Sunday, 30 September 2012

The Plate Was Too Small For The Chickpeas

The plan was to still the sudden urge for chickpeas by making a salad with… well, chickpeas. Unfortunately, the plate decided to disagree with me – so the cravings for chickpeas are still alive and well. (I’m so happy I don’t get any cravings of the weirder kind… what if I would suddenly decide that crocodile meat is the one and only thing I could possibly eat… Not good).

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Note to self and everyone else who likes cheese: this one was so good (well, it tasted like feta cheese) so in case you’re ever visiting Slovakia you should pay a visit to the supermarket just to get yourself some.

 

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How did that couscous end up there instead of the chickpeas? Complete mystery.

Smoked salmon is sort of the ingredient of the week. There is not much choice if you try to keep a fairly high protein intake while refusing to cook hot food. Canned tuna is another classic, and boiled eggs (but that requires cooking!). And chickpeas!!! Smile I wonder how vegetarians do it? Dear vegetarians, how do you do it?

Saturday, 29 September 2012

fotografie.

Saturday. I have been in Slovakia for almost a week now. Yesterday I moved into my new home, on Monday I start working.

Here are some observations from the past few days.
  • The correct adjective is Slovak and not Slovakian – remember the official name of Slovakia, the Slovak Republic. Now we know.
  • Slovak people are very friendly and helpful. I’ve only met one grumpy person in one week. Not bad! The funniest person was the eye doctor who was a hilarious old man. Another funny person was the old lady who photoshopped me – she had some serious skills.
  • I do not understand why people feel the need to poke me in the face so much.
  • When it comes to the language, tourists beware! Not everyone speaks English, knowing another Slavic language helps immensely. I keep speaking a nice mix of Polish and Russian, I’m waiting with horror what it will sound like once I add Slovak to the mix.
  • Interestingly, Slovakia in Slovak  is Slovensko, Slovenia is Slovinsko.
  • There is a train station right across the street from my house, with trains to Austria and Hungary. Score!
  • Bratislava is a great city for walking: many parts of the city (not only in the centre, but also in the suburbs) are for walking/cycling only.
And some photos. (click to make them bigger – sorry facebook friends, I know you’ve seen some of these already)
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Friday, 28 September 2012

Treats And Cheats

The updates have been scarce because the wifi decided to stop working completely. Life, however, has been going on as normal (as normal as possible under the circumstances).

Normal life also requires eating. Some people reading this blog appreciate the food posts so here goes, I present to thee some of the (semi-vegetarian) dishes that have made it down my mouth this week.
 

1. Salad with salmon, feta cheese, avocado and dried cranberries





Ingredients: lettuce, carrot, tomato, smoked salmon, feta cheese, avocado and dried cranberries.
The secret of this dish lies in the variation of texture and flavours, and how they complement each other. The first time I tasted the combo smoked salmon + cheese + dried cranberries was actually at the airport in Stockholm last weekend, and I was really surprised at how well these ingredients go together. Try it!

This salad was accompanied by a good book (the third part of 1Q84) and the essential diet coke.





2. Fruit salad

It may not look like much for the world (and the bowl makes it look even worse), but this slightly colourless fruit salad with Greek yoghurt was delicious. And the ingredients? 1 apple, 1 banana and ½ an orange. The only thing missing was a pinch of cinnamon. 




3. And then there was some cheating….
OK, those of you who know me, might be familiar with the fact that I can be picky about food, at least most of the time. One of the rules is that food should be fresh and another one holds that it should have a purpose. But. There are certain foods that bring back a lot of sentimental memories. When I visited Athens in 2003 I was always served this certain kind of croissant for breakfast. So, when I saw it in the supermarket the other day, well, of course I had to buy one. 



The truth is that it tasted good, but as far as treats go (instead of cheats), I would pick that fruit salad any day.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

One of the Reasons

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This is one of the reasons why Bratislava seemed like such a good idea. Yesterday wasn’t a very good day because of the post-travel tiredness and headache. But today, today is really good  - I’ve been flat-hunting and in a while I’m going to check out the company where I’ll be working.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Slovak.

My inner language nerd is excited at the prospect of a new language. Or five – but let’s stick to the ones we’ve already started, shall we? After a short time of observation, spoken Slovak seems fairly easy to understand – in my opinion it is very similar to Polish. The written language requires slightly more imagination to make sense for a novice like me. Interestingly, the letter ä exists in Slovak: I thought it was a German/Scandinavian/Finnish peculiarity.

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And then to the random observations made today

  • There are no functioning traffic lights here – and I’m still alive, which is a small miracle considering the fact I’m the queen of absentmindedness and would be more than able to walk right in front of a tram by accident.
  • Some of the groceries in Tesco are about as expensive as in Finland. There is an awful lot of cookies and chocolate here, even more than back home.
  • Most young Slovakian men look like they’d like to play in a British indie band.
  • People are very helpful.

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Almost There!

First of all: gotta love Norwegian for their free (and relatively fast) wifi. It feels good to be surfing while in a plane.

So, here are some of today’s observations:
  • 4 countries in one day is quite exhausting business. Well, not long to go and we’ll reach the destination…
  • …which is Bratislava! More about the hows and whys later… my laptop is about to die so there is no time to write any novels…
  • …and it’s about to die because charging laptops at Copenhagen airport turned out to be quite impossible a task.
  • Now, flying to Copenhagen always makes me seasick – there’s always the risk of sinking in Öresund while landing. BUT – flying from Copenhagen at night is beautiful. It looks so pretty with all the lights twinkling in Copenhagen and Malmö…
  • Speaking of which, I’d love to go to Copenhagen someday (without any laptops).
  • Finns look quite misplaced wearing kilts.
  • Slovakian seems quite easy to understand. Yay to that!

P.S. E-mails are on their way! Probably tomorrow.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Key Word For Autumn 2012: Change

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P9190254Autumn 2012 is going to be all about change. No matter how (un)realistic it feels, the truth is that the next two days and three nights will fly because they will be filled with packing, assignments, goodbyes and running around like a headless chicken. No matter how (un)realistic it feels, the city where I wake up on Monday morning will be my home town for the foreseeable future. I will be moving to a country where I’ve only been once. For one day.

Autumn 2012 will be about adjusting to a new country, a new language and a new culture. It will be about getting to know people and new work routines. At the same time, a great deal of  energy and effort will be given to things I know and love – working out, languages, reading and studying. And the travelling – one cannot move to Central Europe without going on trips to all these wonderful places that are right around the corner.

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Superficially speaking, autumn 2012 will be colourful. cosy and cool. I’m thinking about silk, wool and leather, red and grey, coffee shops, parks, early mornings, sunshine, hot tea, sarcasm, books in ridiculously great amounts and a lot of philosophising. It should be good!

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Female Logic

You know how women in the Western world seem to share a certain tendency to eat chips aka fries off the guy’s plate instead of ordering their own?
Here’s another example of that very same logic.

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It really is OK to eat all that remaining candy, because from Sunday onwards all sweets will be banned for all eternity. Yeah, right.

Simple

Yes, I decided to give this blog a simpler look. Still need to update the information on the pages, and after that we'll see what happens to this playground. How intriguing!

Places: Turku 17/9/2012

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Is she leaving again? (Tomi at 2 am-ish)

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Sunflowers!

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Breakfast at the square + yellow chairs. Lovely.

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Thoughts on the role of the Finnish national broadcasting company (YLE) in offering alternatives to the traditional gender roles. Here it is informed that the company actively strives to show such children's programs that avoid stereotypes and clichés and offer alternatives that widen the understanding of what boys and girls are or “should” be.  (from Hufvudstadsbladet, Monday 17.9.2012)

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Autumn is coming. 

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Best combo #1: is there anything better than coffee and newspapers in the morning?

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Best combo #2: pretty shoes and pink bathroom! 

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The Pink Post-It Uprising

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Orthodox church (Church of the Holy Martyr Empress Alexandra) and a lot of clouds. 


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This is where it all happened: Turku Castle. 

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Monday, 17 September 2012

Summer 2012 In Swedish

Every summer brings a few songs that will forever take you back to memories of sweaty dance floors, lying on the beach and mango ice-cream. Swedes are especially good at making this stuff.

The Swedish word for this is “sommarplåga” (=summer plague").

Song 2 is a bit funny, because a) it’s in Finnish Swedish (finlandssvenska – the dialect spoken in Finland) and b) it’s about Åland (of all places on the planet).

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Things We Laughed About This Week

Whenever probability theory hits you, it’s time to start thinking about things more interesting than this one:

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It doesn’t matter how much sense it makes, or how useful it is for human survival (or whatever), it’s not FUN. Not as fun as the following remarks or events:
  • The leader of the Left Alliance, Paavo Arhinmäki, publically wished to give Carl Haglund, the chairman of the Swedish People’s Party, a train ticket to Siberia. It’s not politically correct, someone might even find this statement quite disturbing. Personally, I did giggle a little bit when I read the story and the reactions it caused. If Mr. Haglund doesn’t want the ticket, I wouldn’t mind using it. No problem - дайте мне
  • Russians trying to order vodka in Russian in the middle of the (non-Russian) forest. The poor bartender was very confused. 
  • Ski-jumper Harri Olli wants Finland to join Russia because Finland is such a “s**t state”. There’s nothing wrong with Russia, so no offence – but, this is a statement that will confuse and anger, rather than .make people bounce with happiness. I wonder how all this is related to ski-jumping?

NB: the purpose of this post is not to shed negative light on Russia. Rather, yours truly finds it quite interesting how Russia is used in political discourse (and apparently also in ski-jumping circles) to make fun of opponents or for social commentary.

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Saturday 15/9/2012

Black coffee and soft music. The sun is shining outside, and there are lots of nice people around.  
And I'm as excited as a little bunny. Soon, soon it's time for another country and another adventure. 

 

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Book Challenge: Day 24 (pt. 2)

I said I'd think about it. It took me almost 3 months but I finally do have an answer to the following:

Day 24 – A book that you wish more people would’ve read

A good book is one that teaches the reader something important, while taking the teacher on a journey to another time and another place. Furthermore, the good book gives rise to thoughts and questions.
I read one of these books the other day. It's touching and beautiful and it makes you angry at the world for all the injustice and stupidity. And it makes you think about moral issues and life in general. Unfortunately it seems to be only available in Finnish and Swedish - therefore I can wish that more people would have access to this little book (it's so tiny it's almost a booklet) giving insight to one very little piece of human history.



In English the title of this book would be something like And I Wasn't A Prisoner. The author, Hella Wuolijoki, was a Finnish-Estonian writer, who had been sentenced to life imprisonment during the Continuation War for being a spy for the Soviet Union. During the imprisonment, she wrote a journal in which she made observations about her fellow inmates and life in prison, while commenting the war and the social situation in Finland.

Her good, friendly shadow walked upright before me, she gestured silently to me with a worker's hand: "Don't be afraid... there is no death... for those, who die for life..."     She was a Finnish working woman and she loved her country and her people, she gave her life for its liberty... carrying the name of a traitor. She walked into death singing. Her name was Martta Koskinen*.
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Day 25 – A character who you can relate to the most
Day 26 – A book that changed your opinion about something
Day 27 – The most surprising plot twist or ending
Day 28 – Favourite title
Day 29 – A book everyone hated but you liked
Day 30 – Your favourite book of all time


*Martta Koskinen was the last woman to be executed in Finland.
** The translation is mine, so you know whom to blame for all the mistakes.

Monday, 10 September 2012

Choice.

Today I read something that made me realize something that has never ever occurred to me even though it’s so obvious: I can choose to look ugly* and it’s OK. I’m not talking about walking around the house in gym clothes and wearing no make-up (because err… that happens every second day) but to actually make a conscious choice: today I choose to look ugly. It is, obviously, equally OK to choose to look pretty.

* another question is how to define ugly, but let's leave that for some other day.

Sunday, 9 September 2012

On the Stove

It’s time for more food. Very exciting it is, this life of mine…. BUT: truth to be told, there are very few things that are better on a Sunday night than a nice meal and good company.

I have written about it here and here, so maybe my love for goulash needs no further introduction. The ingredients may vary slightly from time to time (chicken this time), and the stove may look a bit different (from 1986), but the end result is always delicious. The secret: lots of paprika, chili and time.




Saturday, 8 September 2012

Wild Mushrooms

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Wild mushroom sauce

Ingredients

  • Wild mushrooms (cleaned and cut into small pieces)
  • Onion (chopped)
  • Milk (apr. 4 dl) (alt. cream)
  • Butter
  • Salt
  • Pepper

And this, my friends, is easy. Chop the onion and sauté it with the butter in a pan for a couple of minutes, add the cut mushrooms. Add milk/cream once most of the liquid (from the mushrooms) has evaporated.  Add salt and pepper, let the sauce simmer for a while (5-10 minutes).

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Serve with boiled potato and red cabbage.

Red cabbage can easily be spiced up with fresh lingonberries. Grate the cabbage, add the berries. Mix. Done, ready to be eaten.