and we played Molkky (Finland traditional game) together.
On the way we went back home all the shops were closing. At this day every shops closed at 12 AM. Bakery Amy was going home too, we had a short talk and kept walking. After dinner we packed our cloths for tomorrow. I decided to take my tennis ball and boomerang. I am very sleepy now because I played golf for about three hours; I have to go to bed now.
Day 3- Thursday 4th September, 2010
Picnic in the forest
Today after school we went to the Tampere where my grandpa and grandma live with our neighbors Tero, Tiina, Juha and Sami. I had my lovely yellow boots on, which I got for my birthday present. In our picnic bag we had, rye bread, potatoes, casseroles, soups, and milk. We laughed and giggled all the way to Tampere in the car.
When we arrived, grandma and grandpa greeted us. All together we played card games. Even though Mitti is the youngest, she is the best at playing cards. After that everyone put on their boots and fishing tools then went to the lake next to Kaupin Kansanpuisto forest. There seem so many lakes in Tampere, we got on grandpa’s boat and went fishing. I was very happy because I got a huge salmon and Mitti also got a fish that I don’t know the name of. Next we strolled in the forest, we were carefully not to disturb any animals or step on any flowers. There were many mushrooms, we pick some of them and took them home.
On the way to our grandparents’ house we biked. Suddenly an unexpected thing happened. Tiina and Sami not paying too much attention bumped on the trees in the sidewalk. I was relieved that they weren’t massively injured but their knees were bleeding badly, so immediately they were sent to the clinic. Everywhere we went inside Finland the clinic was always nice; it was free for everyone, big, and clean. After twenty minutes Tiina and Sami were all fine. Then we went home to have dinner that were potatoes, cheese, grilled sausage, fish, and mushrooms that we picked in the forest. It was a pleasant day all about playing in the nature.
Think About It…
What do you do on weekend or holidays? How is it different from Heinni and her family?
What are some famous holidays and games in your home country? And how is it different with Finland’s?
Is your home near to nature such as forest or lake? If then, what do you do?
If you were Heinni would you help building the house?