Sunday, September 2, 2012

Memories Of Finland

As I sit here sweltering, despite my fully air-conditioned home in Saudi-Arabia, not able to go out because the heat is so unbearable, I dream of those cool and breezy summer evenings in Finland. Sitting on the porch listening to seagulls and watching the water and skies turn pink, I am in no hurry to go anywhere. The air is fresh and there is no breeze, the sea is calm. I will go for a midnight swim and then return into the embrace of the warm sauna.
We spent the past summer in Finland again, I would not miss it for the world! Summer is absolutely the best time of year in Finland in my opinion. Since I moved to Saudi I've made sure to spend as much time as possible in my home country every summer. The past three summers my husband has also joined and he really loves it too!
I love the midsummer's midnight sunsets and the soothing sound of rain falling on the cottage roof. I miss eating blueberries, raspberries and strawberries straight from the bushes outside the summer house and making a salad from what grows in the garden. The therapeutic sounds of the waves softly splashing on the rocks next to the cottage and the early morning bird orchestra are just music to my ears!
I hope all these experiences have an everlasting effect on my baby daughter and she will always feel at home in Finland and surrounded by nature. She surely enjoyed her time there to the max. Our days went by swimming, running and playing in the grass and with the dog, searching for treasures like ladybugs, seashells, or flowers, watching different kinds of birds, going to sauna, eating delicious healthy foods and playing with her little sweet cousins.
I can say she's a true Finn because my daughter absolutely LOVED swimming in the cold (+18c) water and would even cry when taken out! She even learned to use a vihta (my father made especially a baby sized one) and how to throw loyly in the sauna.
What I miss the most about the summer in Finland is being able to spend 90% of the days outdoors. In contrast here in Saudi I fee like I'm spending 90% of my days indoors. It's simply too hot for me to venture out right now, I'm too pregnant to tolerate the heat! So I'm really looking forward to the weather cooling down and being able to go for daily walks with the stroller in the neighborhood parks.
 In the meanwhile I try to remember those lazy summer days by browsing through my pics, it makes me feel relaxed and happy to go through all those memories. Here are a few pics I wanted to share from my lovely country Finland!
Midsummer festival is the highlight of the summer for many Finns. Bonfires are a part of the celebrations.
My dad prepared some "rosvopaisti" for the midsummer celebrations. Fresh herbs and rhubarb from our garden.
It's lamb that's wrapped in foil and we dig it under a burning fire, then cover it up again for many hours.
When it's done the meat is so tender and delicious it's soft like butter.
The midsummer bonfire is lit at midnight.
The swan is the Finnish national bird.
The children fell asleep in the boat and here they are napping on the island.
A baby seagull we found which had a broken leg. We tried to feed it and find a safe place for it to stay, but the odds of it surviving were low.
Chives grow wild everywhere in this area.
Seagull feather in a pond.
The kids feeding carrots to the horses, the breed is Finnhorse, they are very strong and used for farm work.
The scenery at many farms has remained unchanged for many decades.
A natural beach on an island we went to by boat.
All kids like to eat sand!
Tiny seashells.
A ladybug on the go.
My husband's artistic side.
 Net fishing at Baltic sea.
 Saudi women are born to drive!
 "Koivukuja" lane of birches.
Finns used to give birth in saunas. This is an antique birthing stool from our sauna.
My sisters house will be built here.
Ramadan greetings to dad back in Saudi!
A typical Finnish farmhouse.
An old iron works factory next to a river called Fiskars.
Bright summer colors.
I love the pink clouds!
A meadow of flowers and a very traditional Finnish house.
Fragile.
The Kalajoki sand dunes are endless!
Our dog supervising the children picking blueberries.

Wild strawberry catch.
Enchanted forest.
Not many berries made it to the buckets.
 Blue skies!
 On the road again.
 A beach in Northern Finland.
Lonely seashell.
Ready for take off.
An old wheel cart.
 A castle from the middle-ages.
 Resident crow at the castle.
 Splashes of color.
Until next year..

63 comments:

noona said...

Amazing photos! Made me a bit homesick too.. The aussie winter has been too long for me, like a never ending Finnish September.. :/

Anonymous said...

SubhanAllaah!!!

Such a beautiful place! Why did you leave? I mean, Saudi has it's beauty, but Finland appears to be living and not just existing.

You should go back. Leave the sand for the gardens and trees.

Maa Shaa Allaah beauuuutiful pictures.

Petra said...

Oh the fotos are so beautiful I almost cried! I didn't go this summer to Finland and I miss it so much. Finnish nature is amazing, best therapy for stress. My husband also loves Finland and especially wandering in the forests and seaside. How old is your daughter? Do you speak finnish for her? My daughter is 14 months old. In my opinion finnish people are used to different kinds of weathers, we go jogging even if it is raining or snowing. Turkish people go panic when the temperture gets too low or differs from the normal. Usually people don't have enough warm clothes in the winter-time. Have a nice weekend!

Anonymous said...

So love all the pictures u've got...the scenery is so calming even just by looking at the pics...:) Umm Mansour

Anonymous said...

Wonderful pictures, you really know the best parts of the finnish summer :)

swedemom said...

Summer in Scandinavia cannot be beat. . . unless it rains!

sessi said...

Beautiful pictures! As always :)

Zella said...

Hienoja kuvia; itsekin tällaisten kautta arvostaa Suomea (ainakin hetkellisesti :) enemmän.

mizyéna said...

Oi miten ihania kuvia!!!! Teillä on ollut todella kaunis ja ikimuistoinen kesäloma kotisuomessa. Me ei olla pariin vuoteen käyty Suomessa eikä mitään suunnitelmia mennäkkään. Mutta muistoja onneksi voi haalia ja vanhoja kuvia katsella. Kiitos näistä kuvista ♥

Kalamuija ja lappilifestyle said...

Ihania kuvia:) Pitaakin katsoa blogiasi tarkemmin:)

Anonymous said...

Stunning pictures!!!! I am from Holland, I am sure you know it, just beneath Denmark, and I miss nature too...
Simone

Jeanette said...

Beautiful pictures! I can see why you miss it so!

Tifyffe said...

Hello, Laylah, it's good to have you back(i have been checking back and forth to see if there is a new post on your blog). Finland is really beautiful.Also, congrats on your pregnancy, may Allah make it smooth for you.

emma said...

Fabulous pictures!! I can feel the moments from them! :) Your blog is a great one, I enjoy so much of reading your posts every time! Keep on writing! Congratulations on your new pregnancy, by the way! <3

Anonymous said...

Love the pictures! I wonder what camera you are using?
Maria

Hope said...

WOWOW The Finnish Ministry of Tourism should hire you! thanks for sharing such a beautiful part of the world.. and also for sharing such happy precious moments! They really did brighten my day and spread good energy all over ... Hopefully well visit Finland someday in the near future... and if we do .. i really want THat Bonfire LAMB :)

Laylah said...

Thanks, the Finnish summer is very short unfortunately, this beauty lasts for only a few months..And that IS what I go back for :)
Not saying the other seasons are ugly or anything..just not as nice.

Laylah said...

Petra-thank you!She is almost a year and half now and I only speak Finnish to her. She has started to speak some Finnish words now, but not Arabic or english(yet).

Yes Finns are a little bit crazy like that!

Laylah said...

Thank you Umm Mansour!

Laylah said...

Thanks, there are so many more though :)

Laylah said...

Swedemom-I don't even mind the rain (if it's not like a week in a row) because it's so rare here :)

Laylah said...

thanks Sessi!

Laylah said...

Kiitos Zella, on meilla hieno kotimaa josta saa kylla olla ylpea :)

Laylah said...

Kiitos mizyena! Oli kylla taas ikimuistoinen kesa, ihanaa laatu aikaa perheen kanssa.

Laylah said...

Kiitos! Kavin jo vastavierailulla :)

Laylah said...

Thanks Simone, Holland is also a very beautiful country!

Laylah said...

Hi Jeannette and thanks!

Laylah said...

Hi there Tifyffe and thank you :) I've been really absent minded lately with this pregnancy brain so hence the lack of posting as well as this little toddler who keeps me occupied!

Laylah said...

Hi emma thanks for the comment and I'm glad you enjoy the blog :)

Laylah said...

Hi Maria,thanks, I use Nikon D90!

Laylah said...

Hope thanks,what a great idea :)Oh you are always more than welcome and guess what that is the only kind of lamb I can say I LOVE!

epuspha said...

Assalamualaikum Laylah,
This is the first time I visit your blog. My friend recommended it as "a must visit blog" yesterday. And Yes, she is right, your blog is really interesting.
The pictures here are sooooo beautiful. Hope I can go there someday.
FYI, i am an Indonesian (hope you know where it is. LOL)

Anonymous said...

Such beautiful pictures! Mashallah, what a great photographer! Your description of Findland is wonderful and artistic! I think it is amazing that you are taking your daughter there so that she can appreciate it. I hope one day to visit now!

Asmaa said...

asalamu alaikum layla,

Beautiful pictures mashaAllah and may Allah bless you and your family, i had no idea finland was soooooo stunning!

Anonymous said...

You take magnificient photos!!! I love reading your blog, thanks for sharing. Finland looks a lot like Canada. I would miss my home country too if I were in a foreign country, so I understand how you feel (well almost!). Congrats on being pregnant again (I am too!!). Francesca from Ottawa, Canada

Anonymous said...

Simply fabulous Layla you are a great ambassador for your country.
Ann

Shazia said...

what beauty mashaAllah! your kids are indeed lucky, having the best of both countries. And ALL the pictures you have taken are amazing, esp. the one of the castle from the middle ages.
Congrats on your pregnancy btw. May Allah bless you and your soon-to-increase family. :)

Anonymous said...

I really like the country side... its relaxing and romantic in a way with the cottages and all. I would love to go to a place like this. I was thinking Scotland but the weather does not seem to get good there lol. Finland looks like another great idea....

Sandra-DXB said...

Beautiful pictures! It's always nice to escape the Middle East during summer!

Laylah said...

Wa aleikum salaam,thank you for leaving a comment! I hope I can visit Indonesia one day :)

Laylah said...

Thanks so much, I appreciate the feedback! hope you get to visit Finland soon.

Laylah said...

salaam Asmaa, thank you!

Laylah said...

Francesca, thank you and congrats on the pregnancy!

Laylah said...

Thank you Ann that is nice to hear :)

Laylah said...

Shazia thanks, I hope they can enjoy the best of both countries for all their lives inshallah!

bigstick1 said...

As usual you have excellent photographs. Hope you enjoyed your vacation. Finland is quite a beauty place.

Jean said...

Tell us more about the old practice of giving birth in...a sauna? why..because it's warm/relaxing?

Anonymous said...

great pictures. gotta visit Finland some day. in summer of course. oh by the way is it the finns or the danes who carry their wives on their backs during a particular festival? the wives are carried upside down with their heads dangling close to ground while their legs are scissored in front of their husbands necks. saw a picture of that along time ago. thought that was great and in fact attempted it once or twice with mine.
from muktar in nigeria

Silhouette said...

Beautiful pictures from my home country that I miss so much, too! I have to ask, though, do you ever get a culture shock when you return and have to cover up again? After seeing everyone walking around in summer clothes and bathing in sauna naked and swimming in the lakes, as if it was the most natural thing in the world, which it, of course, is. I think having to leave your homeland and native tongue after the holidays is bad enough, I think I would die if I had to dress up from head to toe in searing heat! How do you get your head around the two cultures? Do you ever wish you could live back home?

Laylah said...

Scotland is amazing too but nothing beats Finland countryside ;)

Laylah said...

Thanks Sandra!

Laylah said...

Thanks bigstick we sure did :)

Laylah said...

The sauna was considered a "sacred" place, it's a relaxing and calm place, it's clean, easy to wash afterwards..Warm of course but like I mentioned before in another post, the saunas used to have really high ceilings and that makes the lower part where people wash themselves very comfortable, not hot like up where you take in the steam.. These are just guesses though :)

Laylah said...

thank you for commenting muktar! Yes it is us Finns who do this, it's called "eukonkanto" (carrying the wife)and is like you described it but they RUN fast and it's actually a world championship race which we take very seriously lol

Laylah said...

Hi Silhouette, thanks for stopping by!
Yes I do get some sort of cultural shock every time I go either way. So when I leave Saudi I sometimes feel apprehensive of removing the abaya haha
but coming back it's easier in a way, I'm sure I'm not the only woman who feels more comfortable putting it on at the airport bcz of too many stares. But then at home it feels annoying to leave the house with it for some while and then you get used to it again.

Umm Gamar said...

Mashallah Laylah, your baby hv grown! My little Moon shall inshallah be 1 year next month but it seems like just yesterday she came into our lives! Finland's beautiful n definitely on my travel list!

Anonymous said...

Love the pictures.. and the bbq looks to die for. :)

Jessica said...

How beautiful!! I've always wanted to go to Finland and even more so now

Anonymous said...

Ihanat kesakuvat! Voi kun tuli kaipuu Suomen kesaan...Loysin bloggisi tanaan expatwoman forumin kautta. Asun talla hetkella naapurimaassa- UAE. Tosi paljon mielenkiintoisia kirjoituksia- kiitos! Harrastan itse myos valokuvausta. Onko hankalaa kulkea kameran kanssa siella? Otatko salaa ihmisista kuvia vai pyydatko luvan?

Mainitsin enkku miehelleni lauseesi "I am of course not a princess, rather I was nicknamed "Finnish princess" by my husband."
Hanen humoristinen vastaus siihen oli etta:"pfft... she can't be proper Finnish... she'd have punched him for that... surely? Hit him with a Hackman (pan)?" Tama nyt oli sitten viittaus minun suomalaiseen jaarapaa feministi olemukseen. Kai han on yrittanyt pitaa minua prinsessana mutta luovutti ja osti minulle mukin jossa lukee "Queen of f****** everything"

Mukavaa syksynjatkoa! Onneksi saat pikkuhiljaa viilenevat.
Susanna

Antti said...

Lovely photos ! I am teaching in Saudi, electrical engineering technology, in Jazan, since January of this year. I had a chance to get back to Finland for a few days on my way back from the Ramadan break when I went back to Canada. My father is in Turku. I was born in Ylihärmä, and grew up living in Canada for the last half-century (or more !) What a pleasure to feel the cool, light evenings in Finland - so different from the humid 35 c temperatures in Jazan. I will have to read more of your blog - it sure is an interesting journey.

Anonymous said...

thanks for posting.

Mayssa Bekri said...

Wow you made me really wanna go there! Gosh
Don't you wanna just go back and live there?

drtaher said...

Dear Layla,

I think you have a great hand at photography too. I am amazed at your multiple talents! A writer, a humorist, a nurse, and now, a photographer too. Finland excites me now. I must add it to my wish list of places to see before I die. My favourite clicks were those of your kid trying to swim, the B & W photos of the feather and the old castle, and finally, the photo of the landscape where your sister is to make her house. Lovely snaps.

Regards,

Taher