As a Finnish expatriate, I miss Finnish nature every day.
I miss the unobtrusiveness of it, the fresh and crisp sent of the forest, and the many shades of green. The forest provides safety, food, and allows your mind to be at ease. You can hug trees, do yoga, or sit on a hassock just to mediate. To others, Finnish Nature might be the roaring sea, island living, or listening to the gentle waves under the rowing boat, while watching the sunset. The cities offer relaxing parks to balance the hectic lifestyle and groups of friends, gathered for a family style picnic, is a norm in Helsinki parks during summertime.
I was privileged to travel to Finland this summer and spend couple of weeks with mom. Even though, the midsummer had already gone, the amount of daylight still surprised me. Mom lives in the countryside, surrounded by forest, far away from neighbors, and as I am already used to the city living, the silence that surrounded us baffled me once again. Nature is extremely important to me and to be able to enjoy it now was even more meaningful than before. I got to enjoy it to the fullest: walks in the forest, the moss, cutting the grass, clearing the dried-up branches. Life in the city has been challenging, especially during COVID-19 and realizing how much nature affects my mental well-being in a positive manner, makes me appreciate it even more. While in Finland, I was able to pick blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries straight from the source. I found chantarelles on one of my strolls and frogs were casually leaping on my boots while mosquitos buzzed around me. Good thing I was prepared with OFF mosquito repellent and my Nokia rubber boots.
August 29th is the official Finnish Nature Day and it has been celebrated in several different ways since 2013.
Even if you would not be able to access the Finnish nature right now, you can still celebrate the day. How about a walk in the park with the young ones of the family, finding things that are the same in Florida as they are in Finland? Count the surrounding birch trees, detect waterlilies, or listen to the frogs. You could also bake the world-famous blueberry pie with granny’s recipe or make that mouthwatering chantarelle cream sauce served with boiled potatoes. Or how about a video call to your Finnish family and friends, them sitting in the forest so you could hear the black bird’s evening concert?
Living so far away from Finland might make you feel sad, however, on a day like this, we should embrace our roots and celebrate. Ask a friend for a walk and share your best memories and stories of Finland: tell them about the fishing trip when we lost the oars, or how Nordic walking is a really good form of exercising. What about that midsummer night when you went skinny dipping into one of our 180 thousand lakes, or how Finns hug trees to get energy and peaceful mind. So, raise the Finnish flag today, make yourself a cup of coffee, sit outside, listen to the nature, and enjoy.
I will be baking blueberry pie with mom’s easy pie recipe!
Mom’s Fast & Easy Berry Pie:
3 deciliters of sugar
200 grams of melted butter
5 deciliters of flour
2 teaspoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1.5 deciliter of milk
5-6 deciliters of blueberries
150 grams of sour cream
Combine the eggs and sugar. Add melted butter. Mix the flour and the baking powder first, then add to the mixture. Add milk and combine well. Oil/butter your baking pan and pour the mixture in it. Add the blueberries on top. Combine the egg with the sour cream and pour on top of the blueberries. Bake about 40 minutes in 190 Celsius degrees until the pie is cooked. Best when served warm with vanilla ice cream.