Some of the photos in this blog are not linked to the blog post I write. That is because I do not have the camera with me at all times. I am reviewing the photos I took in the end of the year in Eastern Finland, while getting on with life here in Tampere.
Early in the morning on Friday, I was out for the morning walk with our dog. I went to the park nearby on the lakeshore. At one point I was walking towards the woman who was also out with her dog. As usually, my dog got on alert and stopped. He would not move. The woman walk a bit more towards us and then stopped as well, her dog on alert as well. We were about 10 meters apart. She said something in Finnish which id di not get. I said anteekesi? (sorry?). She saw that I was not from here maybe from the accent, maybe from the way I look and shook her head moving with her dog into the deep snow on the side of the path. She did not want the dog to meet. She was walking in the deep snow and I said again anteeksi? She kept walking. I then said voit puhua! (you can talk!) She stopped. She was a bit distant now. Siad again something I did not catch and walked away.
I was upset when I turned around to walk towards home. I felt again as the foreigner. But what did it mean? Why did she get so upset? Why wouldn’t she make an effort to communicate with me? I kept walking, hearing the snow crunching under my boots in the sub-zero temperature. My dog kept sniffing things. Pulling right and left oblivious of the encounter we just had. it was just another dog.
I was still upset imagining reasons as to why she would have reacted like that towards me. Maybe she had a bad night. Maybe it was the dog walk after a night shits and she was super tired. Maybe she just doe snot like foreigners. Maybe she feels uncomfortable when she realises that she cannot use Finnish with another person.
I told myself to stop figuring out things that were impossible to figure out. There is certainly a story behind that person (See Gregory Bateson). Our stories touched for a brief moment and that’s is. No more and no less.
At the same time, I thought about the bus driver who politely greets passengers on the city busses. The guy who came to the door of the swimming pool and kindly explained to me that it was closed due to Covid.
I have many of these examples and want to remember them more than the encounter of Friday morning. They are part of the same system of complex interrelationships I live in.
As simple and complex as that.