Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Frío, dijo el pato.

Hola, amigos!

 

Kilenc órákor.

 

Today…

…on the radio: Snow Patrol.

…general feeling: happy but tired.

…idea: it’d be great to know Japanese. Yes, you are allowed to hit me now. Not that there’s anything wrong with Japanese, but because I don’t have the time to even think about these things.

…sore muscle: the lower back. Pilates is deadly at times.

…exercise: bike to work, back from work.. and tonight I will play with my new kettlebell and run some tests on myself.

…breakfast: a protein shake with “real” milk (not the skimmed kind) and latte protein powder. Tasty. Right, I also had some homemade chocolate. Oops.

…entertainment: listening to the news in Hungarian.

…question: why is it so difficult for some people to think positively instead of looking like they swallow lemons for breakfast?

…positive thought: learning is one of the best things in life.

…thing to look forward to: lunch, which will consist of salmon with a delicious salad.

…best friend: the sun.

 

Enjoy your day – and remember, smile!

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Thoughts On A Rainy Day

I was very lucky this morning – going to work by bike was great for waking up, but had I left the house a little bit later, I would now look like a drowned cat. Christmas is over, finally. I say “finally” because this year I didn’t really get into the Christmassy mood. Now I just want to focus on next year and all the challenges it will bring.

 

One thing I’ve thought about a lot lately is passion, and the things that I love doing.

One of the ways to figure out your passion is to take a close look at what you do in your spare time, what do you do when you have the freedom to choose your activities?

This year has been a bit crappy, but one of my personal successes has been the incorporation of passions into my daily life. This is something I intend to hold on to next year, as well.

 

Another topic altogether is the Finnish presidential election that will take place in January. Deciding whom to vote for is important and far from easy, so it has been on my mind a lot lately. There are several candidates, some of them better than others. The question is: do I vote for the person who best represents me and my values/opinions, or do I vote for someone else in order to try to make sure that the “enemy”* won’t be elected? The deal breaker seems to be the European Union. Many voters have expressed their disillusion with the EU and there seems to be a sentiment that Finland has somehow been used by the EU to cover for the mess created by others.

 

 

* enemy is a strong word, and I wouldn’t really consider any of the candidates my enemy. Here I refer to opinions and values that I disagree with.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Why Would Anyone Need A Decision Analyst

"It is change, continuing change, inevitable change, that is the dominant factor in society today. No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is, but the world as it will be."

- Isaac Asimov -

When TT and I were talking about my career prospects, I mentioned that I would like to work as a decision and risk analyst (after all, that’s what I’m studying!). He was surprised: “why would anyone need a specialist to analyze his/her decisions? Doesn’t each person know what is the best decision for him/her?”.

This, my friends, is a valid question. Now, why would anyone pay lots of money, just so that some stranger would analyze their decisions?

First, keep in mind that we are not talking about the straightforward decision problems that people encounter in their daily lives. We are talking about decisions with consequences so costly or undesirable that it really is worth paying someone for their help. Some decision makers need to make such decisions, that can affect the whole society (or parts of it) negatively. Remember, all human activity springs from a decision – the decision to act or not to act.

So, why do we need help?

* In politics, many decision makers are elected by the people. There is no official requirement that they know how to make good decisions. If there were, many strange laws would have not come into existence. Many wars would not have been fought and our society would look very different now. Most decision makers are normal people, like you and me. And how do you and I make decisions? Sometimes we use our gut feeling. Other times we look at what’s best for us personally, not the society as a whole. Cognitive biases tend to affect us now and then, too. Often we don’t have the time, nor the energy, to carefully analyze all the aspects of a given decision problem. And what’s the result? Sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s bad. It’s rarely optimal.

* Decision making requires the ability to analyze alternatives and consequences, to assess uncertainties, to weigh costs, to work with different types of probabilities. It’s about identifying the problem, defining objectives and running risk analyses. How many of us do all those things when faced with a tough decision? How many of us KNOW how to do them?

* A good decision maker is also familiar with “psychological traps” – in many cases people use heuristics to make decisions. These normally function very well, but sometimes they can lead to unwanted cognitive biases that affect the solution negatively.

* Decision analysis is also about knowing how to use the correct tools.

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  As with most things in life, a tool is only useful as long as one knows how to use it.

 

"Quality is never an accident; it is always the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction and skillful execution; it represents the wise choice of many alternatives, the cumulative experience of many masters of craftsmanship. Quality also marks the search for an ideal after necessity has been satisfied and mere usefulness achieved."

-John Ruskin-

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Merry Christmas

I wish you all a very peaceful and merry Christmas. Forget about yesterday, enjoy only today. Eat well, drink well and be with the ones you love. Give a thought or two to peace. Keep your feet warm. Be thankful for what you’ve got.

And most importantly, enjoy the cake.

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Dream Jobs

Back in the days I would have gotten married at least ten years ago and I’d have about five kids by now. Nowadays, a person my age is supposed to know what to do with the rest of their lives. Well, hahha the joke is on me, but I have no clue. (Thank God I keep thinking that I’m older that actually am, it gives me more time!) Or actually. I can think of lots of professions I’d like, here’s the list.

 

  • Secret agent. I even speak Russian “like a Russian”, that should count for something. (Otherwise I can be the “bad guy” in a bad Hollywood movie). I’m also as discreet as a clumsy duck; nobody would ever suspect I’m an agent – the perfect cover.
  • Project manager. Everything is a project.
  • Decision and risk analyst (political decisions, political risks… it’s all about politics)
  • (Foreign) policy analyst – see above.
  • ….or how about a specialist in political project management. (if you don’t get the point by now, you are dumb indeed)
  • The President’s little helper (I could even wear a nice little red hat)
  • Therapist
  • “Inspirator”
  • Translator (but only interesting texts – i.e. NO MANUALS EVER AGAIN)

 

 

 

And the conclusion is…? Well is there any conclusion? Not really. The only conclusion might be that if any potential employers read this, they’ll think I’m completely out of my mind.

 

But come on, tell me: what’s your dream job?

 

 

 

 

The Darkest Day Of The Year

Let’s celebrate the Darkest Day Of The Year. Today is the day when you are allowed to eat as much chocolate as you want, and just lie on the sofa, watching soppy films and feeling sorry for yourself.

Yes, you are allowed to. As long as you return back to normal tomorrow when it starts getting lighter.

Smedette (sorry, not able to link!!!*sad face*) wrote a good post about the end of the year. I hope that the New Year will bring a lot of positive changes to her life, as well as to mine. 2011 has mostly been horrible and depressing. The stress is starting to wear me down, every morning I wake up with horrible headaches and the energy barometer is showing low values.

At the beginning of this week I was given some news. Not good, but not particularly bad either. Nonetheless, the information I was given will give me a necessary push toward change. I just don’t know how to make sure that the change will benefit me as much as possible.  My current job has taught me a lot of useful (and unexpected) things about my own role in an office environment. It has been an important lesson, as it will direct me in my quest. At the same time I feel that I’m in a desperate need of an “Inspirator” – a person who could help me structure my options and motivate me.

 

 

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Pravda a láska zvítězí nad lží a nenávistí*

Somehow I have completely missed that Václav Havel died on December, 18th.

 

I don’t know if there is anything I can add to the praise, but I will share a couple of reflexions anyway.

 

I consider Havel the personification of the Central European peaceful revolutions of the 1980’s. Together with Lech Walesa, he is the man whose face will be remembered when we look back at the overthrow of Communist rule. At a more general level, Havel represented (not only) European ideals. He was the writer who fought for democracy, the one who openly criticised the leadership in a system, where openness and democracy were non-existent. His keywords – pravda and láska - were rather diffuse for a politician, but they were suitable for an artist. They are also words that each and every one of as could and should adhere to.

 

The European revolutions were not the result of a small group of people, but every country needs its heroes.

 

 

* Truth and love will prevail over lies and hatred (Czech)

Conquering The World

I don’t want pats on the head, or friendly smiles. I don’t want to hear how sorry they are and I don’t want to see them get angry for me. No. I want them to sit down with me and create a master plan. To let the creativity flow and let all those crazy, mad and absolutely wonderful ideas become the solution. I want to conquer the world and I want them to be my sidekicks.  

Monday, 19 December 2011

The Greatest Gift Of All

When I was still a little girl, my mother used to clean a book shop at night. We weren’t rich, but now and then she would buy me a book and leave it on the kitchen table so that it would be the first thing I’d see in the morning. I read about Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley High and a lot of horses.

I loved these books, all the stories they told and the worlds they showed. Eventually I grew too old for Nancy Drew & co, but I’m still madly in love with words. Almost all my money and time are spent on books, but it’s OK. Because – what would my life be without all those masterpieces I’ve read throughout the years?

Next up is the play Tragedy of Man (Az ember tragédiája) by Imre Madách.

How about you, what will you be reading next?

Sunday, 18 December 2011

A Battlefield In My Mind

Swoosh. Bang. Crash.

It’s not a war.

It’s my mind during yoga.

My mind in an unusually tranquil state.

Usually the state of affairs is far worse.

It could almost be compared to a Great Modern War.

The ideas keep popping up.

They fight, they argue.

They punch each other and make a lot of noise.

They shoot at each other, aiming for victory.

The loudest one wins.

During yoga,

my mind is more like one of those battlefields that could be found

in the medieval ages.

I guess this could be called Progress.

Getting It All Together

Beach 2012, happiness project, millions of exams (ok that is a slight exaggeration), fitness plans, food plans, budgets, travel plans… all kinds of plans.

The positive thing is that this is the darkest week of the year, so all that time spent on planning is time well spent. It’s not like I should be outside enjoying the sunshine or anything else similar. Actually, you'll only get wet if you go outside right now.

I’ve been thinking quite a lot about happiness lately. I realized that most of the time I’m doing things that I like (well, except when doing the laundry). Exercise makes me happy, working (-> studying) towards a goal is a lot of fun, yoga is relaxing. I read the books I want, have the opportunity to write a dissertation on a topic I find fascinating. Even work is interesting most of the time.  I’m also surrounded by people who care for me, and for whom I care in return.

It’s important to keep this mind when embarking on all those various projects. Even though doing and moving forward is a lot of fun, it does not mean that life needs to be drastically changed.

HELP!

Since I know that the followers of this blog are a bunch of clever people, I would like to ask you for some help.

If ANYONE has any good suggestions for good literature on (European) integration and immigration, please give me a shout!

Saturday, 17 December 2011

A bit of sunshine in the rain…

 

…this kind of music makes me long for summer. It’s not much left now, six months is nothing.

Yesterday I had a great day in Stockholm. Among other things I found out that it will be possible to continue my master program at a more advanced level. In Sweden there are two types of Master’s programs: there’s the one-year option and the two-year option. Until now only the one-year option has been available for distance students, but now we can do the more advanced alternative as well. This is good news for me, not only because I’ve been fretting about my “academic career”. The subjects I study are very fascinating, and I can’t wait to gain more knowledge and experience.

Another good thing about Stockholm is the possibility to look for interesting magazines and journals. (the energy drink is optional).

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Yesterday

 

 

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Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Polar Night

Although we don’t really get to enjoy the Polar night down here in the very south of Finland, it’s still dark, cold and miserable. (Am I complaining too much now?). It’s no wonder people are going so crazy about Christmas – it’s the only way to remain sane in the darkness.

Fortunately the days will start getting longer next week, now we can only hope that the snow will arrive in time for Christmas.

Yesterday TT gave me a very nice gift: the Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Now, I used to read Gretchen’s blog so I’m not completely unfamiliar with the project, whose aim is to dedicate a year to increasing happiness.

I believe that most people can work towards greater happiness – and everybody’s happiness is individual. A happiness project might help us pinpoint what happiness is to us and what we need in order to be happy. Off the top of my head, I’d say that my own personal happiness project would include attempts to increase energy, move towards the dream job, find balance in my existence and get the opportunity to travel more. I would also like to be a bit more positive as a person.

 

How about you, what would your happiness project include?

 

 

P.S. Geez, I just realised that one of the guys I always disturb regarding lost stuff is MY COUSIN. Hahha, what an epiphany.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Tired

Mais oui, je suis fatiguée. What a week!

 

It’s not long until the end of the year now, and I’m longing for it. This year has been tough and the remaining two weeks will be tiring (this week I need to squeeze in a trip to Stockholm, a grammar exam, grammar class, a couple of BRP-assignments, some random multicultural meeting, a book about self-esteem, two sessions of yoga + two sessions of bodypump, shopping for Christmas gifts, being social, and work).

 

Next year will have to be great, or I don’t know what to do – maybe flee to Siberia?

 

Now, time for a big cup of coffee!

 

 

 

 

Monday, 12 December 2011

Stiff

Hola,

So one more weekend is over. This is what it was all about:

 

  • This weekend has been spent with family. I don’t really see my cousins much, but on Sunday we were all visiting my grandma at the same time. Catching up was fun, although there were some awkward moments. Even my brother came over with his friend on Saturday at 11 pm… to watch football!
  • My body is feeling weird. I’m usually healthy but right now I’m in granny-mode – especially my hips, lower back and calves feel sore. I could almost bet that I’m suffering from some kind of infection because it just feels so… odd.
  • I’ve found someone to have a secret crush on. Apart from my boyfriend, that is (which isn’t much of a secret anyway). He thinks it’s strange that I don’t fancy any famous people, because apparently that’s what people do. None of the “usual hotties” (read Brad Pitt and Johnny Depp) appeal to me, but now I’ve finally found someone who might be a little bit fanciable. Hint: it’s a football-player. And no, it’s not Cristiano Ronaldo.  
  • El Clásico opened my eyes. Not only did I find the aforementioned secret crush, but suddenly, while watching it, I realised that a lot of old friends and people I haven’t seen for years would also be watching the very same game at the very same time as I. How cool isn’t that? I enjoy watching almost any sport – watching someone do something that they are very good at and passionate about is always fascinating, and it can teach a lot to the rest of us.  Oh, and FC Barcelona won, yay!
  • Yoga is good. I did yoga three times last week, with three different teachers. In fact, I think yoga is the greatest discovery I’ve made in 2011.  

Friday, 9 December 2011

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“As you simplify your life, the laws of the universe will be simpler; solitude will not be solitude, poverty will not be poverty, nor weakness weakness.”

Henry David Thoreau

The Tired One Shouts Hi

Friday. It’s been a short week, but I feel like a zombie, so this weekend will be dedicated to a) rest, b) cooking and c) the gym. And sleeping some more. Only have to survive one oral exam in Hungarian, after which I’m freeeeeee as a bird (to do all of the above mentioned things + watch series + eat pizza. Omg – I’m such a slob).

Yesterday I had something absolutely delicious for dinner. It was quick, too! As with all my cooking, all you need to do is mix the ingredients in a bowl and eat. And what were the ingredients?

 

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Oven-baked salmon (only seasoned with lemon pepper), a very little bit of orzo/kritharáki, one small red onion (raw), a few cubes of feta cheese, one tomato and garlic.

Warning: you will smell after eating this, but it’s definitely worth it.

Purple Food

Hello, friends. I thought I’d share an interesting recipe with you. It all started when I was googling “Dukan galette”. The Dukan galette is a a sort of pancake, which is rich in protein while keeping the carbs down. The main ingredients are quark, egg(whites) and some bran. Now, in order to add some colour to life, I decided to throw some frozen blueberries in the mix.

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It tasted like blueberry-flavoured omelet. Fortunately a couple of spoons of natural yoghurt and some muesli (and more blueberries) made this purple pancake a bit more edible.

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(I was so excited about this that I forgot one very essential fact – I don’t know how to make pancakes that look like pancakes, hence the scrambled pancake)

Failing Logic

Person A asks Person B to ask Person C to do something.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Public Enemy (Kind Of)

I’m not scared of many things in this world. However, there is one animal that makes me panic when I see it. And now a whole group of them has decided to stay close to our house. Heeeeelp!

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(my boyfriend had to take this photo because I was busy hiding behind a tree)

Bummers

I don’t know how to write it. In fact, I don’t know if I should write about it at all. After the second Christmas card I was trying to make turned out ugly, I decided to give up for today. Lately I have been feeling both stuck and like a failure. Exams are not going as well as I would like, work is a bit dreary and very unstable, finding a job that somehow relates to my studies seems to be hopeless, my weight horrifies me. What’s the point in making so much effort if it won’t take me anywhere? And my two left hands and lack of creativity guarantee that even the task of making a simple card becomes a huge obstacle. Nothing is going well. In yoga we have been focusing a lot on “just be” lately, but even that is difficult.

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I believe that most of the time and with enough decisiveness we are able to change our situations, to move forward. It’s often a question of attitude. The problem is that right now, I don’t know what to do next. When I try to talk about it, people quickly change the subject to something like Christmas decorations. Talking about it in my own head isn’t very clever since it only worsens the situation. What then? Ignore it? Accept it?

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Taggad!

Somewhere deep down inside I know that things will be more than OK, they will be fabulously great. How I will get there, I don’t know. But get there I will.

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Pictures from weheartit

Undercover Under The Covers

Saturday. Darkness and rain. Warming blankets. Fizzy diet coke. Books about decision, risks, values, ethics. Articles about immigration. A word-document that needs to be filled with words, ideas, suggestions.

Find The Cat

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Friday, 2 December 2011

Don't Try This At Home

Believe Zsuzsi when she’s telling you that it’s not a very good idea to stand up in bed with a laptop in your hands. Your foot might just get  stuck in the sheets, which leads to you falling down, dropping the laptop on the floor and hurting your big toe.

 

Anyway, it’s Friday today. I hope you will all have a wonderful day and a great weekend!

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Que bien...

…acabo de encontrar café en mi taza.

Sore Muscles On A December Morning

Yesterday I worked out for the first time this week –  I was a bit pressed for time, so I opted for a good old Bodypump class. I like it, although it’s not as effective as “normal” strength training, and unless done properly, things can go horribly wrong. For those of you who don’t know what bodypump is, let me explain. It’s a class developed by Les Mills – the programme consists of 10 songs. During each song, one muscle group is being trained. Due to this format, the weights tend to be fairly light and the amount of reps is high. Many of the moves are basic – we are talking squats, lunges, curls, push-ups, crunches, rows, etc. The programme/release changes every 3 months, but most of the moves remain the same.

Yesterday my favourite was the bicep-song. Somehow bicep curls are so much more fun when you sing along to Livin’ On A Prayer by Bon Jovi.

 

And now it’s December. 24 days until Christmas. And soon it’s a new year. For me personally this will be a hectic month (at least all the Christmas shopping is done!!) – the plans include 2 trips to Sweden, 4 exams, a big assignment, celebrating everything from Finnish independence and the dog’s birthday to Christmas and New Year’s, and being social.

 

 

Happy December, dear readers!

 

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Keine Lust auf gar nichts

Not in the mood for anything, lallalaa. The last few days have passed in a haze. I just realized that this is the longest time I’ve spend on this island since I ran away almost ten years ago, it’s affecting me and making me question all the most basic things, mostly myself. The problem is that I don’t really know how to get out of this situation, how to feel good about myself again. Any ideas?

 

Side note: at least I have what “it takes to compete for a place in a course in Finnish for beginners”. Well, I’d better. I don’t think I could live with the shame of not having been admitted to such a course. The reason, by the way, I’ve even applied for a course in Finnish for beginners is that a 2nd language in Finno-Ugric languages is required for advancing to the next level of Hungarian, not because Finnish is so fascinating that I want to learn it all over again from zero. (It is, however, fascinating enough to learn, in case any of you is up for the challenge!)

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

With Dark Circles Under Her Eyes

Please, let there still be hope.

Becsvágy (Hun: Ambition)

Keep away from those who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you believe that you too can become great. (Mark Twain)

 

Ambition is a funny thing. It’s like an indefinable voice inside your soul that wakes up and stirs you at the most unexpected moments. It’s the need to keep walking, moving, running, jumping when all that is required of you is to keep still. Ambition is hunger – it’s the feeling of never being fully satisfied. It’s the knowledge that perfection can and will not be achieved, but the willingness and need to go on anyway.

 

 

Sunday, 27 November 2011

What I Promised, And What I Actually Did

I wrote about the initial plan here. The plan turned out to be a bit too ambitious.

And this is what I actually did:

 week

Pilates : Tuesday (put it on the wrong day) and Sunday

Yoga: Thursday

Body Combat: Wednesday

Strength training: Saturday (Shoulders, back + triceps)

Walking or running: Monday, Wednesday, Saturday + Sunday

Today I’ve also been cleaning for almost 3 hours. Geez. I’m happy I’m not a housewife, tis was tough.

I also found a great song by Kino that I’ve somehow managed to miss until now. If you’re interested in Russian music, you can listen to it here!

Back To Darkness

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Sunday Music

This is the perfect song on a rainy Sunday – Swedish Takida with You Learn.

Friday, 25 November 2011

The Little Red Book And Other Treasures

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Buy nothing!

Everyone remembers that today is dedicated to buying nothing, right?  

"You seem to be an eternal student"

This is comment that has been given to me more than once. Each time I sense a continuation hanging in the air, the “…but now it’s about time you grew up”. Maybe I’m being sensitive and a little neurotic about this. Maybe people really mean: “…and good for you!” Maybe a part of me feels like a failure for being so slow with my studies, for not having a proper career yet, etc. However, my neurotic tendencies notwithstanding, there seems to be general antipathy toward learning and studying. The word “student” has a negative cling to it. Another comment that pops up quite frequently is “but… how can you study so much? It can’t be healthy; you don’t have any free time”. Define free time! “Well… watching TV, going out to party and such things”.  Another: “But why?”

I graduated from high school eight years ago. The fist thing I did was to take a gap year in order to study Polish in Poland. Then I started university. Getting my degree took four years because it included a compulsory year abroad. I lived and worked in Spain for three years. Continuing my studies at the time was not possible due to financial reasons. Postgraduate studies in Spain cost money and (full-time) salaries barely cover the basic living expenses. So I waited until I found something that suited me. They say that good things come to those who have the patience to wait: I am busy at the moment, but all those things that keep me busy, are things that I feel passionate about. Learning and studies mean development, the chance to do new things. I also have a full-time job, pay my taxes and manage to be fairly social (for a person who isn’t all that social). Apart from the need to travel more, I’m generally happy with my life. Everything that I do is the result of a conscious chain of decisions that I’ve made. Trust me, the day I notice that watching telly is more interesting than psychology or languages, I will re-evaluate my decisions and glue myself to the sofa.  

 

 

Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.

Benjamin Franklin

 

Thursday, 24 November 2011

SUNSHINE!!!!

This morning I really would have preferred to stay under the blankets. When the alarm started sounding under my left ear (yes, I always leave the phone under my pillow), I cursed all the reasons for which it is necessary to get up at 7.30 am. I’ve changed my mind. The sky is clear blue and the sun is shining (although the sun itself is hiding behind the rooftops somewhere) – it’s such a rarity to see the sun these days that it must be noted somewhere. It’s crazy how important the sun is for one’s mood.

 

I believe it is Thanksgiving in the States today. We don’t celebrate anything of the kind over here, which is a pity, because it seems to be such a nice and important tradition. I have personally celebrated Thanksgiving once. Some of my classmates in Poland were Americans, so we all gathered to celebrate Thanksgiving in the boys’ dorm. Anyhow, even though we’re not doing anything special today, we could all try to be a little extra thankful. One of my colleagues said today: “He’s always complaining, and that’s so wrong. There must be something good in life”. And I think that is true. It’s often easy to focus and waste energy on the bad things life, even though there are plenty of reasons to be happy and grateful.

 

So, some of today’s reasons to be grateful in Zsuzsi-land are:

 

  • The sun is shining. Autumn is a nice season, but the sun does give a lot of extra energy.
  • My family is lovely and I’m also a bit spoiled by them all.
  • I’m healthy – if the only physical pain I experience is the occasional headache and sore muscles, then I can be considered very lucky. Let’s hope it stays that way.
  • I’m thankful for some of my personality traits. It doesn’t matter if they are socially or biologically…, I’m happy that I’m such a curious person who loves learning. It really makes life feel like an adventure most of the time.

 

What makes you grateful today?

 

 

 

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Time To Pretend

When I’m 80 years old, I want to be fit enough to run a marathon.

 

Maybe that’s a good plan? Maybe… please, agree with me. Anyone? I did some pilates yesterday, and now I’m feeling like an old granny. After pilates. There probably isn’t any hope for me at all. However, I do think pilates is useful because in that session we do all the (boring*) moves that I avoid during strength training.

 

In line with my new improved diet, I also ate a pizza. It’s time to get serious since there are only 6 months until the beginning of June, which is the END date for my Beach-project.

 

Here’s a short list of measures to be taken to improve the likelihood of success for this project:

 

  • morning cardio (as soon as it starts getting light outside… let’s say February)
  • small and regular meals (doing that already, but there are some foods that should go)
  • quality over quantity in the workouts.
  • Increase amount of cardiovascular training – at least 45 mins/day.

 

 

The plan for this week looks like this:

 

Monday: power walking – 60 minutes (7,3 km/h with an incline between 4 and 7,5) + normal walking 30 minutes

Tuesday: pilates – 60 minutes

Wednesday: body combat + strength training (arms, shoulders, chest) – app. 2 hours

Thursday: yoga – 60 minutes + running 45 minutes

Friday: body pump – 60 minutes

Saturday: drinking glögg (mulled wine) + enjoying the Christmas market (-> lots of walking)

Sunday: pilates - 60 minutes + strength training (legs) – 45 minutes + running 45 minutes

 

 

Not completely happy with that plan, but it’ll have to do this time.

 

 

 

* Unfortunately, boring sometimes equals useful.

 

 

Monday, 21 November 2011

Don't create differences where there are none

”I’m not going to buy pizza from place X because the text on their pizza boxes is in Finnish”. “I cannot go to the independence ball because there will be gay people there”. “Immigration from non-Nordic countries has increased – how alarming!”.

 

Statements like these disappoint me. People seem to cling to their national, cultural and lingual identities as if they were the only identities available. I don’t know if this is because the rapid changes in society are scaring people so badly that they choose to close their eyes and ears. Only their mouths remain open – spitting out dubious opinions about everything and anything. Yes, culture is important. So are language and nationality. Those factors affect our identities, but there are so many other aspects that are important as well. For instance, I have a lot more in common with my friends than my colleagues. Very few of my friends have the same mother tongue as I, almost none of them is Finnish.  The saddening fact is that many people want to stay in their bubble. Instead of moving forward, they long for what used to be. What is different is seen as a threat. Because of this view, perhaps, there is a tendency to focus on the differences instead of similarities. And yes, I believe that by emphasising the differences, new differences are created – differences that are nothing more than a constructs of our (sometimes far too vivid) imagination.

 

 

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Nem rossz! (Hun: not bad)

20112011

+ running 30 minutes today.

Total: 6,3 hours,And what could be done better? This is good, but few things are perfect. Next week I need to increase the amount of cardio + add a session or two of yoga.

I also need to take a serious look at my diet because I had a really scary moment realising that my bum looks like the behinds of J.Lo and Kim Kardashian. Together. On one small person. Now, there’s nothing wrong with them, but… yeah, you get it.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

moskva

There are times when I miss Moscow very, very much. 
The photo is from Google maps. 

Ill? And Life List

In the glorious year of 2011 there was only one Thursday like the third Thursday of November, although this Thursday seemed as uneventful as any other Thursday. The newspapers wrote about fake doctors, right-wing politicians, fish and the lack of snow.

 

In the ordinary life of Zsuzsi the day moved forward in slow-motion, she talked to a lot to Finnish colleagues and dreamed about pancakes with fresh berries and cream.

 

 

Song: Stereo Hearts by Gym Class Heroes feat. Adam Levi

Feeling: painful and sleepy. I could hardly get out of bed this morning and I’m still feeling quite unwell. My shoulder and lower back are feeling very sore, and the common cold seems to be attacking as well.

Work-out: yoga will do.

Lunch: chicken salad.

Additions to life-list: increase knowledge of yoga and tea.(note to self: add them to life-list.)  

Idea: Allie mentioned Croatia for summer holidays… it might be more viable than some exotic place on the other side of the planet (since I’m poor!), so the idea really deserves some serious consideration.

Thought: Why write about one thing only when there is enough space to babble on forever?

Opinion: the great thing about learning foreign languages is that sometimes it feels like you are hitting your head against the wall – but then suddenly – boom – you realise that you understand it and you can use it AND you’re good at it. Being able to see the progress so clearly is what makes language learning really fascinating.

 

Yes, I doubt this day will go to (my personal) history, but it’s OK. Being able to enjoy days like this is more important than chasing and enjoying the really amazing ones.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Bread

According to Helsingin Sanomat, almost 40% of Finnish people have decreased their intake of bread this year in order to eat less carbohydrates.

 

Now, we don’t know how much of that information is actually true, but let’s assume that 40% of the Finnish people (that would be about 2 million people) are eating less bread than before. I’m not a nutritionist, and even though the topic interests me, I must admit that I’ve never really clarified my opinion on the great carb-debate. The following “statements” are my own personal observations and opinions, and they are not based on any scientific evidence.

 

  • Before eliminating (or drastically decreasing) bread (and other carbs) from our diets, we need to ask ourselves: what is the essential role of carbohydrates? Do our bodies and brains need carbs in order to function?
  • There are carbs, and then there are carbs. Using common sense (a very subjective kind of sense, sorry about that), we might figure out that some carbohydrates are better for us than others. The same goes for bread. The nutritional values vary a lot between products, so being attentive to available information is a good thing.
  • Some people proudly tell everyone about their new diet – from now on they are eating NO carbs. Except some cake, and alcohol, and ice cream. And NO exercise. I wonder which the better alternative for one’s health is: eating a little bit of bread now and then and working out regularly, or banning carbs and spending all day without physical activity.
  • Now, I have noticed that a breakfast consisting of a couple of slices of rye bread with butter and cheese/ham keeps hunger away until noon when it’s lunch-time. This works for me. It might not work for you – the point is: everyone is different, and instead of believing blindly in what media tell us, we should listen more to our bodies. Especially bread can be problematic since it might lead to allergic reactions, in which case it’s obviously not a good idea to eat it.
  • Instead of banning carbohydrates altogether, one’s diet could probably be improved greatly by a few, subtle changes. Swapping sugary snacks for vegetables and fizzy drinks for their diet-versions (or even better – water) might sound like the obvious choice, but still – it seems there are still a lot of people out there who don’t understand what a big bottle of coke + a bag of candy a day can do to you.
  • Not just carbohydrates! Yeah, I think I/you/we can eat carbohydrates, but the point is also to ensure a good enough intake of fat and protein. Living on only bread is not the ideal option (not for me anyway).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zuuuuumba

Wikipedia tells us: Zumba is a Latin-inspired dance fitness program created by dancer and choreographer Alberto "Beto" Perez in Colombia during the 1990s. Zumba involves dance and aerobic elements. Zumba's choreography incorporates hip-hop, samba, salsa, merengue, mambo, martial arts, and some Bollywood and belly dance moves. Squats and lunges are also included.

Yesterday I decided to try zumba: judging by people’s status updates on facebook, this is a popular form of exercise and it also seems to be a lot of fun. Well, it was fun – even for someone who’s got two left feet and whose coordination is below zero. I’ve never been a good dancer, jumping up and down on the dance floor in a crowded nightclub is the closest I’ve come to dancing. Being in a room full of women of all ages and sizes, I didn’t feel quite as self-conscious as I do when wearing skimpy clothes at a disco.

I can definitely imagine doing this again, even though zumba is far from a killer-workout, because I feel that a workout program should be both fun and varied. Normally I focus on strength training, running and yoga, but will try to squeeze in the occasional zumba session to add some fun to life.

 

Monday, 14 November 2011

Short Week Ahead

Monday, it’s Monday. Once again it’s Monday. I’m sitting in my corner at work, sneezing and being happy about the fact that this work week will be shorter than usual. On Friday I’ll be at the university again – it’s quite incredible that we only have a couple of meetings left, after which it’s time to write the dissertation and voilà… One part of my education will be over. Writing the dissertation is something I’m really looking forward to: it’s my chance to apply some very interesting tools and theories on a topic of my choice, a topic very close to my heart. Basically, my plan is to analyze the local immigration policy: the plan is to focus on how different risk perceptions are taken into account in the risk analysis and the risk communication at different levels of the policy process.

As I mentioned last week, we are now doing a module in personality psychology. It is very interesting and some of our assignments seem really interesting. Even though I’m really busy sometimes, I must admit that I’m really lucky to have this opportunity to study things that I find both interesting and important.

 

The plans for this short week are:

 

  • Visit the gym at least five times
  • Translate and summarise a Hungarian news article
  • Visit Stockholm and go to at least one coffee shop
  • Spend quality time with my mother
  • Read a couple of psychology articles + check if any of them could be used for my dissertation
  • Start digging into the academics of decision and risk analysis
  • Have fun!