My oldest child, Ellena, is here for a visit. She arrived on Saturday and today is already Wednesday! I feel awful for having so little leisure time for her, so far. It’s just been one thing after another. An electrician had to come and install a dining-room light for us, Nani had a doctor appointment, we’ve had furniture and rugs delivered, I had a dentist appointment, packages to pick up, and tons of other – not very fun – errands to run. I’ve been feeling like a terrible hostess.
But yesterday we managed to finally go to a museum! GL Strand is a small exhibition space in downtown Copenhagen. It seems to feature one show at a time, and currently, it’s Tove Jansson – the creator of Moomins.
Moomins are the cute hippo-like creatures from Finland. Tove Jansson was a Swedish speaking Finn (there is still a small minority of Swedish speakers in Finland. Most live in the western part of the country, close to the Swedish border). I knew next to nothing about her before seeing this exhibit. But now I feel like I can really see where the Moomins come from.
The Moomin stories were always a bit jarring, considering they’re stories created for children. They feature all kinds of natural disasters – from floods to comets coming to destroy the Earth – and existential thoughts. Luckily, they also all end well. No matter how bad things get, there is a happy ending.
Even though Moomins don’t look much like a Scandinavian mammal, they are very Scandinavian in their outlook on life. Above every thing else, Moomin stories are about tolerance.
When Ellena was little I did a summer study abroad, in Finland, and brought back lots of Moomin stuff for her. So she’s very familiar with these fat pacifists and their adventures.
Ellena and I really enjoyed GL Strand and the Tove Jansson exhibit.