5436 days of Stockholm

The man at the New York souvenir shop was just trying to make some chit-chat. He was the one greeting us as we walked into the “bobblehead store” which is what Son calls all those souvenir shops now because that’s where he happened to buy his Abraham Lincoln bobblehead doll.

This time, he couldn’t decide whether to get a Kennedy or Clinton, or maybe George Washington so he didn’t buy anything which is why we were hanging around the front door, waiting for Wife and Daughter.

“Where are you guys from?” the greeterman asked Son.

“Oh, we’re from, em, Sweden,” replied Son, and then looked at me.

“And Finland,” he added.

Now, if I’m traveling alone and people ask me where I’m from, I always say “Finland”, but that “I live in Sweden now”. When I’m traveling with the family, I most often say that we’re from Sweden, always making a mental note to myself that technically, we have traveled from Sweden. Sometimes, I add that I’m actually a Finn, but most often I simply don’t want to engage in a conversation, so I let it slide. It’s not important.

This is the view from the opposite direction of my first office

Continue reading

Dream big

Last weekend, Daughter had another bandy game. Bandy, if you don’t know, is like field hockey on ice, and Daughter, if you don’t know, rocks the sport. She’s a great skater, and more importantly, she’s got the gene that I don’t have, which is the one that makes her want to practice every time she gets a chance.

The games last Saturday were especially exciting because they were her first games indoors.

AIK

Continue reading

The subway line

Maybe everything would be different had I acted on my impulse. Maybe I wouldn’t be sitting in this little office room in our yellow house, for example.

Maybe I’d have another job, maybe I would wear a suit every day, and not just on days when I want to pretend to be a guy who wears suits to work, like today. Maybe I wouldn’t have seen the Life of Brian, and maybe I still couldn’t tell the Spice Girls apart.

A little bit of this, and a little bit of that.

Continue reading

Countdown 2014: 5

Will there be a countdown of the best stories on ristopakarinen.com this year, you ask? The answer if yes. The same procedure as every year. Starting on Dec 27, I’ll publish the top stories of the year. This year’s categories are True Fiction and Attempts at Humor. (New entries will be published at 2:02 pm CET each day).

And without further ado, here are the stories that finished in the fifth place.

» Attempt at humor: “Tommy’s mistake
» True Fiction: “Watch this

Number 5.

Smalltown, Finland

The gulls have taken over the market square. They’re everywhere, feasting on the remains of the day on the ground. There’s peas, strawberries, cloudberries, potatoes, Vietnamese food, pancakes. Donuts. Or parts of them, tiny parts of them.

The market square, the heart of the city, is now asleep. One of the cafés on the square has closed for the day, their red chairs stacked up outside their little house a sure sign of it, leaving nothing for interpretation. The other one is only half-full, when just two hours earlier they both had been packed and people had shuffled the chairs in new constellations as everybody wanted to fit under the shade.

The square.

Continue reading