Maybe one day, Brussels

Dear Brussels,
I am in the plane right now on my way back to Helsinki and although it has been just a couple of minutes since I departed from your arms, I just had to write you right now.

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I survived; the feeling of being in front of an audience and discussing integration of migrants in the European Union while strangers carefully listen to the words my mouth forms was terrifying. I was the last panelist so as speaker after another finished their presentation, I experienced the uncomfortable sensation of panic in my heart and all I wanted at that moment was to run out of the conference room and escape the entire situation. I looked at the exit door and toyed with the idea of how the moderator would explain the situation to the audience and people watching the discussion online. More irrational thoughts poured into my dwelling mind as my turn came closer. I could hear my lungs grasping for outdoor air. My hands began to tremble nervously. Continue reading

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The city that loves you no matter what; Amsterdam

dear Amsterdam, It was wonderful to visit you after such a long time. I think I might have fallen in love with you again and this time I think it is permanent. You are still the same, but I changed.

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Just like eight years ago, the time I visited you for the first time, I experienced all the things that you are supposed to experience when one has a date with you. And god had I forgotten how intense you make one feel. It is not the drugs, it is not the prostitutes, it not the gay cinemas, it is none of that.

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I guess it is just the way you are, my Amsterdam.
The kindness you offer to every single person who goes on a date with you.

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When I exited the Central Station for the first time I witnessed the billboard that warned about white heroin that was sold as cocaine in your streets. My mother, my brother who is ten and my cousin who is not much older wondered what kind of a place I was going to show them, but my first reaction to the sign was only in Amsterdam and smiled. I know it is a serious issue, but I bet even you cannot imagine Paris or Johannesburg or Beijing addressing the issue of drugs the way you.

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Continue reading

I am sorry Brussels but I still don’t like you

Dear Brussels,

Unlike with the others I visited this year, I did not fall in love with you.
But I was not expecting that. We have had a long history, a complicated one. Our relationship has been uneasy since the moment we laid eyes on each other. Or perhaps even before. And nevertheless I have seen you the most frequently out of all, for various practical reasons beyond my control. I never cared for you.

I saw you in April before last week. This was my fourth or fifth visit after the moment of feeling the tender touch of his fingers sliding down the stubble on my chin for one more time; hearing profoundly melancholic words of departure with the voice that soothed me during the nights; seeing a grippingly bittersweet smile of encouragement and helplessness directed at me. Then he turned his back to me and walked away, disappearing to home, comfort and love you were able to offer him. Continue reading

I can feel you are happy

Dear Helsinki,

I know I have not written to you in awhile. Honestly it has been so long that I am not even aware of where to start from. I could go back all the way to the time when I re-fell in love with you. Though I do not think it is an accurate way to describe the moment as I do not believe I had ever loved you before. Regardless how to paint that period, it already happened a year ago and there is so much between then and now that I cannot go through it all. Perhaps I should stop explaining myself and write.

I think too much as you know. I have tried to unlearn it but without much success.

My friend from university visited me last week and I had a really nice time with her. Thank you for being so wonderful and beaming while she stayed with us. I think she really enjoyed you, everything about you. We had a delightful brunch at Pacisifico and even I had forgotten how different you are from all the cities when it comes to brunch. On weekends all your cafés and bars become this sort of a safe haven for all the foodies who have been smart enough not to drink too much the previous night. And she particularly noted grocery stores, my darling. It is amusing whenever my foreign friends visit me, they all are totally mesmerised by the range of products in the supermarkets. I do not know why you are not famous for the cosmopolitan culinary experience.

The morning after night out
The morning after a night out

She left last Sunday and since then I have had too much time to be on my own. It has been rather difficult to adjust to a routine after visiting Bologna and my friend coming over, partly because there is no routine to follow. My bosses are on summer holidays and I am all alone in the office without many tasks. The mornings, days and evenings are dreadfully slow and due to the apathetic environment, I lack any sort of energy to things besides related to work. I am glad that university will start in less than two months but I am afraid student life does not really create a routine. We will see how glad I will be in fall. Continue reading