If someone asked me to sketch the feeling of nostalgia, I’d sketch my aunt’s house.
It’s a little red hideout amidst the woodland of Karjaa, in Finland. This quiet location mixed with the scatterings of character inside makes being here feel like you’re lost in time, surrounded by symbols of stories and memories but not venturing their roads, just comforted by their presence.
My aunt’s name is Viv and she moved to Finland to retire, having lived in Belgium before that. She lives with lots of animals, including four dogs and a bull named Hannibal.
See, look at that friendly little face.
I went to stay here for the first time about a year and a half ago now. Crazily, I hadn’t seen my aunt for about eight years until then. It felt like no time at all though, as we ate grilled halloumi and drank wine into the early hours of the morning, chatting about life and where it had taken us so far.
Just like looking through old photographs of family and trying to put together the little pieces of your heritage, I felt fascinated by everything around me. The thrifted lamp on the table, the Moomin mugs hung cutely in the kitchen, the bookcases filled with poetry books and then Viv’s art work, all around in frames or even decorating kitchen cupboards, doors and walls.
I only stayed here for a week but often find myself missing it a lot when in a moment of stress. I think this is because I visited at a time when I had nowhere else to be, and felt completely free to do what I liked, hidden from the rest of the world for a while. I could almost pause time here and just be inspired, exploring and reflecting. I suppose in that way this magical little house reminds me of being in such a dreamy state of mind. Hopefully I’ll get to go back some time soon. Do any of you have places that you maybe only visited once, but think of often and miss?