Back in 2014, Hannele (29) was a frequent traveller on Lux Express’ Tallinn–Riga route. While she lived in Riga, she took the bus home to Tallinn every Friday and back again every Sunday evening over two years. She was already familiar with the drivers who always warmly welcomed her on board. On yet another Friday night one July, the driver secretly told her that the bus wasn’t going to be full that night, so she could go and pick a seat back in the Lounge. Little did she know that the kind driver was playing cupid.
The driver had noticed that the lovely Hannele, who travelled alone every weekend, had started chatting to Ardo (34) while they were putting away their luggage. Ardo was also from Tallinn and living in Riga. He usually drove the distance himself by car, but just six months before, he had been in a terrible car accident, where his car hit a truck at full speed. He had woken up in hospital with a broken leg, skull fracture, concussion and some other injuries. It was a miracle he lived. Six months on, he was not yet able to drive himself. Who would have known that the worst accident of his life would lead to the greatest thing that ever happened to him?
Ardo and Hannele spent the whole ride from Riga to Tallinn talking and laughing. Hannele recalls that it felt so easy to talk to him. And so, there and then, a romance sparked right on board the bus.
They kept in touch after they got home. Slowly, Hannele started seeing all the places in Riga, which formerly seemed dull or grey to her, in a new light. Even today, Riga holds a special place in her heart – a lovely city she always gladly returns to. But by the time their relationship got more serious, Hannele had already signed a contract at work that would send her off to Helsinki for the next two years. So, in October that year, their happy times in Riga came to an end.
Sometimes, when the universe is on our side, life really turns out like in a romantic movie. Two weeks after Hannele had moved to Helsinki, Ardo received a call from his former boss. He asked if he was happy with his current job. Ardo replied that it was perfect. The voice on the other end of the line said: “Perfect, huh? Well, that’s pretty good. But how about you move to Helsinki?” Ardo had 10 reasons ready for why he would go, but he waited to get a very good offer. What he didn’t mention was the one and only reason in his heart that he actually for quitting his current job and moving to Helsinki in a heartbeat.
In the following January, Ardo moved to Helsinki to be with Hannele. When her two years in Helsinki were up she felt homesick and they moved to Tallinn. Ardo still continues to commute to Finland, Sweden and Norway frequently. “I promised him that our next move will be about his preferences,” she laughs.
One night, when this utterly charming and harmonious couple had settled into their Tallinn home, Ardo made their new home even more special by proposing to Hannele right there. In August this year, Hannele and Ardo Uudmäe celebrate their 2nd wedding anniversary. They are living proof that good things always happen to good people and a story like theirs makes even the toughest among us believe in fairy tales. May they live happily ever after – or in this case – #HappilyEverUudmäe.
Text: Kadri Eisenschmidt