- Poet Heli Laaksonen and her sister Outi Soininen grew up in Uusikaupunki. Heli thinks the best thing about Uusikaupunki is the culture, which is cherished in a wonderful way. Outi is a frequent user of sports services and enjoys a lifestyle where she can cycle to work and hobbies.
Heli Laaksonen, one of Finland’s most-read poets, and her sister Outi Soininen’s interview is conducted in a former jail. The old Town Hall, located at the corner of the market square, once served as a police station.
This beautiful stone building is one of the many architectural gems of the over 400-year-old city. Today, it houses, among other things, a tourist office and service point Passari.
For Heli and Outi, also known as Ode, the wooden house blocks nearby the interview location hold a special place in their hearts. This feeling could be called a soul landscape.
Walking on Vuorikatu, the poet feels overwhelmed with warmth and joy from the old buildings.
As children, both rushed through the wooden house city’s streets to school, the library, and various other places. One thing that still unites the siblings is their quick steps.
– “We both are more impatient than the average person,” Heli defines, and her sister nods in agreement beside her.
Vigor, energy, and a will to act are characteristics of both. While others are still considering starting, the sisters are already busy working.
Outi works as a city service secretary and produces for Heli Laaksonen’s Sanatoimisto Hulimaa.
A warm memory describes their rushing from place to place a few years ago. Their mother had come to the Turku Book Fair by bus and unexpectedly noticed familiar figures in the yard area.
– “Mom thought, there my kids are running,” Heli laughs.
In Uusikaupunki, Outi’s favourites are the diverse sports and outdoor facilities, nearby services, nature, and of course the archipelago, where you can go with a small boat to breathe in the sea breeze.
According to Outi, moving around the city from place to place is conveniently done by cycling. The enthusiastic sports enthusiast attends Pilates, yoga, disco classes, and Zumba weekly, and also leads a gym group.
Heli elevates the best thing about Uusikaupunki as education. She believes the city can be a bit “academically inclined” and not everything has to be so popular.
The poet tips her hat to those who cherish the city’s history. One of them is museum director Mari Jalava. She also appreciates the fact that the Peace Symposium, organized in honour of the 1721 Treaty of Uusikaupunki, is a great, international, and open event.
The active operation of the maritime history association, Uusikaupunki’s strong and high-quality theatre, and Vakka Institute also receive praise from the poet.
The city’s clear grid pattern appeals to the artist.
– “The central wooden house area is urban, clear, and beautiful.”
Heli and Outi’s sisterhood gained a new dimension when Heli, in her thirties, started touring the country with poetry gigs. She had established her own one-woman communications firm, Sanatoimisto Hulimaa, in 2004. The artist knew her sister was a brilliant organizer, and Outi happily helped her sister.
The older sister admires the younger sister’s technical talent and ability to quickly master new devices and applications. However, Heli believes that because of her old-fashioned keypad phone, she doesn’t spend too much time on the internet.
Differences don’t irritate the sisters; on the contrary, they broaden their horizons.
– “That’s how the bubbles combine. Thanks to Outi, I know what the latest technical novelty is trending.”
Their mother passed away over three years ago, and now there are only two of them reminiscing about their shared childhood in Uusikaupunki. The younger sister has heard this childhood story many times: When Outi learned to walk at nine months old, the older sister proudly rang the neighbours’ doorbells to share the important family news.
The sisters are close and important to each other, even though they physically meet only a few times a year.