Finland: Keminmaa

Sorry for the piecemeal accounting of my trip to Finland, but needs must: deadlines, deadlines as always. Good things coming soon including the third Chastity Flame book and the Shapeshifters anthology from Fox Spirit. But there’s much to do before Bloody Scotland and Bouchercon next month (including arranging travel back to the States for a few weeks).

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Keminmaa is in Lapland. In the Kalevala, that’s where the people of Pohjola are found. My father’s family come from this region.

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My cousin Helka was my hostess; she has figured out the genealogy of our family going way back. She and her brother Antti met me at Kemi station, and Antti’s wife Eila greeted us back at the talo. Here she’s beginning the booli.

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Kemijoki became a much wider river when they put in the dam, but it’s a classic Finnish landscape. It seems so familiar because it’s much like Michigan (I see why so many Finns emigrated there).

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Helka’s talo (cottage or cabin) — comfortable and welcoming.

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Most of my cousins were shy about trying to speak English but not Oskari! We bonded over Monty Python’s Four Yorkshiremen sketch and talked about South Park and Eminem (he’s a big fan).

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The iconic white birches: it’s funny how familiar Finland seemed from my very first visit. Our cabin in the north in Kaleva on a trout stream with birches and pines — it’s much the same.

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A taste of childhood! I have not had red currants right off the bush since I left Michigan. Like the sour cherries and rhubarb, it was a flavour you had to get used to again every summer. And fight the magpies for!

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The view from Helka’s talo; what a delight to enjoy this for a few days. I have so many pictures, more next time.

 

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