Living in Finland is sometimes quite hard for those of us who aren’t big fans of all the cold and dark, snow and sleet, long dark nights and short days without sunlight. In other words: winter. The season that lasts for six months, every year. The season that may actually affect your mental health negatively (just look up a thing called “seasonal affective disorder”.)
I know a lot of people who genuinely enjoy winter. They go out skiing and execute little winter picnics with thermos flasks. Some even go ice fishing. Which is basically just sitting on the ice and staring into a tiny hole you’ve made in it.
A few years ago I did my best to get rid of my hatred for winter. I just decided to try a change of attitude: “Ok, I’m just going to like winter now.” For days and days I tried not to think anything negative about winter. I tried not to get annoyed by the snow slipping into my boots or by the darkness that surrounds us long into the day and early in the afternoon.
I tried finding things I like: the sound of snow scrunching underneath my shoes or the thousands of diamonds glittering the crust of snow.
I smiled at the snowplow drivers. I tried to appreciate all of our four seasons. I really, really tried.
But not long after my forced winter happiness started (I remember this like it was yesterday) I was standing at a tram stop. It was snowing sideways, from all directions. The trams were late because there was too much snow on the tracks. I couldn’t look out for any arriving one because I got snow in my eyes. I couldn’t check my phone because it got instantly covered by snow and sleet. And it was dark, and so, so cold. And I just gave up. I broke up with winter.
Not long after I moved to Wales (and took Satu with me). Yes, it’s not the first choice when looking for a sunny paradise, but it was much less snow and much less cold and dark.
For two years, I was happy in Wales. Then I lost my lovely marketing & photography job in a cake company (a cake company!) as they had to downsize.
So, for practical and personal reasons, I moved back to Finland. I now live in Lahti, which again (to many) is not the obvious choice, let alone paradise. But the more time I’ve spent here, the more I like it. The city center is big enough and there’s nature everywhere, for everyone. We have a lot of fields, forests, lakes, beaches and parks.
And it only takes an hour to get to Helsinki for biz & fun times with friends.
During winter, I see myself as the Groke from the Moomin. A proper winter grump. During winter, I’m a big pile of warm clothes walking around and growling at people. I leave dragging footprints in the snow. I whinge and whine.
But then February arrives. The first sunny days. It’s not proper spring yet, but it’s a big promise of its arrival. That’s when the Groke cheers up a little. Her face melts into a smile and she starts to enjoy life again.
Since I’m pretty sure I’m not alone with these winter hating feels, I thought I’d share a few spring photos from the other day. Photos with actual sunlight and colours! And of course, my little dog Einari.
Hopefully these will cheer up my fellow Grokes’ days out there!
All the spring photos were taken with Canon’s tiny mirrorless camera, M3 and the kit lens that came with it (18-55mm). I don’t think I’ll be able to replace my big ol’ 5D with this yet, but I sure love having such a powerful small camera in my pocket while traveling… or taking a spring day walk with the dog.
(Yeah, that’s Einari taking the doggy treat matters into his own paws. The treat pocket treasure hunt is one of his favorite things.)