Yesterday was a beautiful, sunny day in Helsinki.. As I was walking through my favorite neighborhood in the city; along the shore; sitting on the rocks, watching the sea, it really dawned on me what a special place this is. Why then, have I been so out of sorts all week? I have been struggling through my days, with enormous anxiety…. And I totally knew I would, even before I came here.

I believe that the answer to my question has dawned on me now, with a little help from a new friend, who crystallized it to me earlier today: I’ve been associating Finland with many of the negative experiences of my past. It is no coincidence that I’ve lived abroad for the last 15 years. One of the reasons is that I’ve been trying to run away.

In my twenties, I used to come here, get all shit-faced and then leave after a couple of weeks. Finland was a place for FUN!, i.e. hanging out in bars and not much else… Most of my experiences here were covered in a haze: either drunken, or hungover. In that way, I didn’t really have to face the fact that I had a complicated relationship with my home country…. Now, the sober me has been dreading coming here like the plague. My demons were all here, waiting as soon as I landed at the airport, attacking me with full force.

It is a healing thought to me, that none of my problems have anything to do with the city itself, or the country. The truth is, it has less to do with the people here too… Instead, it has everything to do with me. The demons are within me, not in my surroundings. It just so happens that I have issues, heightened here, that I haven’t learned to deal with yet. I believe that in being more understanding, and kinder to myself, lies the key. It will set me free.
It is a beautiful city, and a beautiful country.