I am reminded how east we are by a sign I see while jogging around the two of Lappeenranta where we are visiting two friends and their daughter: 208 km to Pietari (St. Petersburg).
This is the last stop before returning to our cottage. We stay at a very nice and cosy light blue wooden house. Small (but not too small) garden. An apple tree. which is dropping its fruits on the green and wet grass. A storage and the sauna are in a separate building also painted in light blue.
Our friends have worked a lot to make this place what it is today. But things change and they never stay the same. They have decided to move. The house is at the border of a nice area with many wooden houses similar to theirs. The problem is that being at the border, next to it runs a road which leads the traffic from Lappeenranta out of the town. On the other side of the road there are the tracks of the nearby railway station. The traffic both of cars and of passengers and freight trains (especially to Russia) has increased in recent years. So it is a bit noisy here.
We talk about it and the first thing that comes to my mind is the UN apartments on Ki Ma in Ha Noi. This was the place we first moved in before finding the Swedish Camp. We lived at the fifth floor of this Bulgarian donated ugly block house. High enough to hear the uninterrupted of traffic from Ki Ma on of the main arteries of Ha Noi. From five in the morning to one at night an uninterrupted flow of motorbikes, cars and few underused red and yellow busses. As here in Lappeenranta it had peak hours: at eight in the morning the rush hour into town where you had to avoid motorbikes occupying the pedestrian paths on the side of the road. Traffic completely stacked in four directions at the junction towards the nearby lake. The same again at five in the afternoon.
Here in Lappeenranta is another story. Nothing comparable. Kind of empty street at all times. However while we talk about all this and we joke about Ha Noi I am reminded that all is relative. Probably if we would live here even after a time in Ha Noi we would slowly get used to the new noises, the new pace, the sound of the house and the sounds around it. After some time we would notice the cars, the freight train transporting iron at eleven in the night. Initially finding it reassuringly quiet and with time discovering that all these noises are too much and deciding to move. Who knows. All is relative, after all.