From June to October 2014, Jenny O’Connell embarked on a walking journey across Finland, following the footsteps of Lappish legend Petronella Van Der Moer into the heart of the Arctic Circle. This is her blog.
My sister Caitlin sleeps on the couch across from me, unwilling to leave my side in favor of a more comfortable bed. I am curled into my favorite chair which has been reupholstered from scratchy gold fabric to a smooth, dull rose over the years. It has taken on some major creaks, but still holds me no matter how tall I grow. I am silent, listening to the crackling of the coals and the tick-tock-tick of the clock… Read More
“The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart.” – Maya Angelou April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014
What happens when two tall, loud, curly, energetic women combine to change the world through music and dance? My dear friend Mira Manickam and I were sitting on my bed in the Marin Headlands last December. We had just held our first recording session together. “Mira, it’s crazy,” I said. “I wanted to be a writer, and now I’m walking across Finland, retracing the steps of a 90-year-old wild woman and writing… Read More
Exactly one month from today, I land in Helsinki to begin my adventure! I cannot believe that the one month mark has arrived so soon. It feels like I have been dreaming and learning about this journey for a long time, and yet here I stand, ready or not, with a hard deadline and a date of departure. With the resting hopes and dreams of those who know me (or know of me)… Read More
Tickets to Finland are booked! Scandinavian Airlines: 16-Jun-14 (Mon) 06:55p depart Newark (EWR) flight change in Oslo 17-Jun-14 (Tue) 06:15pm arrive Helsinki, Finland (HEL) 13-Oct-14 (Mon) 01:55pm depart Helsinki, Finland (HEL) flight change in Copenhagen 14-Oct-14 (Tue) 02:45pm arrive San Francisco (SFO) There are so many exclamation points in my heart right now!!!!!!!!
Camp is set, our climbing gear is ready, and we hear the roar of a bus engine. Forty-six 6th grade girls pour down the stairs, giggling, screaming, laughing. Apples roll from lunch boxes, sleeping bags are piled unceremoniously on the side of the road, and we call them into a giant circle. I scan the crowd, soaking in the advertisements. Abercrombie jacket. Heavy mascara. Authentic Ray Bans. $200 skinny jeans. Brand new Keds… Read More
Sometimes, you just need to spread some JOY. If you are in or around the San Francisco area on Thursday, April 24th, come dance in the street with me! (if you aren’t, dance in your living room anyway.) SUMMER GOAL: to hold/participate in a flashmob in Finland sometime during my journey. People of Finland, are you up for it?
Excerpt from our first visit in April 2013: “Petronella acknowledges my presence with the slightest of nods. She sits on a throne of pillows, eating applesauce out of a porcelain teacup. Her right hand grasps a tiny spoon, and a ray of sunlight catches the sapphire ring on her finger, sending shadows of blue fire dancing across the cream-colored wall of the houseboat. Slowly, she extends her hand to me, admiring the… Read More
The future work of a woman will be wide, and her task important. What centuries, millenia, have broken and neglected, that all will be corrected and mended by her. – Minna Canth This week, on the 19th of March, Finland celebrated Minna Canth’s Day – also the Day of Social Equality. Minna was a Finnish writer and the first female Finnish-speaking journalist, as well as the first woman to have a flag day in… Read More
I think this is a good reminder on the first day of spring. Won’t you take a moment to celebrate life with me today? In the words of Kid President: “You, you’re awesome. You’re made that way. You’re made from love, to be love, to spread love. Love is always louder, no matter what. Even if hate has a bullhorn, love is louder. So let your life be loud. Let’s shout to… Read More