Our house has been my home for most of my life. Before that it was the home of a Karelian family evacuated from their own home during the war. They had some dairy cows and lived in a small cottage.
When I was two years old, my father bought this house and it became our family’s summer cottage. In my earliest memory from the time of renovating the house, my father lifts me over the half-completed stairs and puts me down on the ground. From that time onward we lived here from spring till autumn for many years.
When our father died, the cottage passed on to us, his children. Even then we spent many long summers here with our mother.
I learnt to know well these woods, flower meadows and rocky spots. Over time trees grew in places that had been treeless, and we also hauled firewood from the forest. The forest seemed to be always different. It gave me blueberries, mushrooms and even consolation at bad times.
When I was about twenty, I began to feel certain that I want to stay here. I bought my siblings’ shares and became the happy owner of a cottage. When I was 25, I lived here for as long as possible in the fall. My only means of heating were an open fireplace, its brick wall and a small electric heater.
The following winter I began to pull out the chipboard lining of the interior walls and decided to make a house out of the cottage. And that was what happened. With the help of a few books and some wonderful people the cottage was turned into a house: plumbing was installed, old electric wiring was replaced, a brick oven was made, the walls and floors were properly insulated.
Imagine the happiness when everything was done! I often had believing kids visit me even when the renovation was not yet complete. We played and sang and laughed but did not disturb anybody in the middle of the woods. In the early summer I often hosted outdoor services, which was lovely. It seemed that the house had such a warm atmosphere that I sometimes wondered how it could be that I had been blessed with all this happiness!
For years around that time my house also served as a vacation home for my brother’s children, who liked to spend time with me during their school breaks. I had cats and goats and a dog and later even sheep and rabbits.
When my sister died, this house became home for her children for a few years. At that time I prayed that the Heavenly Father would give me a spouse to support us.
Five years later I my prayers were answered. My husband and I found each other. There is now a man in the house. By the time he moved in, I had even built a porch, so that when we entered the house, we did not need to come straight into the living room.
Soon after our wedding we realized that the cottage was pretty small for two people. The following year we built an extension, which doubled the length of the house. While working on the extension, we realized that we both enjoy building, so we decided to build a garage next!
Over the past fifty years there have been many changes in the house and in its surroundings. I have been able to live here with many dear people and have also enjoyed the company of my animals. Only yesterday I said to my husband that, God willing, I would like to live in this house until the end of my life.
Text: Liisa Lilvanen-Pelkonen
Translation: Sirkka-Liisa Leinonen
You will find the original blog post here.
Monet suunnitelmat ovat tänä poikkeuksellisena keväänä muuttuneet. Muun muassa perhejuhlien järjestelyjä on pitänyt miettiä uudelleen. Tämä on koskenut myös avioliittoon vihkimisiä. Nyt vihkimisiä on toimitettu niin, että koolla on ollut vain joitakin läheisiä, ja muu juhlaväki on seurannut tilaisuutta ehkä virtuaalisesti.