Across the Border
Since my time in Slovakia, I have been obsessed with border crossings, and now I have to cross one each day to go to work. Each day I wake up in Sweden and go to work in Finland. It is slightly annoying living in Sweden because they’re in fact an hour behind Finland (but it’s worth it to lay in bed and watch the Northern Lights), so our time is always well out. It’s in fact 10,30pm as I write this where I live, but we have to work on Finnish time so it’s actually 11,30pm. And, to really complicate things at home, it’s 9,30pm. So much to remember.
A couple of nights ago we decided to take a walk. We had nothing to do once we finished work, so after dinner we went to Sweden to pick up some shopping. We’d arranged to meet a friend, and we couldn’t be bothered walking three quarters of the way home only to head back into Finland. Instead we decided to take a short cut. Knackered from a day’s training, and the lack of melatonin in our system, we decided our best option was to cut out the bridge altogether. We’d walk across the river.
We slid down the bank, knee deep in snow. The river is totally frozen, and the ice won’t crack with us walking on it- there are snowmobiles that go up and down. Part of the river will be used for our Christmas Day trips. Once we hit the bottom, there was no path where we were walking and the snow continued being up to our knees. I went at the back so the girls in front did most of the work getting rid of the snow- thanks to my boots and trousers, I wasn’t remotely cold! We walked across the river finding bits and pieces that were lumpy and bumpy to walk across. Legs pushing through the deep snow, and eventually came to the impenetrable bank on the other side. We followed the footsteps up it to the road. Out of breath and sweating I dragged myself to the café where I chose a hot chocolate.
You expect to feel cold, see. So you do silly things like order hot chocolate after tons of exercise, when you’re sweating. What you could really use is a coke or a bottle of water, but no. You choose the hot chocolate. You sit staring at it, waiting for it to cool, but it doesn’t. The thing is whilst outside is cold; inside is boiling (to the point that we disconnected one of our heaters because the heat is too much) you are never at a happy medium; you’re either too hot or too cold.
We didn’t attempt to cross the river on the way home. We walked across the bridge, absolutely shattered. Snapping because we were too tired to walk any further, I’d been hanging my head the whole way home, but each night I’ve been looking at the sky as we walk home to spot the Aurora. It gets dark so early here that there’s a chance we can see it from 8pm, and the sky was clear, the stars were shining. There had been no snow and it had been hovering around -9C all day. I was so convinced in the morning, that whilst working I downloaded an app to check our chances, but it said 2 and low next to it. So I told the girls it was unlikely but we might see it.
See it we did. There it was hanging in the sky above Finland. I got excited and danced around. We slid down another bank, now thigh deep in thick snow, not even thinking about how we’d get back up. We stood on the river bank cooing and trying to take photos of it.
We managed to pass one of the work vans which brought us home. We went into our little garden armed with cameras, wearing pyjamas with snowsuits over the top and watched the lights. There was a thick band, and a couple of smaller ones in the sky. Lines came down and I really thought we might see them dance, but we didn’t. It was okay tho’ because when we got fed up all we needed to do was switch the lights off in our room, and leave the curtains open.
I spent the night laid in bed watching the Aurora until it disappeared, I think I will forever be fascinated by it.