Finland, Helsinki

A simple wooden house. Inside there are carrot and chocolate cakes, a glass coffee pot, some photos on the wall, a boy and girl. They look young and giggle as they have to talk in English. I am in Yliskyl√§, the south-east of Helsinki. It’s unexpectedly cold and I have wrapped myself in my green jacket. I pay for a coffee and a cake, and then I wait, but nothing happens. One of them finally tells me that clients pour themselves coffee. I like the idea, and it’s only the first hint that I’m almost on a different planet.

The girl and the boy are 16 and have gotten part-time jobs for the summer. It’s the beginning of June, and the holidays have begun. Not far from the cafe place, there is a beach. I feel this tiny thrill that I’m living next to the sea for a few days.

One moment it’s sunny, then it becomes cloudy, and the light keeps shifting. It’s about 8 pm, but it feels like midday. Some kids are waiting for the bus, a woman is walking her dog. There are few people, and the space seems huge, peaceful and green.

When I get to the sea, it seems improbable that there is so much wilderness in the middle of a city. There are seagulls, there is the water, there are fir trees. Two young girls, who work as safeguards, are packing up their things. I continue walking, discovering new patches of woods, islands, and it doesn’t get dark.

At 10 pm, it’s still bright outside. It feels confusing. Why there isn’t an end to this day?