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Paradise is what I spoiled myself with

My grandmother was an exceptional woman. She was very modern for her time.

She wore pants when most women wore skirts and dresses. She painted the entrance of her home in pink and the kitchen floor red in the cabin.

She had an interest in many things.

Art, Japanese language and culture, traveling (she went to Kenya already in the 60’s), metalwork and industrial art (she took metalwork classes as the only woman there), good food, pretty table set ups, conversations and debates, fashion and the Swedish language.

? Who has been an exceptional character in your life?

I have warm memories of her interest towards me, wanting to spend time with me and seeing me as a child.

So what does Paradise have to do with my grandmother?

Paradise is the name of the china my grandparents used to have in the summer cabin. I remember them enjoying their coffee in Paradise – Paratiisi in Finnish – cups on the veranda of the summer cabin.

They had their newspapers and magazines to read with the coffee. Many times the newspaper was Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter to keep up their Swedish skills and enjoy the quality newspaper.

In my memory the sun was shining, my grandparents had no hurry and they had their Paradise mugs and plates.

When my grandparents died about 20 years ago, the Paradise dishes went to my uncle.

The cabin was left to my mom and later she gave it to me as a pre-inheritance after I had spent many summers and winters enjoying the cabin life.

Last week I bought myself a Paradise mug and plate.

I spoiled myself – they are kind of expensive and I didn’t need any mugs or plates.

And I am so happy ?

I feel warm whenever I now see my Paradise mug or plate.

I now eat many meals on that china.

I remember my grandmother – mumi we called her – in her sunglasses, short red hair always done and in checkered black and white calf-length pants.

She liked wearing tunikas.

Here in the cabin she is looking at me from a black and white photo in her cat eye glasses next to my granddad.

I miss her dearly and feel tears in my eyes as I type this ?

And even more so I am grateful for the memories of her enjoying being with me and being interested in me as I am – an experience I did not have so much with my parents growing up.

So I want to ask you:

? Who have you loved as they are without a need to change them?

How does that feel?

I am grateful to myself that I gave myself the Paradise mug and plate. That I wanted to have that reminder of my lovely and special grandmother Ulla. Her name was Ulla Teräs (Ulla Steer) – how fitting for a woman who was ahead of her time in many ways.

And who gave me so much: love for beautiful things, interest in cultures, travels and experiences, an example that it’s okay to be different and loud and lively and the above all: the experience of being valuable and loved as I am.

? Who has loved you as you are in your life?

Have you told them how much you appreciate them?

Will you tell them again?

Tuulia (& Pete)

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