“Kun Aika On”

The train pulled out of Helsinki’s main station Rautatientori as I gazed out the window of the E Regional train to Leppävaara; where Mikko had been living since 2002. Leppävaara was a working class suburb just outside the Helsinki city line which was mostly developed in the 1980’s with City Housing. A small child brazenly stared at me for a good part of the ride, but did not dare utter a sound. After all, this was Finland, where economy of noise and personal space were highly protected in public. I constantly marveled at the lack of chatter as the rush hour train hustled along it’s smooth and modern railway, the strong June sun glaring through the window. As I disembarked in Leppävaara, I noticed a three 60’s-ish pensioner women sharing a smoke and presumably trading gossip in Finnish. I dropped my Fjallraven bag to the floor of Mikko’s apartment and hurriedly tuned the stereo to Sävelradio, a mix of American & European oldies from the 50’s to the 70’s, just as a Finnish language rendition of the Romeo & Juliet theme “A Time For Us” sung by a plaintive female singer faded out. These were the songs I loved most: Finnish versions of songs I knew by American artists. It was otherworldly…and I reveled in the thrill of being halfway around the world from Philadelphia. Mikko wasn’t expected until after 10:30 when his shift ended at convenience store R-Kioski, so I made a quick trip to the library for some entertaining VHS tapes to watch. And there she was…sitting there lonely practically crying out to me! The “Greatest Hits of Sheena Easton”, all her videos on VHS! Wow, I really hit the jackpot today! Even the stoic Finnish librarian seemed to raise an eyebrow as I checked out the tape. No matter-I knew how I was going to spend my evening! Hyvää matkaa!