My friends soon noticed, that the summer had made me a more active urbexer. They started sending me tips about locations and pleas about joining me. Already before midsummer it seemed, that this would be the most active exploration summer so far.
One of the messages stood out from the mass. A friend thanked me for showing respect towards the locations I was visiting. She told me that her childhood home had been abandoned years ago, and she was kind enough to share the story with me.
When my friend was around ten years old, the family needed more space quickly. The move was so quick, that everything was just left where it was.
During the following years the family still visited the house packing and cleaning things little by little. But a year ago somebody had broken in, destroyed things and messed everything up.
The family had boarded doors and windows shut after the break in, and my friend said, that the house probably would be inaccessible. But she told me the address
There had been a new break in, and the doors were wide open.
I was told to expect a mess, so I wasn’t shocked. The cleaning up had clearly progressed before the break in.
This was the first non public builiding I was exploring with permission, and I had a really strange feeling about it during my whole stay. This was also the first ever time I was inside a house, where I could get all the answers by just asking somebody.
I found school photos, drawings, prizes and other very personal stuff which had belonged to my friend and her siblings. Everything was from a time when I didn’t know them, and although the family knew about my visit and had approved it, I felt like an intruder.
The thoughts going through my head when roaming through my friends’ childhood room are really hard to describe. We only met this year, so I felt like I was diving into a part of her life without her controlling what details of her I could find. Out of respect of her and her family, I did much less digging in the place than usually. And I actually left without exploring the whole house and reported the open doors to the family.
A few months later I met my friend and one of her siblings downtown, and my friend introduced us by telling that ‘This is the person, who visited our house’. It was the strangest ever meeting. After all, I had found their old school photos from the floor of their childhood room without actually meeting them.
When I came to this point in digging my archives, I took a two month pause from writing Deserted Finland. I tried to find ways to politely ask my friend how she felt about publishing the story and some photos, but found it even more difficult than being inside the house. She has seemed more okay with this during the whole time than I have been, so I think this is more about something inside me than me really being an intruder.
Perhaps I should start analyzing my feelings a bit more.