Our time in Finland is sadly coming to an end, quicker than I care to admit. I find myself getting sentimental while I’m doing the most mundane things. Thinking of everything that I’m going to miss about this place has really made me pay attention to the little things. So today I’m going to give you a glimpse of one of the things that we have grown to love throughout our time here - our neighborhood.
The secret beach
We live in a neighborhood called Rantakyla, about 5 km from the center of Joensuu. It only takes us about twenty minutes to bike to the city center, but somehow it feels like a world away. If you drive through Rantakyla, you probably wouldn’t give it a second thought (or really even a first). There’s not much here. We’ve got the essentials, but nothing crazy like a restaurant or anything. (Full disclosure: There is a take-away pizza place that we discovered recently and have taken advantage of twice. It comes in handy when you, say, melt a plastic bowl in the oven.)
After living here for almost two years, this little neighborhood of ours has become a special part of our lives. All its little intricacies have made it endearing in a way. There’s our friendly neighborhood S Market cashiers (who we visit on a daily basis), the sweet old lady at the pharmacy, and the late night karaoke enthusiasts. Then there's our secret beach (which turned out to be not so secret after all), where you can picnic during the summer and walk on the frozen lake in the winter. And the horse barn just down the road. We have tennis courts that turn into ice skating and hockey rinks in the winter, and you'll always find someone out there playing as long as the lights are on. When you need to get out of the house, you can always find a new path to take through the woods. There's a whole little world here, just waiting to be discovered.
This little neighborhood is where Scott and I lived together for the first time. It's where we spent our first Christmas away from our families. It's where we saw a spectacular dance of the Northern Lights. And it's the home we have come back to over the last two years. Rantakyla may not be the most exciting place in Finland, but it will forever have a special place in our hearts.
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