Spring 1990. I was an exchange student from Copenhagen University at Helsinki University for that spring. Even if I come from Finland. It was a bit fun to be exchange student in own home country. It was a spring morning and I was on my way to the train station Hiekkaharju near Tikkurila in Helsinki. In front of me there was a young man from Asia bearing an umbrella. I thought it was a little funny as nearly nobody of the Finns bear an umbrella when it is snowing wet snow (it just get stocked to much on the umbrella). That day it was so slippery outside. A thin ice was on the road, and at the same time it was snowing wet snow-blended-water. And it was grey, as only a grey morning can be in spring in Finland. I was walking behind him I payed notice to his shoes. They were just normal summer shoes and I thought that it will be difficult for him with those on to move around here in our wet and icy spring climate. And then he fall! I helped him up and in that way be come friends and started to talk.
Later we found out that we lived next door also in the student apartment and I visited him also some times. I had never had any contact with anybody from China before. Clothes were dried on wires put up in the room (crossing each other) and his friend was making chicken wings or something similar at a frying pan, that Finns never make, but it smelled good of some Chinese spice.
Weekend at our farm. June (?) 1990, Norrby village, Lapinjärvi, Finland.
Some months later I invited him with his friend to visit for a weekend our farm about 100 km east of Helsinki. We had a jolly good time at the farm where my sisters boyfriend and his friends played guitar and we sang (even I, even if I do not sing at all – at least I have been told that I cannot sing). But most of all I remember that they visited my grandmother and grandfather that also lived at the farm in a separate house. My grandparents had never seen any from China in real life before, and I guess, they never thought anybody from China ever would visit our farm. The boys then sat down and sang old Chinese folk songs for them. This moment is like etched in my mind and soul and I am deeply grateful for them doing that. Today my grandmother and grandfather are dead, but the moment the boys gave to them of their culture was so touching and beautiful. My grandparents were listening to those so foreign and so far away cultural tones. The songs were so strange and so beautiful. The boys had no music instruments, but just sang.
If you ever read this blog message then I just want one more time to say thank you to you for being so kind and sharing your cultural heritage with us!
Kind regards Annika Michelson (maiden name Annika Ollas).
(P.S My mother was cleaning up some old papers and found this photo among the papers today. I know that I have one more photo from that weekend, but it is put in an album and is not at the farm where I am just now.)