The past few days have been shocking and sad here in my home city of Turku. I will get to that later in this post.
I guess summer is officially over now that schools have started (not for us University students quite yet though) and as I mentioned before, my work hours are becoming fewer as well. That means that I've had a lot more time to hang out with family and friends. So last Saturday after work (and work was pretty exciting as well because I served none other than Redfoo from LMFAO! He was performing at a festival in town and stopped by our restaurant for some grub) I got a ride with Emppu and Paul to Ella's summer cottage which is locate in Kimito, about a 45 minute car ride from Turku. There we celebrated the end of summer with a crayfish party, which was so much fun! I've never actually been to a crayfish party before, but luckily my friends taught me how to peel and eat crayfish, so now I'm a pro. It was great hanging out with all of my friends, and there was lots to talk about too, which meant that I didn't go to bed 'til 6 in the morning. I took a 4 hour nap the next day, crayfish partying can be exhausting!
I also had a dog come over to my apartment last week, and she was so cute! My friend Julle was dog sitting so she came over with Hylsy, and she was adorable. I wasn't loving the white fur which was all over my apartment after she left, but it was totally worth it.
Now to the horrible event that happened in the center of Turku on Friday the 19th of August, just last week. I'm sure most of you reading this know all about it, but just after four in the afternoon, a man started stabbing people around the market square, leaving two dead and eight others injured. Since then we have learned that this was in fact a terrorist attack, committed by an 18-year-old asylum seeker. I was actually working at the time of the attack, and our restaurant is located just across the street from the market square, in plain sight of where the knife man committed his horrible crimes. I didn't actually see any of the attacks myself, I only started paying attention to what was going on outside when police cars and ambulances started arriving to the scene. Then someone came in to the bar next to our restaurant and said that somebody had been stabbed. At first I didn't think much of it, but then we started getting news that it wasn't just one person, it was several people. I was supposed to get off from work at 5, but at that point we did not know what was going on and since police had asked people to stay inside and avoid walking in the city center, I stayed at work for one more hour, texting friends and family and trying to figure out what was going on. We didn't know whether there was only one attacker or many, or if they had caught them. Rumors started spreading on social media that other shopping centers in and around Turku had been attacked as well (these reports were false and the shopping centers were closed as a precaution). Later we also found out that police had captured the suspect merely minutes after the attack began, and if it wasn't for brave bystanders, who started chasing the attacker and helped victims, the outcome of this tragedy could've been much worse. At six I got a ride from my friend Emppu home who was kind enough to come and pick me up from work.
The last couple of days I have spent reading the news, talking to my friends and family and thinking a lot about what happened. Unfortunately we read about these types of attacks almost every day on the news, and you can't help but to feel sad for the state of the world, and sad for the victims. I wouldn't say that I could've never imagined it happening in my home city, but it did come as a big shock, knowing that these attacks happened just 100 meters away from me. Knowing that any one of my friends or family or just someone I know could've been there, because it's the square we walk through several times a week, if not daily. It's the square where my little brother takes his bus home when he gets off from school. It's the square where my friend went to buy strawberries just 5 minutes before the attack. It could have been any one of us, but it wasn't, and I'm so thankful for that.
I'm also thankful for the police, who did a tremendous job in capturing the attacker in such a short time. I'm thankful for the bystanders who risked their own lives by going after the attacker, and warming people about him. I'm thankful for all of those people who are willing to see past hate and revenge and try to spread love and support. I think our president Sauli Niinistö expressed it very well, when he spoke about the aftermath of these types of attacks, especially when it comes to questions about immigration and refugees. He said that Finland's strength and success is based on our ability to work together, and to give room to different opinions without putting blame on others. He reminded that we all have the freedom of speech, but that we are also responsible for the actions that our words lead to. Niinistö said that some are for and others are against immigration, which is understandable, but if we use our different opinions to build hate, it will only weaken our ability to reject evil.