Chapter 45 – The First Gift

 

Wednesday, 10 February 2016.

 

Day 52

 

10:01   Morning!! 😊 Just reading your messages. I see some selfies up there! 😊 Very frosty here. Hope you slept well. Any dreams?
It’s a nice tattoo on your neck. Discreet. And sexy.

10:11   Hi Christian…

 

Oh, the back-and-forth interaction. The imagined person. The unveiling of a mystery. The gradual getting-to-know. The peek into the other’s soul, into their hopes and dreams. The warmness and the flirting — that’s the main thing for now. No hurry.

Anna’s at recess at school, daydreaming for just a moment.

 

10:12   Hello! Was listening to your music. Just having breakfast. Have a good morning. Hope you don’t get hit by any flying objects!!

 

She told him yesterday about a 9th grader who threw a really hard snow ball in the back of her head on Monday. From afar. She got furious and told the pupil that next time she’ll have to call the police. Eurgh. Driving home feeling dizzy had been so hard.

11:12   Haha. Thanks!

11:15   I was halfway through when you popped up. Will keep chatting. 😊

Please do. Make me smile – like always! I was just chatting to a pupil who’s really nice. He lent me his spare phone when I broke my mobile last week. Remember I’ve lost all your previous messages? Wish I could retrieve them. They were so sweet!

Well, in need of new ones.

11:16   I bet you have lots of good kids there. I’m not a fan of the one who chucked the ice ball at your head though!! I was hit when I was at school and it almost knocked me out! You’ve just made me remember that. 😊

And you keep breaking your phones. You must be quite strong. All those hours at the gym. 😊

11:20  Right. Talk to you later. Have a lovely day.

Btw, I booked my flights finally. Will arrive in Helsinki on Sunday the 21st at 1830. So are you free on Monday?

 

Anna looks at the spare phone again — OMG, OMG! He really is coming to Finland. As promised.


11:25   Sorry. Finished my lesson now. I was showing some pupils your website.

Seriously??? You are? So cool!!

Happy your ticket has been booked. Maybe I’ll even have dinner with you on Sunday?

That would be nice. 😊

Great. You run now and I’ll catch you later. If I write, just read when you can.

So, about being strong – yes, a little. I like lifting weights. 250 abs per time. But there’s a long way to go. Ah, and talking about sports, I miss running when it’s been raining non-stop.

Lunch now. Fish and salad.

11:27   Bon apetit! Impressive gym work there!

 

13.38   Hello! How was your morning? I popped out for a river walk. A few work calls and almost lunchtime here. Played your music along the way. Loved it. 😊 Very sunny today. But also frosty. My favourite weather. I should have taken a pic.

14:30   😊☺️ Yes, you should have. I love sunshine, especially in cold days. Happy you liked the music.

I’m going to the hairdresser’s. You have an hour to give me your opinion. Either keeping this medium-dark blond. Or some light brown with vivid colors. Have had many hair colors. Even black.

 

Anna sends him three pictures of her with three different hair colors. She chooses good photos – of course. Gotta make an impression…

 

14:35   Hmmm. Tricky. All look good!! Are you natural blonde?

Thanks! I was as a child. Light brown now. But no preference?

Hmmm. I think your hair looks great already! You and your daughter could be sisters! I like your colour as it is. 😊

 

That Sofia Vergara/Megan Fox daughter of mine and me? Sisters! Hahahaha. I wish.

 

16:09   Oh, my daughter is much much more beautiful! And on the inside, as well. Heart of gold, that girl. And very sharp brain!

Thanks for the opinion. My son loves the brown and my daughter the blond. So I vary. Keeping the dark blond for now. ☺️

16.19   Good decision. It’s a nice colour.

I dyed my hair once in my life. Jet black. I looked like Dracula so tried to dye it back. Then it turned into a copper colour!! So I had to shave it off. Never again. Well….there’s no point now anyway. 😊

16.23   Your story is funny!! And the way you felt each time. I’ve had similar hair experiences. Hahaha.

I was going to ask where you would like to go for dinner. If you are free of course.

16.26   Tonight? 😊

Not sure where I am staying yet but will be central.
Haha. Sunday. Next Sunday that is. 😊

16.29   Thought you were suddenly here to surprise me tonight.

That would be fun.

Yes. Sure it’s too late?
I would love to have dinner with you on the 21st.
Vapiano closes at 11 p.m.

Vapiano sounds great. You are not working the next day, is that right? Just concerned if you have to get up at 0550!

16.47   No, not working the next day. Yay!
But you’ll be tired from the trip.

It’s not a long journey. Plus, the next morning I will sleep in.

 

Hey, today I’ve been working on a new AI engine that should definitely be called A.N.N.A….R.I.T.V.A. 

A=Articulate, N=Natty, N=Nightly, A=Alluring 😊

R=Rapid (brain), I=Impassioned, T=Talented, V=Valiant, A=Amazing

 

My God. How sweet is that!! S2

 

16:52   Was going to put a T=Tattoo. But you don’t have enough T’s in your name. Are you sure it’s not RITTVA?

17.06  Awww.

My turn.

C arinhoso
H andsome
R apt
I ngenious
S urprisingly sweet
T ea for you?
I maginable
A musing
N aked in the sauna?

Maybe that’s you!

17:07   Hahaha!! That made me laugh! 😊

I knew it! But it’s unfair. My two names together have more letters than yours!
Still, I wanted to express how I appreciate your personality and good manners. Did try making you laugh, too.

17:10   You covered all the bases. 😊
Looking forward to seeing you very soon. I must have walked past that restaurant a million times. Not sure I’ve been in.

It’s simple and good. 9 p.m?

17.13   Perfect.

Loved the acrostic you made of my name. ☺️

17:15   Yours was better.

 

Anna’s just leaving the hairdresser’s.

Christian is always so nice!

On the other hand…………

 

…if there’s one thing I’ve learned already…

…it is that if I like my Tinder match’s voice, there’s a bigger chance of liking them in person. The opposite is also true………😬

 

17.19   Would you like to give me a call? In a few minutes?

17:20   Standby.

 

The phone rings. Christian’s calling her on WhatsApp. She answers.

Fingers crossed.

“Hello, how are you doing there?” he says with a voice and a native accent that sounds like a mixture of Hugh Grant’s and Simon Cowell’s.

 

Oh    My   God!!! Beautiful. 

She gets goosebumps all over her body as the sides of her lips turn up and she blushes a little.

They discuss her English – he says it’s perfect. Much better than he expected.

These Englishmen!

Oh, stop it – you’re making me blush!

They chat about his job in Finland, his years in South Africa.

 

About why Tinder. “It gets lonely,” is his answer.

Finally meeting… “You really are coming to Finland. As promised!”

“I always do what I promise.”

It’s a very, very pleasant call, and Anna just adores his voice. And his way of interacting with her. Why does it always feels perfect with him?

He feels so present in the here and now. 

 

17.42   Sorry. My son called. Always nice to talk to him, of course, but not nice to have our first phone call interrupted.

17:46   No problem. I thought it was all my work messages coming through. Will talk again soon. Nice to hear your beautiful voice.

Thank you. I feel the same way.

17:47   You haven’t sent me you new hairdo.

I will try a selfie at home. 😊 Have to walk there now.

I’m going to go for the African Karoo desert look.

 

Phew! That’s great. When Christian sent Anna a pic of him in South Africa, she thought he looked very handsome. Tall, in shape – thankfully not too fit – and with a beautiful friendly smile. Almost bald, hair trimmed short. Casual and elegant.

Later, he sent he a pic which was taken in a recent business meeting in Finland. He had longer bald hair, and that didn’t look very nice, tbh. That day, she hadn’t wasted any time, but told him the African haircut suited him much, much better. “It gives you a younger, more modern look.”

 

17:49   Cool. I liked it!! Modern.

But no sun tan. 😑

Well, not yet.

I had a nice tan for over 20 years. But I guess bad for skin.

17.50   If I could travel, we could both get a tan in Spain in ten days. 😊

Well….that can be arranged v easily.

In Finland, we just freeze the skin so it won’t get old. Ever. Haha. I wish. Hey, who knows? Maybe we’ll just go crazy and hop on a plane to Spain.

It’s not far. Where I live(d) was 22 degrees today.

Or then a cottage and the hole in the ice. Warm and nice. 😊

17:22   I love that!!!! Both extremes. Fireplace. Sunshine.

Me too.

You have no idea how much I love fires. 😊 🔥

17.56  I love a dark cottage with the glow and noise and smell from the fireplace. The silent forest outside. The privacy.

If you are trying to make me move to Finland….. it’s working!!

And I love hooks, too!!! You’re addicted to fires and my teens say I am addicted to hooks. More about that later.

17:57   Hooks?

Yes, I’m crazy about hooks.

For clothes? Or fishing??

For mostly everything. Got one as a surprise gift from my daughter last Xmas. I got so happy and emotional that I cried. She started laughing and filmed me smiling and crying – holding the hook. Hilarious.

17.59   Hahaha. A hook!?

I’ll send you a pic soon.

Interested about your hooks.

18:00   Basic stuff. Not hooking myself up in spears and ceilings and such, like some lunatics. So, you have nothing to fear.

18:01   Haha. Very good. Phew.

 

I’m walking past Bulevardi and send him a pic of the icy church yard.

bulevardi

 

18:02   Are you close to cathedral?

Near Esplanadi. So not that far from the cathedral.

It looks familiar. I have walked a lot across Helsinki. Hope it snows soon.

Hope for a nice fire, at least.

Where can we light a fire?

We’ll have to google that because outside is no fun in the rain right now.

 

Back home, Anna sends him the requested selfie of her new hair.

18:24   Very nice! Looks great.

18:45   Thanks! 😘

 

21.20   Hello. 😘 Just a quick one. Hope you’re finding the time to relax over there and enjoying your new hairdo. What do your kids think? I’m sure they love it. Going for my Karoo cut next week.

21.24   Sounds great! I’m going to sew something with my sewing machine now.
What are you up to over there?

21.37   What are you creating tonight?

Just a practical sheet system for the sofa bed.

Oh. Very good. I’d like to see that. Did you take classes for that? Or are you just a natural??

Only in elementary school. I’m no good. Just improvise.

I think you are very modest.

No. In Finland people are really good at these things. I just learn the basics of everything and like to do a bit when needed.

21:41   That’s still impressive. Just about to eat so speak to you soon. Don’t forget to send the finished product! Please. 😊

Haha. Talk to you soon. Good night. ☺️

 

You never know, but who knows, who knows?

© 2017 rf

 

 

Obs. Day 52 of life can actually be good.

 

 

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Chapter 44 – For the Love of Writing

 

Wednesday, 10 February 2016.

 

Day 52

 

Anna loves chatting – and writing in general. When she was a teenager, she used to have over two hundred pen pals. It was so exciting to go to her mailbox after school to retrieve up to ten letters from all over the world.

Such joy and excitement. Emotions.

Every single day.

Her boyfriend at the time was a long-distance relationship, and they too sent each other fun, romantic letters for three long years. Drawings, gifts, books. Paper kisses and longing.

Anna’s father, Marcos, is the one responsible for teaching her the love of reading and writing.

You see, in her childhood her family used to move almost every year – from city to city and country to country. Dad, always the affectionate artistic type, didn’t want his kids to become estranged from their relatives and best friends, and so he taught them all the joys of letter writing, when Anna was about 9 years old, and her sister Sarah, 10.

She recalls the day when dad came into their room, holding the beautiful letter paper their mom Riitta had bought. They were living in New Jersey at the time.

 

“First, write the city and the date on the upper right-hand corner, you see? Like this.

“Good. Well done, my darlings.

“Then you start with ‘Dear Y, how are you?’ Always tell them how you are doing, as well.

“Sarah, watch your handwriting! You’ll want people to understand what you’re saying. There, that’s better.

“Now, you can proceed to share nice things about your life, your pastimes, school and trips. Tell your pen pal how you felt during certain events, not just about the things you’ve been doing. It makes the reading experience more intense and interesting.

“It’s also very important never to forget to ask them about their life. Be curious and show interest. That’s how you make friends and, above all, keep your old ones.

And with a little kiss on their heads “I’ll proofread your letters when you’re ready and then you’ll go with your mom to the post office.

“Ask me if you need any help, sweethearts.”

 

Day 17. Grownup Anna has just been on Tinder for a couple of days when she matches with a guy named Tino. Remember? Their chats are so intense and Anna’s feeling very excited to meet him… Unfortunately, he cancels the day before their coffee date, becoming her Tinder disappointment #1.

That is when she reads some advice online, and decides to stop chatting for days and days before meeting up with her dates.

 

Day 36, and along comes Christian.

Remember him? One of the Englishman? The one Anna matched with after she decided to change her criteria about who to swipe yes to on Tinder.

Yes, that CEO of a new start-up in Finland who promised to come from Germany soon to meet her in person.

The one with the long, manly nose. — She smiles at the thought.

Not knowing if she’ll really ever meet him or not, she decides to make an exception and keep in touch with this guy. They’ve been chatting on a daily basis for over two weeks now.

And every day the chats grow warmer and more fun.

They’re intriguing.

Kind Christian has become the exception.

 

10:01   Morning!! 😊 Just reading your messages. I see some selfies up there! 😊
Very frosty here. Hope you slept well. Any dreams?
It’s a nice tattoo. Discreet. And sexy.

10:11   Hi Christian…

 

© 2017 rf

 

 

Obs. Day 52 since moving out of Mr. Ex’s home, their last home together.

 

 

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 32 – Tinder Date #9

 

Thursday, 4 February, 2016.

 

Still Day 46

 

So, where were we?

Ah, yes.

It’s 6 p.m. that very same evening. An uneventful evening, it’s turned out to be.

Anna’s feeling pretty as she unlocks her door and enters her flat – soaring with stonewalled energy…

 🎵 I was going out tonight, but still feeling alright…🎶

What am I supposed to do?

 

She has a big glass of water and goes to her couch. The apartment is warm and nice. Tidy. No chores to do. She stretches her legs, placing her feet over the coffee table – an old rough chest she’s added wheels to.

Not tired in the slightest.

Ah, I can’t believe I’m here alone. Free on a Thursday evening!! Eu#r&gh&!!!

And feeling lonesome for a moment, just wanted to have a good time. And nothing?! Seriously?? Humft.

Don’t feel like watching TV.

Anna grabs her phone and starts swiping.

A minute later – literally – and there’s a match. He starts chatting. She checks his profile out.

Mm, good looking.

Such spirit in his eyes.

Oh, he claims to be a doctor. That means smart – and I like smart.

Hmm, foreign name?

Ah, I’ll just google him.

Yes, there’s a Ümit gynecological surgeon in Helsinki. Yep. His photo on google pictures. Let’s see, here’s his clinical practice…

Hmm, I wonder where he’s from?

 

…I’m from Turkey, btw.

Anna, come and have a drink with me? I’m here at Casa Largo. You know the restaurant? Just arrived. Are you busy? Let’s meet!

 

Oh, really? That fast? So different from Finnish guys.

 

Really? Sounds fun, but we’ve just chatted for two minutes.

Literally.

Come on. Are you near? If you have time, it would be nice to meet. Why not? Shall I send you a cab?

 

That’s crazy, but I do like his attitude. 

I don’t know. How about a phone call first?

 

He gives her his number. She thinks for a second.

Ah, what’s the danger? A drink with a surgeon in a central restaurant?

 

She calls him up.

His voice is nice, masculine, fun. There’s a beautiful foreign accent in his English. Kind of sexy.

You see, Anna’s an English teacher and she  a-d-o-r-e-s  foreign accents and World Englishes! Indian English, Nigerian English, Korean English. They’re all cool.

She even tells her pupils, “Speak with an accent – even a strong one. Rally English! But do speak. It gives you personality. It tells me a little of your history. And, hey, can you imagine if Antonio Banderas spoke American English without a Spanish accent? How boring would that be, huh? He would lose half his charm…”

But she could die for a boyfriend with British English.

Sigh, sigh. I’ve got Hugh Grant’ to blame for that.

 

Uh…Where were we again?

Ah, yes.

This Turkish doctor’s so lively. Warm.

Ops. I missed a thing or two he said – daydreaming here. He does sound very convincing, though, doesn’t he? Self-confident. Mm. I’m hypnotized.

“Ümit, I’ve never accepted a date like this before – before chatting a few times and getting to know the person a little better first…”

“Ah, come o…”

She interrupts him, “But, I happen to be ready – just came home – and I just happen to have time tonight.

“Maybe I’ll humor you, go with the flow. Will come by bike and… see you in half an hour?”

“OK, great! I’m very glad. Meet you at the bar, Anna.”

 

Now she’s sitting opposite him at his table. The place is crowded. Loud chatter, everybody well dressed.

Wow, I didn’t know this many people went out on Thursday evenings.

I guess they’re like me? Divorced? Teens quite raised? Time in their hands?

What is this?

 

Ümit is talking, smiling, looking deep into Anna’s eyes. Sweet. Already? Ha-ha.

 

🎵 The best thing about being a woman
Is the prerogative to have a little fun 🎶

He’s fun!

He’s wearing a casual blazer and a nice shirt. His hair is more grayish than in the pics. Ah, but that’s no surprise. Her previous eight dates looked older than in their photos, too. Most, much older.

I guess guys are just not into having their pictures taken, like us ladies. Not that into their looks – which is good.

Hmm, I wonder if I look older in person, too? Gotta find that out.

Probably.

 

Ümit is making her laugh, he’s so energetic. Very smart. She’s finally having some fun again.

Finally!

That’s what I’m talking about, baby.

It’s distracting. Comforting.

 

“Anna, what would you like to drink?”

“Oh, just water, please. I don’t really drin…”

His turn to interrupt her, “But tonight you’re drinking.  he says decisively  “What shall I order?”

“OK…” — maybe just a sip.

She tries to think of any drink names she can recall   “Maybe a caipirinha, then…?”

 

He goes to the bar and comes back with a caipiroska for her. Apparently, they don’t make caipirinhas in Finland. How would I know? I’ve never bought a drink before.

Hmm, it’s delicious.

“You have such beautiful eyes, Anna.”

Sweet-talker. She smiles. Cute.

Just a little flirty – like in South America. I like that.

 

And they’re sitting there smiling, animated. The chat is quick, witty. She’s entertained – and sure. He can feel it.

A couple approaches them and stands by their table. It takes a minute for Anna to realize they remain standing there, frozen. Just looking down at them.

Anna looks up to see a beautiful, foreign-looking, brunette young woman, accompanied by a smartly dressed young man, a bit fairer than her. They’re just staring at us because…?

Why aren’t they saying anything? Do they want extra chairs?

Anna looks at the doctor. He’s quiet. Calm. No stress. Everything’s good.

She looks up at the good-looking couple again. Oh, the woman looks so serious. Angry? The guy has a relaxed smile.

What’s going on?

The doctor finally chuckles saying, “Anna, this is my daughter Patricia and her fiancé Sabri.” and looking at them —  “Sit down, do sit down with us.”

Say what…? Family date? Was this planned??

Getting more fun by the minute.

 

“Nice meeting you, too.” Anna responds, trying to figure it all out — “Are you staying in this hotel? Do you live in Helsinki, too?”

“No,” Patricia says. “We live in Turkey. We’re just here for the Avant Premiere of my documentary tomorrow.”

“Really? Wow. Impressive. Congratulations!

“What is it about?” Anna wants to know.

“Ha-ha-ha-ha.” they all laugh “It’s about my complicated relationship with this difficult man here,” she waves her hand in his general direction “My father.”

Anna joins their hearty laughter. Way more entertained than I bargained for. And turning her gaze on him. The old devil’s looking very pleased.

I bet he likes the attention. The spotlights. Artistic like his daughter?

 

“…And if you come to Finnkino’s DocPoint Festival tomorrow – I’ve got tickets – you’ll learn the whooole truth.”

Ha-ha. Do I want to??

Yes.

Later, her curiosity will kill her cat.

 

“Ohhh, I just realized.” Anna exclaims “A friend of mine posted a recommendation of your documentary on her Facebook yesterday!”  and she quotes  “‘All of you who live in Helsinki, you’ve definitely gotta watch this. I can’t, but don’t miss it. Article below.'”

“Show me that FB post, will you,” Patricia asks me intrigued.

I open it and, “No way! Katja? You know Katja? She’s my best friend!” Patricia exclaims.

Small world.

What are the odds? Turns out the mutual friend Katja, who posted the article about the documentary, is Patricia’s best friend from high school and Anna’s best friend from university.

Small Finland – indeed.

 

“Wait, I’ve just gotta text Katja! Let’s take a selfie together. Here.” Smiles. Click.

Patricia sends Katja the selfie on WhatsApp with the message, “Check this out. You won’t believe who’s on a Tinder date with my father!”

No, she definitely won’t.

Ops.

Tinder and Anna??

Noooo.

You see, Katja knows her from the time Anna was working in church.

And married with the pastor.

They sang together in the gospel choir. Alto, both of them.

“No way. Impossible!” Katja replies ringing Anna up two days later to hear all the gory details about the cat’s death.

Ah, where are Sabri and Ümit?

Smoking outside? Hmm.


 

Patricia takes her leave. She’s going to a Directors’ Gala.

“Anna,” the surgeon says with a voice that carries a mix of affection and lively sensuality, “Are you hungry? Let’s have dinner, the three of us.

“I’ll treat you. Let’s go to the other side, to the restaurant.”

Anna’s still sipping her caipiroska. A little food would be good. She’s feeling a bit lightheaded.

 

Tinder, tinder. Unpredictable.


 

Anna sits on Ümit’s left, opposite his son-in-law, an artist. The sirloin steak tastes muy esquisito and a second caipiroska has just materialized.

They chat about careers, art, religion, South America, Turkey, politics.

Trips. The future. Finland.

But every ten minutes or so, Ümit stops whatever he’s doing – a bit dramatically.

He turns towards Anna, looks deep into her eyes and says, “Now let me swim in the green sea of your eyes for a little while.

“Ahhh. Sigh. That’s better.”

She just giggles. It’s nice to get some warm attention after such a long time.

“Tomorrow evening, Anna, you’re going to be my date in the Avant Premiere.

“Would you?

“You’re going to wear a dress, high heels and red lipstick. Loose hair.”

“Is that so? Says who?” Anna teases him.

“Please, I’m a bit nervous. Be nice to me. They’re going to expose my life for the whole world to see. Come and support me with your company…

“Please?” puppy face.

“Yes,” I promise. “But I’m bringing some people, too – your daughter gave me three tickets, so… behave!!”

He keeps diving into her eyes from time to time. Out for a nice swim.

Then he turns back and kisses her fully in the mouth.

Ohhhh! Great kisser. Hot stuff.

But what if someone I know sees me through this enormous window?

OMG, I’m in full display here. Workmates? Some church people?

 

Whatever. They’ll just have to be shocked and accept it. I’m a free woman.

Doing nothing wrong.

🎵 Oh, oh, oh, I wanna be free yeah, to feel the way I feel
Man! I feel like a woman! 🎶

What if Mr. Ex is walking the dog and sees me???

She kisses him back. A long delicious kiss.

Mmmm.

 

What? He’s very bossy with the waitress.

And then whispers some spicy words into Anna’s ears.

He’s quite bossy with me to, come to think of it. I’m amused.

 

“Gosh, a few minutes to midnight! I wake up at six.

“Gotta go. Thank you, Ümit, I had a great time, ” Early school morning tomorrow. “I’ve really gotta go.”

“Thank you again for the lovely dinner. Bye!

“See you tomorrow, dear.” hot kiss is his reply “Bye.”

© 2017 rf

 

 

Obs. Day Sorry, I’m a little tipsy.

 

 

Chapter 26 – Ding! Plo-Plim. Ding! Ding!

 

Wednesday, 3 February 2016.

 

Day 45

 

Ding!

Plo-Plim!

Anna feels enthusiastic every time her phone dings.

Ding!

 

Yay…! Connecting with new people has been so interesting…

Sharing ideas, discussing big subjects, some intellectual topics, too. Being a little playful – a little flirty at times, of course! It’s all novel stuff, so our Anna can’t help but get all wired up.

There’s a time for everything, and this is the first time that Anna is free, you see? Free to explore, free to rediscover herself. Who am I now?

I don’t know, but this sure is fun! Yay.

Ding!

 

Don’t get me wrong, my dearest reader. When someone conquers her passionate heart, she’s ever the loyal and adoring type – aren’t twenty years proof enough, huh?

It’s exciting, too, being that passionate. And she’s undoubtedly a romantic daydreamer.

Ah…!

Plo-Plim!

 

Yet, her personality type adores to explore.

Excitement, creativity, laughter, flexibility, sensations, curiosity, energy, drama, novelty intelligence, feelings, fun and unpredictability. That’s what I’m talking about, baby. That’s the kind of stuff that delights her.

Ah…!

Ding!

 

Besides, I’ll let you in on a little secret now.

Anna has yet to understand that about herself, but truth be told, our Anna’s a bit of a drama queen. She needs a couple of challenges from time to time to ignite her adventurous problem-solving mode.

Yes, she even needs a little drama in her love life. Otherwise she’ll feel bored.

© 2017 rf

 

 

Obs. Day 45 since moving out.

Chapter 25 – Justin, Dustin’

Ding! Christian’s sending me messages on Whatsapp! Aww. And Riku! Plo-Plim.

 

Wednesday, 3 February 2016.

 

Day 45

 

You look out the window and it’s freezing, but Finnish apartments are always warm and nice in winter – about 21°C.

Anna’s wearing her favorite pajamas: a navy blue tank top with pink text, and flannel shorts with a tartan pattern. So comfy! She’s braiding her hair loosely, ending in a pony tail slightly to the right side.

Hmm, time to get my highlights redone.

Tonight, Anna’s just chilling. Strolling around her house, dusting off here and there, feeling good. Headphones on – she’s swinging to Justin Bieber’s Love Yourself, playing on her iPhone.

🎶 For all the times that you rain on my parade
And all the clubs you get in using my name
You think you broke my heart, oh, for goodness’ sake
You think I’m crying on my own. Well, I ain’t.
And I didn’t wanna write a song
‘Cause I didn’t want anyone thinking I still care.
I don’t,
But you still hit my phone up
And, baby, I’ll be movin’ on
And I think you should be somethin’ I don’t wanna hold back
Maybe you should know that…

…Didn’t see what’s going on
But now I know
I’m better sleeping on my own

‘Cause if you like the way you look that much
Oh, baby, you should go and love yourself
And if you think that I’m still holdin’ on to somethin’
You should go and love yourself 🎶

So melodic — she likes the songs her pupils suggest — Yeah… moving on. That’s the spirit — and she’s humming along.

OMG, that reminds me. Meeting up with the Norwegian god tomorrow! And I still haven’t researched how to say no to a second date.

Anna switches to Google on her phone and types “Let him down easy,” hitting the search button.

Articles, forums… Oh, a video! Here we go. Let me listen to this while I have a snack. Just in case.

 

DON’T LIKE HIM? Let him down easy like this (by Matt Boggs)

▶️  “… why would this be important in meeting your man? Because the path to meeting your man… is through the dating process. It’s by going out with people…

“Inevitably, when you give people a chance, you’re going to meet people who are just not a great fit for you.”

You don’t say! 💀🤑🤖👿🤡👺

“Until you end up meeting that person that it just clicks – feels amazing and there’s tons of chemistry.”

Uh, I want that! 🙂 

“…Reframe rejection… to have liberty and freedom to go on more dates…”

Nice.

“…But first, let me explain why this is so important: if you’re afraid of rejecting someone, then you’re not going to go out with a lot of guys who, at first glance, look like, ‘ahhh, I might end up rejecting this guy.’

“But you go out, and you find out that this guy is amazing! This guy blows your socks out!”

My socks!!

 

“You see, he’s everything you never knew that you always wanted (to quote a line from Fools Rush In)…

“So, you’re going end up going out on more dates, you won’t be afraid to disappoint them and you’ll be able to reject them in the kindest, most humane way possible.”

Hmm.

“So here’s the key: men respect people who are (1) honest, and who are (2) direct.”

Seriously??! It’s that simple?

“And you want to be absolute. Let me explain. A lot of women like to dance around the topic. They like to hint at things…

“Let me be clear, men don’t speak hint… And letting a guy down easy actually creates more pain through the process than just being honest, being direct and being absolute.”

 

⏸  Wow. I had no idea. I like it when people let me down easy. I can take a hint…

Man. Are we different!

OK. I do want people to be objective with me. But still, in a very warm way, giving me their honest reasons. Having a talk about it… Then I don’t feel hurt and it’s easier to move on.

▶️ Oh, gosh! Boggs is telling us not to give guys the reasons!? Ha-ha. That would just be a challenge for the guy to overcome. Or something like that. Interesting…!?

 

“So there’s one thing that nobody can argue, when it comes to calling it quits in any kind of dating experience. It is absolute. That you just don’t feel the chemistry with this person.

“…Two ways that you can reject a man…

“(1) If you’re talking to a guy online:

“‘Hey, thanks so much for contacting me. I’m flattered, but I don’t really feel we are a good fit. You sound like a great guy, and I’m wishing you all the best. Take care.’

“…Great email. Direct, to the point. It’s confident. And you’re wishing them well, you’re being respectful – an open, honest person.”

I like that.

“(2) If you’ve gone out with the guy and it’s face to face on a date (you’re not really feeling it with this guy, but you can tell that he’s going to ask you out on a second date):

“You can simply say, ‘Hey, I really appreciate going out with you tonight. But unfortunately, I’m not feeling the romantic chemistry. You’re an amazing guy, I know you’re going to meet someone really special, and I’m wishing you all the best’.”

Oh, I could have said that to Tapio – he was so sweet. But, I wouldn’t say that to a nutjob. Hmm. Better screen them better from now on.

“…That’s all you need to say. It’s that simple… Understand that it’s just part of the game, no big deal. You’re going to reject people. People are going to reject you. But you’re all gonna live on, and ultimately you’re going to find that special someone and create an extraordinary relationship….”

Thanks, Matt! I’ll practice. I’ll try…

Values. Anna believes in self-respect and in treating others with respect, too.

 

Ding!

Yay, Christian’s sending me a What’sapp message. Aww…

 

Plo-Plim!

And Riku on Tinder.

Plo-Plim!

Ding!

© 2017 rf

 

 

 

Obs. Day 45 since moving out.

 

 

Chapter 16 – Changing Her Criteria

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

 

Monday, 25 January 2016.

 

Day 36

 

The Citymarket in Ruoholahti is buzzing with special offers, so Anna cycles there after school to get some extra groceries for the teens who’ve come back yesterday night to spend a week with her.

Joey has a Coca Cola fridge from Verkkokauppa next to his bed, and she likes to please him by filling it with healthy snacks and some other goodies. God, teenage boys eat so much – there’s no stopping them.

She hangs the grocery bags on her bike and decides to walk home. On the way, she stops to take a quick look at her Tinder app.

How is it possible that all the men near me are finito?

Wait a minute. There are guys to be swiped once more! How does this work? Have they just joined the app??

Now that Anna knows she may run out of potential matches again, she decides to look at their whole profile and all their pics slowly and carefully.

This guy? Hmm. Still no.

This other? OK, yes.

No.

No.

Ha. Why do guys post pictures such as this? A straw hat, sunglasses?? I can’t see his eyes, his hair nor his teeth (he’s sipping a drink with a friend in a summer destination). Aww. His friend is cute. Nice expression.

Hey, English name! And he doesn’t have Finnish features. Long, manly nose. 

Anna smiles, thinking of how her South American dad always says that men should have long, manly noses. Dad’s so funny – maybe he’s right.

 

I’ve never swiped yes to a guy with sunglasses, and he has no profile text either! Hmmm. Hate that. But let me take a look at his other pictures. His name is in English, after all.

Oh-la-la! How elegant!!! Christian (43) is wearing a suit and carrying a briefcase. Perfect posture, as he walks toward the photographer with long strides. Wow.

Convinced, Anna swipes yes and immediately gets the happy Tinder popup screen – “Congrats, you’re a match!”

And then, “Sorry, there’s no one else near you.”

Again! I’d better value the matches I have, ha-ha…

 

She texts him a hi and he replies immediately. Cool, a short chat before I get home.

He has joined Tinder literally five minutes ago and she’s the first person he swiped and thus also his first match.

Really? That’s interesting.

Christian lives in Germany, but he’s in Finland on a business trip. Yes, he’s an Englishman. He might be moving to Helsinki to work as one of the CEOs of a start-up, but for now, he’ll be flying here for work on a monthly basis. Would she meet him next time?

Oh, when are you coming again?

In a month?!! Oh, it’s definitely a no go, then. After all, I’ve decided not to chat for weeks and weeks before meeting in person. Remember Tino, Anna? Don’t waste your time… The new system is working fine. Chat for two-three days and meet up.

 

No, please. I promise I’ll be back in four weeks. Three! I love it here! Beautiful Finland. In fact, I’m on a train to Lapland. Nearing Oulu now. Have you ever been here?

Oulu!! That’s where I’ve lived the longest in my life.

 

Anna has moved 33 times. She’s lived in five countries and twenty cities. Seven years in Oulu! She feels emotional for a second.

She tells him about that and he asks her for her phone number. Please.

She thinks, Eurgh, OK. He’s being polite and showing so much – respectful – interest. Asking things, interacting. Finnish guys rarely ask me anything, and sometimes the chats are soooo slow. At least this guy is making an effort…

Even though I doubt anything is coming from this. 

She tells him her teens are waiting for her at home and she’ll be busy in the next few hours. But yes, maybe they’ll chat on WhatsApp later. If he messages me. Let’s see…

© 2017 rf

 

 

Obs. Day 36 since moving out.