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!”
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.