Personal, Travels

Visual Diary: Around Our Neighborhood

Three months of living here in Finland but we still can’t get enough of its beauty especially now that it’s Spring already.

Nico and I are big fans of nature. Being raised in the rural areas in the Philippines, we’d love our kids to experience playing under the green trees and on the green grass, smell the fresh air, be touched by the winds and see some colorful flowers. And because Finland, along with other Nordic countries, is known for having super longer days especially when Spring and Summer, we always try to go out and walk around the neighborhood.

When we were still looking for an apartment, one of the things we really like to get is somewhere near a park or lake, or somewhere surrounded by green trees. It’s not very difficult to find one like this because Finns love nature so if ever you go here, you’ll notice that there are a lot of greens all around, even in the city. It feels so refreshing when you go home from the office and you pass by these trees. Well, this is if it’s Spring or Summer because in Winter, you’ll only see whites. LOL. I haven’t experienced Autumn so let’s see after a few more months.

I didn’t really like flowers. For me, they’re so feminine and so gentle and fragile. But I must admit I really fell in love with them when they started to bloom in the beginning of Spring. From having dark days brought by the Winter, it’s so good to the eyes to see their different colors. I used to tell Nico that this was exactly what I’d been watching on some cartoons on TV when I was younger. I thought this place didn’t really exist but it does! And I am now here, experiencing it, enjoying it everyday while it lasts. 

One more thing I realized while walking in the neighborhood is that these flowers are not only found outside. Finns also love to keep them at home. They are hanging in the balcony or placed near the window, on top of their dining table, beside the TV or on the living room wall. You can all see it from the outside as they’re really colorful and fascinating. You can also find a lot of flowershops around and if you’re lucky, you can find really good deals with really beautiful plants. We also started growing some plants in our apartment. I like to see them in the morning as soon as I wake up and when we go home from our daily routine.

It’s not only Nico and I who enjoy the outside walk in the afternoon. I think Skyler enjoys it more. He likes walking and running and randomly picking up some flowers or twigs outside. Afternoon is also a good time for the dog owners to take their pets for a walk and Skyler also enjoys seeing dogs along the way. Finns love to have pets at home and I guess most of them have dogs.

Aside from walking and enjoying the scenery, it’s also a good time for Skyler to play. We always want to make sure that he gets to play outside as much as possible especially it’s still sunny and dry. Some parents also let their children to play around the neighborhood so there are a lot of kids during this time of the day. They usually play ball or kite, or they ride their bike or scooter. It’s a perfect picture of happy children and we love to see Skyler do the same even if his only playmates in the neighborhood, for now, are Nico and I.

Even without a lot of playmates, Skyler is still very happy as he can also play at different playgrounds around. Yes, there are more than one. I think just in our neighborhood alone, there are 4-5 playgrounds Skyler can go to. One thing I noticed as soon as we got here is that they always give consideration to children. A lot of establishments here have playgrounds or play area. Even hospitals have a designated area for kids to play. A lot of restaurants have it, too. It feels like they always want to make sure that there’s a place for every member of the family and noone is left alone.

We usually walk only around 500 meters away from our apartment. It’s only a short walk but the things we see everytime we pass by the same path are really worth it. We see the diversity and connection of all these things. They grow and live together, people, animals, trees and plants, flowers and even insects. They don’t harm one another and they exist for each other. I regret the times I wasted not appreciating things like these. The peace it gives me is something I’d like to take with me everyday especially when winter comes where all these greens and other colors are out of sight for some time.

This does not only exist in Finland. I know we also have a lot of these in my country. Maybe some are even more beautiful and which I haven’t been to. I always miss my hometown and seeing these trees and lakes makes me feel at home. I hope we all can see the beauty of nature and not just see it, appreciate it and do something to take care of it. Now that summer has just started and I think we’re on the peak of having some good sunny days (as my colleagues have been telling me), I’d like to keep walking to appreciate more of these. This is just one side of our neighborhood, just 500 meters away. We haven’t really been able to go farther around but I think if we do, I’ll be writing a book of some really amazing photos of it.

Even though I’d like to see more  of these while this weather still lasts, I’m also excited to see what autumn has to offer. Leaves will start to turn brown and sky will soon turn dark. Nights will be way longer and people will start to wear darker clothes to match the weather. It gives me a feeling of loneliness when I see it on TV but spring and summer give me a feeling of cheerfulness and delight. According to my colleagues, the mood of some people here varies on what the current season is so we can expect that some people maybe sad or moody when winter starts to come. Forgive me if I’m being too excited about the change of the season here. This is our first time to see it changes with our own eyes and feel it with our own skin. I can’t wait for one full year of witnessing it. 


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