Chapter 28 – In the Forest


Tuesday, 10 October 2017.


Her work trip is long – an hour and twenty minutes from home to the second school where she teaches twice a week. Anna’s driving there now and wonderful English choir music is playing in her Kia Rio.

These drives are often special. When she doesn’t use the time for listening to Ted Talks or chatting with friends and relatives over the phone, she gets to meditate.

Reflect. Revisit her inner world and check how she really feels about things. Not just logically speaking, but more importantly, in her gut.

Heart. Soul.

A couple of deer have just crossed the road before her. Dangerous. But oh, so beautiful!

Her mind is empty for a change, and she’s just sucking in the majesty of the Finnish countryside nature.


Beauty – ah! What is beauty?

These wheat fields are it. Oh. Such colors! Now I understand Van Gogh.


Rain is falling gently from the grey clouds onto the slippery, curvy, hilly roads ahead, as the Chelmsford Citadel Songsters harmonize with each other. The trees all around her are shedding what they’ll have no use for in the coming seasons.

Gracefully, nonetheless.

Their yellow leafs dance their way down, blowing in the wind as they fall to the ground. To match the scenery, thankful tears of deep emotion escape Anna’s eyes.


Lots of people I love are going through so much. Both the good and the bad. And all those dates I had last year. Real human encounters some of them. And then love. I’m going through rain in my soul, now. 

But behind those clouds, the sun is shining strong and it will conquer again.

She inhales deeply.


Nature is so amazing! And what about people? What makes a person beautiful? What makes a guy handsome in my eyes?

I know.

Very well.

She arrives at the school parking lot, stays in her car and quickly scribbles some thoughts on a leaflet. She’ll keep on working on the poem during her lunch break.

🍂 🌾


I’ve been wondering. What is beauty? Hmm, who is handsome??


I think beauty’s a sad countenance

With a hurt heart that’s healing.

A brave heart – succumbed –

That keeps resilient,

Like a little bird must in a cold, cold storm.


Beauty is…

…both generosity and self-confidence.

…self-esteem, a good posture.

And your smile.

Yes, yours. Who else’s, precious one?


Your weight, your height.

Being you. Your wrinkles.

Trying to become a better version of yourself (with help),

While being comfortable in…

Your own skin.


A fearless soul

Marching to battle,

Though so fearful in sacrifice, maturity.

A scarred soldier who conquers:

Beautiful is he.




Producing and loving. Youthful vigor.

Experience. Old age.

A life. YOLO. R.I.P.


Acceptance is graceful – weaknesses and all.

Loving yourself in a healthy way

To then really, really love others:

Your neighbor, your soul mate,

Your father? Your friends.


Oh, beauty is a trusting spirit

– Like that of an innocent child.

Gentleness, uncorrupted sweetness, and kindness, delight.


It’s to be proud of your achievements, talents.

Yet humble at heart.


It’s certainty, uncertainty.

Genuine you are.


In service. Purity.

Determination, vulnerability,

Respect, authenticity.

Do shine your light!




Your brokenness, too.

Gratitude. A joyful being!

Deciding to live in truth.


Your amazing body and that sparkle in your eyes –

Beauty is the whole package, you see? Cutie pie.


When you can be bothered

You’re so handsome, making lots of little efforts

Both in action and in words,

You hardworking, fun,

Affectionate Guy.



A person walking in the forest

In solitude.

If accompanied – oh!

They’ll soar, they’ll fly.


Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. It is!

Tudo é belo ao que ama…


It’s solving your problems and

Finding your purpose.

That, beauty is…

Most definitely.




She’ll read her poem aloud to some. She’ll send it to ten-fifteen loved ones she finds beautiful. Who inspire her. Including him.

© 2017 rf

Vincent_van_Gogh_-_Wheatfield_with_crows_-_Google_Art_Project – kopio

Wheatfield with Crows, 1890. Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam



Obs. About a year and eleven months since moving out. 





Chapter 22 – Tinder Date #7


Tuesday, 2 February 2016. –> And we’re back to the past.


Day 44


Diary Dear,

My quest goes on in the treacherous seas of the Isle of Tinder-Cinders.

When I arrive at the Little Big Café, André is almost done munching his croissant and gulping away. I smile as I walk up to him. Holding up two fingers, he complains I’m 2 minutes late. ✌️

Cool guy.

He asks me if I’d like coffee and when I nod, he adds, “Go buy one then”.


His pics on Tinder are quite nice. Suit and all. How come he went to bed in old clothes, got up, slipped his feet into no-lace boots, put on his oldest winter coat (nothing’s matching), and came to meet me on a bad-hair day?


I know I can just dump him, but humor him like I did. If nothing else, stories to tell my grand-kids one day?

He then proceeds to chatter: 20 minutes on global warming. According to him, the firm he owns is building huge projects in Vantaa, but – he protests – what’s the use of it if all Africa is going to invade Europe by the millions?

Anyway, fifteen minutes, that’s it – no more – and we leave. His SUV is parked outside and he commands, “Get in the car. I’ll take you home now.”

“No thanks!” — and know that I’ve had my first nutjob date.



Mom called from Tampere this afternoon to check up on me. I shared a little, mentioned Ex and Newbie’s Bahamas pics on FB. What a pain……..

“Anna, I don’t understand how come you’re so calm. Why don’t you hate him?? It’s been really hard on us, your father and me.”

“Really, mom? Oh no! I understand. I know…

“But you’re the one who did all those daily devotionals with us kids. Reading the whole Bible, cover to cover. You had us memorize those verses about not judging others, loving your neighbor… Forgiving 70×7. Ring any bells?

“Remember the little song you made out of that verse for us to sing: ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Yes do!’

“Your fault, mom. And… Thanks.☺️” — I really am deeply grateful. Mom has always been incredible. A Rock and a steadfast friend.

“Yes, but…”


We change subjects and I tell her the hot gossip. You know. Tinder, me. The whole concept had to be explained to her.

Her reaction? Out of the roof. Haha. She wants date updates. 😄

We agreed not to tell dad just yet. Don’t think he’d approve…


As for other news… the teens are fine. With their father this week, so I have another date booked. 😆


The guy looks good in his photos – like a Norwegian god. Bold smile. Blond, nicely trimmed beard. His pics are artistic, cropped to show only half his face.

His chats are a bit slow, though. IT engineer. Nokia.

Talking of which, the Englishman (Christian) has been writing avidly. As wonderfully as ever. Is he really visiting Finland this month, you think?

Ah, come on doubting Thomas… sooner or later I’ll have to score. I’ve got enough match cards up my sleeve. I just know it. 

Get me a winning ticket, will you? Please.



For now, it seems so hard — but super fun!

What’s the recipe, I wonder. What are the ingredients??

Need will have to meet opportunity. Curiosity will have to match with excitement. Will opposites attract? Hormones (and my cycle week) will have to be just right.

Desire, connection, chemistry, mystery, fun, wonder, imagination, calendars, moods, emotional baggage, positivity, a little flirting, openness, a light touch, genuine interest, butterflies, chance, courage, holding back, a little craziness, a little doubt, subtle signs, peaks to be climbed? It’s like the planets will have to align.

Impossible? Unlikely?

Yet, in every country, city and village, in the remotest places in the world, people (still) find love and passion every day. Since the beginning of times… Now through applications, perhaps? 🤔

That’s just the nature of things. Love Actually.

Love is in the air. Everywhere. 

If even Mr. Ex has found it with Ms. Newbie…

© 2017 rf



Obs. Day 44 since moving out.

Introduction – Ready for a New Start?

Enjoy! This is where the story begins.


 Wednesday, 23 December 2015.


Day 3


It’s a school holiday morning just before Christmas in wintry, dark, freezing Finland, and the wind is blowing hard and relentless in Helsinki. Anna is alone – her new home finally ready, after a couple of months of shopping for furniture and household gadgets.

The new stuff is from Ikea, K-rauta, Kodin Ykkönen, Verkkokauppa and Masku, and the handpicked second-hand objects are from antique shops, as well as As she looks around, Anna feels satisfied with the Kenwood kitchen appliances and the PAX wardrobe with its shiny white doors.

The moving process has taken lots of the usual pragmatic creativity and focus, hard work, screws and nails, boxes, closet space, hooks, and above all the help of two-three friends. How would she have managed without them?

Gratefully, she realizes that now that everything has fallen into place, she’s feeling happy – strangely enough…

You see, Anna has just moved out of her ex-husband’s home, six days after their twentieth anniversary. Sure, they’d spent the last two years discussing a possible divorce, so it hadn’t come as a total shock, really. (The first time they threw the idea around had been eight years earlier).

All the investment of time, affection, energy, forgiveness and patience. So much emotional stress! So many attempts… Eurgh.

Then, when he’d recently made up his mind to go through with the divorce, she hadn’t been able to avoid an exhausting ten days of sudden tears in the shower, the car drive to work, and nooooo…!! Even in the middle of a lesson once, in front of her ninth graders, when she’d burst out crying while explaining the difference between the past simple and the present perfect.

More like a complicated past and an annoyingly imperfect present!

What a waste of life!


The first night all alone at her new place had felt like purgatory agony and shame, until the next morning, when her childhood friend Tom, a Brazilian living in America since he was ten, called to check up on her. An experienced divorcé, he had lots of empathy and a few good tips to offer. Grateful for the support, they repeated the phone calls for a few months into 2016.


Anyhow… today is today. And today she is feeling cheerful.

She is listening to a YouTube link Tom has sent her. It’s a lecture on love, sex and dating by Andy Stanley, who provokes the listener with the challenge “Are you the person the person you’re looking for is looking for?”

Andy believes that after a breakup, people should take a year off dating and spend it on becoming a better character instead. That way, one will later be able to both expect and welcome into their life a better partner.

Hmmm, wow, brilliant, Anna thinks to herself, I’m gonna try and do just that!


Her teens Kristiina and Joey are spending the first separation days with their dad, before they come to stay for a week on Christmas Eve. How must they be feeling???

Joey had wanted to move in with Anna from night one, but she simply couldn’t let him. No way!

Had to go through the dark inferno of the first nights alone, all by myself. You don’t want your kids to see that…! 😭😭😭

Mr. Ex helped her with the move, financially and otherwise. Besides agreeing with all of her suggestions – demands! For example, that the teens live every other week with each parent, so both will keep a close bond and take their share of the responsibility.

Who wouldn’t want that privilege, right?

They are actually going to have their first Christmas party as a broken-up couple together 💔, hoping to make the new beginning a little less tough on the teens.

Don’t you see?

Although the day has come when there are no options left but to face the music, dealing with the marriage-turned-bad with brutal honesty, Anna believes it’s vital to think of the kids and try to make the whole mess as easy as humanly possible for them.

She’s trying her best!


Aye, aye! I remember feeling I was about to become a bitter wife.

Like, you know those fifty-year-old women you see working behind the cash register sometimes? The ones with thin, stiff lips who look angrily at you, the customer, and you have no idea why? They just look so sour.

Whenever Anna sees them, she thinks of two things.

OMG, I’m NOT going to become one of them – they exude so much anger!

And when she’s feeling more merciful, perhaps something like, Who has hurt them? Their man?? Cancer?

Poor things.



Big sigh.

What now?? What’s to become of me now? Hmmm…


I know. I know!!


Life has given me tons of lemons, but just you wait, Mr. Ex!

Wait and see how much lemonade I’m about to make! I’ll let you have a taste of it first. Maybe you’ll miss me?

Or drown in it for all I care…


Anna rides that stupid emotional roller coaster.

No… That’s bitter. – and bitter can’t be the taste she’s after now.

No, no.


Long, long sigh.


OK. Then what?

Think, Anna, think.

No. Feel it in your gut!

She looks deep into her soul where a very nice vision pops up.


Instead of resentment………… My first ingredient:

Lots of sugar for me… 😊 and for my future Mr. Boyfriend. 😊 — Anna smiles now, more satisfied.

I may be vulnerable, but I am strong!

I feel fearful, oh damn, so very afraid!

(Relieved, too!)

Angry, yes.

Sad, definitely.

But bitter?!

I’m actually sweet. A very loving person! — she protests Humpf.

If you really, really know me and you care to see… you can’t help but feel it.


(Hmmmm… I don’t think Mr. Ex agrees… Haha! Well, fuck it, who cares?)


Anna’s been working hard on seeing her cup half full – at least during the long days she’s been super busy organizing her new place, as she adores hard work and easily dives into new projects.

Now, sitting down on the brand new couch, she’s thinking that she’s had enough negativity, enough tears. She’s just had enough. She desires a new, hopeful beginning. Anna does not want to end up alone and miserable.

Is that even realistic??

Yes, she must be brave. She needs to go to work, earn a living, pay her bills. The teens need her! She just has to survive this hurricane with dignity and joy – and not too many tears.

Yes, that’s it.


It is thus that in that spirit of stubborness, she makes up her mind. Sisu!

You know what? I’ve succeded in being a positive person even in the midst of life’s many problems. I’m not going to go bad now!

I don’t want to.

A bitter 39-year-old divorced woman?

Hell, nooo!

After all, if life gives you lemons… whatever! Make lemonade. Yay!

Healthy lemonade, with just the right amount of sweetness.

© 2017 rf



Obs. Day 3 since moving out of her ex-husband’s home. New beginnings!