Tuesday, April 24, 2012
The sun is starting to shine again in Finland. As the barometer rises, the days are lasting longer and the smiles are returning to people's faces. :) Actually, it's no joke, now that the daylight is lasting past 9pm and the warmth is returning, I am really noticing a change in my daily interactions with people. We have lived in Finland now for 9 months and have only met a few of our neighbors. Now, just in the last couple weeks a few families have stopped by to say "hello". Many Finns are an introverted for let's say 8 months out of the year, but when the sun shines bright, they seem to awaken from their winter slumber and will surprise you with a smile or a "hi". Nothing like the assistance of long, bright days to bring them out of their shells.
I am starting to get excited by the prospects of the Finnish summer. I have been teased by a few weeks of Finnish summers while on vacation in the past, but never actually spent an entire summer residing here. In addition to seeing smiling faces again, the summer terrace culture is kick starting soon. People tend to avoid most indoor activities and soak in the sun rays at the city's many bar terraces and parks. They truly relish the short summer season and supposedly frequent the terraces multiple times per week. In other words, they truly take advantage of the small window of time that is the magic of the Finnish summer. I for one, having been spoiled by Californian sunshine have taken advantage of every Spring day here where the clouds decide to go on strike and allow the sun to beam bright. It is already light till past 9pm and we are still in April. Once late June rolls around we will have a few weeks of endless sunlight. These endless nights are also known as the "White Nights" or "Midnight Sun".
After having completed my first winter in Finland and seeing the weather slowly evolve, I can now truly appreciate the sun I perhaps took for granted in California and now have some insights into the psyche of the Finnish persona and how they truly come back to life like a bear that just woke up from his long winter's nap.
Here's to summer 2012 in Finland and everywhere else in the world, may it be the longest, most magical, summer ever.
There shall be eternal summer in the grateful heart. ~Celia Thaxter