Thursday, 29 July 2010

I’m back!

Ok, I haven’t even been gone for a very long time, although it feels like an eternity, and I have been missing you guys a lot :)

Now, there are lots of fun things I want to embark on (detox, exercise, studies, blog stuff) in the near future, and of course I’ll write about them here!

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Beautiful

Sneezing, packing and listening to the amazing boys in Outlandish.

Yawn.

Two more nights here so I really should be packing, but instead I’m doing everything I can to avoid it: sleeping way too late, cycling, facebooking, listening to odd music, reading Immortality by Milan Kundera. And oops, where did the time disappear to?.

Say what?

M and Z (who are completely sober) are queuing together with half of the island’s population and some lost tourists, waiting to enter a night club. To kill time they do what most people in a similar situation would do: they engage in an interesting conversation about something completely irrelevant. And since their language of communication is usually Polish, that’s the language they choose this time as well. The drunken teenagers behind them start whispering and pondering [oooh, how fascinating, there are two real life foreigners standing in front of us], thinking that the noun foreigner equals the adjective clueless. Z takes a deep breath, turns around and gives the girls a big smile:

Z (in the poshest English she can master): Excuse me, if you are wondering something about us, you are more than welcome to ask us directly to our faces, there is no need to talk about people behind their backs. Please remember that people might actually understand what you are saying about them, even if they are speaking in another language.

Drunken teenager: oh, you understand what we are saying? Are you [bad word] Russians?

Z (gets annoyed and switches to Swedish): well, for your information, I’m from this island and I understand everything you say perfectly well. Besides, it’s not very well-mannered to use that kind of words when you ask people where they are coming from, or in any other context either, for that matter. And by the way, do you have a problem with Russians?

Some mumbling follows.

Drunken teenager: Sorry, but you can’t be from here. I refuse to believe it, it’s just not possible. You look Russian and you speak Swedish with an English accent.

Z (looks up to the skies and thinks to herself): well, if coming from this island means that I need to hang out with such cultivated and well-mannered people like you, then I almost prefer to be homeless and nationless. Then she turns to the girls, smiles and wishes them a very nice evening.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Thursday Pop

Heard on the radio at 2 a.m and I kinda like it, although it’s not really my style of music.

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Eriparisten sukkien maassa

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Today’s exercise: 20 + 25 minutes running and some brain gymnastics. Running feels amazing, even after the small break. Next up: a midnight swim in the Baltic Sea.

Trips on my mind

I used to travel a lot, but for the past couple of years I have only been flying back and forth between Spain and Sweden, and then spent some time on the ferry to get to this godforsaken island. It’s time to discover some new places... where would you like to go?
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1) Prague + Budapest: maybe not at the same time, but these two cities are definitely at the top of my list. The trip to Prague might take place next April, if my friends agree to run the Prague half-marathon there, of course you need a good reason to go to Prague, just going there would be too easy :D 
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2) Norway.
One of my best friends is working near Bergen in Norway, so it’s probably about time that I visit the cheerful neighbours in the West (really, my stereotype of Norwegians is that they are always happy and laughing, but that’s a good thing right?)

3) Canada + United States of America.
Suddenly I really feel like going to North America: there are so many interesting places there that I’d like to see. Maybe one day...

Bergen and Prague

Kesäkissa

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Well, at least one of us is happy that it’s not raining today. Sometimes I wish I could put her in a box and ship her to Spain, but her place is in the countryside where she can run free and eat a bird or two (although that’s all she'll eat, usually she hides in a tree if she sees any other animal).
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How hard can it be to find colourful sports clothes that don’t cost a fortune? Not too difficult apparently, if you know where to look: yesterday I found these in a 2nd hand shop for only a few Euros. Love them :D
Today’s exercise (yes, exercise: I was inspired by my own sweetie Allie) will consist of pilates, maybe some running and swimming. Can’t wait, it'll be nice to start moving again!

Monday, 19 July 2010

One step. Two step. Three step.

"The distance is nothing; it is only the first step that is difficult."  ~Marie de Vichy-Chamrond, Marquise du Deffand, letter to Jean Le Rond d'Alembert, 7 July 1763

In the past few days I have taken three tiny steps towards my humble goal of conquering the European languages.

Translating a couple of poems written by Endre Ady into Swedish has been fun but tiring. Hungarian isn’t exactly an easy language but it has the same sort of playfulness as Finnish, and to a lesser extent, the Slavic languages. It’s like creating a puzzle from all the grammatical pieces that are lying spread out on the floor. Why Swedish then? That’s a good question since I have also done some translation work from French into Finnish. If I’m translating for fun, which sometimes is the case, I usually pick my source language randomly. Hungarian and Swedish somehow belong together since I’m studying Hungarian at a Swedish university where most of the teaching is (evidently) in Swedish. It’s funny that: once you are used to combining two languages, it feels strange to use them with any other languages. The same thing happens in Russian; I could never imagine translating Russian into any other language than English, since that’s what I spent 4 years of my life doing.

I have also tried to brainwash myself into thinking in Polish, but it’s not going too well, I’m appalled with my own level at the moment. The verbs are messing it up, together with the instrumental case. The basic rule is that the instrumental case is used with the verb to be = by´c, but I keep using the nominative instead.

And there is actually a fourth step, but it’s even smaller than the others, it can hardly be called a step at all: tonight my bedtime story will consist of beginner’s Czech.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

J’aime les livres.

Guess what I found? A box full of wonderful books that I had forgotten existed: classics, in different languages, a huge dictionary, funny books AND a text book in Czech.

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Saturday, 17 July 2010

Long, long journey

 

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This morning we had to catch a bus at 4.30 to get to the ferry on time, which means that I stayed up all night talking to my aunt. It was nice, but now I feel more dead than alive. And tonight we’re supposed to party, well, it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve fallen asleep in a bar (without drinking alcohol, mind you!)

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I took a photo of all the stuff in my handbag. Can you see what’s missing? Yes, that’s right: the phone. It seems impossible to travel without forgetting one crucial item somewhere along the way. Years ago I forgot the keys to my English flat in Spain, and when I arrived I couldn’t get in because my flatmate had gone to London for the weekend. Another time I lost my passport in a night club, and recently my glasses somehow ended up in the lost and found box on the ferry.

By the way, a lot of this stuff is just wonderful (yey, listen to the materialist): there’s the tastiest energy drink, the most delicious chocolate, the best lip balm and a wonderful wonderful journal from moleskine.

Thursday & Friday: Lahti

We are now back after an intensive two days in Lahti: a Finnish town located about 100 km from Helsinki. It’s sometimes called Finnish Chicago, because it used to be very industrial and had its fair share of crime. Nowadays the city is most famous for being a town of activities: many famous athletes are originally from there, and all the sport facilities are very good. I really regretted not taking my running shoes with me. Most of the following photos were taken during a walk at the lakes Vesijärvi and Pikku-Vesijärvi. 
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The main square.
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The ski jumping hills are probably the most famous landmark of Lahti. The town is the home of many famous ski jumpers (including Matti Nykänen and Janne Ahonen) and the town has also hosted a number of international competitions and championships.

Friday, 16 July 2010

The Perfect Shopping Buddy

I finally found a man who likes shopping. One that can stay inside a shop for more than 5 minutes without complaining, and who seems excited when he hears the word "clothes".

I present to you, the perfect shopping buddy.

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Thursday, 15 July 2010

Tomi has not forgotten you; she says hello!

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Drinking cappuccino at 2 a.m. In a bar.

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Starting the journey with a couple of cocktails.

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View from ferry.

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The famous cappuccino. The rest of the world was partying hard, but I just had to try the cappuccino they had in the bar. And wonderful it was. 

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Arriving at Helsinki. 

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Lesson learnt: do not wear jeans when it’s 35 degrees outside.

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"Our" ferry looked something like that, except that it was red on the outside. These passenger ferries that traffic in the Baltic sea can take up to 2,500 passengers and they are filled with bars, restaurants and duty free shops. Since my brother (see below) is working on one of them, we bumped into some of his friends and hang out with them.

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Helsinki Railway Station.

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One piece of little brother. The suitcase is from Primark: I got it years ago for 10 quid and it’s still whole :D

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In Helsinki you can catch the train to two of the most exciting cities in the world: St. Petersburg and Moscow.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Sometimes I doubt my own sanity

Drinking hot tea in this heat: why would anyone even consider that? Ice tea might be a better choice.
Is translating Hungarian poems for fun a normal thing to do? Well, I thought so. And now the dictionary is GONE. Who in this house could possibly need to use it? It’s not like there are any random Hungarians knocking on our door. Bah. 
Applying for an MA that involves such nice things as statistics and probability theory is just too random. (Say what?). Did I ever mention that I hate maths? That graphs make me fall asleep? That I just don’t get it? That my brain is switched to a mode that reads HUMANITIES and SOCIAL SCIENCES ONLY. And that I’m seriously excited about this whole thing? Holy cow, somebody must have robbed my sanity while I was asleep.
Bringing a suitcase for a 2-day-trip. All I need to bring is the laptop and a pair of knickers really.
I keep getting mails from people who are looking for flats in Moscow. Err. Maybe I’m a Russian real estate agent without knowing it. That must be it.
Now. Off I go to look for that dictionary, and more importantly, to pack. Ferry leaves in 2½ hours.

Day4: Tight Schedules

Yet another day with double shifts, but at least I managed to squeeze in an ice cream date with one of my oldest friends, as well as do some cycling and shopping. The second shift is about to start, and after it finishes at 9 a.m. I still need to meet another friend and pack. The ferry for Helsinki leaves at 11.30 p.m.

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Idyllic small town.

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Swapping lunch for raspberry sorbet and a berry smoothie...

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One of the two harbours in Mariehamn.

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This is what I’m surrounded by... the nature is definitely one of the good things about this island.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Day2: beautiful sunsets

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With most of her fur gone, Tomi now looks like a kitten.

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Old mills in the countryside

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Huge cows.

 

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The water was coooold!

Monday, 12 July 2010

Woo.

Seems like I can’t stay out of here. Well, at least I got some good news today. Let’s just say that it’s study-related :)

Ei kahta ilman kolmatta

In times of trouble, find the tranquillity within yourself. In times of great sadness, seek the sunshine.

In Finnish we sometimes say "ei kahta ilman kolmatta" which literally means "not two without a third", and unfortunately this sentence has proven its validity in the last few weeks.

At the end of the week my brother and I will visit my uncle in hospital. To be honest, the whole situation is freaking me out. I want to see him, but I’m afraid how my brother will react since he adores our uncle to pieces. At the same time we’ll have to visit my grandmother, who is recovering in the room next door after going through urgent heart surgery. As if this wasn’t enough, one of my best friends informed us yesterday that her dad had passed away unexpectedly. He was also one of my mother’s best friends, and I used to spend most of my summers in their home when I was younger. Now I have to tell my mum about this, but how do you tell someone that their friend has died? Can’t this be enough now?

On top of this I didn’t get completely good news after visiting the office today. As you know, I love my job, but I might have to start looking for something similar before the end of August.

I don’t think I’ll be writing much in the next few days. Probably I’ll just publish photo posts.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Dear FIFA...

...why don’t you introduce a "minimum 3 goals"-requirement? The game will go on until at least three goals have been scored... that way there would be a lot more... well, goals!

Right now: footie final 2010

Pro: the Finnish commentator knows how to pronounce all the names correctly. Those who know me are very familiar with the fact that I hate so called specialists who cannot take the time to learn people’s names correctly [just for the record, the Polish name Kubica is pronounced KUBITSA and not KUBIKA]. And don’t let me even get started with the Dutch names.

Con: Finnish commentator isn’t exactly excited. At least he knows what he’s talking about, otherwise the game would be plain boring.

 

Oh and it’s still 0-0, second half left.

Day1: first swim [in the sea] of 2010

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