If you grew up in a town that you’ve since left behind to pursue further education, find a job or travel the world, and only visit during the main holiday seasons, going back to your hometown can feel really strange. It’s been ten years since I moved away and a lot has changed in my old hometown, making me an odd mix between a tourist and a local.

You forget how much time has passed since you lived there

It seems like only yesterday that you met your friends in that park, went out for the first time in that club (which has since closed down) and had your graduation ceremony in that building. It’s weird to be able to remember so clearly what happened over ten years ago. I visit three to four times a year, so most of my memories are from the time I still lived there, which makes it hard to realize just how long you’ve lived elsewhere. Seriously, ten years? When thinking about that, you’re also hit with the unpleasant realization that you’re an adult now with adult responsibilities!

You think you know the place like the back of your hand…

Nineteen years is a long time to familiarize yourself with a place, a lot longer than it takes to become an expert! You know the best shortcuts and the prettiest parks. I used to dream of one day exploring the world, and seeing new places – I still do by the way! – but having gotten lost in at least three foreign countries, not to mention Helsinki, I’ve learned to appreciate the joy of knowing exactly how to get to a place and how long it takes to get there.

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