In August 2009, while in Finland, I met Necati. Necati is originally from Turkey but lives with his wife (who is Finnish) and their kids in Helsinki.
I first met Necati in a hostel in Turku. He was there on business. I was there doing whatever backpackers do in Turku. We had dinner together one night and, after sharing my sorry story of being a poor backpacker*, he invited me for dinner at his house in Helsinki. I graciously accepted his offer.
So, at some point during my 7-night stay in Helsinki, I found myself having dinner with the most lovely half-Finnish, half-Turkish family in the suburbs of Finland’s capital city. I spent a day with Necati’s wife and two sons at Suomenlinna Sea Fortress – a memory which always reminds me that it is always best to have locals show you around a city.
Now this isn’t my first blog about Helsinki, or even about Necati and the kindness of his family (they are mentioned briefly in this post). But I wanted to share this experience in more detail now.
This week, four years after being in Helsinki, I received an email from Necati. Hearing from Necati after all this time was just so nice. Hearing about how his boys have grown up and are now at school, how they’ve now got a little sister. It literally just made me so flippin’ happy. Happy because this super nice family I met on a seven-day hiatus in Finland four years ago are happy. Happy because after four years this super nice family still care enough to contact me. But most of all, I’m happy because I’ve been reminded that there are super nice people in the world – that strangers can be kind. And sometimes I forget that.
The kindness of strangers never ceases to amaze me.
* read: being robbed in Copenhagen (a far less pleasant story for another day)
Unfortunately I have no photos of Necati and his family, so a collection of photos from my time in Helsinki will just have to suffice.