I have now left Finland and the lovely people that helped me get to know it a little. I’m a little sad, however I’m also excited to have arrived in Amsterdam! But I could probably have done with a little decompression in between. While I have been in Finland I have always had the nagging question “Where is everybody?” Even in the centre of Helsinki and on a ferry over to Suomenlinna island with all the Pokémon Go players, there was still space, no pushing or shoving. I visited Haltia yesterday, a Finnish Nature Centre set in the gorgeous Nuuksio National Park, just to get a taste of Finland outside the populated southern cities. Wow. The sounds are of woodpeckers and your feet crunching on the path and leaves falling from the trees. It only took an hour to get there so it’s not even that far away.
You can immediately get a sense of peace and are drawn into taking note of your surroundings, and even though there is excellent reception here (another feature of Finland), there was no need to get online. All of which gives lots of headspace. So I could ponder important things like; do woodpeckers know the difference between a tree and a telegraph pole, is it highly inappropriate to swim in the lake in front of peoples homes and how cold would it be in the water?
It was a beautiful day which also helped…
So now I assume you are all feeling as calm and relaxed as me, imagine going from that into Schipol airport. It’s quite a leap to suddenly find yourself sharing the same space as hundreds (thousands?) of other travelers and having to queue again. Argh. But I will get used to this new definition of busy and find some quiet.
It all gets me thinking of the atmosphere that greets audiences in many science centres, the buildings are often large with poor acoustics, school groups arrive excited after confinement on a bus and the content and space design appears to wind them up further until we see them running, hitting buttons, looking flushed and wild eyed. And that doesn’t provide the best space for thinking, reflecting and considering content, your opinions or even spending time together. So how do we change our spaces and bring a bit of Finnish rauha (peace) into our spaces, not demanding reverential silence for our amazing content, but more so that some of those engaged conversations can happen around it.