That was our 7th day in Lapland and we had not seen the aurora yet.That was also our last day in Rovaniemi before we proceeded southwards so it was essentially our “last” chance to see the aurora. When we were planning the trip, we thought that we would definitely see aurora since we were spending a good 7 days above the Arctic Circle. However, from the way it seemed, there was a significant chance that we may leave Lapland without seeing the aurora. We tried to be optimistic and we tried to convince ourselves that we would be lucky enough to see the aurora on New Year Eve. However, right before our aurora trip, the sky was cloudy, which reduced the odds of seeing the aurora significantly, and we felt rather disheartened and disappointed. I remember telling the girls that aurora was just an extra bonus to a really good adventure in Lapland. But we were all not very convinced. An air of disappointment descended upon us.
So we were really surprised when we saw flickers of green light on the bus to Katkavaaran Luontokeskus (i.e. Finnish wilderness). We jumped out of the bus and admired the sight. Some of my friends have told me that seeing aurora is quite an under-whelming experience. I beg to differ. Nothing comes close to the experience of admiring the dancing Northern Lights. Seeing the Northern Lights move across the sky made me feel that I am so small and insignificant in this universe. At that moment, I felt so lucky to be alive and I felt so thankful to be at the right place and right time to see the Northern Lights.
But that was not the best part.
Later in the night, we watched a spectacular display of Northern Lights in a sky full of stars (I have never seen so many stars before in my life!). We also did the New Year countdown together and there were fireworks and champagne. We also barbecued sausages and participated in a traditional Finnish fortune telling session involving the melting and cooling of tin (supposedly the shape of the cooled tin says something about your future) inside a teepee. Under the Northern Lights, we hugged one another and thanked one another for sharing these good times together. We laid down on the snow and listened to 星空. And that night, we slept in a snow igloo and that was a very special experience.
Sometimes we have expectations about what things could be and sometimes we are disappointed when reality seemingly falls short of our expectations. But right until the last moment, we never know what will happen. Life has its box of surprises and sometimes things will turn out more wonderfully than we can even imagine. We need to be patient and we need to believe that things will work out in the end.