Door 22: Breaks

The biggest thing about Christmas has always been the Christmas break. First, there were the school days and the break that was weeks long, that sometimes felt almost too long.

Then, in the university, it was suddenly even longer, with the lectures ending in early December so, with careful planning, I could take off to my parents’ by mid-December the latest, after my last exam, and then return in mid-January.

My salad days.

Then the breaks got shorter and shorter, and lost their meaning. Christmas – despite my best efforts to make the run-up longer – had lost its magic, a little bit.

I know when the magic returned. It returned in 1999 when I was in Sweden, and ready to take off for Christmas break. I was going to take the ferry over and then drive up to Joensuu like so many times before.

Only, that time I knew I definitely wanted to come back, probably as soon as possible but by the New Year’s at the latest. See, there was this girl that I had been spending a lot of time with, and I would have liked to spend my Christmas break with her, too. As I was ready to leave, I walked around the office to wish Merry Christmas to my colleagues, and since she was also one, I left her for last.

And we talked a little, and she told me again that if I was back by New Year’s, I’d be more than welcome to her Millennium party. I said I’d think about it, but we both knew I’d be there.

Then I gave her a hug and drove to the ferry. On the other side of the Baltic, I picked up a buddy from Helsinki, and like many times before, we drove up listening to music, talking about stuff.

A week later, we drove back down, and I took the ferry to Sweden. The next day, I drove to Stockholm’s Old Town to meet up with the girl I had been thinking about the entire Christmas break.

Six years and two days later, I proposed to her. She said yes.


This is the From The Desk of Risto Pakarinen 2017 advent calendar. Behind every door, you’ll find something related to the 1980s

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