Arriving in Kristinestad | Kristiinankaupunki, Finland

Arriving in Kristinestad | Kristiinankaupunki, Finland

Stepping onto the parking lot in Kristinestad | Kristiinankaupunki, Olli Rantamäki pulls up with his electric car and hops out with bare feet to help with luggage and I think to myself, “I think I’ve come to the right place.” I’m to stay in Olli & Aune’s home on a street named Kissanpiiskaajankuja - thought to be the longest street name (and the third narrowest street) in Finland, and a tourist attraction because of affiliated stories about a local cat beater. #Kissanpiiskaajankuja

Located on the shore of the Bothnian Sea, the population (6,599) is bilingual, speaking Swedish & Finnish and the town is known for its old wooden houses and narrow alleyways.

After dropping off Tuija at the house where she’s staying with fellow artists-in-residents’, I’m greeted by oat ice cream & a warm home brewed cappuccino! Next, I get to see where I will be laying to rest for the next month - in the uppermost quarters of the old home - where logs from the original structure (1751) greet my eyes. The home has grown since, dating back to 1844.

This town is full of old wooden structures because it’s one of the only two Scandinavian cities that never has burnt. You see many buildings getting renovated; adding a productive and proud energy to the place!

Below, a photo of me taken while in Yilistaro. Above, taken upon the first day arriving in Kristinestad | Kristiinankaupunki. Leading up to this grand adventure, I had been coming out of my winter slumber, not eating so well; and just all around low feeling. I work myself pretty hard, don't take much time for myself (or even create as much as I once had) and could sense a certain unwellness lurking in the background. So this trip came at a perfect time to focus in and explore through making.

“Needless to say, I would be taking the upcoming month to revitalize in many ways; which was much needed. I watched for patterns, habits and flags - essentially things I could do to change ways. Learning how my thinking contributes to my health. And what a place to work on oneself!”

I was greeted with a beautiful sun room - where I often ate breakfast and smelt of fresh, aromatic olives.

And a luscious back yard, where I played Olli’s beautiful classical Landola guitar and had a view of the near by church steeple at sunset. Maybe, just maybe, later I might share some videos or sound files of what was played.

I feel incredibly grateful to have had this opportunity, and made the time, to be here in this beautiful place. And of course, thankful to my wonderful hosts, Aune Waronen & Olli Rantamäki, who shared their space for me to be myself.

More to come soon!

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