A few days after bearing witness to the effortless on-ice glide of pro hockey players, we decided to overcome our “Varokaa heikkoa jäätä” PTSD’s and try ice skating out ourselves. Well, at least Aoi and Hannele did. I didn’t have the time to go get skates from anywhere, so I just tagged along as a non-skating one-man support group. Turns out that this was a way to be actually useful, so I’m not complaining!

Once we got to the lake where the skating was to take place, it didn’t go unnoticed that the weather was windy. As the girls were putting the skates on, I employed my superpowers as a shoes-wearer by rescuing Hannele’s bag that was caught in a sudden gust of wind. But my ego-boosting heroism did not end there! Understandably for someone who wasn’t born in a cold climate, Aoi wasn’t all that familiar with the concept of not falling while wearing ice skates, so I got to be the pylon that she could hold onto while trying to figure out the exact mechanisms that go into skating. “I failed her only once” doesn’t sound that great, so let’s just say that no-one got injured.

Standing still was a survival tactic of sorts
Standing still was a survival tactic of sorts

Right in the middle of the frozen lake, there was a tent where some guy was selling hot things to cold people. A British person came by, showing off his deep knowledge of basic Finnish survival vocabulary (“makkara, kahvi, munkki, Koskenkorva”; not that the latter was sold there). The sales tent was at an unfortunate rotational angle, all things considered. The entrance was facing the freezing wind head-on, so “warming up” didn’t exactly work as advertised. I felt really sorry for the shopkeeper and his associates who probably spent the entire day there in a tent that was just as cold as the outside.

On our way back, the wind provided us with the kind of experience that I hope all foreigners have on their first visit to Finland (just so everything else feels awesome after that really bad first impression). The wind had helped us reach the middle of the lake by pushing our backs gently, but now it made it known that did not want us to leave. The frozen lake was to be our icy tomb, but we courageously talked about movies to divert our attention away from the fact that our faces were about to fall off. When we finally reached the shore, my skatelessness once again helped in the quick retrieval of Hannele’s bag that made its second attempt to escape into the windy expanse.

The most important lesson I got from all of this is that I really need to invest in better gloves. Next time, we’ll be doing some indoor stuff.

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