Chapter 71 – Tinder Date #16, Part Four

This blog is a book. Maybe better to read from the beginning? 🙂

 

Sunday, 21 February 2016.

 

D – Welcome T😊 Finland

 

Anna walks James Bond round the block to Kaisaniemenkatu. She spots a tall man standing by the tram stop with a suitcase and his back towards her.

Suspense is in the air.

Is he even who he says he is?? Be brave, now…! Jack Chi 007 will definitely sniff him and scare him off if he’s a bad guy!

 

IMG_2461

 

She approaches the man and says, “Hi, Christian?” with a careful smile.

He turns slowly.

 

Her heart skips a beat.

Oh……..! He’s just like his best pics! (See, Anna? That crazy, clueless selfie. I told you to take the risk and meet him in person – otherwise you’d never know!)

Christian is tall – good built, back straight.

1,82 against Anna’s 1,61.

Aww. He looks d-r-e-a-m-y. Yummy. — Inner giggles.

1 x ?

Her careful smile widens as her suspicions melt away a little bit. She can already see a glimpse of the the mysterious Englishman who’s made her laugh and feel important quite a few times in the last three weeks.

 

“There you are!” He smiles back, enveloping her in his arms. The way she likes it. Awww.

His very first embrace (Can you believe it?) is firm and nice, “transmitting human warmth,” as the saying goes in Portuguese. Christian seems to be used to hugging, and comfortable with touching new acquaintances in a natural way. A confident manner.

Score!

2 x ?

 

“Hi Anna,” he exclaims with a joyful voice, “How are you doing?

“Wow, you look exactly like the girl in the pictures!” Oh God, that sexy voice. His Queen’s English is to die for. Eurgh! She gets goose bumps all over.

3 x ?

 

Stop. This is torture! And she’s dropping her guard already.

Act cool, Anna.

 

“Really? Oh, thank you.” Anna replies.

“No.” He sounds adamant now, “You look even better!” He adds while squatting to greet James Bond, who swings his tail and sniffs him approvingly.

Surprise, surprise. This dog always loves everybody. I’m not giving Christian extra points for that!

“Hey, little one!” Christian says, patting the dog and chatting with him.

Meanwhile, careful Anna quickly scans the Englishman some more.

She checks his luggage to see whether it has recent flight luggage stickers. He could be a street bum with a smart phone, the Tinder app and a desperate need to find lodging, after all.

Good! The Finnair stickers match the story. Check. ☑️

More points? No, just relief. Same score.

3 x ? So far so good on my side of things.

 

Christian is wearing Hugo Boss glasses, a ¾ length dark gray overcoat, jeans and hiking boots. Casual and elegant. Smooth face, no wrinkles. Bald, but his remaining hair is nicely trimmed – the Karoo Desert cut, as she suggested and he promised.

4 x ? Yay.

He’s 45, but hmm, he could pass for 42.

 

“Christian, you’re so late that all the restaurants have closed down already. That’s Helsinki on Sundays for you.

“Why don’t we go to my place to have that veggie soup?” Now that he showed up. Hey, about that….. She suddenly remembers his tardiness and feels she deserves an explanation.

“Yes, it’d be my pleasure, thanks. Can we drop my suitcase at the Radisson first?”

 

“Some mysterious hotel you booked yourself there, huh?” she teases him.

“Oh. Soooo sorry. I haven’t found it yet. Please, would you show me the way?”

“I thought you knew Helsinki well, Christian! What’s happened?” she smiles, a little suspicious again.

“Oh Anna, I think I have a fever. I’m feeling pretty weak.” puppy eyes.

 

“Poor Christian. Let me feel your forehead.”

She touches him and – oh electricity, butterflies, zizzz – “Yes! Maybe you do have a temperature. Oh no! Whatever shall we do?? Talking of which…” she opens her mocca leather bag and…

“Here’s the scarf. Where are my manners. Do you like brown? It’s a gift from my mom to you!” she smiles as she wraps Riitta’s very own art form around his neck, touching his skin a little bit again. Zizzzzz.

“There you go!” says Anna, looking into his beautiful eyes. “That’s better!”

Their gaze locks for a few seconds. More butterflies. More zizzz, zizzzzz. Oh… 🎼 Tonight’s the night we’re gonna make it happen. Tonight we’ll put all other things aside…? 🎶

 

“Very kind of you. Yes. I feel better already.” English manners…

5 x ?  But what about me?? What’s my score? I must definitely be 10 points ahead, just for having been kept waiting. Ha!

“Thank your mom for me, will you? Btw……. may I buy another one of her scarves?” he asks while they walk down the path she’s leading.

“Oh, no, no. Mom has hand-knitted about 800 of them, so far. One per day. Aren’t they perfect? Her project is to make a thousand and give them away around the world.

“I help distribute the scarves to whomever wants them. Mom says she prays that the people wearing them will be blessed. You can have a few more, if you’d like.” (He later chooses a green one).

 

As Christian follows Anna, he explains that he had tried checking in at the Radisson on Mikonkatu, by the railway station.

“Oh, that’s where you texted me from, then?” Yes. When his turn at the reception came, he had been told that he was at the wrong Radisson.

“A person in the streets pointed me towards Ha-ka-niemi…!? Hakaniemi, is that how you say it? I walked there and back. By the time I came back to Kaisla, I couldn’t stand taking one more step. Until you came to save me.

“There must be at least three Radissons in Helsinki, Anna.” He protests.

“Oh, really!” Coughing and spluttering like a dying vagrant in the drizzling rain, an Englishman takes refuge inside a pub. —  “Your hotel is in the complete opposite direction, silly man! Come on, let me lead you there.” Anna laughs, relieved to have their earlier missencounter accounted for.

OK. The slate has been wiped clean.

 

23:45

Suitcase drop at Radisson ☑️

James Bond returned to Mr. Ex ☑️

Christian survives the walk to her flat in Jätkäsaari – uphill with no ski lift and downhill with no bicycle basket ☑️

 

“Welcome to my humble abode, Mr. Englishman.”

Anna feels just a little shy. A little self-conscious, while making that 2D to 3D shift. You never know what will happen next, no matter how many times you’ve imagined it.

And that’s fun.

“Thank you, it’s so great to finally be here,” he says as he puts down a shopping bag on the entrance floor.

She shows him around the apartment. He likes its modern architecture.

“Yes,” Anna says. “Even though it is only 59 square meters, all the spaces look huge and have been well-planned.”

“Definitely. And I love your sofa. What a great choice!”

“Thanks.”  she opens up the practical sheet she sewed the other night, explaining the whole concept to him “When the teens are here, the apartment can feel a little small. Especially if James Bond is also with us. But we are South Americans, so we love proximity. This way we can easily hang out, talk and hug!” she giggles.

“Here, let me show you something in the bedroom. My son is an artist like me, so I’ve painted him a black board directly on the wall. A DIY.”

“Wow. You painted this yourself? Well done,” he says, touching the board with his long fingers, “Can we draw? Give me some chalk. You go and draw something, as well. There. On the other end. Don’t look. No peeping!

“Uh, no peeping, Anna! Make your own drawing. Gosh.” he feigns annoyance. Funny guy. 

Zizzz.

Anna is drawing a dog and she’s feeling curious. What is he up, too? I’m the the artist, after all.

This is fun.

 

“OK, now you may look.”  He smiles, visibly satisfied with his masterpiece.

unnamed2

 

“Oh……. What is that?”

“Can’t you see the necklace, Anna? It has your name on it. It’s you!” he is laughing now.

“What?? What is that snake?? JB is a dog, not a snake. That’s ridiculous!”

“Oh, that’s your mysterious tattoo, the snake, Anna. The one you said you have on your belly!” he teases her and they laugh.

“I don’t have a snake on my belly!!” Oh, gosh! He is looking so handsome. Anna feels the urge to to kiss him, to be hugged again.

She doesn’t lose control just yet. But all her insides are going  🎼  I’m so excited, and I just can’t hide it. I’m about to lose control and I think I like it. 🎶

“Yes, you do! It’s a snake. I know it.” he laughs.

“It is not.” Fun guy my ass, he’s a clever dog! That’s what he is. — “Hey, the soup is boiling. Let’s go and have that dinner now, shall we?”

 

Paracetamol and a convalescence dinner of strong homemade veggie soup ☑️

Christian is looking better already. Happy to be here. There’s so much his eyes seem to want to say, but Anna can’t tell what. There is no clear flirting during dinner.

Pleasant conversations – polite, smart, interesting. Kids, their separations last year. Work, hobbies. Blah, blah, some laughter, blah, blah. ☑️

He’s mysterious – what an intriguing guy – making her want to find out more. ☑️

You see, Anna is being mysterious, too. She is a bit competitive and loves a nice challenge. Oh, how I miss kissing. Sooooo much! And I like him…

🎼  I want to love you, feel you
Wrap myself around you
I want to squeeze you, please you
I just can’t get enough
And if you move real slow, I’ll let it go 🎶
.

He loads the dirty dishes into the dishwasher. “My job!” he gently pushes her away “You did all that cooking for us. No, don’t help me.”

“OK.” she retreats, putting the leftovers in the fridge and the French baguettes in a plastic bag.

“Btw, I bought the champagne I promised to. At the airport, Anna. To celebrate finally meeting my tattooed mystery! Shall we have a glass tonight?”

🎼  I’m so excited, and I just can’t hide it
And I know, I know, I know, I know, I know I want you 🎶

“Yes! And, Christian…?”

© 2017 rf

Obs. Day too happy to count.
.
I’m So Excited lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
.
.

Chapter 37 – Why I Am Doing This

 

Sunday, 7 February 2016.

 

Day 49

 

Dear Diary,

Today has been a time for some reflection, and now in the evening I feel I want to scribble down some thoughts.

Turning 40 recently… the separation… our new flat… are the teens going to be OK?

Tinder! Eight dates, elation, fun, tears, joy, peace, a little sadness, too. Prayer. Separation sure creates a merry-go-round of varying emotions.

Mixed feelings. But tbh, negative ones have been rare since November. Believe me if you will.

More often than not, I’ve been so content since I moved out.

I have the chance for a new beginning. It’s normal to feel sad, at times. Naturally. That’s life! But I’ve actually been happy for the most.

And I won’t complain about that!

Hmm, my dad is telling everyone that “Anna is doing fine. She is so relieved.” He even posted that on FB. Ha-ha. Face-palm.

Would people rather have me sad all the time? Furious? Breaking stuff. Why? How? What for?

Give me a break. I don’t see why. Had enough negativity within the marriage. I have left the fights back there. Broken objects, too.

Let me be happy now. I am determined to.

(Yesterday was the first exception since November. I  felt blue all morning, but strong again in the evening).

 

So……….

After a long delicious nap this afternoon, I decided to think about why I have been going on these dates.

Love it or leave it.

Tinder, that is.

 

I asked myself:

 

OK, what do I want?

Well, I believe in love! I love love. I love passion. I am a people person, very social. Prefer company. Besides, I have time in my hands. And lots of curiosity.

And a big heart, ready to love again. ❤️‍

 

What’s the hurry?

Oh, no hurry. After twenty-three years with the same man, it’d be crazy to be in a hurry to find another husband.

 

So, what are you looking for on Tinder now?

Well, that was what took me the longest to answer. But then I came to the following conclusions:

 

(1) In the short term, just meeting new people, socializing. Finding out who is out there. What kind of men are single and on the lookout. Long interesting conversations. A few new friends?

Yes, excellent. Nothing wrong, scary or desperate about that. 🙂

 

(2) In the medium term (yes, that is possible to say in English!), I’d love to find a boyfriend. Life is definitely for sharing. And I’ve got so much love and affection to give!

I want to add value to a man’s life and heart. To his days. To his thoughts. And he must as much to me, too!

 

And finally, (3) In the long term…

…someday, if I’m really lucky. I hope to share my life closely with my Mr. One and Only again. (No hurry for number 3. That would be crazy, right?)

 

Happy sigh!

 

Hey, one thing I know for sure: if he exists, he has already been born!!! 😂

He’s somewhere over the rainbow… 🦅 

So, wherever he is right now, I hope he’s fine and looking for me too. Longingly.

© 2017 rf

 

 

Obs. Day 49 of stay! Now you know what you’re doing.

 

 

Chapter 36 – But Sunday’s On the Way

tiainen – kopio (2)

Sunday, 7 February 2016.

 

Day 49

 

The brass band plays during the morning service. It’s powerful!

Oh, so very touching!

Anna doesn’t attend too often anymore – for obvious reasons – but she wanted to sit here this Sunday and just scrutinize her own soul.

 

She walks home in the chilly sunshine, listening to a Ted ed video called “Who am I?”

https://ed.ted.com/lessons/who-am-i-a-philosophical-inquiry-amy-adkins

 

“Who am I?

Throughout the history of mankind,

three little words have sent poets to the blank page,

philosophers to the Agora,

and seekers to the oracles:

‘Who am I?’

From the ancient Greek aphorism inscribed on the Temple of Apollo,

‘Know thyself,’

to The Who’s rock anthem, ‘Who Are You?’

philosophers, psychologists, academics,

scientists, artists, theologians and politicians

have all tackled the subject of identity.

Their hypotheses are widely varied and lack significant consensus.

These are smart, creative people,

so what’s so hard about coming up with the right answer?

 The challenge certainly lies

with the complex concept of the persistence of identity.

Which you is who?

The person you are today?

Five years ago?

Who you’ll be in 50 years?

And when is ‘am’?

This week?

Today?

This hour?

This second?

And which aspect of you is ‘I’?

Are you your physical body?

Your thoughts and feelings?

Your actions?

 These murky waters of abstract logic are tricky to navigate,

and so it’s probably fitting that to demonstrate the complexity,

the Greek historian Plutarch used the story of a ship.

How are you ‘I’?

As the tale goes, Theseus, the mythical founder King of Athens,

single-handedly slayed the evil Minotaur at Crete,

then returned home on a ship.

To honor this heroic feat,

for 1000 years Athenians painstakingly maintained his ship in the harbor,

and annually reenacted his voyage.

Whenever a part of the ship was worn or damaged,

it was replaced with an identical piece of the same material

until, at some point, no original parts remained.

Plutarch noted the Ship of Theseus

was an example of the philosophical paradox

revolving around the persistence of identity.

How can every single part of something be replaced,

yet it still remains the same thing?

 Let’s imagine there are two ships:

the ship that Theseus docked in Athens, Ship A,

and the ship sailed by the Athenians 1000 years later, Ship B.

Very simply, our question is this: does A equal B?

Some would say that for 1000 years there has been only one Ship of Theseus,

and because the changes made to it happened gradually,

it never at any point in time stopped being the legendary ship.

Though they have absolutely no parts in common,

the two ships are numerically identical, meaning one and the same,

so A equals B.

However, others could argue that Theseus never set foot on Ship B,

and his presence on the ship is an essential qualitative property

of the Ship of Theseus.

It cannot survive without him.

So, though the two ships are numerically identical,

they are not qualitatively identical.

Thus, A does not equal B.

But what happens when we consider this twist?

What if, as each piece of the original ship was cast off,

somebody collected them all, and rebuilt the entire original ship?

When it was finished, undeniably two physical ships would exist:

the one that’s docked in Athens,

and the one in some guy’s backyard.

Each could lay claim to the title, ‘The Ship of Theseus,’

but only one could actually be the real thing.

So which one is it,

and more importantly, what does this have to do with you?

Like the Ship of Theseus,

you are a collection of constantly changing parts:

your physical body, mind, emotions, circumstances, and even your quirks,

always changing, but still in an amazing and sometimes illogical way,

you stay the same, too.

This is one of the reasons that the question, ‘Who am I?’ is so complex.

And in order to answer it,

like so many great minds before you,

you must be willing to dive into the bottomless ocean of philosophical paradox.

Or maybe you could just answer,

‘I am a legendary hero sailing a powerful ship on an epic journey.’

That could work, too.”

 

She smiles.

Now, the second part of her Sunday Soul Service has been completed.

 

Who is Anna?

I am the compelling heroine of my own adventurous soar.

Yes, indeed!

 

Dear, dear.

Dearest me…

…your who has been shredded into bits in the last years, hasn’t it? 

You must piece it all together again!

Do rediscover yourself, darling.

Deconstruct.

Reconstruct.

Become a stronger version of who you are and aspire to be.

 

Just… don’t lose yourself in the process. OK, little one?

XO

© 2017 rf

 

 

Obs. Day 49 for the Mighty Little One.

 

 

Chapter 33 – Empanadas de Queso

 

Friday, 5 February 2016.

 

Day 47

 

🎶 The girls need a break, tonight we’re gonna take
The chance to get out on the town
We don’t need romance, we only wanna dance
We’re gonna let our hair hang down 🎵

 

Really? Really, like really?

 

“You look good, Anna.” The surgeon arrives and gives her a hot kiss in the mouth. Despite the fact that she’s not wearing a dress, high heels… Nor red lipstick.

She is beautiful in her own way, thank you very much.

They go and sit down in the second row of the movie theater. Anna’s sister and niece on her right side. Ümit on her immediate left. And next to him, his daughter and Sabri, her fiancé. All united for the Avant Premiere and the spilling of Ümit’s guts.

A typical date.

Sure.

Very curious to know what I’ll learn about his life…

 

The documentary starts after a short presentation. The lights are dimmed and Anna can sense the surgeon’s nervousness.

He grabs her hand for support. It’s cold and he’s shaking like a wet puppy. Poor thing. She smiles and assures him that it will be alright – patting his hand affectionately.

In the very first minutes of the show, there’s a scene in which the surgeon’s daughter is assisting him in filling an online dating form. So, right at the start and Anna already discovers about his preferences in women. Funny.

Everybody in the theater laughs heartily during the show. Well done! Talented director.

The documentary portrays him as a strong-willed, stubborn, funny, hardworking man. A loving/controlling father, whose daughter finally moves to Turkey to have breathing space, connect with their relatives there and grow as a person.

Anna can feel how they love each other immensely. She is happy for them.

Reader dear – yes you! No need to tell you much more, because if you’re the curious type, I’m sure you can easily google up this documentary, using just your brain a few key words.

Flashforward to October 2017 and Anna’s at the cottage again, one of her favorite places on Earth.

Writing.

She calls Ümit from there. She wants to ask for his permission to write about their dates, since he can potentially be recognizable.

“How are you, Anna? he asks with his sexy accent and warm style “Have you remarried?”

“Oh, not yet,”  she laughs “but I did fall in love last year…”

“Really, tell me about it!”

“That’s why I’m calling you, tbh. I’m writing a book…”

“Interesting…” he comments. With a rising, curious, investigative pitch in his friendly voice.

“It’s about the experience of being a woman, a mother, an ex-wife, a teacher, a friend… A vulnerable, yet strong human being. Someone who, though brokenhearted, still has the courage to believe in new love. She needs to deconstruct and reconstruct herself. She just needs to find out who she is now. And she joins Tinder and, voilá, you’re one of her dates. Number 9. Just 46 days after her separation.”

“Wow, you were quick and active!”

“Oh, I met Mr. One a few dates after ours. Actually, just a few days after meeting you, as well.”

“Ha-ha. Good. And is he from Finland??”

“Well, you’ll have to read the story to find out. You know how poker-faced, mysterious and slow Finnish guys can be, don’t you? But I won’t reveal anything at this point.

“So… I’ve reached the chapter where it’s time to write about meeting you. And… our dates were so different from the others. Really fun (well, mostly), that I’d rather not change them too much, if that’s OK…?

“You know, I was lonely and I direly wanted some fun that evening. You distracted me. I needed that!”

“Good, good.”

“I can change many details in my writing. For example, if you want I can say you came from abroad to Helsinki for a medical conference. We matched, and you took me to the conference gala as your +1. A gala where you were going to give a speech and receive a prize? What do you say?”

“Hmm. Let me think for a second. Maybe you could just change my name and my city? Now I’m seeing a nurse, but at the time I wasn’t seeing anyone. We were both single, we had a good time. So…”

“Yes, and I want to describe all the positive stuff.”

“Yes. You do that. It’s your story. Write from your heart. Maybe I can proofread before you publish it?”

“Yes. And do send me a Turkish name you’d like? On WhatsApp?”

 

Ding!

Anna receives some suggestions to choose from. As well as…

 

Write briefly about our night ending with talks about religion.

Did it happen? Remind me please. Tell me what you remember and I’ll use some of it. Co-author. 🙂

I remember feeling excited! Let’s meet and reconstruct it all again?

Funny guy! Now I know why I had such a great time with you!

Seriously!

Hmm. I’ll think about it.

 

Ümit says he could be a gynecological surgeon in the story. What else? Anna emails him the previous chapter and he likes it.  He’s quite flattered and wants nothing changed. I told you he likes the spotlights. Artistic man!

 

But now, back to Day 47 and our second date…

Ümit is being interviewed on stage after the documentary. He looks pleased. And relieved.

Anna’s sister congratulates him and leaves with her daughter. It’s late. Anna and Ümit walk to the cocktail celebration hand in hand.

There, she meets his people.

This is a very Turkish-South American kind of date. Extended family?? Friends. Ex-wife and her lover! Workmates. The whole bunch.

Bring the kebab already. Empanadas de queso, por favor!

Noisy. Warm.

“Anna, in a couple of years, you will already have raised your teens and we will travel the world together! I’ll buy an apartment in Rio – sea view – and we’re moving in together. OK?”

 

Hours later, after much kissing and some grabbing, Ümit opens his heart a little. He’s looking a bit sad.

“Anna, I have everything. A career (I’m a good surgeon)! A wonderful daughter. Money. Trips.

“A documentary!

“What’s the meaning of life? Where will happiness come from? Does anything make sense?? What about this big void? What else is there?”

“Oh Ümit.” sigh “Those things are all good. You are so privileged!

“Still, I believe that only God can fill our deepest, biggest void.”

“But I don’t believe in God. Isn’t money the god of this world?”

“Well, are people really fulfilled with money, careers and all that stuff?”

“No.”

“So there, you see?

“I’ve had lots of problems and suffering in my life. Everyone suffers in different ways sooner or later, sadly enough. I don’t know where I’d be without my faith in God and the strength I get from it. He is the one who fills my void, ultimately.”

“Really?”

“Yes, and if you want, we could pray…”

He closes his eyes, they hold hands and Anna prays with him. For them.

“Anna, it’s late. Let’s sleep now.”

No! She wants to go home and sleep in her own bed. He walks her to her car, like a true gentleman.

 

 

Day 48

 

The next afternoon, he calls her up.

“Anna, let’s meet! Let’s spend the day together. I like you!”

She is feeling a little sad. “No, Ümit. I don’t think we’re right for each other.”

“Ah, come on. Let’s make each other company, have some fun!”

“Thank you, but I think we’re looking for different things in life. You want company and I’m looking for a relationship.”

“Eurgh. Why do women always want to define things? Can’t we just have a good time? I could send you a plane ticket. We could travel together. I’ll cook for you!”

“Ümit. I admire you very, very much!

“You paint your own house and plant your own apple trees. You cook like a true chef – I’ve heard. You seem to be a very loving father – raised your daughter alone. While studying Medicine in Finland.

“In Finnish!!

“Becoming a good surgeon in a country like this. Amazing! Truly impressive.

“But… you smoke, you swear, you like to party hard? I think we’re just too different… Besides, I’m a little angry at you!! So…

“Friends?

“Thank you! Ha-ha. OK, let’s be friends. Yes.”

“And I think you’ve achieved so much! You could find lots of purpose in helping others with what you have to offer.”

They discuss that for a bit and he gets excited. He says he could start a social project to support single dads. I’d be so proud of him if he did that!

There’s a time for everything, but Anna believes that if we’ve been given any strengths and special advantages in life, they’re not to just be used for our own benefit alone. We should try to relieve people’s pain with it. Protect the vulnerable. Help the weak. Bless the needy… Make someone’s life a little happier?

Yes, that’s our main purpose in life.

 

Now, remember the cat?

Well…

…You’ll just have to keep reading. 🐱 Yes?

The gory details. Are you any curious? Do you want to know?

© 2017 rf

 

Obs. Only day 47 of does everything happen for a reason?