Cleaning Up A Sauna

Describe a decision you made in the past that helped you learn or grow.

Some decisions make you decide if you want tea or coffee, some make you choose if you become a nurse or a Cabin Crew, and some decisions alter your life.

In my case, the decision I made whilst cleaning up my sauna altered my whole life.

It was in February 2012, after a flight to Phuket, when I was at home on a Friday morning washing my sauna whilst my Wifey was getting ready to head to the mosque for her Friday prayers.

We had made a move from Finland to Estonia about half a year before and discovered a halal butcher’s since then. As the halal meat just has a better taste, we had started to frequent the place over the course of months more and more. I wasn’t a Muslim, quite far from it as I considered myself a Wiccan, but as my Wifey is a Malay and a chef, we enjoyed the meat we got from there.

And then, one wintery evening, we saw a big, burly man wearing a fur coat that made him look a bear, and he greeted us whilst walking towards the exit. A moment later, when the butcher saw us, he bade us wait and ran after the man, bringing him back, whilst we waited and wondered what was going on.

We had a quick chat with him, and it turns out he was the mufti of Estonia, and he invited us to come and visit the Islamic cultural centre in Tallinn. Me, being a typical Finnish man, didn’t really want to go, but some time later, I agreed to accompany my Wifey, as she wanted to go there to see the place.

I was apprehensive as I had the misconception about the people trying to convert me and giving me pamphlets, but instead, I was given tea. Lots of tea. And no one tried to convert me. They showed us around the whole place, and when it was time for them to pray, I was left to have some more tea in a lounge. When we left Turath, the centre, I felt like I had met a bunch of nicest people ever. After that, we continued our lives as per normal. When my Wifey expressed that she might want to visit the centre more often, I didn’t object: she was a non-practicing Muslim, and if she wanted to become more active in that sense, I wouldn’t mind. I did my share of Wiccan things when I felt like it.

This brings me back to my sauna and the Friday morning.

So, there I was, under the seats, scouring the floor. My Wifey had asked me if I wanted to go and have some more tea at Turath, and I had declined as I wanted to relax after the flight, and just have a sauna time for myself. In order to do that, I needed to clean up the sauna first.

Then it hit me, I wanted to go. I felt like there was a sudden bolt of lightning or an electric current that went through me. I heard my Wifey walking down the stairs, and I got up from under the seat so fast that I banged my head in the process. I rushed to meet her before she left. In hindsight, I must have looked like a complete mess at that moment: I was sweating as the sauna was warm, I was covered in the washing solutions, my shorts were wet because I had been scouring the floor, and I had a bump forming on my head as I hit my head coming up from under the seats.

“I want to revert back to Islam,” I said to her.

This, in turn, made her almost fall down.

“Are you sure?”

I nodded.

“I’m almost late for the prayers. We will talk about this when I come home.”

With that, she left, and I went back to wash the sauna and had the relaxing me-time I had wanted.

A week later, on a Friday, I finalised the decision. Now, over 11 years later, I can say that I haven’t regretted making it.

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