31 Day Blog Challenge – Days 19 & 20

Okay, at first, I was just slacking and then I managed to forget that I was doing a blog challenge… oops.

Day 19 – What do I collect?

To be honest, I don’t collect anything. Not really. I hate clutter so much that I don’t want to collect stuff that could cause it. I do however have a soft spot for tin cans, which I do have quite a bit of… Any metallic container actually is something that I really love. Not sure why exactly. Come to think of it, in general containers of various sizes are something that I’m drawn to. I probably have some kind of a really strange OCD. In a way, it’s actually a bit of a love-hate relationship that I have with containers, boxes and cans. I love the idea of them de-cluttering my space, yet I hate how difficult it is sometimes to get anything out of those containers, boxes and cans.

I think I need therapy.

Day 20 – A difficult time in my life

In the grand scheme of things, I’d say my life has been quite easy. To me, it feels like there have been several difficult/hard times, but in comparison to the problems many face around the world with being homeless, not having enough food, living in the midst of war etc. my troubles seem quite insignificant. I’d say one difficult time in my life was perhaps when the depression and inflation hit Finland in the early 90’s. I was only an elementary school kid at the time, but this caused quite a bit of bother to many families, including my own. We went from a very comfortable life to a more uncertain life overnight. It wasn’t so hard for me, since I was just a child, but I could see the tension in my parents. Another hard time was when my dad ended up being pushed for a retirement too early thanks to his company screwing him over. We would’ve been financially secure by the time he was supposed to retire, had this not happened and caused us to sell our wonderful home and move to a different city and into an apartment about third of the size of our old home. This was really hard for my parents, but less so for me. I was about 16 at the time. Despite having lived in the same town and same home all of my life, I wasn’t too unhappy or devastated about the move – I guess I would have been more so, had I foreseen it leading to my boyfriend and myself slowly drifting apart (we did manage a 5 year relationship in our teens!).

Despite being financially very tight since the move, my family somehow managed to always offer good and versatile foods, a comfortable and attractive home as well as the opportunity to have hobbies. Financial struggles have been my biggest struggles as well as due to my family suddenly ending up in debt, the savings that had been put aside for when I’d be 18 and going through college etc. had been spent to dig our way out fo debt a little bit. Had I had that money, I wouldn’t have had to take out a loan for my studies. Studies in Finland are pretty much free, but living in my own apartment etc. had its expenses. Thanks to Finland’s social security system, I’ve never ended up on the very bottom, but I know what it’s like to try to make 10 euros stretch throughout the week… Thankfully, in the case of an absolute financial emergency, my parents were always there to hand me an extra 50 or so to get me through. I owe them a lot, because I know it was hard for them too.

Funnily enough, I didn’t think of it at first, because the situation is now fixed, but the early years of my relationship with my husband could definitely be categorized as difficult time. We first met in January 2005, but it took us until September 2011 to finally be able to never have to say goodbye again (until death or divorce us part, ha). For six long years we traveled between the two continents whenever we could, which was 1-2 times a year only, since neither of us was exactly well off and my husband couldn’t even get time off work. The longest we went without seeing each other was about 11 months. Whenever he would come to Finland he would be able to stay for 2 or maybe 3 weeks if pushing it (and accepting the financial loss) where as I could stay for 3 months when I went to USA. During those years, I calculated that I had lived in USA for 2 years total – in chunks of 2-3 months at a time, which actually seems like quite a bit now. It was always so wonderful to go there, despite the fact that my first trips I lived from out of a suitcase, pretty much, back when my husband still lived with his mom and grandpa. Later on, he got an apartment, which I was supposed to move to, but well, that’s a whole different story of how the US has now taken oooh, only a mere 6 years to process our visa application… Krhm.

The last and definitely the most difficult time of my life was last summer when my father died, quite unexpected, from my viewpoint. My father struggled with cancer for years. Many years. Watching him become nothing but skin and bones in the end, needing help getting off the couch and spending his days sleeping hurt me worse than his death did. He had always lived a healthy and active life, regularly excersizing and going swimming even in his 70s and looking 20 years younger than he was. Quite quickly it seemed he was becoming but a shell of himself. That beautiful sunny Monday evening in the summer when my sister called me in tears and told me my dad had passed away, I couldn’t believe it. My actual first words were “are you kidding me?” – though of course nobody would joke about that. The last I had seen him was a couple of months ago when he was helping us move (by driving the van), he had been tired, but not as badly as sometime before. He had been hospitalized a few days before and I was destined to travel to see him later that week. (I didn’t have a car back then so traveling wasn’t as easy and quick due to being approximately 200km apart) He had been feeling ill at the hospital earlier that day and mom had asked him if she should get the kids to come over now, but he had waved his hand dismissively and said there’s no need. He was certain that whatever this set back was, it could still be beaten. A couple of hours after that, he was gone.

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