Christmas market

 Ken and Kaarna are returning home from the Canary Islands.

- Oh boy…
- Oh fuck, this asshole country!!!!!
- It’s better than rain, right?
- Right. Wake me up in April.

- This smell… What the hell was I thinking when I left the dishes undone before we left? Great. Welcome home, Kaarna, you imbecile.

Kaarna shows Ken the stones she took as a souvenir and gives one black lava stone and one white special stone for Ken. But Ken’s reaction is not what she hoped for.
- Oh no, Kaarna… these white ones are not rocks. They are dead corals and it’s forbidden to take them.
- But they weren’t in the natural park! I took them from the beach of the town!
- Still… 
- How should I have known?!
- Well…
- For fuck’s sake I can’t do anything right, can I?! 
- Calm down, it’s not… 
- At least I won’t be freezing when I go to hell because of yet another sin!!!

Ken puts the infamous rocks on the shelf where he keeps all the souvenirs from his travels. He feels bad about Kaarna and worried about the Christmas market season. He really has to sell a lot of his products to be able to pay the credit card bills caused by their holiday. He sighs and mumbles:
- Welcome home, Ken.

Hector sent Ken a Christmas calendar for a surprise and it made Ken so happy. 

What would December be without one?

Ken wakes up early to get ready for the first day at the Christmas market. The fur hat from St. Petersburg comes in handy now, when it’s -15 degrees Celsius (5 Fahrenheit) and he has to stand outside all day.

Luckily the sky is bright and there’s no wind. Both the sellers and the customers enjoy the market day. Ken is pleased.

He is super tired after standing in the freezing coldness all day.
- Tomorrow I’ll ask Kaarna to warm up the sauna for me. Every part of my body hurts so much.

While Ken is away every day, it’s Kaarna’s job to shovel the snow. It’s a good physical exercise, that will do her good mentally also, she hopes.

She doesn’t get much help from Filia.
- What the hell is she doing with that tiny little shovel? Moving piles of snow back and forth without any logic?! This would be easier without her…

It’s another long day at the market booth. Darkness starts before 4 p.m. and Ken is grateful for having invested on the lamps, even though the marketplace electricity is insanely expensive.

It’s the independence day and therefore the Christmas market is closed. Finns traditionally ”celebrate” by staying home watching tv. (Yes, that is true.) Ken and Kaarna skip the tv part and order pizza.

Ken sighs:
- Normally this is the day when I get a tree and start preparing Christmas. Now I don’t have neither time nor energy.
- But you only have a week’s work left at the market?
- Yes, and after that all the commission work.. there’s three festive dresses I have to sew. I think we may have to skip Christmas this year.
- No! I will take care of Christmas! Leave it all to me!

Ken says that all he wants for Christmas is a tree. So first thing in the next morning Kaarna takes a saw and heads to the woods. 
- It’s been years since I last stole a Christmas tree!

Since she doesn’t have a car, she has to take a tree small enough for her to carry it home. 
- She looks pretty pathetic. I guess I just have to place her on the table.

She decorates the tree with lights and candy canes.
- No glitter or bling-bling for you, little beauty. I’m not going to dress you up like a cheap whore for the last weeks of your life.

Ken hadn’t understand how hard it is to stand in the booth in the middle of the winter day after day. He is very tired and his nose is running all the time.
- How was your day? Kaarna asks.
- Not good. When it’s snowing like this nobody comes shopping. I spent the whole day swiping snow off the table.

- I’ve had such an easy life before. First I lived two decades very comfortably with the help of Hector’s income and then Blaine supported me completely. Now I’m almost 50 and I work my ass off to earn at least a minimum wage. Right now this just feels… you know.
- I know. 
- But the Christmas tree is beautiful! Thank you, Kaarna.

Freezing air dries up Ken’s hands and face so badly that he’s in pain. But luckily he’s got this big basket of lotions that he bought from Fuerteventura!

Since a coffee table is not a very convenient place for a Christmas tree, Kaarna decides to build a box to place the tree on. How hard can it be?
- The balls of Jesus!!!! It turned out horrible! But Ken won’t mind… he propably says it’s wonderful and shabby chic.

- Kaarna, I like this crate! It’s really shabby chic!
- I know, but don’t touch it! It’s not too well made! Sit still now so we can get the Christmas card photo taken.

- I’m just going to put this on Instagram. With the prices of stamps the Finnish Post has made it impossible to send real cards.

Still a few more days left at the market. The weather is not quite as cold anymore and Ken is able to move his jaws again. 

During the last weeks he has gotten to know Reetta, who sells marmalades made by her grandma. The make a product swap: Ken gets marmalade and Reetta gets a tea towel.

But with the warmer weather comes the snowing too. After shoveling all morning Kaarna goes to Lotta’s cafeteria to reward herself with a cup of hot chocolate.
- And don’t save the whipped cream, please!

The cafeteria is full and to Kaarna’s horror the only empty spot is on the sofa next to… yes, it’s Mari and Kaarna goes all red. She has to ask her… she has to! This is destiny and she just has to beat the 12-year-old girl inside of her right now!
- Is this place taken?
- No.
- May I…?
- Go ahead. You seem familiar? Have me met?
- Yes… at Mocambo, I’m a friend of Taylor’s.
- Right!!!

- Cool shirt! Mari says when Kaarna takes off her jacket.
- Um… thanks… my ex girlfriend gave it to me, because of “the cunt I am”. But I wear it like “I love cunts and I’m proud of it”.
After saying all this she gets even more red. Way too much information! But Mari laughs and starts telling stories about her exes. They get along great and Kaarna relaxes. When Mari shows her IG photos, Kaarna pretends she knows nothing about them. And now they are insta friends and facebook friends! Yay!

Kaarna needs a reason to stay longer in the cafeteria. She orders a big and expensive sundae and assumes she’s going to have to eat oat meals for the rest of the week. But it’ll be worth it: right now her head is filled with light, she feels good about herself and she becomes truly happy with only watching Mari’s beautiful face.

The Christmas market is finally over. Ken counts the sales.
- Not a gold mine, but I think I’ll get the bills paid at least.