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'Lotta' is Charlotta Tuovinen, a native of Finland, and one of the 6% (approximately) of the Finnish population that speaks Swedish as their first language. She's also the woman I intend to be with for the rest of my life. And this time, I intend to make sure it happens.

I first met Lotta online, on an IRC server. We got talking, we got silly, and we got to know one another. This all started in November 1998, and it was soon obvious that we were growing closer to each other. The friendship grew, and on my birthday in 1999, she called me to wish me a happy birthday. I felt all... 'bouncy' I guess!

She took a holiday to London in March 1999, with her friend Niina, and I arranged to meet up with them for the day. I was on 'Day Release' from my fiancée, just a week before my wedding, with instructions to enjoy myself, but make sure I went home. Well, I did enjoy myself, and so did Lotta, and when it was time for me to go home it was a struggle. But home I went...

On the way home, I told myself that I couldn't have fallen in love, that it must just be an infatuation. And so, I kept thinking that, and didn't tell my fiancée. A week later, I was married.

But over the next year, it became obvious to everyone that it was more than just an infatuation, and in March 2000 I visited Lotta in Helsinki. My marriage was already falling apart, and I needed to find out if Lotta and myself had any sort of future. After all, we had only spent about 8 hours together!

We had a wonderful 2 days, and then I had to travel home. It was terrible, finally together, but not for long enough.

A couple of months later, I visited Helsinki again, this time for 5 days. I got to spend a big part of Lotta's birthday with her, and, once again, we had a great time together. I even got to meet a lot of her family, which was a bit scary, since I speak little Swedish or Finnish, but luckily they speak quite good English!

In late July, Lotta came over to the UK to visit me, and we spent 10 wonderful days together. Some of the time I had to be at work, and I think this was a good test for us. Being together, being close, but not with each other 100% of the time. It certainly didn't put a strain on our relationship!

And now. Well, now I am living and working in Helsinki, and I sincerely believe that Lotta and I can have a great future together, one where we can both be very very happy.

Lotta, minä rakastan sinua, aina.

Here are some of my favourite pictures of her.

Page last modified on April 01 2005 12:28:33 by Andy Fawcett.

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