It’s so exciting to get to show someone around where you live. Although tons of people have seen pictures and heard stories, nothing beats seeing it in person. There’s not many “sights” to see in Joensuu so when I was showing my mom around the city it was more like, “This is the grocery store we go to” and “Here’s the university” and “Look, those are the people washing their rugs at the river”. Luckily, my mom is into that kind of stuff. She will get equally as excited about visiting a new grocery store as she would about seeing the Eiffel Tower - so that worked in my favor. And the rug washing, well she was ALL about that.
I had this old rug of ours that had been sitting on our balcony for months (because I was too lazy to take it downstairs to throw it away) that had a giant red stain on it that would not come out. (Seriously, I tried everything). Even after it had been rained and snowed on, my mom was convinced that the rug was salvageable with a good ole scrub at the river. After studying the ways of the river washers and scouting out a perfect spot, we hauled the rug out. Once we got to our spot and began mimicking the routine of the other washers, we realized we had a big problem. Everyone else had these special rug brushes and pine soap that seemed to do the trick, and all we had was my dish scrubber and dish washing soap. In attempt to act like we knew what we were doing, we hid the soap inside our bag and began scrubbing. Except we couldn’t fool the lady next to us. She saw right through our act. Fortunately, she took pity on us and let us use all her gear while she was waiting for her rug to dry. She even taught us the ways of the Finnish rug scrub. We scrubbed that rug like mad until we couldn’t scrub anymore. Then we waited all day to return to see if our hard work had paid off. And it did!! I’m not going to say that the rug is as good as new, because if you looked hard enough (ok, you don’t even have to look that hard), you can still see a little discoloration. But we just shoved that part under the couch and pretend it’s not there. What would I do without mom to save the day?
Next, we took the train from my small, sweet town of Joensuu to the big city. I’d been to Helsinki a number of times before, but you just can’t beat it in the summertime. Especially when you spend the day at one of the many islands off the coast, like we did. It was a bright, sunny and warm day that we took the ferry out to Suomenlinna and spent the day exploring the island and enjoying the weather. It was perfect. Although Suomenlinna is one of Helsinki’s most popular tourist attractions, it’s still Finland, so really not that touristy at all. We found a place on the rocks to watch all the crazy people plunge into the ice water. And because I’m kind of, maybe just a little bit competitive, I decided that I wanted to feel how cold this water really was. I mean, if they’re doing it, I can do it. As I started walking to the water, my mom, in true mom fashion, warned me to be careful on the moss, “It’s slippery”, she said. Yeah, yeah. When I got to the edge of the dry rocks and put one foot on the first mossy rock, I was reminded that moms are usually right. I slipped and fell right into the water. So instead of just touching it with my hands, like I intended, I got a little more of the full experience. Luckily, I wasn’t very far in and I didn’t hurt anything, so we just laughed about it for a good long while. That's really why I did it, for the laughs.
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