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  In spring I come alive again. Like many Finns. The energy and mood boost, which the sun gives after dark and cold winter, feel head to toe. In just a couple of months the white winter wonderland little by little first gets more brown colors, and soon after it, beautiful greenness fills all gardens and forests. Every year it feels like a miracle of life.  Many rays of light included also SaimaaLife spring 2018. Peace and silent moments too, but also many heavy ones and days full of too…
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Long time no see you here at the blog. My sincere apology. I was about to write a blog story about SaimaaLife year 2018 already in December, but couldn’t make it. Finally last week, on a train on my way to Helsinki, I started to go through my photos of 2018. I ended up selecting about 200 of them. I realized that no way I can include them to one story. So now it will be five that will form together one bigger story: SaimaaLife Winter 2018 – Survival &…
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No matter I’m stressed, sad or anxious this unique place has the ability to make me feel good and calm inside out. Being there affects me like the presence of the dearest friend; I feel safe and accepted. All kinds of positive thoughts and feelings awaken in me when I spend time by the lake or in the forests of Punkaharju ridge area. That is why -in the end- I wasn’t that surprised when CNN Travel chose Punkaharju Nature Reserve to be one among 50 Natural Wonders in the World.  Last…
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Wood inspires, wood recharges, wood simply looks and makes you feel good. That’s why it is my all-time-favorite material. Wood is also something that combines two places here in Punkaharju, the Finnish Forest Museum LUSTO and Museum Restaurant Nila. Nila was opened this spring. Soon after that, I found myself doing writing work there. Thanks to the atmosphere that all natural material and elements created at this family-friendly cafe-restaurant. (We have lots of forests and lakes in Punkaharju but less than 4000 inhabitants. You can only guess HOW BIG deal it is when a new high-quality restaurant is…
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It’s about 20 % now, but I’d like it to be 80 %. The first one is my estimation how much you see now of all the things that I’m working on. The latter is what I’d like you to see. A year and a half ago I worked for a while with Helsinki-based marketing agency Cocomms. I remember how Jussi Hakanen, who then worked at Cocomms, said to me in our kitchen -after talking and getting know each other for a day- “Mari, that personality of yours and this lifestyle around…
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At Easter Sunday I thought about her. She was too young to die, only 34. I remembered how she sang in our wedding, and how I saw her dancing with the beauty of Finnish summer evening at Ilosaarirock music festival. She was a beautiful soul that needed to go way too early. Her funeral is in Helsinki this weekend. My husband was a closer friend with her so he will travel there while I say my goodbyes at home with the kids. Usually, on Easter, I spend 4-day Easter holiday in the same way as most Finns.…
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“I guess you are really tired for real, mom”, she said. I wanted to cry when I saw the disappointment on my daughter’s face. She had waited the day trip to Kitee aquapark for so long. And when we finally got there I just couldn’t hide my tiredness from her. “Yes, mom is very tired. I’m sorry dear.” I said. “But let’s go to have a sauna for a while. After that, I will have more energy and then we have some fun in the water.” I continued. That’s what we did on…
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Summer 2018 I will remember as a summer when I was able to meet many of my foreign SaimaaLife followers face-to-face in Saimaa. How amazing and almost unreal it has felt! These lovely encounters gave me an idea to ask people to write a story about their Finland and Saimaa travel. Now it is time to publish the first one! Here’s a story that was written by Amy Alley, the inspiring woman behind the blog Pan Pan Studios!  *** By Amy Alley, USA Ah, Finland, the home of my heart, in so…
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I remember how nervous I was when I drove a rental car for the first time abroad. In Finland, we have right-hand traffic, but in South Africa -where we were then- traffic was left-hand. However, I also remember how relieved I was when I noticed that in the end, driving abroad wasn’t that bad (actually it was quite a big self-esteem boost!) and it didn’t even take that long to learn to drive on the other side of the road. Watch this 360° video in Youtube app with virtual reality headset and remember to…
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Many many years ago I had a summer walk in Lappeenranta with a dear friend of mine. It was the first time I visited her home. Besides talking about all things in life, she took me to see the Lappeenranta fortress and a cafe that charmed me with its historical atmosphere already then.  The older I become the happier I am that I have friends who are not only different with personality but also different with age than me. She is older than me. A beautiful and inspiring woman. A woman…
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