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10 Helsinginkatu: New neighbours 10 Helsinginkatu: New neighbours
by Thanos Kalamidas
2009-01-24 08:40:27
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So suddenly, after three years in this neighbourhood, I was getting to some kind of action. I don’t know if I mentioned it before but I am the stereotype of a city boy. I love pollution and I love the neurotic movement of the big cities, I just love all this running around, speeding to go to work and hurrying to get back from work while getting stuck for hours in the traffic. I missed the pollution and the smells of the metropolis of this world and living in Helsinki made me feel like an addict away from his drug sometimes. Sometimes I have the feeling that I will stick my nose behind a car’s exhaust just to get a bit of poison!

The residents of Helsinki will never understand how lucky and how unlucky they are at the same time. I mean they live in a capital with everything that a capital brings, the smells of the junk food, the traffic and the jam, the factories and the shipyards; oh yes, there are factories and shipyards close to the centre of Helsinki something that might sound just impossible in other capitals, there are even energy industries near the centre and I imagine if you live in London this minute you probably feel dizzy and sick. But Helsinki has a natural ally, the cold.

Temperatures that sometimes reach minus fifteen just kill all the microbes and all the pollution monsters. Seriously, if you could somehow move this city to Italy or Greece people would be dying in the middle of the streets but here you see people cycling in minus fifteen with snow piling all around as if it’s a nice spring day. Apart from that, Helsinki is the smallest city I have ever lived and I’m used to live in a house where I have no idea who lives next door and never really been bothered to find out. But here things are a bit different and for a neurotic city boy much different!

Helsinki, even though Finns think that it is a big capital, is more like a small town and the people have the attitude of a small town. They like to know their neighbours, they say hello to them and they even organize neighbourhood events to get to know each other. Apparently these events always include makkara, the Finnish sausage, and beer.

Makkara and beer are something that marks any activity of Finnish life, from the sauna to moving house. Moving house is another thing that always amazed me in this country. Well, for a city boy like me moving house means that I have too little time to move house, I’m too neurotic to sort out my things so I call a company that packs and moves and then it takes me a couple of years to unpack! For the Finns it means, here's another chance to join my friends and enjoy some makkara with beer after a day’s heavy work and since moving usually happens during the weekend it means a good chance to spoil my weekend and work carrying boxes I have no idea what they have inside.

I have never done it for myself; since I came to Finland I have done it for three friends. I have promised to myself that I will never do it again but I have to admit that after moving all these boxes you have no idea what they have inside and where they are going a makkara and a cold beer is the best thing! So while having my usual early evening cigarette and thinking if my neighbour had learned how to say good morning in French and planning my next move which was …German! And while smiling to myself I saw the first car arriving and parking just meters away in the middle of the small neighbourhood street.

Then another one followed and another one with a dirty white van behind and then another van and another small car all of them looking full of boxes and things. A small woman jumped from the first car wrapped in a bright red coat and ran towards the house with the big glass door. The house had been empty for the last few months and I can hardly remember who lived there before, it is one of those sort of things you have the feeling that this house had been always there empty and alone. She tried a couple of keys before finding the correct one and then with a small scream she opened the door. The same time people came out of the other cars, doors opened and everybody started loading boxes and going towards the house.

Most were women; there were three men I think with two of them looking rather old for helping in a major move like this one and most of the boxes looked pretty heavy. There were other things moving from the cars to house as well, a big white blender and a coffee maker machine, stools and chairs and piles of cushions. Then piles of clothes and more kitchen things like pots and pans. Somebody was carrying framed pictures and then some kind of carpets. I have to admit they were all very effective and fast and when a bigger track arrived most of the cars were already empty with the two vans already leaving obviously to reload and return.

The woman with the red coat, she had taken it off by now, and she was with a very colourful jumper, was all the time around, giving instructions and smiling at everybody and I was there smoking my third cigarette and watching. A brown leather sofa came out from the big track that somehow brought doubts on my first impressions for my new neighbour. Nothing wrong with leather sofas, on the contrary they look perfect in the waiting room of a dentist or an insurance company. Leather sofas for some reason remind me German furniture catalogues from '70s the ones you were posting the money and one day you were getting something that had nothing to do with the photo on the catalogue. But then again more cushions came out; all colourful that somehow fixed my mood with my new neighbour.


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Päivi2009-01-24 09:26:50
I love moving! The sorting out stuff, putting them in their new places etc. The only thing I hate is the double clean up!

The other night on the balcony I was looking at our neighbours windows, counting how many of them have had new people move in while we´ve been living here and it´s almost all of them! Can´t believe we´ve been here for 3 years!

Oops I don´t think we remembered to give you makkara but I´m sure you got a beer or two :)


bjorn2009-01-24 18:17:37
mamman frågade sin son som hade dåliga betyg vilket straff han skulle få
- jag ska ta reda på var läraren bor


Thanos2009-01-25 12:20:40
What happened with my ...makara? hahahahaha

Bjom, I'm sorry but I don't speak Swedish either and using the translator it came with something a ...mother said to her son but is not very clear! So if anybody ....can help...


Eva2009-01-25 16:00:52
Love these stories. Hate moving, have done it too many times.. and there is more to come...

Bjorn said: "the mother asked her son who had got bad grades what his punishment would be - I'll find out where the teacher lives"

Doesn't make much sense in either Swedish or English...?



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