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?

 

 

Chapter 9 – Switching Homes

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

 

Friday, 15 January 2016.

 

Day 26

 

 

Happy Man 

🎼 Now playing at Anna’s

When I die there won’t be much
To salvage from my earnings
I never had a lot of land or houses to my name
I’ve never been a corporate prince
On Madison and New York
I never held a diamond in my hand

But I’ve seen children laughing
As only children can
And I’ve known my Creator
And I’ve been a happy man

I never really loved the way I saw it in the movies
But I had myself a woman of my own
The place we lived was modest
And we kept the yard together
I never traveled far from my hometown

But I’ve heard music playing
That made me understand
And touched the hearts of heaven
And I’ve been a happy man

Life has had its hard times
When I’ve felt the chill of winter
I can’t forget the night
When my sweet Julie slipped away

But growing old is different
Than I always thought it would be
The sweetness of my youth
Just grew with age

‘Cause I’ve known wealth and beauty
Beneath His guiding hand
And knowing soon I’ll see Him
Has made me a happy man
And knowing soon I’ll see Him
Has made me a happy man 🎶

 

Mr. Ex is back from the Bahamas and the teens have now switched to their old flat to be with dad. Kristy and Joey are going to live a week with each parent, according to what has been agreed.

The situation is new to everyone involved, and definitely not easy, but it’s good that their homes are only a km away from each other.

 

Anna is sitting in her car with him Mr. Ex, who else?

The weather is really bad outside, and a huge snow storm is making Helsinki more and more beautiful by the second.

They are talking politely about things, his trip, the teens…

… And the divorce application form. 😯

Just fill in both spouses’ whole names, identity numbers and the date. Ah! Don’t forget to sign and also tick the box stating this is the first divorce application,” the officials had answered to her inquiry.

Yes, it’s as simple as that in Finland: one single, very easy PDF page that you google and print. And just shove into a mailbox anywhere, as though it were a birthday card. A few weeks later a confirmation will arrive be mailed. And six months later the judge’s decision. Through the post office, as well.

Better this way – as if life isn’t complicated enough already during a separation.

 

She has decided that if things have progressed this fast, so that Mr. Ex has already traveled with Ms. Newbie, then they should get an official divorce ASAP.

She hands him the pre-filled application.

They find no pen in Anna’s car.

Decisively, Ex gets out of the car into the storm to sign the form inside the Siwa grocery store on Eerikinkatu.

That’s what he really, really wants then, she realizes.

 

The next day, she spends her whole Saturday cleaning. She likes things to be spick and span, and especially organized. The lack of space makes it hard to keep all their stuff tidy when Anna and her teens are sharing the place.

Nevertheless, it has been so special to be with them for over three weeks.

Joey, Kristiina and I have always been so close. ❤️‍

To her, it feels like they are her friends as much as she’s their mother.

 

Just before leaving, Joey wanted to open up. He didn’t want to go back to his dad’s, as he’s feeling angry at his father.

“He should have used the time with us, mom! Maybe traveled with us to grow closer and make us feel safe at a time like this… Not with that Ne#wb%i&e!

“This whole thing is too hard. And how can he not love you?? You’re the best there is!!”

 

It’s tough to see Joey this upset. Anna understands him and is actually feeling concerned herself.

While she is searching for inner strength and wisdom about how to respond, she just listens, thinking in silence…

 

Gosh! How are things gonna go??

Of course I’d like the teens to stay with me longer, but how would they keep the bond with their father if they didn’t spend half the time with him?

And Mr. Ex has to come back to normal life, back to reality! Our kids are his responsibility, too.

Oh, he will. He’s always been a loving dad.

But what about Joey’s feelings??

Besides, if I make an exception already and let them stay on over here, how can I expect to divide their time and care with Ex later on?

 

It doesn’t matter how I feel right now.

I have to think of their best. Think long term, Anna!

Otherwise, they’ll be the ones who will suffer the most. They’ll regret growing distant to their father.

 

Anna doesn’t want Kristy and Joey to feel unwelcome or unwanted in her – ops, their – new flat. She needs Joey to understand the situation.

It takes some loving words on her part to calm him down.

“Son, I understand your feelings. You’re entitled to feel the way you feel and you’re always allowed to express yourself to me. Always!” he is sitting on the kitchen counter and she puts her hand gently on his knee “Having said that…

“…Life is messy, my darling. You don’t understand adult relationships yet. Your dad and I really tried everything we could. We wish each other happiness now. And…” sigh “…Maybe you’re right to question his actions.” “But he loves you and wants to keep close to you and spend time together!”

“Eurgh. It will be hard, mom!!”

“Yes, I know.

“Joey darling. As hard as it is to accept this… Your dad and Newbie are just human. At the end of the day, they are doing nothing hateful. We’re not talking about war, crime or terrorism here… They’re just two people trying to love and be loved. That’s it.” she sighs.

 

“I know mom.”  it’s his turn to sigh  “For me it’s OK that you guys separated, it’s not that… But to already have traveled with another woman! So wrong. You guys are still married.”

“Hey Joey, remember. You don’t have to like the way things are, but I want you to always treat them with respect anyway, OK? Give it time…

“You know what, son? You can call me and we can meet up any day after school! We can hang out even when it’s your dad’s turn to be with you. Come over for a snack or to do your homework. I’ll be missing you, too. Very much.”

They hug good-bye and Anna feels heartbroken. For now, the whole separation seems a bit easier on Kristiina.

 

It’s Saturday evening now – many hours later – and Anna’s place is looking clean and cozy.

She showers, gets into her pjs and then places her favorite vinyl on the record player she got herself for her 40th birthday with money gifts from friends. She’d planned on buying one for centuries. She’s glad she did.

B.J. Thomas is singing and the music sounds both comforting and fantastic to her ears as she stands there, looking out the balcony door.

Happy Man has just played. Those lyrics touch the depths of her soul! A simple, loving, happily shared life is all she’s ever wanted.

Will I have another go at that? A second chance?

 

She’s kept this specific record through all the zillion moves from city to city, country to country since she was a child. She’d dreamed of having a record player again, wished to turn vinyls to the other side to listen to good music in a nostalgic manner.

Definitely worth it!

 

🎼 He holds the stars in the sky
He holds the land back from the sea
If He can do all of that
Surely he can take care
Of you and me

He’s got it all in control… 🎶

 

Anna feels that she herself is doing well under the circumstances, but offers up a prayer for her teens to be OK.

Somehow.

© 2017 rf

 

 

Obs. Day 26 since moving out. What now???

Happy Man LP – B. J. Thomas © Word, Inc.