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My Journal – The Sunniest Day of the Week

The glum has gone!

It had taken over my brain far more than it deserved. For just a while I forgot all about the good things. There is nothing wrong with being sad of course. I just needed to realise that being sad was not the end of the world.

The week started with me feeling not just a little blue. I was missing my forest home in Finland more than usual. I miss my little wooden house, my napping hammock, my family and friends…

Just writing about it now is making me miss it even more. I miss even the simple things, like the sound of the birch trees swaying in the breeze and the feel of the lawn beneath my feet, soft and spongy with clover. This week the feeling was stronger than usual. Floating around the ship, lovely though it is, I suddenly felt that I didn’t have a real home any more.

I was muttering to myself when I was overheard by Kai while he was scrubbing the deck. He patted me on the back and tried to comfort me.

I thought this over in my head. Lucky him, I thought. Two homes, what heaven, while poor me is stranded without even one.

I can’t believe I didn’t see it then!

I couldn’t find Sisu to talk to so I woefully plodded downstairs to see if the mice would be of more help.

When I arrived downstairs, the younger mice were just being tucked into bed for their afternoon nap. This made me feel even more sad as I was now missing being tucked in by my mother too.

(Though when home I had been annoyed with her insistence on always doing this of course. I would often complain it was too kittenish for me.)

These little mice had lived their whole lives on the ship so they couldn’t think of anywhere else as home. They wouldn’t be feeling homesick!

Satsuma was born in a Christmas stocking and her brother Socks in captain’s shoe. They caused quite a shock when they were discovered!

Feeling very sorry for myself, I told the young mice how lucky they were and how I wasn’t so lucky. I really made it sound like I was living some really horrible life (which strangely I think I was almost believing for a split second).

They all listened in earnest. I am of course older and so a little wiser!

However, there was one mouse who refused to accept my version. Just as I was getting into it, describing my terrible predicament of my beloved home being so very far away, across oceans and mountains and valleys, I heard a loud “Hogwash” coming from behind me.

It was Carlota Camundongo of course!

No other mouse could match her voice in power. She must have walked in while I was getting carried away with my speech.

She proceeded to give me a stern telling off for allowing myself to get so caught up with self-pity that I forgot all the wonderful things I truly had.

At first I protested, claiming that she couldn’t understand because her home had always been this ship.

“Nonsense” she hollered, shutting me down in an instant. It was true, that was nonsense, as I soon found out.

I had been so caught up in my own feelings I didn’t even stop to think that she might have known a different home before her ship life, too. The mice all seemed so settled below deck I just assumed this was the way it had always been.

Anyway, she soon corrected me. “Where do you think my wonderful surname comes from?” she asked. I had never thought about it before! Camundongo was rather an unusual surname, now that I thought about it.

Feeling a bit sheepish for making such a silly assumption, I had to admit I didn’t have a clue. But, if I thought it would find out the answer quickly I was wrong. I should know Carlota never gives up an opportunity to be overly theatrical!

Placing a ring upon her head like a crown she whispered… “Prepare to discover how someone as fabulous as me came to be.”

Then suddenly her voice was booming: “What could the great Carlota Camundongo be made of, I hear you ask? You will now find out!” She turned her back to her audience..

Flinging the ring aside, she spun round to face us again.
“This half Spectacular Spanish” she uttered proudly, with a grand flourish of her left arm.

“This half Portuguese Perfection” she continued, her right arm flourishing this time.

“But these ears, they didn’t come from anywhere. They’re a Carlota special.” She wiggled them three times, before taking a bow and sitting on the floor to munch on a piece of mango she pulled from behind her right ear.

I pulled my pocket map from where it was stored in my neckerchief to check where exactly Spain and Portugal were. Since travelling on The Purrpoise I’ve found it rather useful to carry a map on me at all times!

It took me a while before I realised I still hadn’t found out where the name Camundongo was from. Was it Spanish or Portuguese?

As if she could read my mind, Carlota looked at me. “I see you still want to know more about the fabulousness that is me?” She was now completely covered in mango juice, which made me chuckle. I spotted the little mice staring eagerly up at her from their bed, also waiting for an answer.

“Oh Camundongo, Camundongo. Now where does that name belongo…” She was really dragging this performance on for as long as she could. I wasn’t sure how much more I could take…

“If you thought it was Spain, your idea is not sane. If you thought it was Portugal, your idea is just horrible!”

I knew she could make a performance out of anything, but I was still impressed by how she just broke out into a song and also managed to make it rhyme! It was hard not to be charmed by this infuriating rodent.

“Now it’s time to do a little samba, while I tell you it’s from Brazilia!” And true to her word she began samba dancing across the floor.

This all made a lot more sense later after I found out that Samba is actually a dance from Brazil.

Soon she had the rest of us all up and dancing with her. The little ones looked adorable bouncing around so excitedly. Carlota’s entertaining performance made me forget for a second that I was meant to be feeling glum and sorry for myself all day. I think that was maybe her plan all along!

As we samba’d our way across the floor, Carlota pointed out a few of the other mice we passed. It turns out many of them had left behind different homes before arriving on the ship.

Affogato, who was sleeping in the hammock, was from Italy. Pierogi, now hard at work at his desk in the middle of the ocean, came from Poland. Painting in the corner, Wasabi waved at us. It turns out he was from Osaka in Japan! Wings didn’t even know where she came from. She was found on an aeroplane as a baby and spent the first years of her life flying across the world. In every corner of the room, there was a mouse that had travelled far from home. Many of them had gone back to visit, but they lived purrfectly happily in their new home below deck.

This all made me think, maybe I hadn’t lost my home in Finland just because I was away. I could have more than one home too!

I left the mice in better spirits. I was still feeling homesick but maybe that was just normal and it didn’t mean my life was ruined!

I wondered what my second home could be like if I managed to find one. Now that I was adventuring away from my Finnish forest, the idea of a second place to call home seemed all the more important. Who knows when I will be able to return to Finland next?

I thought about some of the different types of homes I knew about. There are ones in caves, on stilts and even ones made out of snow! Then there are many buried deep underground of course, though I didn’t think I would like that very much.

I read in a newspaper once that the sociable weaver bird lives in huge nests with up to 500 other birds. Their nest was like a hotel for birds with lots of little rooms!

Sisu interrupted me mid-thought when she crashed into the library and flung her arms around me. I had been getting so carried away thinking about possible home options, I forgot where she was!

Sensing I had been deep in thought, she prodded me to tell her what I was thinking. “I was just wondering how long it takes to find your second home” I mumbled miserably. She looked at me quizzically, but realising I was feeling low didn’t question me and just squeezed tighter around my fur. Comforting me, she said that it was ok to feel sad and that this is what friends are for.

Sisu told me how she also feels low sometimes. Whilst she loved living on the ship with Captain Roughwater, she missed her father during his long periods under the sea.
I wonder if he gets lonely or homesick in his submarine?

Soon enough it was dinner time, and I sat down feeling more positive than I had been at breakfast. The tremendously kind Ake Järvinen, the oldest sailor on board, sat opposite me whilst I ate a delicious plate of buttered fish.

Ake is also from Finland, so I hoped that talking to him might help me remember some of the wonderful things about home. It took some time for him to understand what I wanted to talk about as he is almost completely deaf now, but I felt calmer just being in his presence.

Ake is a man of little words, purrfuring his own company. Once he began talking about home, however, he spoke more words than I had ever heard him utter before. He told me all about his wife and the delicious treats she cooks. This made me miss all the Finnish delicacies. He stopped and licked his lips when he mentioned her potato mousse. It must be truly delicious! Oh how I would love to try it…

Ake always carries an old photograph of both of them in his wallet. He also keeps her painting of their lake on his desk. He told me it helps him when he misses home..

The conversation about homes spread across the table as people joined in telling their stories. I learnt that not everyone had a home throughout their life. This was the first time I had heard about refugees, people who have had to flee their home country.

I was shocked to hear that the Captain himself had also found himself homeless in his youth. It could really happen to anyone! This made me realise how fortunate I have been as I do have a loving home to go back to, even if I hadn’t found my second one yet.

As I went to bed last night Sisu snuck in and tucked herself up with me. “I’m so glad you are home with me Tiikat,” she said before falling into a deep slumber.

I lay there thinking. Maybe I had actually already found my purrfect new home right here on the ship, I just hadn’t been able to see it yet.

Until next time…