Sunday, 31 August 2014


Autumn. Did you know that autumn in Latin is autumnus? I did not know that. The word autumn is lovely, far lovelier than fall. 

It is the season of beginnings, even though to many, it is the time when the end is approaching. The end of the year, the end of life.

The mornings suddenly feel crisp and fresh, the days are the shorter, the evenings darker. This spot on the planet plans its rest for some months to come.

Autumn is comforting. The warm blankets, the cups of hot tea. The rain and the mist and the fog. The soft feeling of wool and silk and cotton. It is comforting and it is inspiring.

I love all seasons except winter. Autumn I love because it fills me calm joy and inspiration to learn things, to turn my focus to books and knowledge. It is a spiritual time of the year. And it is colourful.

autumn. höst. syksy. otoño. jesień. ősz. осень. jeseň.

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Tidig gryning [SWE: Early Dawn]

Tonight's translation finds its inspiration close to home. Edith Södergran was a Swedish-speaking Finnish poet who lived and wrote in the first decades of the 20th century. Her career, as well as her life, was a short one. She died at the age of 31. She is probably the most known Finnish poet and one of the most important Swedish-speaking modernists.

Below you will find two of her poems in Swedish - Tidig gryning and Vierge moderne - as well as my translations of them. The first poem I find soothing, there is something hopeful about it. The other one, I believe, is a good description of womanhood and the contradictory aspects and the complex whole of the self. 

Tidig gryning

Några sista stjärnor lysa matt. 
Jag ser dem ur mitt fönster. Himlen är blek, 
man anar knappast dagen som börjar i fjärran. 
Det vilar en tystnad utbredd över sjön, 
det ligger en viskning på lur mellan träden, 
min gamla trädgård lyssnar halvförstrött 
till nattens andetag, som susa över vägen. 


A few final stars shine dimly.
I see them from my window. The sky is pale, 
one barely senses the day that begins in the distance. 
A silence is resting over the lake,
a whisper is hiding between the trees,
my old garden is listening half-distractedly
to the breaths of the night, rustling over the road

Vierge moderne

Jag är ingen kvinna. Jag är ett neutrum. 
Jag är ett barn, en page och ett djärvt beslut, 
jag är en skrattande strimma av en scharlakanssol... 
Jag är ett nät för alla glupska fiskar, 
jag är en skål för alla kvinnors ära, 
jag är ett steg mot slumpen och fördärvet, 
jag är ett språng i friheten och självet... 
Jag är blodets viskning i mannens öra, 
jag är en själens frossa, köttets längtan och förvägran, 
jag är en ingångsskylt till nya paradis. 
Jag är en flamma, sökande och käck, 
jag är ett vatten, djupt men dristigt upp till knäna, 
jag är eld och vatten i ärligt sammanhang på fria villkor... 


I am no woman. I am a neuter. 
I am a child, a page and a bold decision,
I am a laughing ray of a scarlet sun...
I am a net for all gluttonous fishes,
I am a bowl for the honour of all women,
I am a step toward chance and ruin,
I am a leap into freedom and the self...
I am the whisper of the blood in a man's ear,
I am the shivers of the soul, the longing and the denial of the flesh,
I am an entrance sign to new paradises. 
I am a flame, seeking and jaunty, 
I am a water, deep but daring to your knees,
I am fire and water in an honest context on free terms... 

Скажите мне.. .

Вижу, что у меня здесь много посетителей из России.  Это очень интересно. Вы здесь, но ничего не говорите :) Иногда я пишу что-то о русским языке, но это не случается так часто. О чем я могу писать? Что вас интересует? 

My Thoughts On My Body And Other Issues

This is the final post I am writing for the August Writing Prompts. Instead of picking a particular prompt, I decided to mix and match them, in order to analyse my own thoughts on body issues and self-confidence. You may find a list of the prompts here

My first memory of being aware of my body took place in a bath tub a couple of decades plus some years ago. That was the time I told my mother that I was fat because my thighs were big.
She said I wasn't fat, besides being fat doesn't have anything to do with one's thighs, only the tummy.
I do not know where the idea and consciousness of being fat came from. My surroundings were not too obsessed with thinness. Not that I recall, at least.

I was more than a head taller than the other girls in my class. I have not grown a single centimeter since I was 11 years old and still, my ID card says that I am of average height.

My period started before I knew what it was.

I had no idea what happened to me and already then I was hiding within my shell, not wanting people to know about my thoughts and secrets. Writing about this topic is difficult because it is something I have never really wanted to talk about. All these years, I have somehow detached my body from my mind. The body is not really me. This detachment between mind and body was probably based on some type of survival instinct. Instead of having a body that the world would accept, I decided to develop my mind. A good idea, in theory. The problem with striving for perfection - whether it is physical or intellectual - is that one will never be quite good enough.

I know now that I am neither fat nor ugly. But for a long time I felt invisible. I still do, sometimes. Growing up with that feeling has made it difficult to socialize with people. I never felt the need to be called beautiful, and I do think that this is an unnecessary compliment. It is much nicer to be called intelligent. If I ever have a little girl, I would want her to appreciate such traits as kindness, intelligence, generosity and humbleness. Beauty is but a fleeing notion.

Sometimes I feel that I would like to be more daring about my appearance - to play with make-up, dress up and have more fun with fashion. One of my promises for self-pampering last week was to wear make-up, I actually did and it felt good. Who would not want to look like this:

In general, I'd rate my confidence as good. Or rather, I don't care too much of what others think. At the end of the day, we are responsible for our own happiness. Bad hair days don't exist if you don't let them. Having a decent level of self confidence does not mean that one is always happy and that everything is perfect, is more about accepting the imperfect self. Accepting the imperfections is also easier if appearance is not so important to begin with. Some people I know struggle a lot with their self confidence, and sometimes I just want to tell them that it is so much easier if one forgets about the rest of the world and focuses on oneself. At the same it is difficult to give anyone advice on matters like this one, because essentially self confidence comes from within.

Last but not least, I have one confession to make, I may feel OK with the way I look, but looking better than OK is scary. By being wrapped in my own invisibility, I don't need to feel people looking at me, I can go on with my own business in my own little bubble. So, if there is something I would like to "achieve" confidence-wise, it'd actually be the stretching of my own limits, to see how stunning I could actually be. Not because I'd have to, but because it'd be fun. Confidence, then, is more than just accepting and being happy about oneself, it is also about letting the world in.

Book: The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden

Even though I love books, I must admit that I'm not an avid reader of Scandinavian (including Finnish) literature. And it is a shame.

This weekend I have dedicated a great deal of time to a book whose English title reads The Girl Who Saved the King of Sweden. The author, Jonas Jonasson, gained a lot of popularity across Europe with his first novel The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared. 

This second novel was a good read. In all its simplicity (as in simple and straightforward language) and fantasy (the plot), it manages to entwine local problems, global issues, history and politics into laugh-out-loud food for thought. What amazes me the most about this writer is his vast knowledge in global affairs and foreign lands. The weakness of the book? Perhaps the somewhat simple language, at times.

Interested in what the book is about? Here is what the publisher Harper Collins has to say:

On June 14th, 2007, the King and Prime Minister of Sweden went missing from a gala banquet at the Royal Castle. Later it was said that both had fallen ill: the truth is different. The real story starts much earlier, in 1961, with the birth of Nombeko Mayeki in a shack in Soweto. Nombeko was fated to grow up fast and die early in her poverty-stricken township. But Nombeko takes a different path. She finds work as a housecleaner and eventually makes her way up to the position of chief advisor, at the helm of one of the world's most secret projects. 
Here is where the story merges with, then diverges from reality. South Africa developed six nuclear missiles in the 1980s, then voluntarily dismantled them in 1994. This is a story about the seventh missile . . . the one that was never supposed to have existed. Nombeko Mayeki knows too much about it, and now she's on the run from both the South African justice and the most terrifying secret service in the world. She ends up in Sweden, which has transformed into a nuclear nation, and the fate of the world now lies in Nombeko's hands. 

Monday, 25 August 2014

Feelings For This Upcoming Week

Monday again. I feel Mondays are quite nice actually, since I get to sleep in. The sun is shining and my mind is straying again in a sudden bout of wanderlust. There is so much I want to do. Sometimes I wonder where all these ideas come from.

My mind has decided it wants to learn either Arabic or Japanese (which one would you pick?). I try to reason with it, but it does not listen to me. I still need finish my Summer Language Project - Russian is left - before I can even consider other languages.

It would also be fun to test a new sport. The thing is, the job pays something called "friskvårdsbidrag", i.e. they pay certain amount of money that can be applied to (only) sports. So, it would be silly NOT to try a new sport.

TRAVELLING! We have two trips planned for September - to Vilnius and to Gdansk - and since September is approaching, I am starting to become excited. It will be so much fun!

In short, the week ahead seems to be exciting. There are some great plans with friends, the sun is (still) shining, etc etc etc.

Have a good week!

Sunday, 24 August 2014

August Writing Prompt #9: I will never part with...

#9 PHOTO POST: what's one item in your closet you'll never part with?*

I will give you three....

  1. Colourful scraf. This one is from Budapest and I am so in love with, both for the colour and the memories it bings
  2. Leather jacket from Zara, I like the cropped sleeves and the colour
  3. Funny pants. Really! Nothing brightens the day as much as a pair of trousers that are a little bit out of the ordinary

* This post is a part of Britany's August Writings Prompts, find more info at

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Skriver du?

- Skriver du?

Två par solglasögontäckta ögon vände sig frågande mot mig. Väntande? Ointresserade? (Varför ska folk ha solglasögon på sig när de pratar med andra människor?). Två par ögon vars ägare var vana vid att ha, och att uttrycka, åsikter.

- Ibland. Svaret kändes inte gott nog på min tunga. Det var blekt på något sätt, intetsägande. Det klingade lite falskt och mycket osäkert.

- Jag känner mig lite språkhandikappad. Jag kan inte uttrycka mig som jag vill, sade jag till sist. Ärligt. Men jag tror inte att de förstod vad jag menade. 

Last Stop Before Home: Stockholm

The stop is right outside the station building;
no other bus stops here.
People are gathering; they carry blue bags from IKEA, black garbage bags, colourful plastic bags. They pull trolleys, or push them.
The women hide their long, dark hair inside scarves - red, green, patterned, blue. Their faces are tired, teeth are missing.
They talk, they shout, they bicker and they are.
They dress in pink and yellow and orange, in any colour you can imagine. The men are more neutral, more polished, more black and white. They seem protective, but about their words coming out of their mouth, I can say nothing.
The sign at the stop reads one word only: Romania. 

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Election Time!

It is again time for elections in Sweden. Sweden will be electing a new Parliament on September 14th and I am having a lot of fun observing it. On the same day local elections will take place. As I'm not a citizen I don't get to vote, instead I have been running around like crazy, attempting to eternalise the posters.

Here's a small selection of what I've gathered this far.

The Social Democrats focus on education, jobs and safer welfare. The candidate representing the Christian Democrats speaks of tax deductions

I have noticed that the vast majority of women representing the Moderate Party (which is also the major component of the ruling government) are blondes. Not that it matters. This was speaks for a more beautiful, safer and greener Stockholm. 

Folkpartiet (the Liberal People's Party) is also sitting in the current government. However, they don't seem to have many promises for the electorate. 

And this is where all the posters go - I wonder what the Green Party has to comment on this? 

Clouds Over Stockholm 20/8/2014

24 godziny w Polsce

Ostatnio miałam mały projekt – ulepszyć mój polski. Dla mnie, język polski to jest coś wspaniałego. Tutaj, w Sztokholmie, często słyszę jak ludzie mówią po polsku. A ja wtedy zawsze myślę, że ja też chcę.

W piątek kupiliśmy sobie bilety do Polski. Za kilka tygodni będziemy w Polsce. Jeden dzień, 24 godziny będziemy w Polsce. Ja tylko jeden raz byłam w Gdansku. A teraz nie mogę się doczekać!

So excited about our trip to Gdansk in September!

Tuesday, 19 August 2014



Eres una gran contradicción
La tranquilidad de tus aguas
se refleja en las caras de tu gente
Pero se está acercando una tormenta
es una de éstas
de las que no te puedes esconder
En una de las calles principales
la gente duerme debajo de la música
despertando al mundo
Con caras abiertas, sucias
te piden dinero
Es en tu naturaleza ser políticamente correcto,
esta gente te importa
Tus calles están llenas de tiendas de ropa
y otras cosas que brillan
Tu gente habla de la compra de pisos
o viajes a Tailandia
A veces me parece
que hemos olvidado la simplicidad
Queremos lo que no tenemos
y muchas veces lo que no necesitamos
Y ya no sabemos que es lo que necesitamos

Monday, 18 August 2014

Poniedziałek [PL: Monday)

The sheet is blank before me. It is strange, how the sentences won't stop appearing before my eyes when I have nowhere to write them, but as soon as I have somewhere to put the words, they disappear. Typical.

So, it's Monday. I can talk about the weekend. This weekend I have learnt that alcohol might make the most unexpected person interested in ecological food. Food, in general, is a big topic here and with the elections approaching, it'll be interesting to see if food (and the quality of it) will make it to the list. Storms are lovely. Swedes are very serious about their crayfish parties and the autumn is here.

Life is beautiful! Smile!

Autumn is here!

Crayfish Party

Sunday, 17 August 2014

August Writing Prompt #6: Self Care for Next Week

August Writing Prompt #6: Self Care is everything. Tell me about five things you can do this week to prioritize and treat yourself.

 What is self care? Going to the spa? Eating well? Cuddling? Reading a good book? Self care has many meanings, I usually prefer to use the term "self pampering". I think I'm quite good at it, lying on the sofa with a good book for a whole evening is not unusual. Having a tasty glass of wine also occurs now and then. I consider a good work out at the gym a luxury.

However, it is a good idea to be proactive about self pampering. It's so easy to forget about personal well-being when work is stressful, friends and family need attention and the clock is running too fast. So, I have made a list of five things I want to do this week to prioritize and treat myself.

  1. Go for a long run. There are few things in life that lead to such a feeling of freedom as a good run. The wind in your hair and the breeze in your face. The silence in the forest. The feeling of peacefulness. And the feeling of accomplishment afterwards. Running is good for the soul. 
  2. Go vegetarian and raw-foodish. Too much meat makes me grumpy. The funny thing about planning to eat in a certain way is that it requires some imagination and creativity. So, it is not only the diet that functions as a propel for well-being, the imagination and creativity add a lot to the levels of well-being. 
  3. Yoga. Just because.
  4. Dress up. I am one of those lucky people who feels comfortable without any make-up. I sometimes look like a troll, and I'm fine with that. If the people around me mind, then it is their problem, not mine. In general, I prefer to get my dose of beauty sleep instead of trying to cover up my face in the morning. It seems to help because usually my face looks OK. BUT (and of course there is a but) it is fun to dress up once in a while, and to wear make-up. So that's what I am going to do, at least once this week. 
  5. Keep writing. I have a story that I need to tell, and writing gives me so much happiness. Keep doing that. 

This is my contribution to the August Writing Prompt hosted by Brittany, Herself. You can find more information about it here

The Art of Travelling pt. 2

There have been so many travel-related things going on around me, so I really felt the need to write a post about travelling. 

First, my boyfriend's sister and her friend are currently planning a 6-month-or-so trip to Australia and I am so jealous. I want to travel too!

Second,  I am reading a wonderful book called Annanstanslängtan. Noteringar från ett krympande klot. It's written in Swedish by a person called Anders Mathlein. The title could be roughly translated into something like Longing for Elsewhere: Notes from a Shrinking Globe.

Third, LePorkstar has written a good post about travelling.
Travelling has so many meanings for people: some travel for pleasures, others travel because they want to satisfy that thirst for knowledge and new experiences. Some people travel because that it is the cool thing to do in our modern society. I would like to think that travelling requires a certain level of open-mindedness and a wish to improve as a human being. 

Travelling has always been important to me. I remember how my dad took me to the playground when I was about two years old. They had a "bike carousel" there, one of these

I used to bike round and round, shouting out the next stop. At the age of 2, I was fairly open-minded about my travelling: the distance between Moscow and Washington was very short. Even then, I felt the need to see the world and to somehow escape the normality of life. Travelling, I believe, is a type of escapism. A desire for more than this. 

There are two "firsts" in my personal travel history. The first time a friend of my mother's took me to Riga, Latvia. The year was 1992 and seeing the realities of the collapse of the Soviet Union affected even me, a kid too young to actually understand things. I remember how the queues to the shops were long, there was no bread and people preferred us to pay in Finnish currency instead of rubles.

The second first was my first trip on my own. During my teens, I had a lot of snailmail penfriends all around the world. A friend from Greece, a girl my age, invited me to visit her and her family. At the time, I was 18. The trip was far from the normal beach travel to Greece, instead I got to see Athens, some islands and the mountains, while experiencing the Greek hospitality.

Travelling - for me - has always been more about scratching beyond the surface, trying to learn about the place and the people I am visiting. It is also about languages, culture and food. Oh yes, food is important. The best part of travelling is to try various local dishes!

The best kind of travelling is when you stay in a country for a longer time. I have been lucky to have this opportunity, several times even. It is during these longer stays that one understands the workings behind the facades: a tourist might not have the time (nor the interest) to understand all the complexity and social forces at play. At the end of the day, one understands that people are the same everywhere.

Sweden is not an exciting country to live in, but at least it is easy (and fairly cheap) to travel from here. That is always a great advantage! The other day we bought return tickets to Poland for 35€ (for 2 people). How crazy is that?

Saturday, 16 August 2014

The Art of Travelling pt. 1

I wanted to write a post on the The Art of Travelling but it seems we are crazy busy now, so now time to hang around on the sofa. The post will come, now to something random:

However, I was asked to create a fan page for this blog on facebook, you find it here 

By the way, I get so annoyed by being stressed. Does that happen to you too?

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

A Piece of History

Now that Russia is on everyone's lips (once again), I thought that I would tell you all a story. Actually, it's not really a story, it's a real historical event that took place when the Crimean War arrived in Åland. Nowadays, there are only the ruins of a fortress that remind us of the times that Finland, including Åland, was a part of the Russian Empire. The Battle of Bomarsund resultted in the entire Åland Islands being demilitarized, a status that has been preserved to this day. Essentially, the Russians planned to build an invincible fortress in the Baltic Sea. The fortress was not completed when it was bombarded and destroyed by the British fleet in August 1854.

Nowadays, the area is peaceful and calm. There are few people walking among the ruins, which have the colour so typical for Åland, red granite.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Colour My World!

There is one thing in life that makes me happier than no other - colour. It might sound rather silly, I know. Is There is colour psychology and all types of theories how colours affect our mood and well-being. Political parties are often associated with colours and colour plays an important role in different cultural and social contexts.

One of my favourite colours is raspberry red. While red is often considered a colour of energy, passion, action and anger, the softer shade of raspberry is more appealing to me. Maybe it's the berry itself that makes me think of forests, silence, peace and autumn. It is also a sweet colour, not too hard but also not too insipid. The taste of the berry is similar to its colour, the taste lingers on the tongue, the scent lingers in the air. 

And here you see the ingredients for the perfect smoothie - just add some fresh orange juice and it's ready!

Clouds and Colours, Colours and Clouds


View over the Baltic Sea



Frozen Mojito

Monday, 4 August 2014

Po polsku

Letni Dzień

To już jest koniec lata.
Ja tutaj słyszę muzykę, nic nie robię.
Za chwilę zacznie padać deszcz,
świat jest cichy.

A myślę, jak piękny jest ten język.
Jak piękny jest ten świat.
Mowię, że ten jest tylko letnim projektem.
Mowię, że tylko chcę go ulepszyć.
Wydaje mi się, że to nie prawda.

Jesteś wyjątkowy, jesteś tajemnicą.
Mowiąc prawdę, nie potrzebuję ciebie,
ale bez ciebie nie mogę żyć.

Ja chcę cię znać, jak znam mój własny.  

Linguistic Impossibilities

A while back, I had the following thought:
I have a vague memory of having read somewhere that Franz Kafka had an identity crisis of sorts that stemmed from what he called "linguistic impossibilities". I was reminded of this the other day when I spoke about the art of writing with some friends: sometimes it is so extremely difficult to express oneself in a language that one is supposed to know inside and out. For example, even though I know a language at native level, I still feel limited and "rootless", not being able to express myself the way I would like to. Other people think it sounds good, though.
Indeed, I managed to find one article on Kafka's linguistic impossibilities (here). Living in Prague at the beginning of the 19th century, German-speaking Jewish writers faced a problem related to language and writing:

"[Jewish writers] exist among three impossibilities, which I just happen to call linguistic impossibilities.... These are: The impossibility of not writing, the impossibility of writing German, the impossibility of writing differently." (F. Kafka)
 I have always wanted to write. I have written letters, e-mails, blogs. But I also always had a feeling that my language was too weak, that I had not the right skills to perfect the tool and to use it as it should be used in the contexts I want to use it. I know languages, sure I do, but I cannot turn a single one of them into poetry. In a way, I find this issue to be related to Kafka's linguistic impossibilities. When I was young, I was taught to express myself in Swedish - a language that I hated, now I only dislike it. I remember how I used to say that I'd love to write but the stories don't come to me. Now I think that the stories have been there all along, but I did not know how to express them properly. Swedish is a language that is not me, it is not my essence. However, I know it better than any other, and it's the only language I know how to play in.

Writing does fill me with joy, and this summer I have been writing. This blog has not been my focus this summer, instead my attention has drifted toward an old-fashioned notebook. I think I have solved my linguistic dilemma: I write different texts in different languages. The main story - the big one - is written in English. Only the draft, though. I will translate it myself and add the poetry and the life to it in Swedish.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

People You Meet On The Train. Or Finding Your Happy Place.

[oh, sod it. I need a cup of tea to write this post]

Have you ever thought about the people you see on trains? The people you might actually meet on a train? I believe I have mentioned the word train in the majority of the post scribbled down this summer, but why not? Trains are the perfect place for people-watching. A train is the perfect place to invent a story or to hear the tales lived and experienced.

For instance, on the train that leaves Tumba (yes, the place is called that) at 6.38 every morning, there is a Polish girl who looks like Marilyn Monroe. I know she is Polish because she speaks the language. Now, these two facts are quite interesting on their own. Now, how often do you bump into a person who looks like Marilyn? And the Polish? Well, it's good for us notorious eavesdroppers. This girls is a mishmash of mystery, roughness and kindness. Alluring. She works with a man who thinks that she should dress up more, be more feminine, like the women in his country.

A while back, while we were still living in Slovakia and Hungary was the #1 choice for our weekend-trips, my boyfriend and I had a near-death experience. You know how Europeans like to think themselves educated and open-minded and so on? Well, at that time a couple of European girls clearly proved this statement to be false. Yes, there is a country between Hungary and the Czech Republic (must be, because these two countries don't share a border), no, there will not be a passport control. Not even in Prague. No. Yes, please, take a look at that map. And no worries, we will not be taking a detour through Austria.

And today. We were on our way back from the city centre, a Spanish girl and I, when the man next to her started telling her his life story. In soft but quick Spanish he spoke, his nose was big and his greyish blue eyes were tired. I will not repeat the awful things that may happen to you if you live in Colombia, but this man had lived and seen them all. After some twists and turns bestowed upon him by fate, he had ended up in Sweden. And he was far from happy. He wanted to go back to Colombia. This short encounter only raised more questions than it provided answers. And it reminded about a conversation we had earlier this week.

Is there any hope? I look at the world and wonder if there is any hope. Really, is there? People get shot and killed, the ones living in more secure places queue for an apartment for 10 years (welcome to Stockholm) and start queuing for a suitable old peoples' home when they are born. Or at least their insightful parents put them in that queue. People who get pregnant suddenly notice that they are expected to start their shift at 3 p.m. Politicians are proud when they participate in the PRIDE parade but have little to say how to solve the real issues that are chewing our society apart. And you have all the women and men and young people with wrinkled faces who have travelled across Europe to beg for money. And we talk so much: should they be here or should they not? Should we give them a few of our coins or should we not? How very rude of them to try to take our half-full bottles and cans from our hands. But what is the solution? Is there a solution? And at the end of the day, who is responsible for this mess when people no longer have their human value?

And then we have to sad and the ill. People who kill themselves in mental hospitals and people who, at the fine age of 31, do not find a single thing to live for. Because they are not what they are expected to be, and they don't have what they are expected to have. And life did not turn out the way it was supposed to. And it's so easy to tell them to keep on fighting, to go and see someone, to talk about it.

And some people complain about the weather. Two months ago it was too cold, now it's too warm. Guess what, soon it's winter.

And I'm a wee bit ashamed when I admit that I am happy. I am happy with my books, and my pen, my notebook and walks in the sunshine. I love the feeling of being surrounded by salty sea water, and I adore the feeling of new, strange, foreign words on my tongue. And the taste of chili peppers. And I feel that maybe, just maybe, the world might be a bit easier when it's simplified. And a little more love does not make the world a worse place, does it? 

Selfie Time

Everybody seems to be posting selfies. Finnish newspapers even base their entertainment NEWS on the selfies that celebrities (or wannabe-celebs) have posted on Instagram.

One cannot be cool without posting selfies on the net.

Sorry mum, I gave in to peer pressure.

Ladies and gentlemen. It's selfie-time.

Oh, sorry. I forgot my clothes on. This probably won't make me so cool anymore. I'm devastated. 

Petit-déjeuner suédois - frukost på svenska

What I love - and I mean absolutely love - about weekends is the breakfast. Generally, I am not a breakfast person (as long as I get my coffee) and I don't believe that it is the most important meal of the day. However, it is nice when one has the time to calmly enjoy the food, and the coffee, and the news (or, great blogs) without the need to rush to the train.

I thought I'd make today's breakfast experience a lesson in language and culture.

This is a kanelbulle (cinnamon roll) and it is one of the finest and tastiest sweets of the Swedish cuisine. These are so delicious and you will find them in every cafe, every supermarket, in people's freezers and you will be most likely to find them in your nearest IKEA as well. And the smell? Just imagine the smell, heavenly!

Don't forget to celebrate the day of the kanelbulle on October 4.

Here comes a short list of how to say kanelbulle in the languages covered in this blog:

English: cinnamon roll
Finnish: kanelipulla
Russian: коричная плюшка
Spanish: rollo de canela
Polish: bułka cynamonowa
Slovak: Škoricový koláčik
Hungarian: fahéjas tekercs

Saturday, 2 August 2014


Dziś tłumaczę wiersze, piję kawę, jestem zadowolona. Lubię soboty. Uwielbiam historie, uwielbiam opowiadania też.

Dreaming high, dreaming low. Or maybe I should say dreaming big, dreaming small. As I mentioned in a previous post, I have spent great parts of this summer with my nose in a book. I have also been living stories. Never before have I seen so many stories around me, and felt such an urgent need to re-tell these stories on paper. (It might have something to do with the fact that I have spent lots of time on trains. There is no better place for people watching than a train).

Like yesterday, for instance, there was a couple making out on the platform. I could not take my eyes from them, it was so joyful. It looked like a scene from a film, they both were so beautiful and she just oozed of sex appeal. However, it was their laughter, their joy, that caught my attention. They were so carefree. The moment felt so pure somehow.

Back to stories. I have been reading a book about stories - how each life is a story, whose plot is still unfinished, whose ending still needs to be written. I like the thought of life being a story, that one can step out, look at it, analyse it, interpret it, misunderstand it and change it. It makes the variety of choices endless, it means that there is always room for adventure.

Chciałbym opisać [PL: I would like to describe]

Yet again it is time for a translated poem. This poem - Chciałbym opisać - was written by the Polish poet Zbigniew Herbert. In case you are interested to read more Polish poetry, you may find it here

The translation is mine. 


Chciałbym opisać najprostsze wzruszenie
radość lub smutek
ale nie tak jak robią to inni
sięgając po promienie deszczu albo słońca 

chciałbym opisać światło
które we mnie się rodzi
ale wiem że nie jest ono podobne
do żadnej gwiazdy
bo jest nie tak jasne
nie tak czyste
i niepewne

chciałbym opisać męstwo
nie ciągnąc za sobą zakurzonego lwa
a także niepokój 
nie potrząsając szklanką pełną wody

inaczej mówiąc
oddam wszystkie przenośnie
za jeden wyraz
wyłuskany z piersi jak żebro
za jedno słowo
które mieści się
w granicach mojej skóry
ale nie jest to widać możliwe

i aby powiedzieć - kocham
biegam jak szalony
zrywając naręcza ptaków
i tkliwość moja
która nie jest przecież w wody
prosi wodę o twarz

i gniew różny od ognia
pożycza od niego
wielomównego języka

tak się miesza
tak się miesza
we mnie
to co siwi panowie
podzielili raz na zawsze
i powiedzieli
to jest podmiot
a to przedmiot

z jedną ręką pod głową
a z drugą w kopcu planet

a stopy opuszczają nas
i smakują ziemię
małymi korzonkami
które rano
odrywamy boleśnie

Zbigniew Herbert

I would like to describe the simplest emotion
happiness or sadness
but not the way others do it
reaching for the rays of rains or sunshine

I would like to describe the light
that grows within me
but I know that it is not similar
to any star
because it is not so bright
not so clean
not so pure
and uncertain

I would like to describe the bravery
not dragging behind me the dusty lion
nor anxiety
not shaking the glass filled with water

in other words
I will give up all metaphors
for one sentence
taken from the breast like a rib
for one word
which fits 
within the limits of my skin
but which cannot be seen

and to say – I love
I run like crazy
breaking the flock of birds
and my tenderness
not yet being in the water
asks for water on her face

and the anger different from fire
borrows from it
the verbose language

so it is mixed
so it is mixed
within me
that what grey gentlemen
divided once and for all
and said 
that is an entity
and that an object

we fall asleep
with one hand under our head
and the other in a pile of planets

and our feet leave us
and they have a taste of earth
with small roots
which we painfully tear up
when the morning comes