Tag Archives: haparanda

We’re so close, I can taste it.

These last few weeks have been super hectic. I’ve simultaneously prepared for a trip across the world, and a move across the country, as well as finishing up my audio engineering course with three big projects.

But now I’ve finally finished it all and I have some downtime tonight before it’s time to sit on a plane and fly to Australia! WOOHOOO! I’M SO EXCITED! (and I just can’t hide it)

The end of term projects might not be that relevant to this blog, but basically, there were two personal music projects and one group film project, where we put sound to a short film.

So, let’s see. Let’s go through what I’ve been up to.

Monday and Tuesday of the last week of school, that is, last week (at the time of writing) were two days of presenting our final projects. The rest of the week was spent looking at other presentations from other courses, like the lighting students, and cleaning the studio etc. And I also packed up all my stuff into boxes. I’ve only lived in a small single room apartment, but I’ve collected a lot more stuff than I brought with me over the last two years, the biggest of which are probably a sofa and a desk, but also studio equipment, musical instruments, a new desktop computer (the old one became a home server) and other knick knacks, like clothes, kitchenware and decorative stuff. Oh, and let’s not forget the box that contained nothing but Harry Potter merch and Kylie’s stuff that she left here last time she was over!

All in all, I ended up with five bigger boxes and half a dozen, if not more, smaller ones. As well as some stuff that went without boxes, like furniture.

Luckily, my brother got his driver’s license just in time to be able to come up and help me get all the stuff down to where my dad lives, which is more or less across the country. So we rented a trailer and he and my mum came up on the weekend, to help me.

19243791_10154728761288481_731806435_o
My mum eats a burger on their way up to Haparanda

To avoid getting time off work, we decided to do it on the weekend, so they left early Saturday morning and arrived in Haparanda on Saturday night, at which time we almost immediately set to work packing up my last stuff into boxes, dismantling the furniture (thank you IKEA and your furniture that’s easy to take apart and pack into tight spaces) and load it into the trailer and the back of the car. Luckily I had loaded up with coca cola to provide us with caffeine and energy after the coffee machine was packed away and we managed to get it done in just a few hours.

Since we were on a tight schedule and had calculated that there would be about 17 hours going back down, including a couple stops, we decided to leave straight away after we finished packing (much to Kylie’s panic).

I don’t really know what to say about the roadtrip. It was exhausting, but fun. We spent most of the trip sitting in the car, listening to music. I was awake most of the time, while my brother and my mother took turns driving and resting. We also took a couple of stops to buy food, refuel and have coffees. Which was nice. We also stopped at Högakustenbron, a bridge that had a nice view. So that was cool. Otherwise, it was fun but pretty uneventful.

IMG_20170618_071051
On our way back down

The original plan was to go to my dad’s in Skänninge, dump my stuff and then go up to my mum’s in Stockholm, because I needed to be in Stockholm for the flight to Australia. But since my mum left us when we passed Stockholm anyway and it was just me and my brother, and he didn’t have work on the Monday, we ended up staying the night at my dad’s, which was probably the best idea I had in a while, because that allowed us to get the trailer to the return station in time, eat some tacos when we got back, and then sleep in the bed sofa, which we brought from my apartment, so that we were well rested in the morning ready to go back up to Stockholm the next day. It also meant that I got to spend more time with my sisters, which was really fun.

So now I’m sitting here writing a blog post. I’m getting on a plane tomorrow, flying to my beloved Kylie. And it feels almost unreal. I’ve got my bags packed light, with just some clothes, camera, tripod and some toiletries, so that we can load my bags with Kylie’s stuff when we go back.

So the last two days in Stockholm have ben pretty quiet in comparison. I got a haircut and shaved my beard off, which is kinda symbolical actually since the last time I cut my hair or shaved my beard off was just before I moved to Haparanda and started studying Audio Engineering two years ago.

Haircut

In about half hour my brother will arrive and he’ll drive me to the airport in the morning before he start work.

Then I’ll get on the plane. And then I’ll get to meet her again. This time, for the last time. this time there’s no separating again. This time, I’m staing with her, and she’s staying with me. And this time, it’s really, really, for real.

Advertisements

The Final Week

J:  Back in Haparanda, it was time for me to go back to school, which started the very next day. It was nice to see all my friends again, even at the expense of missing Kylie, but if I’m honest, I didn’t have too much time to miss her, compared to her sitting alone in my apartment. That said, it was always nice to come home and see her every day. I liked to call out that “honeyyyy, I’m hooome” that they always do in movies and shows, because why not? I think that’s one of the things I’m looking forward to the most when we move together. Not having to come home to an empty apartment every day. It’ll be nice to have someone there to greet you and give you kisses when you come home 😀

K:  It was odd, having him around every minute of the day and suddenly he wasn’t there anymore.  We spent so much of this last week just sleeping in late, uploading photos and catching our breath from being on the go the whole time.  It was always nice to see him again after school though!  On the first day, we had forgotten to get his apartment key off him and so we were stranded at the apartment and unable to lock up, but luckily he finished early this day and we explored some shops where Mum picked up some discounted Christmas placements and serviettes, Johan bought some new shoes and we had ice creams at yet another candy store!  Candy World is supposed to be Europe’s largest candy store, right here in Haparanda.  It was pretty large, complete with a children’s playground, but very spacious, and I still don’t quite know whether to believe it or not!  Pricing it up though, we found most candy to be cheaper at the grocery stores and so left without, which was probably a good thing because we’d already eaten so much!

Pic 1

J:  The first night back to school, I had an assignment to finish, a report on a project we did the first term, which got carried over to the second. The next night, we had some time over to go hunting for northern lights though! I had seen them before in Haparanda, though that was earlier in the season, and we were kinda hopeful that we would catch them again. Alas, we had no luck with that, and that was the last time we tried, but I did show them this nature reserve where we’ve had activities with school, and I wanted to show them this lookout tower from where I think I saw my first ever aurora. Again, we never found that either. That said, it’s a forest, and it’s easy to get lost, and I’d only been there once. One day I’ll find that tower again though!

Also, I made a kladdkaka (a sort of Swedish mudcake). It was okay I guess, but I failed in baking it the way it should be made, and it ended up way too hard and crumbly. But Kylie and her mum enjoyed it.

Pic 2Our very own lantern, which we had carried everywhere with us but this was the first time we actually used it!

K:  The next day, the key to Johan’s apartment in the hands of Mum and myself, we returned to the nature reserve to try and find this tower he spoke of in the daylight.  We had more important matters at hand first though… and spent half hour walking in the wrong direction, because we’d missed one of the turns!  It was good exercise nonetheless, and still so beautiful to hear the crunch of snow beneath our boots.  It was making me cold and grumpy though, but Mum wasn’t leaving until we went back to ‘her’ forest.  We retraced our steps and were soon on the right route again.

Pic 2Haparanda Train Station, which is along the way and no longer in use.

And we eventually found it again, this magnificent forest and it’s snow-covered trees straight out of a fairytale.

Pic 3

It’s many long winding roads will eventually lead you to the lake.  Another snow-covered lake.  You almost wouldn’t be able to tell if it wasn’t for the row boat propped up near the edge.  And we met a bloke who went out walking on it, straight shortcut across town!  We didn’t trust ourselves though, this was a man who knew the ice and had with him a prodding stick!  Still no tower to be seen though… are you sure it existed, Johan? 😛Pic 4

By the 14th of January, we were getting pretty upset counting the days until going home.  Me, because I’d have to leave Johan, and Mum, because she’d have to leave the snow.  I slept late while Johan went off to school, wishing he could stay for longer cuddles, packed and repacked suitcases (as I was leaving all of my heavy winter gear with Johan, to avoid having to bring it all back next time) and waited for his lunch breaks with eagerness.  Today, I met one of his school friends, Dan, and we talked with him a while. 🙂 Meanwhile, Mum decided she’d go explore the town again without me, walking up and down along the river until after it got dark.Pic 5

J: On the 15th of January, it was my birthday! Congratulations to me! Me and my friend Dan met Kylie and her mum at the shops after school, and Kylie apparently had a secret she wanted to hide from me! Turned out it was… (drum roll) CAKE! She had bought me my favourite cake 😀 She also hung up a banner thing in my apartment that said happy birthday. She’s nice 🙂

We celebrated with a dinner date at a Chinese place. She had fried rice and I probably had deep fried chicken again. I love that stuff. Then we ended the night by going to the pub and met up with my friends. Kylie doesn’t drink, but I do occasionally. There weren’t many people there though, so we soon moved on to a group home where a lot of students at my school stay, and which frequently host parties.

The night ended well, if you ignore the fact that Kylie got sick, probably from the food at the restaurant.

Pic 6 Pic 7

K:  By the next morning, I was feeling fine, at least tummy-wise, not emotional-wise, as it was to be our last day together.  Johan was now the one with an upset tummy, and was not a good way to end our trip!  Thankfully, it was a Saturday, and we were going to cherish every last moment together.  Mum and I had booked a flight from Luleå to Stockholm where we would spend one more night, so we would be ready for our international flights home at Arlanda the next day.  Our flight wasn’t departing until the evening though, and it was another 2 and a half hour bus trip to Luleå Airport, and we insisted that Johan come along to spend just those few extra hours together and help us get to where we were going as there was one transfer we had to make.

J: Nothing much happened between the time we arrived at the airport and we parted at the gate. We were the only people in the airport at the time, and so we had the place to ourselves. We mostly spent the time in a nice cosy sofa, holding on to each other and talking. Recounting the good times we had had, and reminding ourselves that it’s not the end and next time we wouldn’t have to leave each other again!

This is also when we finally tore into the chocolate frogs we bought at the Warner Bros Studio Tour four and a half weeks earlier! One could say we drowned our sorrows in the chocolate.

While we were inside feeling sorry for ourselves, Kylie’s mum had gone out into the snow, one last time, and she didn’t return until it was almost time to go to the gate. They even allowed me to go with them though the security and wait with her at the gate, which was nice of them.

Pic 8Drowning our sorrows in chocolate.

K:  It was the moment we’d both been dreading.  I don’t think there’d been any tears up until this point, which was the same for the first trip.  The tears didn’t come until the goodbye.  We mostly sat and cuddled, wishing it could last forever, and promising that this would be the last goodbye.  Promising that next time, Johan would come to Australia.  Promising that next time, I would fly back with him to live our happy ever after.  And the tears ensued.  And we kissed and hugged and they were calling for us to board.  And I didn’t want to let go.  But at the same time, Johan needed to get the bus back.  It was the last bus that would make it in time for the next connection.  We were the last left at the gate.  I told him to go.  And he did, and Mum took my hand as we headed for the gate.  We all looked back at one another.  We gave our tickets to the attendant, and I looked back again.  He was gone.

J:  It was with a heavy heart I walked away. I kept looking back as long as I could still see them, then I rounded the corner and walked out through the exit, and keeping with the theme of this holiday, I only just made the bus back home. This is also when I lost my Ravenclaw scarf, but I didn’t really have the energy to care about that, because I had left Kylie at the airport and we wouldn’t see each other again in many months. In fact, I’m still waiting.

Pic 9Last moments.

K:  There’s not much to say about our flight or our final day in Stockholm.  We had a buffet breakfast at the hotel and we couldn’t do much, because we had to be at the airport 2 hours before our lunchtime flight.  We had transfers to and from the airport and it was all pretty miserable.  Yet the sunsets made me smile, and I held to the belief that next time it would not be a 2 year wait.  It would be less, and it would be to move to him.Pic 10

Haparanda, New Years, Luleå

When we returned to Haparanda, it was the day before New Years. We all unpacked as best we could in my tiny apartment, which left us with basically no floor space. I’m telling you, that place is fine for me, who is just one guy, but you can’t live more than one person there. At least not if you want any kind of personal space. And especially if two out of three people are living out of large suitcases placed on the floor. But we managed, and it actually wasn’t too bad. Kylie and I didn’t want much space between us anyway.

New Year’s Eve is interesting in a town bordering two time zones, as you celebrate it twice. Once for each time zone. The event itself started a couple hours before new year’s Finnish time (which is one hour ahead of Swedish time) and we made our way to the parking lot of the big shopping center that straddles the border between Sweden and Finland, which is where the celebrations would be held. There was a stage and it all started with a dance number, before speeches were made and it turned out that one of the main hosts of the event was the principal of my school, who is a really cool person by the way. Following this, there was a live band that played cover songs and other performances, until just before Finnish New Year, when they lit a fire sculpture display thing in an area just between the two countries. During this, there was more entertainment, until at midnight Finnish time, they lit the fireworks.

Pic 1

By this time, it had gotten really cold, and the wind was biting at every bit of skin that was exposed on our faces, and finding its way inside our thick layers of clothes. Seriously, it bothered me less being in -40 but no wind than just the few degrees minus but with high winds.

Pic 2

For the next hour, there was more entertainment on the stage and more speeches being made, until the Swedish new years, when we got even more fireworks. It was nice, and Kylie preferred our Swedish show over the Finnish one, but she still claims they have even better ones in Brisbane. I guess I’ll have to take her word for that. It wasn’t the most intense new years celebration I’ve ever experienced either, though I think the most novel thing was having done it twice in one night! Regardless, we were pretty tired when we came home, and it was very nice to get to crawl into a nice warm bed.

Pic 4

The next day, we spent walking around in Haparanda. I showed them my favourite places. We went down to the beach by the river bordering Finland, which had iced over. Actually, the town was covered more with ice than with snow. That’s what happens when the weather is mild. Snow falls, partially melts, then freezes again, forming a thick layer of ice everywhere.

I must admit that I was not too happy to go out, I’d probably have preferred to stay indoors, cuddling in the warm apartment, but I know how much Kylie loves the snow and ice, and I wanted to show her the place I, for the moment, call home, so I braved the weather, though slightly reluctantly, and now afterwards, Kylie still says I was grumpy, not wanting to play with her in the icy playground. But I digress. We did get some Christmas decorations though, a christmas goat! It’s a scandinavian thing.

Pic 5One dangerous looking playground!

Pic 6 The town’s hotel… Kylie’s Mum was later horrified to find they’d removed the Christmas tree!

Pic 7

On the second of January, we started our journey further north, by taking a bus to Luleå, from where we would go by train to Kiruna. We stayed overnight in Luleå though, at a very cosy hotel. Probably my favourite of the hotels we stayed at. It was nice and modern, and Kylie and I had a room to ourselves, which I appreciated. Not that her mum was annoying to be around, quite the opposite, she was great fun! But it was nice to have some time to ourselves.

Luleå is a very nice town though. We walked around for a few hours in the evening and had great fun. The river was frozen over and they had ice skating tracks on it. It would have been fun to go skating there! We got to do a little skating, but only on small rinks, as you’ll see later, but nothing that really let you just skate straight forward without having to turn because you’re approaching a wall.

Pic 8

Pic 9 A little bit more snow and a lot more ice!  On the Luleå River, where they ice skate.

Nevertheless, we found a park with Santa sculptures, another iced over playground, which I did play in, I’ll have you know, and what looked like a small outdoor theatre thing where they had performed for kids. There was a lot of interesting things to find. Just before we went back to the hotel, we found a time capsule, which was installed on new years 1999/2000 and is not supposed to be opened for a thousand years, new years 2999/3000! At the time of writing, that’s only 984 years left…

Pic 10

Since we had to leave the hotel early for our train in the morning, the hotel allowed us to make breakfast and bring it with us in paper bags, which was very nice of them. And it was great! They also had hot chocolate and coffee and fruit and little muffins that you could take from the food area at any time, for free. We probably exploited that a bit too much… had quite a few mugs of hot chocolate.

Pic 11

Anyway, as usual, we ended up running late for our train in the morning. And we had to sprint though Luleå to the train station at 5:30 in the morning, lugging heavy suitcases with one hand and carrying breakfast in the other. Luckily, the station wasn’t that far away. But it seems like we have a habit of being late… I think we’ll need to work on that in the future.