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ISABELLE MIKKOLA

- A journey from me to myself

From travel chaos to my little paradise

At the moment, I’m sitting on the porch, eating a herring sandwich, enjoying the evening sun and am calming down to the sounds of nature. Infinite bird song and a constant buzzing from countless insects. In the past, the insects were mostly annoying, but since I moved into the city full time, the buzzing is a warming welcome home.

The bus departed at 02.00 this morning from the Swansea bus station which set off for Gatwick Airport. It is a 6 hour trip which I luckily slept through. The morning was spent at the airport, waiting for the flight to take off at 11.10. I was already tired after the long bus trip and the flight was of course delayed by one hour. If I could stop doing one thing for the rest of my life then it would be to fly, I’m so tired of it. But eventually I arrived at Gothenburg after about 12 hours of traveling. However, to be welcomed by my dad with Max hamburgers already made the trip worth it 🙂

I have looked so much forward to coming home to the farm in Liared and it has been absolutely wonderful! When I grew up I spent all summers on the farm and as a teenager I felt trapped and isolated on the countryside. I just wanted to go back into town to enjoy the summer holidays as a normal person and hang out with my friends, hang out on the beach and experience young nights. But the farm has really grown on me the older I have become and it has become a home that I miss.

Liared provides me with a peace that I can’t find anywhere else. It is like the farm has an old soul that breathes with deep breaths and after a while you fall into the same rhythm. It’s like the body says “this is how it should be”. The city is fun and practical but the soul can’t breathe in the same way as it does when you’re surrounded by nature. When I am in nature, walking, surfing or just lying on the grass, I really feel how full of energy our mother earth is. And I realize how small I am. It makes me sad when I think about how many beautiful resources we have in this world, but instead of caring, showing respect and being grateful for it, we are exploiting all resources we can put our hands on. We suck out as much as we can until there is nothing left and the earth tries to keep up to give us everything she has and a little more. It is unconditional love. And that is exactly the love I feel when I come home to my little paradise.

I also get unconditional love from my dog Ollie 🙂 I decided to let him stay on the farm with my dad because he can’t follow me on my adventures. But despite being away for several months at a time, he shows me the same affection the second I come home.

Pictures do not do justice to this special place but I still want to show a fraction of its beauty and some pictures of Ollie 🙂

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Photosess a’la Wales

Today I wrote my last exam, which also concluded my second year of university and it feels SO GOOD !! 😍 Freedom comes in many forms but this is definitely the best one. Summer break! I dream of a bowl of strawberries and milk, green meadows, nice sunsets, swimming in the sea and nice summer times with Markus of course 🙂 it almost sounds a bit too good to be true and to be honest, I don’t know if that’s what my summer will look like haha. But I still love summer, though it would be gray, rainy and without strawberries. Of course, I prefer the summer that I see in front of me with sunny and warm days, but most of all, I try to absorb the energy from everything that has come to life, in order to prepare for next winter.

well, me and Markus spent last “winter” in Wales. Though it would be almost an insult to winter to call it winter. Here you’re stuck in a 4-5 month long November (with the exception of a few days in February when we had +20 degrees and abundant sun). I MISS Scandinavian winters with snow!! Perhaps everyone from home think that I have lost my mind but I miss proper winters and seasons soooo much. White, cold, beautiful snow. Even slushy, gray / brown snow! I just want to bury my face in white snow (please don’t hold it against me when the time comes haha).

Speaking of winter, I went through some old pictures and found photos from a photoshoot that me and Markus did with Erika May Tenney who was visiting Wales because she served her mission here. She is a photographer from the United States specializing in elopement-, wedding- and engagement photos and everything in between that has to do with people in love 🙂 She lives in Utah but I also know she travels a lot so if you want great photographer for any of the above I can highly recommend her! Below are some of the pictures she took and I love how she managed to capture how me and Markus feel about each other <3 Check out her website for more pictures: https://erikamayphotography.com/ or instagram @erikamayphotography

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An exam, a nightmare and a pinch of chafed feet

I’m on my way home from school after finishing exam no. 2/3  🙌  the walk home from school is so beautiful and I decided to stop for a while on this bench to write a little and enjoy the view (and because I have chafed feet that needed to rest a little haha). The exam went relatively well which is a relief because this was probably the most difficult of all exams. Also, I wasn’t feeling great this morning either after a rather eventful night.

I usually don’t have nightmares but it is typical that it would happen the very night I’d sleep without having Markus next to me for the first time in months. Now that I think of the dream, it was actually like a good thriller, but when I was in the dream I was so scared. Several murders had taken place and I was at one of the murder scenes. Everyone told me I knew who the murderer was and they tried to help me “remember”, but I couldn’t. All of a sudden, I got flashbacks of the murders that had been committed and I saw everything and I felt everything that the victim and the murderer felt. The dream itself is probably not what scared me, but it was the emotions that I felt so strongly. Fear, panic, evil and anger.

When I have nightmares I usually manage to wake myself up to stop the nightmare, but of course my dreams return to the nightmare as soon as I fall asleep again. The same thing happened last night, but suddenly when I was in the worst “scene” in my nightmare, I woke up because someone rang the doorbell. I’m looking at the clock and it’s 03.45 in the morning. I listened carefully for more sounds and I could hear how someone was pulling the doorhandle. I thought I was already scared after the nightmare but now my fear intensified to maximum! I heard voices outside our window (we live in a townhouse on a street where the nights can be quite messy even though the area is quiet). I just couldn’t stand it anymore and I called Markus crying. The poor thing had come home to Finland in the middle of the night and was going to work early in the morning. But I couldn’t stop myself from calling him, I was terrified at this point. I was not even sure if someone had actually entered the house and I was too scared to check! But he stayed with me on the phone for an hour until I could fall asleep again. What a sweet husband I have.

Apparently, you can dream of murders if you e.g. underestimate your own potential, which really fits well with how I feel right now with all the exams that I have to do. I love my program in university and I am passionate about the subject but my program is a so-called “luxury program” which means that you study for three years without actually becoming anything. You only get more knowledge about how the world works, but it really does not give me a specific skill. A thought has occupied my mind since I started at the university, though I don’t know how true it is, that if I have top grades then people will perhaps hire me even though I’ve only done a “luxury program”. And that results in me putting a lot of pressure on myself.

The nightmare might simply just have to do with the fact that I’m watching about 3 episodes of “Pretty Little Liars” every day, which is very similar to my dream 😅 anyway it was just a dream, thankfully nobody came into the house and the exam went well. So I’m grateful for a good day even though it started a bit shaky. However, now I will continue my walk and hope that I will survive without too many blisters on my way home 🙏

The little things in life

Markus went home to Finland today since he has to go back to work as he finished his exams almost a week before me. It feels strange to be without him, I’m just waiting for him to suddenly walk down the stairs or to come out of the kitchen. And it may sound silly because we will only be apart for a week, but when you live with someone and spend most of your time with that person, you like “grow together”. I had a hard time getting used to having Markus close to me all the time when we first moved together. I am a lone wolf and I need (!) lonely time to maintain a stable mental state haha. But that’s the beauty of relationships. You grow, compromise and learn about yourself and the other person.

Relationships are beautiful but they can also be really ugly (which of course leads to both growing) 🙂 Markus and I work hard every day to find a good balance where we both feel comfortable and happy. Many times we succeed, but of course we also fail, which is ok. I have always prepared myself for the fact that marriage would be hard work, but I had no idea how hard it would be. Don’t get me wrong, Markus and I are really happy and most of the time we just enjoy each other’s company. But it does not matter how much you love each other, marriage and relationships are full of misunderstandings, different opinions, hurt feelings, bad days, stress and (from my side, pms haha) and you can’t avoid it. Something that is important to me, however, is how determined you are to stick to it and how willing you are to work for it. But to be honest, sometimes I’m 100% willing but it still feels like it’s impossible to solve the problems and you wonder what you are doing wrong. But that’s the way it is and you just have to try to get back to the core of it all, which is the love you have for each other, that’s why you are in a relationship to start with. Love must be nourished and cherished through life and it does not have to be the big things in life that contribute to it, but rather the little things in life.

Markus and I both enjoy finding new places in nature to enjoy and, at least according to me, it is one of those little things in life that has a balming effect for me and Markus. The other day we ended up in a nature park near Swansea, actually by mistake, but the nature there was so beautiful! It reminded me a lot of Asia and I felt a little nostalgic. I was also happy that we had found a little special place near us.

These are the kind of moments that I save in my little mental memory box that I can bring forth on rainy days <3

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I will never have a blog!

When I have talked about or seen blogs, my most common thought was “I will never have a blog”. And I believed it too. It wasn’t really because I thought it would exposed me too much or because I would focus too much on the next post and stop living in the moment. The biggest reason was because I was afraid. I was afraid my life wouldn’t be enough. I was afraid that others would judge what I would write and that they simply wouldn’t like it. I am surrounded by wonderful people who are incredibly talented at writing, some even made a career out of it. How could I compete with that? What can I say that has not already been said? I also put a lot of pressure on myself, because if I were to blog then it had be perfect. I didn’t want any cracks to show. And I knew I couldn’t live up to it so why even try.

If I’m going to be completely honest, I’ve never really been a deep thinker anyways. I like to live in the present and to not think too much about the past and the future. But lately something has changed. I still like the present but I’ve started to think so much that I don’t know what to do about it. I’ve felt a need to write and organize my thoughts to the extent that my fingers are burning. What happened? Maybe I just grew up haha. Or I understand life better, or maybe I understand life less the more I learn. Anyway, I am here writing a blog that I was never supposed to have. And it feels so good. Because it doesn’t matter if people don’t like what I write. I’m doing this for myself. And I don’t have to worry that everything has already been said because it hasn’t. My voice has not been heard. And if no one listens to it, it’s ok because this is my way of sending out my voice in the universe. And this blog will have a bunch of cracks, believe me! And that’s also ok. And I will not write about perfect things or about a perfect life because it does not exist.

So, now this journey begins and I am so excited to share my little life with you and maybe an understanding for each other can grow from sharing experiences and thoughts. So hold on tight because now I will write away in my blog!

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A little bit about me…

My name is Isabelle Mikkola, I am 26 years old and I come from Sweden. I live in Swansea, Wales and I am married to Markus who is from Finland.

My home town is the beautiful little Jönköping, which I left as soon as I had the opportunity, to satisfy my curiosity of the world. During this journey, I found the person that is my everything, my husband Markus. Today, we live in a town called Swansea, the hidden gem of Wales.

I study international relations at Swansea University which has helped me to understand the world that I have experienced so far. Even if that is close to my heart, another part of me hos awoken from its slumber. For a long time, I have felt a need to express myself, and this blog will be a place where I can share my experiences, express my emotions, gather memories and hopefully learn more about myself and life itself.

Welcome to my life 🙂