The Way Home

Been home for little over a week now. The transition is always kind of shocking. When I came back, the weather in Oulu and Finland in general was pretty similar to Nuuk: a few degrees above zero, mostly sunny with a bit of a breeze. There were even a few moments of snow. Everybody in Finland was complaining. I was like what, it's been like this for the last week, what's wrong? For once, I did not complain about the weather. Finland was warm and breezy for me. It was actually almost hot. I had to spend the few first evenings here in tiny shorts because it felt so hot.

Leaving Nuuk, I sat in the car and listened to the last ghost stories about the museum. I'd told everybody before that to save the stories until my car ride to the airport, I was too scared to know them in advance. The weather was mostly nice and it felt really surreal leaving after two months. As we rose above the clouds, I saw Sermitsiaq and other mountains peeking above them, like small islands bathing in a sunny ocean. There was a tiny little cloud above Sermitsiaq, like a little inverted moon. You forget quite quickly how breathtaking this earth is from above.

Kangerlussuaq was really sunny again and now as most of the snow had melted, it was this tiny, frontier town with almost barrack-like houses and big cars speeding down the dry roads, dust rising behind them. It was adorable, I'm still feeling really bad I didn't get to spend more time there. Just near the airport, there's a small motel called Polar Lodge, I was really hoping I would have had the chance to stay there for a few nights but it wasn't in the stars. Damn Air Greenland prices.

I had about an hour and a half in Kangerlussuaq, so I just quickly ran out the plane and snapped some photos. Then I stood outside, breathing in the mountain air (and my trusty friend nicotine), just trying to taste that moment when you're in a really faraway, new and strange place. It was breathtaking (and not just because of the nicotine. My smoking has gotten out of hand, though).

It's really funny how everybody knows everybody in Greenland. At the Kangerlussuaq airport, a small, dark-skinned man came to ask me if I was an American journalist. I felt like a really cool person for a while! He was from Nigeria, married to a Dane and had been visiting his grand-children in Nuuk and was on his way back to Copenhagen. He wanted to show me pictures of his grand-children's confirmation and while talking, we discovered that I actually know a lady that works with his daughter-in-law. When I boarded the plane, I was seated next to an Air Greenland pilot and we also discovered we know the same people in Nuuk. It feels so random! Though in my hometown it's super common, especially since I mostly speak to people working in media and culture and that circle is a very tiny one here. But it's still quite funny that me, who only spent two months in Greenland would still randomly meet people I have common acquaintances with in there.

It was quite cloudy so I didn't get to see a lot of Greenland when we flew over it. The clouds cleared for a short while when we were just passing Iceland and I got a very few weird photos:

They almost look like I'd taken them from a space station or something. Felt a bit like that too.

When we landed in Copenhagen, seeing trees for the first time in two months felt strange, almost made me laugh out loud. Copenhagen looked so Finnish! I don't know. At that point, I'd been awake for, say, 18 hours and was starting to get a little weird. There was an H&M at the Copenhagen airport and I got really hyper because yay shopping in an H&M again! It was a really boring shop though so I did not have to feel bad about immediately going back to my horrible shopping habits. Did buy a lot of candy. But I did give a lot of it away too.

Then I flew to Helsinki and I swear, they must spritz some kind of scent around at the airport because the minute I stepped out of the plane, into that weird tube I could smell it: the scent of summer night in Finland. It's hard to eplain, but there's a certain vaguely moist but very fresh smell you get in the misty, warm twilights of the Finnish summer. It's enchanting. I was home. Of course I still had to carry around my bags all night because it was too late check them in again. I haunted the quiet halls of the airport, looking for a place to lay myself down. Most benches and corners were already taken with people curled up around their luggage, most of them with their sleeping faces covered and I thought they looked like terrorism victims in shrouds. Mind you, at this point I had been awake for about 24 hours. I thought a lot of things. Like do they cover their faces to keep out the light or because they don't want others looking at their sleeping faces? Personally I hate the idea of people seeing my sleeping face, so I usually always cover myself if I'm sleeping in public.

After a really crappy few hours of sleep, I finally boarded the plane to Oulu and got home. Here it was sunny, not even yet 8 in the morning and everything was alien but still the same. But at least my cat wasn't angry! I think he was a bit confused but he got used to me really fast again. Kept waking me up the first night to feed him just like I'd never left.

It feels strange now that I was ever gone for two months. The summer has advanced really quickly here, it's like plus 24 degrees now and I'm already done with the heat. I don't need more for this summer, thank you very much! Looking at photos from people I met in Nuuk, it feels crazy and impossible that they're still trekking in snow!

Pretty sure I'm still jet-lagged a bit. It's been an adventurous week and a half back home, most days I've just been out of it and it's been really hard to focus on anything. I've had a gastroscopy that was horrible and then I had an allergic attack from eating something I wasn't supposed to so now I'm pumped full of cortisone and adrenaline and it's extremely unpleasant. From past experience, I know it's going to be for the next few days too. It's hard to give myself a break and relax and just put things in order. I need a vacation but as a person who's basically unemployed, I cannot have a vacation from this "vacation". Calm down, woman! Just do it! Ugh.

I'm glad to be back but it's sad to notice what I of course always knew: I can't outrun my anxieties or personal problems any less than I can leave them anywhere either, not even on a remote, icy island. They're always with me. I guess I was hoping being back home would put things in perspective but yeah, that's a movie wish. Real world is, well, less comprehensible than any story ever tells.

Oh and I've already watched Wonder Woman (hoped I could have liked it more but still good. Gal Gadot is a goddess made flesh), Pirates of the Caribbean 5 (better than Stranger Tides but a little messy and Johnny Depp was maybe drunk for real for most of his lines) and American Gods (not like the book but entertaining enough. Just don't think too much about how it could have been as delicate and sophisticated as Hannibal and wasn't) so that's cool. I'm glad there's a lot escapism available in this sometimes crap world anyway.


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