We've been here a little over a month and already I've lost count of the times we've run into acquaintances around town. This, despite the fact that we have very, very few acquaintances so far! Today was Turun Päivä (Turku Day; ask me how excited I am that even town names in Finland are not safe from the grammatical case system) and while at Turku Castle, Magdalena saw three of her classmates. Yesterday I ran into a co-worker at Kauppatori (market square). On Wednesday, another co-worker saw the kids and me as we rode our bikes to choir practice at the church. Turku has almost 200,000 people, but seeing people we know, by chance, makes it seem like such a small town.
I am thinking back to our time in the UAE, and I can only remember seeing someone I knew totally randomly while out and about...once? At Dubai Mall? Accounting for faulty recollection, that probably means it happened a few more times than that...but in five years of living there. It definitely shows that this place is a little different.
Also filling in the aura of living in Turku is getting out and seeing some things. We spent the day on a nearby island called Ruissalo yesterday to watch Jeremy run a 10k. It was beautiful. Beyond beautiful. The freshest air coming off the Baltic Sea, a rocky beach, a sunny day, happy kids - perfection.
We've ridden our bikes down the Aura River a few times. Last week, we rode around the grounds of Turku Castle. Today, for Turun Päivä, the castle was open for free, so we took a quick look at the inside. It was strange to be in such an old place, first of all, and an old place without Arabic inscriptions on the walls! Turku Castle is from around the same time period as the best Crusader castles in Syria. It's not nearly as grand, but then, the Crusades weren't fought here.
I love living near the water. I have always loved living near water. It makes me feel anxious when I'm too far away from it. Here in Turku, I will never feel thirsty for it because there's the river a few minutes from my house, cutting through all of town, and then the sea just beyond it. There are always boats lined up and down the banks, and even a bike/pedestrian ferry that runs back and forth farther west where there aren't any bridges.
Ah, but this post was about seeing acquaintances randomly around town. I'll save Turku details for another time!