It all seems a dream. Its been a month that we left India and Finland has become our new home, with so many friends, relatives of soul and extended families. I profusely thank Rotary International for this wonderful GSE program and Rotary e club, esp Rtn Suryanarayana garu for nominating me and the Rotarians of District 3150 of AP and 1400 of Finland. 30 days just flew away. Today we gave our last presentation and after packing my luggage I sat to write the last blog from Finland.
We had been to the steel factory Outa Kumpu, one of the largest in Europe. It was a highly restricted and protected area and the Rotarians managed the permissions and took us around in protective gear. We saw the huge machines make steel from scrap, roll them in hot boilers into sheets, then cold boilers and then polish, roll, cut and pack. We were taken in a bus that had a mike and the Rotarians explained the city of Tornio, city of Kemi, the industries, history, the oldest church of Kemi (1902), the city hall, youth center, State office to start enterprises, Spa and beauty business and a Candy store in Sweden. The candy store had different varieties of Candy that people bought in Kilos. We got some for the kids back home. Its a funny situation at Tornio and Haparanda. Sweden is an hour behind Finland and when u cross the river Tornio you are an hour behind, and when you come back to Finland you are an hour ahead. More interesting is the Golf course thats half in Tornio and half in Haaparanda. You put a ball and it comes an hour late or an hour early depending on which half you are at and into which half you put the ball. The two cities also have strong Ice hockey craze! Its like our India Pak cricket match.
Finland won the Ice hockey championship yesterday after 1998. Old Finnish grand moms who watched that match went to Haaparanda, opened champaign bottles at the city market square and shouted that Suomi, (Finland in Finnish) is the champion. Many youth from Tornio went into the streets of Haaparanda and celebrated. Even today Helsinky is totally in jubilant mood with the victory. Like Indians they gave their heroes a grand welcome and sang songs. There were 80000 Finns gathered in Helsinky. Morning we went to Tornio RC and exchanged the flags and evening we had RC meet of Kemi club where we gave our last presentation. We thanked every one, took pictures and came home.
Nostalgia is filling us. Finland has taught us patience, inner silence, hardwork, perseverance, conserving Nature, wild life, giving importance to Family and state, enjoying whatever Nature gives, live life, take things slowly and relax. Tomorrow our hosts are going to take us to Oulu airport and from there we go to Helsinky. we planned to tour Europe for another week and return home on 25th of May, 2011. Its going to be a 2 hour drive and we need to start early. Our hosts have packed us some food too- just like our parents do.
Continents apart, countries apart, with different languages, cultures, food habits, life styles what I experienced and realized is the lesson from Finland, that essence of human beings is their ability to love, care and relate to. We are all the same, with same emotional, physical, societal, spiritual needs.
Well, thats my last update. Thank you for reading through my experiences, itineraries and diary.