Tuesday, 28 October 2014

[Language Tip] Reading Signs

Tip of the day: one good way to learn a lot about a foreign language is to read the signs. This simple exercise will open your eyes to know words, grammar, quotes and whatnot.

Quote from Paulo Coelho

Francisco Goya


Monday, 27 October 2014


Butternut squash, one garlic clove and some spinach in mixed and fried in butter

Adding some red lentils boiled with 1/4 an onion

Adding some feta cheese

The final touch: pomegranate seeds

Final verdict: satisfying and delicious.

Source of inspiration: http://www.dn.se/mat-dryck/recept/pytt-med-pumpa-och-linser/

[Photo Diary] Spain Streetlife

Slightly exhausted after holidays and a chaotic first day of work. Below some snapshots from (mainly) Zaragoza. 

Sunday, 26 October 2014

[500 Days/ Day 5*] Shadows

Walking in the shadows. 
Shadow is a beautiful word. 
In the shadows is where everything happens. 
The dreams and the adventures that nobody talks about. 
The whispers, the secrets, 
the desires. 
In the shadows nobody sees you clearly, so you can be yourself.
And what you wish to be. 
It's a place located near our conscience, it's almost tangible,
but not quite.
It's a place for secrets, for silence. 
A twisted distortion, but reality nonetheless. 
Imperfection, accepted. 

Shadow. Skugga. Varjo. Árnyék. Sombra. Tieň. Cień**. Tень. 

*These days seem to come in no specific order
** Interesting how it rhymes.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

[Photo Diary] Colourful Inspiration Now

Colours of Autumn

Finnish Rye Bread: Also Available in Sweden 

New Life 

Always In the Baltic Countries: Looking for Russian Language Resources. And Cake. 

Travel & Coffee @ Vilnius Airport

Fitness At Home

Friday, 17 October 2014

el café de siempre

En el café de siempre. Estoy sentanda en el café de siempre, en un rincón. Hay tanto jaleo, no me puedo relajar. Es viernes por la tarde. La gente viene y se va. El café está lleno de padres con sus hijos. Pero me gusta el silencio. Y me gustan los cafés. La dulzura del masala chai juega sobre mi lengua. Las especias se mezclan de una manera sabrosa. El vaso se vacia con demasiada rapidez. Estoy intentando escribir. La historia. No sé si es buena o no. Tal vez. Quizás. Tengo unos quince minutos. Mejor empezar ya. 

[500 Days/ Day 7] La vida es bella

2nd day of holidays. It's been a while since the last time. It's quite nice to just sit here in my pajamas and philosophize. Actually I should be cleaning since we will be moving to a new flat the weekend after we return from Spain. Oh well.

Last night before falling asleep, while I was lying under my warm blanket, I thought about pain, death, loss. And fear. I did feel something close to fear then. All my life I have been living by the rule that everything is OK because it is up to me. I decide about my own attitudes, about my life. Even during those moments that I hide from the world within my shell, taking the role of an observer, I can snap myself out of it. Everything I feel is just a perception of reality. I can think like that because I'm never ill, I don't know what real pain feels like. What if something truly horrible happened, how would I cope with that?

We - or I - watch the news and see all these horrible things - illnesses, wars, conflicts, repression - going on in the world, yet we - or I - remain unaffected. That could never happen to me. It's an attitude that I despise but it is difficult to get rid of it.

I also watched a TV program last night. Oh yay, I'm being so creative during my holiday. Some Swedes were in New York, cooking. The program itself is of no importance. But there was once sentence, only one sentence, that caught my attention. If you have a dream, you have to go for it. You have to. Sorry, my bad, that's two sentences. We live in a world where everyone is chasing a dream. Or multiple dreams. I like life, and I like exploring the world. Planning is fun, too. But this constant chasing of dreams and goals. Does it make us happy? Does it really? Those two sentences left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

Good Books

What makes a good book? Yesterday I finished reading a wonderful book. It was disturbing, controversial, confusing, but very well written. That's what makes a good book: that need it creates to be introspective, to question oneself, to think. 

I must admit that despite having lived in Spain, my knowledge of Spanish literature is poor. So, I made a good choice when I bought this particular book in Slovakia (for 3€)(of all places). What attracted me? The cover and the title - la muchacha de las bragas de oro (the Girl With Golden Panties). Who would not want to read a book about golden panties? For this curiosity I was awarded a tremendous book and an introduction to one of Spain's most famous contemporary writers. Who would have thought.

Reading this book I realized that I am a prude. What a nice observation about oneself :)

The second book in this picture is also an interesting one, Its English title is Mindful Eating and it was written by Jan Chozen Bays. Again I was intrigued by the cover as I love chickpeas (and thus probably proving every publisher in the world right about the importance of a good cover). I think this book has a lot of useful things to say about food and about eating. 

Thursday, 16 October 2014

[Photo Diary][Valokuvatorstai] Az ősz [HU: The Autumn)

Szeretem az őszt.

Valokuvatorstain tämän viikon haaste (#340) perustuu Antti Kokkosen ottamaan syyskuvaan, Minulla on itselläni kova syysinspis päällä. Jotenkin tämä vuodenaika tuo mieleen rakastamani Unkarin ja Keski-Euroopan. Kuvat on tosiaan otettu ihan vain Tukholman alueelta.

Syksyn parhaisiin kuuluu värien ja sen tietyn synkeyden symbioosi. Vuosi kulkee kohti loppuaan ja samalla luonto menee unten maille, kuitenkin maailma on täynnä hiljaista toivoa.

Just Another Day at the Office Or the Day That Putin Made My Day

I think it was Tuesday this week , October 14 to be more precise. 

That typical day at the office will be remembered for two things. Armed robbery and bomb threat in Stockholm again. That's the third time there was a bomb threat in Stockholm since I started working there in May. Those days it's not so fun to work right in the centre of the city, because where do you think the bomb threats are?

And then there was that fabulous piece of news that Putin owns land in the Åland Islands. Firstly, there is something called Hembygdsrätt on the islands, which means that it is very difficult for non-Åland citizens (and therefore Finnish citizens) to own land on the island. Secondly, after reading these very exciting reports, it turned out that it wasn't actually Vladimir Putin who owns the land. No, it is the Russian Federation. Since 1947. In 2009 the ownership was transferred from the Russian Foreign Ministry to the President's Office. That's something entirely different.

Three things came to my mind after this fabulous story: 

  1. Why, in the case of Russia, is it so easy to blur the lines (in this case between the state and a the president as a private person)? I don't think that this error would be made with any other country. Somehow it feels like Russia has become a kind of entertainment news (a bit like North Korea), people are fascinated by the speculation. 
  2. The current situation between Europe and Russia concerns me.  Both Finland and Sweden seem to consider Russia to be an enemy of huge proportions. And the media is playing along. People have opinions that are rarely based on any facts at all. Instead, it seems like Russia is an easy target for fear. Now voices are being raised about a new Cold War. Really? 
  3.  Point 3 is a continuation of Point 2: why now? That piece of land has belonged to Russia since 1947. There must be something behind this great revelation - and this "something" probably has something to do with point 2. 
Sources in Finnish & Swedish + a lot of funny photos of Putin. 

  • DN (Dagens Nyheter): http://www.dn.se/nyheter/varlden/putin-har-sjotomt-pa-aland/
  • Expressen: http://www.expressen.se/nyheter/darfor-ager-vladimir-putin-en-tomt-pa-aland/
  • Hufvudstadsbladet:http://hbl.fi/nyheter/2014-10-14/668186/keskisuomalainen-putin-ager-strandtomt-pa-aland
  • Ålandstidningen: http://www.alandstidningen.ax/nyheter/putin-ager-strandtomt-pa-aland
  • Iltalehti: http://www.iltalehti.fi/ulkomaat/2014101418744063_ul.shtml
  • Helsingin Sanomat: http://www.hs.fi/kotimaa/a1413252574970
  • And the original article, Keskisuomalainen: http://www.ksml.fi/uutiset/kotimaa/maanmittauslaitoksen-entinen-paajohtaja-putin-omistaa-rantatontin-ahvenanmaalla/1913789