wood processing is core to the finnish economy, and rauma has a large pulp mill. the smell of timber processing and wood pulp permeated everything in the area, and when i smell something similar now, it reminds me of saunas and nature and snow.
i learned to ice skate in finland. my finnish brother matti was my teacher, and i learned on a frozen-over pond behind our school. i was 16 and had never before worn ice skates, so matti had to explain that i was american to the finnish kindergarteners who were laughing at my inability to stand up. the day after i learned to skate, we played ringette in my gym class in school. it is a girls' game similar to ice hockey. it was quite a challenge.
in finland, when winter arrives, people change the tires on their bicycles as well as on their cars. my blue bike, which i rode many miles across town to girls' choir practice or to school for evening lace making class, had tires with sharp spikes that made a crunching noise as they dug into the ice.