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A Cobra in our Bathtub

I was 6 years old, my sister was 3 when we moved to Siavonga, Zambia. It was midnight when we arrived and the lights in the house didn't work  so dad checked the place with flashlights for unwanted strangers or crawlers. He saw a scorpio on our bathroom floor and as he was killing it I saw something rise it's head from the bathtub.
In the position to strike.
I couldn't even scream, no sound came out, I took my dad's hand and pointed and pointed. 
Huh he saw it on time and with great difficulty killed it, it was so huge. Then there were a a couple of spiders and scorpios to get rid of. It sure was difficult to find sleep after that.
At night my sister started crying. I always took her to my bed as that calmed her down so I braved whatever creepers could be on the floor and ran to carry her to my bed. But she didn't calm down, she was hungry. 
I called out for my mother and father who slept in the next room. Only echo answered. Terror started to rise it's ugly head. They had to hear us.
I was so afraid of what I might step on in the dark but had no choice. I picked my crying baby sister in my arms and ran to mom and dad's room. Their bed was empty.
I had to stay calm not to panic my sister but inside my heart was pounding suffocating fear. Anyway first I had to get Katri something to eat. I run to the kitchen as fast as I could with her in my arms, feeling the cobra's rising head on every step. 
I placed Katri in the kitchen sink and put the plug on so noting could get to her from underneath - thought it would be safer than what might be on the floor. We had hardly any food supplies but I found butter and sugar and mashed those for her.
She calmed down, me - no. We had been stopped by some many armed militia groups, some of them aggressive, on our way from the capital Lusaka that I could only imagine they had come to get mom and dad and killed them. They couldn't have vanished like that otherwise.
In my 6-year-old head I drafted a plan for us. The only way for us to survive, in my mind, was to get out of that place, get us back to Finland and find our grandparents. They would take care of us.
I'd never flown on an airplane before but knew now that passports and tickets were needed. So I decided to wait till morning light, look for the passports and money and try to hitch hike to Lusaka with Katri. Then we'd have to find the airport. After would come the tricky part - I'd have to find a plane that was going to Finland and buy tickets or smuggle us in. Felt most difficult, especially as I didn't speak a word of English.
Once we'd be in Finland I knew I'd get us to safety.
Not a great plan, I realised, but the best I came up with.
We stayed in the kitchen as there was light in the fridge and by keeping the door open I could see that no crawlers were around. I'd never been so scared in my life and couldn't stop thinking of the faith of my parents...
Until the door opened and giddy happy they entered. There was another Finnish family somewhere nearby and they'd gotten a brilliant idea of going to introduce themselves and have a drink together. Katri and I were so tired from the time difference and the very long and strenuous journey that they were sure we wouldn't wake up.
Parenting those days sure was way more relaxed than now. 
I was so relieved that there are no words to describe it, but beyond that I was so mad that there are even fewer ways of expressing it. I think I couldn't even speak to my parents in weeks. 
But what doesn't kill you (sometimes) makes you stronger.
The next time this happened we just found torches (and knew the village)  so we went to find them :). 

You deserve a lover who...

You deserve a lover who wants you disheveled, with everything and all the reasons that wake you up in a haste and the demons that won’t let you sleep.

You deserve a lover who makes you feel safe, who can consume this world whole if he walks hand in hand with you; someone who believes that his embraces are a perfect match with your skin.

You deserve a lover who wants to dance with you, who goes to paradise every time he looks into your eyes and never gets tired of studying your expressions.

You deserve a lover who listens when you sing, who supports you when you feel shame and respects your freedom; who flies with you and isn’t afraid to fall.

You deserve a lover who takes away the lies and brings you hope, coffee, and poetry.

-Frida Kahlo
I once visited Frida and Diego's house(s) in Mexico City, read her biography... And just didn't get it. What was it about Diego that allowed her heart to keep on going after all that pain. His affair with her sister, the babies she lost in miscarriages, the non stop physical torture of the corsets she had to wear (and painted with colorful flowers) to keep her spine in one piece... Living in their separate houses joined by only a bridge... 
And I stumbled upon this text.
Maybe that was it. I so hope Diego took
 away the lies and brought her all the hope, coffee, and poetry she needed.

What can I tempt you with...

Well since tonight will pass awake I'll spend it by digging up my treasure trove to check what I can tempt you with at our pop up...

There's one piece of this divine princess dress, -70%, originally 498e, now 149e. This one is size S but we have unique wonders in all sizes...

This cape in a beautiful shade of old rosa will fit all sizes. It is -50%, originally 149e, now 74e
My gorgeous handmade Moonalia Dream Forest Fairy dress, with a matching wool jacket... The dress is -50% but only during the pop up, originally 298e, today 149e.
There are also plenty of great finds at the price range of 30-45 euros, I only haven't had the chance to photograph them.
Come check everything out but most importantly, come spend a lovely evening with me, my mother and Shanshan <3. 

Season Sale combined with Season's Blizzard

Huoh I'm organizing a pop up event for our loyal customers... And of course the worst blizzard of this winter hits Helsinki on the same day. It's six in the morning and I've been up most of the night reading news about flights being cancelled, public transportasion preparing for chaos, recommendations to stay at home today and work from home if possible :). 

I can only laugh at my luck... Well I hope you my dear friends will brave the snow and come warm up with us to Shanshan's studio. I can promise a definitely fun ambiance and most warm welcome to you all <3.

Let's toast together and laugh away all this snow! After all, from a cozy place indoors it looks very winter wonderlandlike :). 

Mea culpa

My youngest son used to have headaches every day for a number of years. At least two years give or take.

This was when he was little... Maybe ages 4-6 or something. I was still married to his father and we did all we could possibly imagine to find out what could be wrong. Regular check-ups, private specialists, optomologists, neurologists.... Enough sleep, steady blood sugar, healthy food, fresh air and excercise, reassurance from us that this pain would go away.... Yet pretty much every day his head hurt. Either of us massaged his head in the evenings until he fell asleep. So helpless. 

We gave him a chart between 0-3 where zero meant no pain and three was unbearable Every day at some point he was between 2-3. And this is a child who never complains.
Once he was at the French Alps skiing with his dad and brother and he fell badly on a slope. A professional skiing instructor was with him within a couple of minutes and had called an ambulance (their father couldn't possibly control the two if they lost their balance and simultaneously bolted off to different directions). This instructor had seen the accident and that my Luca had hit his head hard. He held Luca still and asked him at a scale of 0 to 5, how much does your head hurt.

Luca had answered Sorry, the scale of pain is from 0 to 3.

Then we had one crucial check up at the maternity care unit and I again told about his continuous headaches. The nurse remembered us from when Luca was just some 6 months old - his head had grown so fast that it was over their standards so we were under special observation during his first year, visiting a child neurologists' hospital once a month. They wanted to be sure he didn't have hydrokephalus. That was so long ago that I hadn't associated it with these headaches. Now the nurse measured his head - it had jumped well over the standard maximum again. This time combined with daily headaches. 

So we were sent away with an urgent referral for a magnetic scan of his brain. It was a Friday. I asked the nurse if this was her child would she wait till Monday or find a private clinic that could do it the same day. She said she'd go today.

I got a taxi and managed to get an appointment straight away. The nurse had carefully but firmly told me that it could be nothing. But I should prepare myself for the fact that everything else had now been ruled out other than hydrokephalus or a tumor. 

Luca was scrolled into a tube where he had to lay totally still for 30-45 minutes, listening to Moomin cassettes. I remained at the other end of the device holding his toes, the only thing  I could reach, and prayed harder than ever in this life. I don't remember all the things I promised the universe but I know it was absolutely everything.

After it all the radiologist said we'd get  the results on Monday when a neurologist had checked the scan. 

I took his hands into mine and begged like I've never before or since begged anybody. Please tell me, tell me, whatever it is I cannot spend a weekend not knowing. Please. Whatever it is, please please tell me. 

He took pity on me and went outside protocol. Luca's brain was 100% healthy. He could rule out the worst possibilities with certainty.

Luca had fun in the playing room with the nurse as I cried my heart out at their toilet. After a long while I was able to hold a phone and tell his dad he was okay.

But his headaches continued... Until the year when we got divorced. The headaches stopped and haven't come back - it's been some five years.

We had suspected his pain might have been psychosomatic as no physical illness was ever found. So we had done our best to ensure he wasn't bullied at daycare or school, he had friends, the ambiance at home was as peaceful as possible... Although we had problems in our marriage we didn't argue much - or at least both of us did our very best to keep the feeling positive if the children were home. There was no shouting or nasty words. But he had felt that we weren't happy and suffered from it.
Us as parents should have acted on US so much earlier on. We only concentrated on Luca and didn't actually treat the root cause of his suffering. I had tried to push couples councelling for years but my ex husband didn't feel comfortable with it. Divorcing when they were too little to understand that they would keep the presence and love of both their parents could have been even more tramatizing.

There are no correct answers. However the truth is that my little son suffered daily headaches for years because I couldn't provide him with an environment where everybody was relaxed, loved and generally happy.  
My guilt over what my life choices have done to my son remain and so they should.

At least I've done my best to learn from that experience. Our home now is very much our sanctuary - small and messy but relaxed and full of love. Only truly caring people with whom we all feel at ease are welcome here. 

Our inner circle is small but it's better than having memories of hurtful words, uncomfortable silences or emotional distance at our place of peace.

And our door is always open to those whom we love and who love us. 

This is a photo Luca took of me last week saying Maman you look like a painting! 

Then he asked whether that is a nice thing to say or not. As I hugged him to let him know just how nice a thing that was to say he told me this photo is his favorite one of me.

I don't care if half of me is missing. I think the love I feel for him is captured in that very moment.