Our final week
Trip Start Jun 04, 2010
33Trip End Feb 08, 2011
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Where I stayed
Jouni & Mari's
We were able to join with the DTS team and sit in on a few of their lectures/meetings which was great. And with Finland enjoying an exceptionally warm summer it made for some wonderful evenings of sport: Soccer, Ultimate Frisbee, Volleyball & even enjoying a game of their very
popular Floorball (a very fast-paced kind of indoor hockey)
So we spent our days constructing mosquito screens for each of the bedrooms, having fun washing the outside windows from a cherry picker (a fantastic toy, I must say!), tidying the kitchen, and building an extension on the meeting hall/barn to house the heating unit
Most unexpectedly, the opportunity came up in the middle of our projects to be able to spend our final weekend enjoying the wonders of Helsinki. Almost all of the staff & students were going their various ways for their weekend off ... and many in the direction of the capital, with, as it turned out, a few seats to spare in one of the cars. We were absolutely delighted!
It was an incredibly blessing to be given the keys to a very nice apartment in a truly gorgeous part of the city - and at such easy walking distance to the center - it was amazing!
The harbour-side markets' charm only increased all the more as we spent much time wandering stall to stall, captivated once again by all the luscious furs and truly stunning designs of jewelery along side all the other Finnish delights on offer. It was great to be able to fill in more of the gaps left by our last fleeting visit to the Capital - wandering the parks, soaking up the gentle sea breezes with walks along the water front, and exploring the shopping center for more of an insight into the incredible Finnish/Scandinavian Design. Ahh, love it!
Visiting the enchanting town of Porvoo had been left high on the list - and we were totally enraptured by its beauty
Being Finland's second oldest city, the Old Town of Porvoo is fascinatingly unique. The mosaic-like town plan with it's maze of streets and irregularly shaped plots date back to the Middle Ages, and though the town since then has suffered many fires, always the stubborn citizens have rebuilt their homes on the same foundations.
It had many charming boutiques lining the narrow cobbled streets of the center which we weaved our way in and out of. We became immediate fans of the Brunberg Chocolate Factory with its deliciousness dating back to 1871...and it's wonderful assortment on sample to enjoy. We were particularly fond of the 'Nigger Kisses'...though, for obvious reasons, they have in more recent times dropped the first half of the name to just make reference to them as 'Kisses'. But name aside, they really are a delight. They may have appearances that are similar to our ''Mallow Puff'' - but beneath that rich chocolate exterior lies a chewy, wafer-like base with a dollop of saucy-jam and a mountain of sumptuous mousse that simply melts away in your mouth like a dream.....sweet love.
It was really awesome getting to know the base leaders, Roope & Sanna-Maria. They invited us to join them one beautiful day for a gorgeous bbq lunch at their families Summer home, perfectly situated on one of Lake Evijärvis many islands. It was a truly wonderful time exchanging stories, enjoying sauna, great food and getting to know them better. We were thoroughly inspired by their relationship with each other...and even more so with God. So encouraging! We boated back to put in a few more hours of work at Ruurikkala, then went to continue our exchanges over some beautiful traditional Finnish food Sanna-Maria had prepared for dinner at their apartment
Tampere: our final destination before flying away...hosted by our inspiring friends, Jouni & Mari, who we had the pleasure of meeting at the start of our trip here. On arrival we were given their bikes and a map marked out with places to see and sights to enjoy for spending the afternoon exploring this postindustrial city wedged between the shores of two beautiful lakes.
Meeting back at their apartment after a days exploration, it was decided that we would enjoy dinner at their accredited favorite lake-side beach, consisting of the most delicious savory and sweet pancakes: Finnish style.
And, of course, we couldn't go without spending our final evening here in a Sauna :)
It has been just so incredible to see the way that God is providing for us and the way he has blessed us and grown us during our time here. Though it makes saying good-bye all the harder, our lives have been so enriched by the people we have met, the encouragement they have given and the inspiration they have been.
We have been reminded again of just how important it is to be as it is to do...and left in wonder of the way in which God can use us in ways that we can by no means hold any credit for, for any mark of achievement on our part. And though in just being we have no way to directly measure the capacity we have been able to help and encourage, He gives us little glimpses through the joy and appreciation of others, leaving us overwhelmingly grateful...and perfectly humbled by his beautiful, beautiful grace.
Finland has certainly stolen a piece of our hearts.