Luck? Fate? A love story

A chance encounter in Finland was a lesson in synchronicity


Darien and Kati Arikoski-Johnson. Kati will perform a piano concert sponsored by Finnish Americans and Friends on Saturday, Nov. 30, at 2 p.m. at Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Virginia. Submitted photo.

Darien and Kati Arikoski-Johnson. Kati will perform a piano concert sponsored by Finnish Americans and Friends on Saturday, Nov. 30, at 2 p.m. at Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Virginia. Submitted photo.

Mothers hope their sons will find a wife who will add to their happiness. In this instance, traveling to Finland was the journey that made it possible for one son to find his partner.

In the summer of 2011, my son and I embarked on a trip to Helsinki to meet our Finnish relatives. Staying in downtown Helsinki was wonderful: seeing all the architecture and new sights and sounds. We walked around that first afternoon enjoying the sights and spotting a club that was supposed to have music that evening.

I later returned to the hotel, and my son, who was in his thirties, decided to have some time away from his mother. He went out in search of music and dancing. Well, it was a very long night for his mother, since he didn’t return to the hotel. Just as when he was a teenager, I couldn’t sleep until he was safely home. I knew he could handle himself, but being in a new city in Finland without cell phones was very worrisome. Anyway, he finally arrived at about 6 a.m., out of breath and apologetic. He was very excited, saying he had met someone. I was so relieved that he was safe and back that it was difficult to stay angry.

The next morning my cousin arrived, and we stopped to pick up a young lady. Although she was from Finland, she was living in Copenhagen and had only come to Helsinki for the weekend to visit friends. They met in the dance club we had passed earlier, which is a whole other story. After they spent time together in the next few days, I realized how difficult it was for my son to leave. He was often silent and preoccupied.

After several visits across the Atlantic, they were married in December 2012, at the Inn of the Turquoise Bear in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The young lady is a concert pianist and dance instructor; my son, a ceramic artist. She had been a boxer and he a martial artist, which gave them even more in common.

There is much more to mention, but mainly, the lesson we can all learn from them is that we all need to be open to new experiences. In the book The Power of Flow, authors Belite and Lundstrom discuss synchronicity, which is a coincidence that is hard to explain and is truly a gift.

Darien and Kati lived in Copenhagen for three years and are now living in Atlanta, GA. He is teaching art at Georgia State, and she is teaching piano and dance and has helped start a non-profit dance program for the Atlanta area.

Please join them on Saturday, Nov. 30, at 2 p.m. at Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Virginia, where Kati will perform a piano concert sponsored by Finnish Americans and Friends.

Shirley Johnson lives in Hibbing, MN.

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