I had just turned 16 when I moved away from Keuruu and swore, loud and clear, I would never come back to this small village. For over 15 years, I lived in Tampere, Nokia and Dusseldorf before the youth’s defiance began to fade away and I started to realize what good life was made of. It required long processing, but once my husband’s 7th co-operation negotiations in a big mobile phone company were getting closer, we had made our decision. In early 2011 our moving truck turned to our new home yard and we became residents of Keuruu again!All the things I had previously thought to be downsides of this place turned out to be the most valuable things to our family and that’s why I want to share my thoughts behind them now.
Time passes slower here
For the last 6 years, we lived in the border of Nokia, Tampere and Pirkkala. Our children went to a private kindergarten close to us, but I drove to Tampere city centre daily and my husband to Hervanta. At worst, the less than 20 kilometer journey to work took about an hour and when you add running the daily errands and grocery shopping, the days were prolonged. After moving to Keuruu, I felt like time was passing slower and I got extra hours to my days! Here, I have more time to be spent with my family and I have had the chance to focus on my hobbies in peace.
There are services here, after all
There are multiple services available in the city, but like many others, we were used to driving to some of the big malls and making all shopping “under the same roof”. The town centre of Keuruu is not covered and the distance from end-to-end is surely shorter than in a gigantic mall, but there are restaurants, cafés, hairdressers, several specialty stores, a pharmacy and a grocery store. Not forgetting all the shops and services outside the main road! It’s true we do not have thousands or even hundreds of services, but you can get everything necessary (and even some extra) from Keuruu!
There are no traffic lights here
In Nokia we had a lovely house in a nice neighbourhood, but when the kids started nearing school age, I started worrying about the future way to school. There would be daily passings of both a busy motorway and a deceleration lane ahead, and neither had traffic lights. Even I had had close calls and I was anxious even about the thought of small school children tramping the way in dim morning traffic. In Keuruu, the traffic is lighter and for instance, the walk from Kurkiniemi to the school is really safe (this must be admitted, although the speed bumps do annoy sometimes). Here drivers need to queue in traffic lights only during roadworks and best of all: there’s free parking everywhere!
It’s quiet here
If the way to work took us more time, so did running daily errands, queueing and waiting for your own turn. My own record of running errands is already from a few years back, but for a person used to the city’s rush, it was truly mystical to have time to visit the bank, Kela, pharmacy and post office during lunch hour – in addition to having lunch! On top of the effortlessness of services, less people also means shorter reservation queues for library books, more room in the gym and not having to sign up for the courses of the adult education centre in the dawn using one’s elbows. There’s room everywhere and what’s best is the peace and silence that is present even in the most popular nature sites in Keuruu.
Everyone knows each other here
What felt distressing and small as a youngster now feels easy and safe! One of the biggest reasons to move back was family and the safety net it brought with: Many of my relatives still live in Keuruu and although I had been gone for a long time, there are still many acquaintances here. It felt like nothing had changed even though I had been away for long. How safe it made me feel when a familiar daycare worker from my own kindergarten times was greeting at the door on my kid’s first day of daycare! Here people can trust each other in a completely different way than in big cities. You can usually always trust the word of a local and I have myself gotten to pay for my groceries the next day when I realized at the cashier I had left my credit card home. I know sanctuaries are merely a utopy, but for me, Keuruu is pretty close to it.
The best thing is that people know each other here and there’s no thing like a stranger or a nobody – here, everyone’s somebody!