Who is lekahe?

Sunday, May 28, 2006 Lekahe's puzzle solution

I think many of you, at least the members who read the forums, have come across this odd username. It comes straight from my Turku university e-mail address, which is simply formed by taking two letters from each of my names: Leena Katriina Helttula.

I am a maths teacher in a night high school for adults. I have many kinds of students: some of them did not want to go to school when they were young, others feels uncomfortable in a regular school because of having no friends, and some have already finished high school but noticed that they need the long maths course after all. There are as many stories as students why they have come to our school. We also handle the “virtual” high school where students who live far from us study and communicate with us via e-mail and the net. The furthest location of my students has been Papua New Guinea.

The first addiction in my life was mathematics. I fell hopelessly in love with it during my teenage years and that love will last forever. I’ve even continued my studies after my children moved away from home. I felt I had nothing of importance to do and signed up at the university in order to get a licentiate degree. However I still consider math studies as a hobby because my work is so great. There is no point changing it to some upper level which does not reward their teachers with any larger pay checks.

My first addiction was Tetris

I live in Finland, Northern Europe. For those who never have heard of it: we are located between Sweden and Russia, North-East from Germany. We are famous for our achievements in information technology and telecommunications. If you have a cellular phone starting with “N” (no commercials), it probably is of Finnish origin.

I have a husband and two children, a 25-year old daughter who also studies maths and a 22-year old son who studies information technology in order to become a Master of Engineering. Both my children puzzle too, but they have less time to do it. My husband is not interested. With him my only achievement is one Sudoku he tried on the ship to Estonia. The Baltic Sea had still so much ice that we had to take the large ship which takes about three hours to travel from Helsinki to Tallinn.

I get addicted very easily. Crosswords have never been my thing even though my mother has done them as far as I can remember. My first addiction was Tetris, at the time when PC’s were very rare in homes. Then came Leisure Suit Larry, Minesweeper, Bust-A-Move and Virus which was the last when I found these puzzles. I even used to play with my son’s PlayStation which I think is not very usual for a mother to do. My son took it with humour.

A Pic-a-Pix of Mickey Mouse

One of my addictions is collecting: Donald Ducks, stamps, old math books and now puzzles and all kinds of logic problems. To my great astonishment all of those are missing from the book stores in Finland. The only place I could turn to was Amazon.com and I must admit I spend probably too much money shopping there. The good thing is I hate what normal people consider shopping.

The first time I came across Japanese puzzles was when the Finnish Donald Duck published a Pic-a-Pix of Mickey Mouse. At first I did not even try it, until a colleague of mine sent a Christmas card which was an excel-sheet based on that. It even had added colors: typing x changed the square blue and o made it yellow. I sent it forward to my children and my son got me trying to solve it by explaining the overlap method. That was it: I did more sheets from a Finnish Quiz magazine which at the time published Conceptis puzzles. I did not know anything about other solving methods. I even figured the edge technique on my own.

Total dedication

Then miraculously one month later, January 2005, my sister sent me the link to Conceptis website, which she had got from her co-worker, who had been a member longer. Thanks Tuula and Brita! After that I was totally hooked. At first I just saved all the puzzles, but when spring came and the school year was coming towards the end, I noticed not having enough puzzles. Susie sent me her collection and that started the total dedication to collecting puzzles, magazines and books, sending posts to the forums and everything I have done in the past year.

Nowadays I do all my school work with my laptop and that is why I seem to be on the computer all the time. When I want a break, I just check the forums or solve a puzzle. The main interest varies: at first it was FAPs, then colored PAPs, archiving and at the moment converting puzzles to PicPuz.

Of course B&W PAPs have always been a pleasant break from the others, but I like doing them on paper. They can be solved anywhere: watching TV, or the spare time between university and work. I live in Kaarina, about 8 kilometres from Turku, but I see no point in going home for just a couple of hours. For briefer moments I always have a sudoku magazine in my handbag. I solve them in waiting rooms. I have had to do that quite a lot lately taking my father to doctors and tests.

Countless friends from all over the world

The puzzles serve also as a treatment to me. I have had panic disorder for 20 years and I need activities which keep my mind focused. All the things that leave my brain without something to do don’t just suit me: my vivid imagination invents all kinds of catastrophes and that is not good for someone who panics without any reason. I actual situations I don’t panic. I guess I’ve lived all the situations in my mind already.

Maybe the best part of all this has been the countless friends I have got from all over the world. All the people I’ve been in contact in the past year have been totally wonderful and amazing. I am not going to name any members since there are so many of you great people that the list would be very, very long and I don’t want to leave anybody out.

Anyhow many thanks to Dave and Natalia who have been so nice and friendly every time I’ve contacted them. The only time I have got almost as good service was when I bought my new car, but regarding the price of it, some service is expected.

The car is my first brand new one and it is of course the main subject in the photo I am sending. Finally the warmest thanks and greetings to a special friend in Canada, BC, who wants to keep anonymous.

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