A Favorite Place: Louhelen Baha’i School

Since I’m blogging every day in November, I thought I’d make use of the prompts given here to help me a bit, since housewifing around sometimes doesn’t generate that much blogging material (though I could take hourly progress photos of the cushion-cover I’m knitting…).  Anyway, today’s prompt was to justify the existence of one of my favorite places, things, or people.  Since I’m not the biggest fan of persuasive writing, I’m choosing to merely sing praises instead of justify existences, and one of my favorite places on the planet is Louhelen Baha’i School.

Now, the first time I went to Louhelen, I was 15.  I went there to do a few months of service (volunteer work) over the summer.  The summer had its ups and its downs, but it left a big impression on me.  Before I’d gone, I’d never had really any contact with another Baha’i my age (siblings not included), and realizing that there were other youth going through the exact same things as me really helped to solidify me as a Baha’i.  The support of the wonderful people I met helped me get through times when I might’ve veered away from the Faith, mostly in an attempt to feel like a normal teenager, and for that, I am really thankful.  I still keep in touch with most of the youth I met that summer, and am so glad I did.

I’m on the left, the other two were my “next-door neighbors.”

I didn’t end up going back to Louhelen for four years, but returned after my freshman year of college.  I was really excited to be back, but was also really shy upon my return, since the group of people serving changes every summer, and I didn’t know anyone.  I needn’t have been worried, however.  That summer got me through a bit of heart-ache that was still hanging on from back at school.  I met more of my now-best friends, and near the end of the summer, met Andreas.  So basically, Louhelen changed the course of my life (quite literally, veering it off into Europe isntead of the midwest, where it was headed).

But forget the big stuff, Louhelen is the place where I learned to fold fitted sheets, make enormous amounts of hummus, and clean public bathrooms (whoohoo!)  I loved working full-time in the industrial kitchen.  When I came back for the third time, I assumed the roll of resident baker and with my baking partner, would bake batches of 100 cupcakes, and make trifles when all else failed.  However, I have mysteriously few pictures of us working….but we did, I swear!

The above is the first picture I ever took of Andreas, shortly after meeting him.

We worked hard at Louhelen, but we also formed deep freindships, had sleepovers with a ridiculous amount of candy (I mean it)…

and we fell in love.  I’ll forever be indebted to Louhelen for introducing me to my husband and so many of the kindred spirits in my life.  I’ll never forget my three summers serving there, and even if I wanted to, I couldn’t!  I have a very handsome souvenier coming home to me every day.

We visited Louhelen again last summer, as my camera was on its very last legs

I love Louhelen.

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3 thoughts on “A Favorite Place: Louhelen Baha’i School

  1. Hi there,
    I just came across your blog and I was very interested to see that you are a Baha’i who moved to Denmark. I thought I should comment because I did my year of service there several years ago. I haven’t been back since but still have fond memories of the community there.

      • From Canada. And I’ve now had a chance to take a better look through your old posts I can say I remember Andreas and his family quite well. (Though I doubt he’d remember me.) Rebekka and Lise were part of a youth dance project I was involved with. The community there will be very happy to have you. I remember my first few months in DK being extremely hard to adjust to as both a Canadian and a Baha’i so I’ll give you my email in case you want some support. Feel free to write to me and I’ll share some stories and tips. (Just don’t want to clog up your blog with them:)) larissaloomes@gmail.com

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