Sunday, August 17, 2014

A Wedding Finnish Style

We really didn't know what was going on when my son and his wife said they were going to get married this summer.  Three years ago they had a civil ceremony and even sent us a nice picture of the building containing the office where the event was conducted and recorded.

It turns out that many Finns delay even a civil compact until later in a relationship.  It is even later, often after children are in the mix,  that they decide to re-formalize their bonds with a "church wedding."   This makes sense to me.   One of the sad aspects of American society is the holy alliance of two callow youths that nearly bankrupts their parents and then disintegrates six months later as the bloom of attraction fades to leave only the leaves of reality.

The marriage of our son took place in the Temppeliaukion kirkko or Rock Church in Helsinki.  As the Rough Guide to Finland notes, "This (is) a serious Finnish construction."   In 1969 the designers literally found a granite outcrop, blasted out a hole in it, and then roofed it over with a glass dome. The result is a jagged walled stone temple of calm. 

During summer weekends the church is chock-a-block with weddings one after another. Reservations must be made far in advance.  You appear to get about an hour before the sanctuary must be re-opened for a while to the tourists.  Bingo, then closed again for the next wedding.

Our day began in the afternoon with the wedding party gathering in the sunshine on top of the Rock Church itself  for pictures.  Another wedding was proceeding inside. 

When we arrived these were our first views of the bride and groom. 

I can't wait until I see what it looked like from the front.

We walked around from the church entrance and in the back found a path to climb up ourselves. Shortly, our granddaughter arrived in the company of her special friend Kari. 

And of course the mothers of the bride and groom looked on with approval.

Formal photos were taken of the attendants.

With pictures finished,  we all climbed down from on high and re-gathered inside the Rock Church for the official ceremony.

Here comes the bride now!

 They met at the altar 

There was some music.
And the vows were sealed with a kiss.

Time to walk back down the aisle and

participate in the ritual greeting, which was done with bubbles instead of rice or bird seed.  A nice twist as there is nothing to clean up.

Even though most of us were focused on the primary couple, the Japanese girl tourists waiting outside to enter the church were more captivated by our granddaughter.

The reception took place at a hall near the church.

Bride and groom had a small table to themselves. 

The guests gathered at longer tables in front of them. 

Dinner was served, the cake was cut and served,  and music and dancing followed. 

We left before midnight, but the younger folks partied on.

 Cheers to them!    

















Saturday, August 16, 2014

Our family in Helsinki

Three years ago our son married a lovely Finnish woman. Two years ago they had a beautiful little girl and our lives have not been the same since. We saw our granddaughter when she was only weeks old when they visited the USA, and then when she was one year old in Helsinki.  This summer she was almost two and I took an awful lot of pictures of the cutest little pumpkin on either side of the Atlantic.

No need to comment further.
She is a kitchen helper
She knows where the camera is 

She likes to have grandpa read stories in English

She loves to blow bubbles

She eats at the table with the big people. That's me with my son David on the left. My son's sister, her husband, and their family are in the back.

She loves corn on the cob

She can stand sort of on her head

She gets a kick out of the slide in the back yard
Ms. Cool with her Mama

 Ms. Cool takes a walk with Dad and Grandma

Ms. Cool loses her shades  for gardening.

Grandma dons the shades and takes our pumpkin for a stroll in the park

I am pretty oh so pretty!
 I rest my case.  




On To Helsinki Once More!

If you are susceptible to nocturnal deprivation, Helsinki in the summer is not for you. Even with the generally available room darkening shades, it can still be disorienting to hit the sack with the sun still well above the horizon.  Twenty hours of daylight just seems to force everyone into a frenzy of outdoor activity before the reverse season arrives and drives them indoors to their warm and cosy hearths.    

This was our third summer visit to the city in as many years and as yet we have not considered a  January visit.  Somehow Tucson still looks better in the winter. You may of course ask why we have been heading to Helsinki so frequently at all.  The answer is a son, a wife, and a beautiful granddaughter who now live there. You shall meet them anon, but before I deal with that part of the visit, let me give you a quick recap of tourist scene.

I can report that the Lutheran Cathedral in Senate Square still gleams.

and the harbor market still can't be beat for souvenir items and lots of delicious and reasonably priced fruits, veggies, and grilled salmon--generally served by bright eyed good natured young people with impeccable English. 

Something new this year down at the market was a Ferris Wheel. Not nearly as large as the London Eye, but still offering a chance for a different view of the waterfront and harbor. 

Strolling up away from the harbor on the Esplanade is still a treat.

There are plenty of opportunities to sit in the sun and to enjoy entertainment. On the day we were there a poet was reciting in-between some music sets.   

The Art Nouveau railroad station of Elieu Saarinen is still under restoration wrap, but Emil Wikstrom's  pair of lantern lit giants are back in place fully restored at the main entrance.  



 The birds look quite healthy
 and the beer is plentiful and cold.

 My next entry will re-introduce our Finnish family and the enjoyments of a real Finnish wedding.