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Family Storytelling

Summer Flashback: The Day I Had Some Me Time

I’d forgotten how much I used to like Sophie Ellis-Bextor until I heard her tune at a Zara’s kids’ department.

And if this ain’t love, why does it feel so good?

I was sublty jamming along, singing the song to myself in a very low voice, when I noticed another mum my age stroll-dancing and singing to herself, eyes gazing off to an imaginary dance floor. She was my mirror image. I quickly hid behind the rack of pink baby dresses before she could see me. The leopard skin fake fur coats in 1-2 year-olds’ sizes were adorable.

Since it was summer and I’d arrived by bike, I was feeling a bit hungry. I slipped out of Zara and headed to a cozy cafe nearby to have some salmon soup. While I was sitting at my table, picking out whole black peppers (peppercorns, I was informed by my personal cooking mentor, Google) and wondering if anyone really ate them, I admired the view, sneaking peeks at other cafe-goers.

A breeze alerted me to someone seeking outdoors seating, which led me to notice a bilingual sign on the door. The English translation read: Never leave your bun alone! It was decorated with a beautiful drawing of a landing seagull.

To my right, a couple in their fifties stood in front of a brightly lit, bountiful cake display, the man looking deeply concentrated, carefully pondering his options. “I’m definitely having something healthy,” he finally said, with a firm nod to the girl behind the counter.

“It’s just that… I haven’t yet decided between healthy for the body and healthy for the soul…” I left before he was done choosing.

Next up, I’d been clever enough to have booked myself an Indian Head Massage – it was my favourite way to relax. The massage is exactly what the name suggests: they focus on your head. They even pull your hair, but believe me, it feels lovely. The hair-pulling bit is the best, if done properly!

That was the problem. My regular massage place was no longer a one-woman enterprise: she had grown her business and now had staff. Which meant she had stopped massaging. Her employee was nice, but nowhere near as good, and it had resulted in a never-ending search for a better place. My searches always yielded the same result: there was no better place. Not in Helsinki

Now, if you were to search Google beyond peppercorns, just out of curiosity, and try to find out how many Indian Head Massage salons a metropolis, say London, has, I can inform you that the number is 648. Unfortunately, London was too far for me, since I had to be home for dinner. So I ended up going to the same old place.

Except something had changed: the ambiance was different. As the new girl led me to a tiny room separated by a flimsy curtain, I heard some low chanting. Through the curtain, I could just about see the owner and some young-to-middleaged women sitting in a circle, surrounded by candles. It sounded like a ceremony for witchcraft, not that I would know anything about that. I later learned from a neighbour that witchcraft was all the rage these days. How about that.

Back in my corner of the massage salon, there was an ordinary-looking white desk lamp on a desk. There was nothing remarkable about it, except that it was accompanied by a post-it that shouted, DON’T TOUCH! INFRARED! It seemed like the note could blow off at any moment. The chanting was distracting. Riding home, I passed an elderly woman with a t-shirt that said: Je ne regrette rien.

When I got back home, I was still thinking about that awesome t-shirt. Maybe I should get one? Edith Piaf was singing in my head, just for me. But I could tell from the way hubby lifted his gaze from the cloth he was using to wipe crumbs off the dining table: he had something important to tell me.

First off, he informed me in a flat tone that he’d be needing a spa break very soon, and I imagined him sitting all alone in a jacuzzi somewhere with steam coming out of his ears. He also told me how he’d briefly mixed the twins up – oops – because they’d swapped clothes and were running around faster than the speed of light. I knew it was hard to focus when they go so fast, human eyes just weren’t calibrated for that sort of thing.

Hubby continued his account, “And then one of them called out, Mum! Mum!

I replied, She’s not here.

The child answered, Oops, I got you two mixed up!

Sweet revenge.

Feeling proud of my funny offspring, I remembered a quote I’d seen the week before, during our little domestic holiday to a cold, northern beach. Our accommodation had one of those framed quotes on the wall, you know the ones that were supposed to be insightful and original, but you could get them from Ikea and everyone had the same. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve spotted our bed linen in a tv series. Hey, that’s from Ikea, I think every time.

But the framed quote in our holiday home was catchy enough to still be on my mind a week later. Its words of wisdom were: Holiday is a state of mind. Something to think about when hubby’s off for his spa day.

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29 replies on “Summer Flashback: The Day I Had Some Me Time”

You’ve described an interesting, wonderful day. I like sign about the bun/seagull thief. Good advice unless you’re a seagull. I’ve had a similar experience with a massage therapist. I adored her in one location, but when she moved to a different place I never felt relaxed again. Not quite your experience, but similar in the sense of loss associated with something that used to be great.

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The translation of that bun sign gave me a chuckle. So many fun signs out there if you pay attention! And yes, good massage therapists are as hard to find as good hairdressers (don’t get me started)! Some will just pat your head and then ask for 80 euro. You want to ask, was this it?! Sigh. First world problems…

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I don’t think I ever got more than one massage a year, but I’ve missed them since COVID. And yes, a good head massage is an amazing thing.

I never liked shopping until after I had a kid. Then it became an escape, rather than a hassle.

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Book yourself a massage now! It’s time! 😊 I never liked shopping, either, but after kids it’s an escape, like you say. Also, after kids it’s become fun because I can try to find them cute stuff for as little cost as possible – I always love a challenge – and dressing the kids is fun because they look adorable in everything 😊 Much more fun than dressing myself!!! Also, they always need something, so shopping isn’t splurging, it’s actually just being practical and efficient! Perfect.

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I love buying cute things also, but alas, the child is no frills, all athletic clothing. This year I did get all of us matching red plaid Christmas pajamas, though. He’s gonna hate them.

Too chicken to book a massage, even though I am vaccinated and bivalent boosted. The case here are on the rise and it just isn’t worth the risk. Some day, though.

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At least one of your boys is, and probably both are, witty! I’m not sure about the phrase that holiday is a state of mind, only. I do think some physical awayness comes in handy, although perhaps not as far as the witches like us to go (broom, black cat, full moon, I know I know, not THAT kind of witchcraft), but in the mean time you brought us, apart from a wonderful story, some very very nice pictures.

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The story of your day had a nice, meandering mood to it that matched up just perfectly with the serene beach scenes. Here’s a weird note: I always thought an Indian head massage had something to do with Native Americans (called Indians throughout my youth)! When I read that you called it this in Finland, I had to look it up and I see it is from INDIA … duh! I feel so dumb (but the last time I really thought about these was probably when I was a kid). Final notes are that I loved the sign about the seagulls and your clever boy’s comeback!

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Hah, it’s an honest mistake! Over here, they haven’t been around that long (10-15 years maybe?) and as a European, I obviously always thought of India. The reason I associate it with India is the hair pulling, actually – it just seems like the sort of thing that ashtanga yogis and people who sleep on spike mats would enjoy! 😁 (No offence to any Indians! I love ashtanga yoga! I’m yet to try a spike mat 🧐)

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Your post reminds me of this NYT article “When Everything Is Heavy, a Touch of Humor Can Help”. Pieces of advice given is “Levity is a mind-set” and to always look for things that are just the tiniest bit amusing & surround yourself with people who make you chuckle.

I think you’ve got it 😉

NYT link: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/11/01/well/mind/humor-benefits.html?smid=fb-nytimes&smtyp=cur&fbclid=IwAR2G1hKHkSSNJKMM2qPCJY_qUaPhzwCqTqB91GG0EUWz8w5vRorc8x38KmY

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What an interesting article!! It completely captures what I was trying to do. And I love that one interviewed person was described as “a recovering serious person”. 😁

As much for the readers as for my own sanity, I really want to find something amusing to write about. Something in our daily lives. I can’t dwell on the negative, there’s so much of it and I do stress about the state of the world. Writing needs to be positive, an escape.

I love cozy mysteries (if done well) and I’m currently reading Richard Osman’s “The Man Who Died Twice” and I’m just loving the tone of voice. This book makes me chuckle on every page but it also has a fast-paced and interesting plot. I think I’ve found my niche: this is the tone in which I want to read and also write.

I looked up “autofiction” yesterday (because I used it as a tag) and it was amazing that all the dozens and dozens of books suggested were very serious ones. They were all about the person’s struggles in life. I know that the basics of a traditional plot include having a struggle for the protagonist to overcome – apparently it would be boring otherwise – so they say. But honestly, I just can’t read about any more struggles. None of those masterpieces ended up on my reading list. I want to be entertained and feel good.

Thanks for reading, Sandy! ❤️

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… and that’s why I enjoy reading your posts! I have a similar mindset. There’s too much negativity clamoring for our attention. If we allow it, we’d drown in an ocean of despair.

I’m not familiar with the term ‘autofiction’. I thought it meant automatically-generated fiction but I see it’s autobiographical-fiction. Interesting term. It satisfies the conundrum of writing memoirs with anonymity. It also sounds less pretentious.

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The way I see it, in autofiction, you are telling a true story but adding small elements of fiction or storytelling to make it more interesting or coherent. For instance, all these things in my post didn’t happen the same day, but they could’ve, and they did happen to me last summer. That’s my version of autofiction, but it seems a debated term.

And yes, that’s why I’m drawn to your posts, too!

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It remarkable that you are able to recall so many interactions of that day! Love your kid’s witty “revenge” :D. The Indian head massage – oh yes, that’s something I miss very much, now that I don’t get it. It’s called “Champi” and I read that the word “Shampoo” is derived from that “Champi (Hindi) -> Champu (Spanish) -> Shampoo (English)”. When I was younger, that was a regular thing before taking a head bath. Children would sit with an oil bottle at the feet of the mom, with their back to her, and one by one she would lovingly apply that oil. Of course the ones at the salons are longer and more relaxing. Looks like instead of commenting, I am writing a blog post myself, so I’ll stop now ;-).

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Don’t stop!!! I was just thinking, I’d LOVE to read a blog post from you about this memory!!! Please write more. Champi, how fascinating. Are you sure you can’t find (a good) one near you? The only memory I have related to my hair is how tangled it would get (and still does) and my mum would try to brush through it. Not quite a head massage!! 😆

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Seems like it was such a peaceful day – or at least that’s how I felt when reading your words! I love the idea of “healthy for your body or healthy for your mind” and feel like it’s a personal dilemma I go through every day ahah! I’m also starting this day off with the quote “holiday is a state of mind”, so hopefully it will be a less stressful day!

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