An Impromptu Surprise 50th: Peuhun Kartano, Oulunsalo

Now, if you know me very well you would have to admit that I am a person who is pretty hard to fool. I am very skeptical, and keenly alert to any trickery going on around me. But boy, did they get me!!

As I was saying, my lovely friend picked us up from downtown Oulu. The original plan was to go to my friend’s cabin, which is about 100 km east of Oulu, however the timing does not work out very well since my son Emerson is arriving in Oulu this evening. There is no sense in going so far away, so my friend tells me that instead she is taking me to her “friend’s cabin”, which happens to be near the airport in Oulunsalo that Emerson and his girlfriend are flying into tonight. That’s perfect!

When we arrive in Oulunsalo I am delighted to discover that this place is quite familiar! You may remember my story about attending the wedding of the Oulunsalo mayor’s daughter at the Oulu Cathedral when we lived here many years ago. Well, what a coincidence it is indeed, that we are now at the same venue where she held her wedding reception! It is a really cool historic farm right on the shores of the Baltic Sea.


We don’t enter into the main building, but rather make our way through the doors into this side building.


And what to my wondering eyes should appear? A SURPRISE! It’s a surprise birthday party for me! Amazingly, despite very last minute preparations and notice, there is a sizable group of our friends here to wish me a happy 50th, which happens in a few months. Honestly, I had no idea! In hindsight maybe a few things seemed a bit strange, but nothing tipped me off. Amazing!! It’s almost a little embarrassing. I guess I haven’t been the reason for a party in awhile, and having the attention heaped on me is making me feel a little uncomfortable.

Ashlee and Ville drove down from Kuusamo! I guess they are the ones that organized the rental of this place for the party, kind of at the last minute. 

Even my godmother has come!

Emerson and his girlfriend arrive. They have been in Iceland and Sweden, and just flew into Oulu airport just a few km away from this beautiful place. It is Emerson’s 29th birthday today. Of course I had been worrying about having birthday cake for him tonight, but I worried needlessly. We can share our birthday cake!

We altered the sign on the door a little when Emerson arrives.


Goodness, look at the food!

And the cake! I guess my friend was right that the cake was taken care of! Someone went through a lot of trouble!

The little man on the right is Aundrea’s godson. What a cutie!


Don’t ask me what the green juice is….maybe pear juice? Notice I am only eating healthy stuff, lol! It’s fun to catch up with my godmother!

Aundrea and her boyfriend did a great job of keeping the wool over my eyes!!!

This is my friend who tricked me that she was bringing me to her “friend’s cabin”. She did a pretty good job of tricking me! My friend and her husband hired our Aundrea and Jasmine on two separate summers as au pairs, and that’s how we got to know them.  

The boys have snuck outside to throw darts…a favorite Finnish pastime.

Apparently there had been a big family reunion event earlier today in the larger building onsite. When they heard my 50th birthday party was going to be held here today they left their Finnish flags up for me to enjoy. 

Just a little camera shy there…..

Beautiful Finnish girls….

Super pretty sisters. One has a weird flash of light on her head, but otherwise I love this photo. The delightful young lady on the left spent a summer with us in Arizona a few years back. She traveled the western states with me, tent camping every night that we were on the road.

I suppose you have heard me use this phrase before…..”Mr. Handsome and me”……Ashlee made the slide show in the car on her way from Kuusamo.

Pretty intense discussion going on here.

This is a dear friend who called me frequently when we lived in Oulu just to check up on me. We went on many little weekend getaways together as families, including an awesome ski trip in northern Finland where we stayed slope side.

As the guests depart I thank them profusely for coming to this impromptu birthday celebration. After all, I suppose being 1/2 a century old is kind of a big one.

After the guests have all gone on their way the girls decide to go for a sauna and of course the obligatory swim. How could you not? This is the Baltic Sea here, and you might be shocked to know that the water is amazingly warm, probably because it is incredibly shallow. When I see the girls head off for their swim I decide to follow them with my camera. I am careful not to drop it into the water. The bottom is mostly sandy, making it pretty  easy wading. The sun is low on the horizon, giving perfect colors for my amateur photography. Don’t worry, all the girls have swim suits on…..the Finnish kind…..

Minnie couldn’t resist joining in the fun, although judging by her expression here she doesn’t seem to be having much fun! 

Don’t ask me why I didn’t go for the whole sauna and swim thing….the girls are threatening to dunk me, but I am like, “STOP! I have the camera!”  They wrestle the camera from me, and I come pretty close to getting a proper dunking!
Peace out, girls! Fifty is nifty, didn’t you know?

It’s time to wade back in. I tell you, we went a long ways out!

What a beautiful place! I love the tall pine trees and the sandy landscape. I love the setting sun, which really isn’t even going to set because it’s the land of the midnight sun. I love the historic building. I love the Baltic Sea. I love the fresh air. I love my family and my friends. I love everything about this day. 

Before long it is time to go to sleep. Now, you may remember I had been wondering about where we were all going to sleep at Aundrea’s apartment. I had worried in vain. After I left her apartment this afternoon she packed up all our belongings and brought them here. We are staying the night here. There are mattresses up in the loft and we haul them down into the room where we held the party. Then it’s time to sleep…..well, we must be up early tomorrow, so we don’t get much sleep….

The morning dawns bright and beautiful. Wake up, my dears! It’s time to pack up and move on again! We are going for breakfast at my godmother’s house!


Goodbye beautiful place….I think I will be back again another day! Next time I will go swimming in the Baltic Sea, I promise!