Some weeks ago I had the joy of having one of my friends visit me for a couple of days. She’s really into escape rooms, so that was our main goal for the weekend: to go play one game together. She hadn’t really been to Oulu for years, and I thought that since we had the time, it would be great to show her around. Only, I realized, that I had no idea what to show her.
I have been living in Oulu for almost three years now. I moved here for university, and though I’ve gotten to know my (not so) new hometown, I have not taken the time to really know the place. I live fairly close to the university, which usually means that my time is spent between the university and my home. Because I don’t need to go to the city center so often, it’s easy to live in a bubble.
When you live somewhere, you live in the certainty that the places to see, the museums, the cafes, the parks and other outdoor places are there even if you don’t see them. You start taking them for granted, not really giving those places a second thought, while you’re busy running around with everything else going on in your life. As an example, Paris is one of the major cities in the world where people like to travel to – and who wouldn’t. It has a lot of amazing history, great museums, amazing culture. And yet, most French consider the Eiffel Tower to be just one big ugly radio mast, and aren’t just as marveled of all the sights in the same way all the tourists are. When everyone else (whether it be the French or tourists from other countries) feels the need to dress up visiting the City of Love, Parisians go about their life basically in sweatpants.
I managed to show my friend around town. We walked around the city center and I showed the market square and our most known statue Toripolliisi, we visited the Northern Ostrobothnia Museum to have a look into some local history, and I showed her our cathedral. And we did end up playing that one exit game with her and a couple of my other friends. All in all, we had a lot of fun.
I’m grateful that my friend decided to come, not only because it was great to have her visit, but also because it pushed me to think about how poorly I know the town I live in. I’ve already been planning with another friend to explore around since it looks like we’re both spending our summer here. I’m really looking forward to it. If you have any suggestions as to what I should see, explore or find out, please comment down below, or send me a message on one of my social medias. And please, take some time to explore your own hometown. You never know what adventure awaits you.