Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Sunday – the Way Home

Actually I had no night at all. After we left the restaurant I had to pack the last few things and try to get my suitcase closed. I managed pretty well considering the wine bottles and other boxes which are always hard to pack.

My plane was not leaving until 7 am, but Chie and Hisa were leaving two hours earlier that I was. There would have been no point in me waiting for two hours and get another taxi. I knew I could not sleep anyway.

Our taxi arrived at 1 am and to my great surprise getting three suitcases in the trunk of a VW Passat seemed impossible at first. The trunk was big but it was not high enough. Two suitcases did not fit on top of each other and the opening to the trunk was not shaped right to get the suitcases in. It was like a 3D puzzle which finally was solved.

I have had difficulties to sleep in cars in the past few years but now I slept most of the way to Tel Aviv. I had to say goodbye to Chie and Hisa after getting inside the airport because our security control gates were on the opposite sides of the hall. They were starting their journey to Japan by going to Italy first and my first goal was Budapest, Hungary.

The security control was strict as always. I was of course asked if I had packed my things myself, if anyone had given me something to take to Finland and all the usual questions. Now however the woman asked also questions I had never heard before. I was asked what the origin of my name is. Well, it is totally Finnish. I have taken my husband’s name when I got married. The next question caught me totally by surprise: “What does it mean?” I knew I should not start joking or arguing about anything at the airport but now I had no choice but answer: “I have absolutely no idea!” I really have not. It has been a name of the house (and probably the whole village) where Jukka’s grandfather was born and generations before him. I have once checked a book where language researchers have tried to analyze old Finnish names but the origin of my name was left open. They had theories, but none of them sounds even a bit familiar to modern Finnish. The problem is that written Finnish is fairly new. Swedish was the only language used in writing originally.

Maybe they were just checking my honesty because the answer was satisfying. This time I also had to open my suitcase. I am not sure what caused that, maybe the wines. I had a very hard time opening the suitcase and had to struggle for a while probably because it was so full. After picking some items and asking if I had bought them myself, the woman behind that counter let me go.

Katri told later that she had counted that they had to show their passport 7 times before they got past all controls but I didn’t need so many. I think 4 would be a good estimate, but I may also have been so tired that I can’t remember clearly. I had about 4 hours to wait. I walked through the shops but I did not actually need anything and decided to go and sit near the right gate. I was really tired, but the chairs were just impossible to sleep on. I tried to solve puzzles and had some coffee. I could have used my computer but I was too tired even to open it.

Finally in the plane I fell asleep. They served breakfast in the plane but I woke up with the tray in front of me totally unable to eat. I drank the water and managed to eat some fruits but then I fell asleep again. When I woke up just before landing I felt like I was really awake again.


The Budapest airport was very small and I had to walk to the departure hall going first outside. The airport was so different from Brussels. Here the smoking area was just separated from the café without any walls. The funny thing was that I had spent two weeks in a country which was supposed to be very hot and now I was sweating. It was hot in Europe also and if the airport had air conditioning it was not very effective. In Tel Aviv the airport had been even a bit cold!

Now I didn’t have to wait long to get to the Finnair airplane. I had a smooth change to getting back to my homeland. I was seated beside a couple and they were speaking Hebrew. The first implication of getting home was the food in the plane. It was a cold lunch containing cuscus, meat (probably pork) and vegetables. The tomatoes looked and tasted like they should have had a decent burial for a long time ago!


Budapest from the air

Helsinki from the air. The scenery is so familiar. Water and trees.

We arrived in Helsinki in time and my suitcase came, this time even among the first. Jukka was waiting for me in the hall. He had come with my car to get me. The airport is not in Helsinki and getting to a train would have taken me too long. Taking all the luggage I had to a bus was not something I wanted to do.

We spent the two hours driving home talking about the last week. Piitu, my dog had survived the kennel or maybe I should say that the people in the kennel had survived Piitu. She had jumped over a one meter fence, opened doors so that they had to lock them and tried to conquer the pillow from the owner. I tried to warn them, but thought that they had seen all kinds of dogs but actually Piitu had surprised them. Who could imagine a Corgi jumping fences :)

After getting home I was so tired that I did not even now open the computer. I just sent text messages to Gil and Dave, ate a bit and went to sleep.

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