Just this one post and then I promise to be quiet about food for a while! Warm apples + cinnamon + quark + more cinnamon = delicious!
Now back to the psychology books…
Cinnamon is the perfect addition to coffee, tea, yoghurt, fruit, ice cream, chicken, couscous, rice... you name it! It’s rich in antioxidants and it supposedly comes with lots of health benefits. Furthermore:
Participants at the annual meeting of the Association for Chemoreception Sciences later this month will learn that cinnamon - as a flavour or fragrance - could boost the brain as scientists at Wheeling Jesuit University in the US, led by Dr P. Zoladz, report on their findings.
"Cinnamon, administered retronasally or orthonasally, improved participants' scores on tasks related to attentional processes, virtual recognition memory, working memory, and visual-motor response speed," report the researchers.
Which spice is your favourite?
I got a couple of comments that I never replied to, and I’m feeling so sorry about it so I’ll dedicate a whole post to it.
Knicknacks, I decided to visit home since it’s so close to Stockholm. I’ll be spending Christmas down south, though. Actually I’m on my way back as we speak. Right now I’m visiting friends, and tomorrow I have to get up really early (like 3.30 a.m.) to catch the bus to the airport.
Наталия, спасибо за твое замечание. По-латышки я не умею говорить (хотя, по-моему он очень красивый язык), но эти друзья моей мамы- русские (как уже знаешь, в Латвии очень много русских). И как они все совершенно плохо по-шведски говорят (хотя вместе на курс шведскoго ходят), мне надо быть переводчикой. Конечно, мне это очень полезно, так редко использую русский язык.
It’’s SNOWING a lot!! Tonight has been great: I’ve been discussing very interesting matters with a couple of wonderful people. In Russian. My mum’s Latvian friends came to our house for some Finnish delicacies, and not only did I get to play interpreter, but we also talked about everything from politics to history. И конечно по-русски!
…to apply for a job that would be just perfect and fit my education perfectly? And let’s not mention the salary. Anyone else would jump at the chance, I’m just getting paranoid and neurotic. What if they turn me down and I feel like the world’s greatest loser? What if I and my “fancy” education are not good enough?
Maybe I just should brew a couple of liters of coffee and start updating my CV.
Hmm, what to do?
Dear Santa: first of all I wish peace and happiness to everyone. For myself I want inspiration and motivation. But since some friends and family insist on wanting to know what I’m wishing for Christmas, here’s a short list. And no, I really don’t need anything else.
Tea Stack from Todaywasfun. I think this can be bought at Herbolorio Navarro.
Different kinds of coconut products from Body Shop.
Top for running.
It’s cold, it’s dark and it’s a lot of fun. Yesterday this random man was squeezing my hands because they were so warm and in the evening I ate lots of spicy food and laughed at the news on SVT (they jumped at the chance of informing the citizens what the correct amount of toothpaste is). Today I befriended a couple of lovely girls (one from Iran and the other one about to move to Belgrade), ate some delicious elk with cranberries and root vegetables, philosophised, got lost in the cold and then warmed myself up with some ecological dry cider. Tonight I’ll eat more good food and read some deliciously funny and tragic stories written by a Sweden Finn.
Today has been an effective day, and I’m quite satisfied with myself. I managed to complete two assignments, pass a psychology quiz, attend Hungarian class and work. There is nothing urgent to this weekend so I have all the time in the world to go the gym, spend time with important people, pack and travel. Tonight I’ll find the ultimate relaxation tool, drink liquorice tea, smell the candles and read something good.
The rest of the week will look like this:
I know I complain a lot about in this blog, but the the truth is that I’ve been blessed with some extraordinary people in my life. This weekend I had the opportunity to spend a lot of quality time with awesome, inspirational people, and it feels like my energy is back on top again.
One thing that I find quite funny is that the two friends I see the most are both from cold countries: one is Canadian and the other one is from Sweden. Not only do we have a lot in common, but it seems to me that we share a very similar outlook on life. Finding people like that can be difficult, and it’s even harder when you live abroad (yeah, I think our cultural and social backgrounds might have something to do with this), so I’m definitely grateful for having found these people.
I was supposed to go shopping today, but after spending hours looking at shoes, red lingerie and faux leather pants, the most interesting thing I found was a bright pink hairbrush. Now I’m back home, warming my feet under a blanket while watching Fringe in Hungarian, working on the assignment for normative ethics and drinking coffee. Something strange must have happened to me since I think this is so much more fun than walking around in the shops and drowning in stuff.
In 30 minutes it’s time for a (short) run and I’m childishly excited about it, even if it’s really dark and windy outside. The plan is to do a 30-min tempo run. Now it’s time to get changed, charge the MP3-player and then go go go!
I made a small addition to the 7-week challenge: taking the stairs at least three times a day. We live on the seventh floor, so going up and down the stairs three times a day results in 690 extra steps a day.
Now I’m going for a run. The initial plan was going to the gym but I feel like running now!
If you’ve ever read anything about horoscopes, you’ll know that an Aries can be very competitive at times. This is an aspect of my personality that I’ve been trying to suppress, because I believe that it’s not a very good characteristic, it just puts you under lots of unnecessary stress. And let’s face it, competitive people are usually really annoying. Seems like those attempts haven’t been all that successful: yesterday I realised something very important: I thrive on competition and challenges. For me it’s a way of life to pick a person who’s really good at what she or he does, make a huge effort and win the battle. (don’t worry, the battle is usually one of skill and knowledge, and the winner is the one who’s the best). And, thanks to the double-edged stubbornness my Finnish ancestors passed on to me, I usually do win. During those moments of focused effort I feel like I’m on fire. Without this element of competition in my life, I’m completely lost.
Multiculturalism and immigration are hot topics up in Scandinavia right now. The debate on immigration and how to deal with it is intense, and the process is something that will unavoidably change those small, and until now relatively homogenous countries.
In my opinion multiculturalism is something positive, it enriches society. Thinking that a country "belongs" to a certain people seems irrational to me. However, and of course there’s a "however", the welfare state belongs to someone: the people who are maintaining it by their hard work. I don’t mind giving away a big part of my salary if it guarantees free education, effective health care, and so on. It’s OK that foreigners benefit as well, as long as they contribute to the general welfare. The problem is that there will always be free-riders who will enjoy the benefits while lying in the sofa, smoking pot.
There is, however, one thing that annoys me beyond exasperation: people who come to a country, excepting to have everything given to them and then they dare to criticise the local people. They say that the locals are idiots and that it’s impossible to talk to them, but do they try make any contact? No. They claim that everybody hates them because they come from country X and that all the locals are racists. Are they friendly to the people who approach them? No. Are they trying to learn the language? No. They say that all the local girls are sluts because they like going to the local cattle market every Saturday. Have they tried to meet girls in any other places? No. The food is horrible, and so is the weather.
Moving to another country and adapting to the culture is tough, yeah anyone who’s been in the same situation knows that. It’s incredibly scary, not knowing anyone and having to deal with a lot of strange things at once. But it’s no excuse for self-pity and it definitely doesn’t justify the claim that all local people would be racists, because they’re not. They might not be welcoming you with open arms because they are busy with their own lives, but usually, if you’re nice, cultured, hard-working and make an effort, they’ll end up liking you. We are all responsible for our own happiness, both in our own country and in foreign lands.
On Friday it’s exactly seven weeks until Christmas Eve, so it’s the perfect moment for an end-of-the-year challenge. Lately I have been feeling a bit glum and uninspired, so it’s time for some a-c-t-i-o-n to spark things up! Nothing is as effective and inspiring as planning and completing a fun challenge.
I will write more about this tonight, so stay tuned!