Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Burbujas de verano

Summer bubbles take me back to a time when I was sitting on some stairs, under a birch tree, wondering why my head felt like porridge and if there's nothing more to life than a distantly blurry image of sunshine and sand. So blinded was I then that I failed to register the actual sun, the one peeping through the leaves. Summer is a time of melancholy, a time of endings. It is a time when we race toward Midsummer, only to remind ourselves that now the days are getting shorter and soon our days, our life, will be an endless winter night. My head no longer feels that oatmeal and I see the real sun, nonetheless, sitting on those stairs, under the birch tree, still fills me with sadness.

“…”But on an occasion like this we must wait for sunset. Setting out in the right way is just as important as the opening lines in a book: they determine everything.” He sat in the sand next to Moominmamma. “Look at the boat,” he said. “Look at The Adventure. A boat by night is a wonderful sight. This is the way to start a new life, with a hurricane lamp shining at the top of the mast, and the coastline disappearing behind one as the whole world lies sleeping. Making a journey by night is more wonderful than anything in the world.”
“Yes, you’re right,” replied Moominmamma. “One makes a trip by day, but by night one sets out on a journey.” 
― Tove Jansson, Moominpappa at Sea

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Balcony Bliss

Is there anything better than growing your own herbs? I would think not. 

Friday, 19 June 2015

Happy Midsummer's Eve!

Happy Midsummer! When you read this, I'm in a cottage. Far away from civilization. No electricity. No running water,

I will be here:

Pollo al horno

Chicken in the oven.
Many slices of zucchini.
Some mushrooms.
A bit of carrot.
An onion or two.
Plenty of feta cheese.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Because I Love The Sky

Be thou the rainbow in the storms of life. The evening beam that smiles the clouds away, and tints tomorrow with prophetic ray. - Lord Byron -  

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Istanbul Summary

According to my travel journal, these were the thoughts and reflections I took with me from Istanbul.

  • The Mosques (found in every street corner) are something  of a mystery to me. They are very beautiful, grandiose even. To me they represent a reality that is very alien, and thus fascinating. 
  • The stray cats are cute and (and surprisingly well taken care of). They are everywhere!
Happy cats in Istanbul

  • The noise and the dirt and the steep hills are in fact a part of the city's charm. It does take some getting used to for someone like me, though. Someone like me = does not like crowds and dislikes talking to strangers. 
  • It was surprisingly difficult to find "proper" coffee (now, I am aware that my understanding of proper coffee does not coincide with what most other people consider to be good coffee),
  • People were extremely friendly and helpful. One example: we were strolling around a residential area when this old man (over 80 probably) started to give us directions in broken English. He wanted to assure that we were not lost!
  • It was very painful to see children begging. I am aware that this is a cruel reality in many places, but as it is something you rarely see in Scandinavia, it really took me by surprise. Now imagine the reality of all those people who need to flee for their lives. And imagine that there are people who are more worried about protecting their language rights than helping people in need*. This sickens me.  
  • The beginning of June is the perfect time for a visit to Istanbul. The weather was good and it was not as crowded as it has the potential to be.
The Grand Bazaar - not too crowded

* A while back, a letter was sent out in my former home municipality. The authors call for a referendum to prevent refugees from coming to the Åland Islands. The letter can be found here.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

10 Things That Make Me Mad

For a while now I have been entertaining myself with writing exercises. One of said exercises is to write down 10 things that make me angry. Every day. It might be good for connecting with my inner self or whatever, but I hate being angry. It's such a waste of time. And honestly, just thinking about things that make me angry is bad for my temper. Finding ten things a day is hard, so here's a slightly shorter list from the last few days. Now that I've gotten myself into this state, I need to get rid of all negative emotions.

  1. Ignorance. Especially online. It makes me angry when people do not know what the Minister of Foreign Affairs does. Or that Lithuania is not the same thing as Poland. What's the point in paying a lot of tax money if people do not learn the simplest things?
  2. People who do not know how to use public transport. Correction: people who do not know how to behave on public transport. 
  3. Idiot criminals who think that online skimming is OK. 
  4. Myself. For drinking too much wine at times. 
  5. Public transport again. That man who sat too close. 

Lesson learned? Stay away from online shopping, internet forums (fora?) and public transport. Then life is all good. 

What makes you mad?

Thursday, 11 June 2015

Fooling Myself

Just the thought of having a protein drink - not to mention actually drinking one - makes me feel fitter. Going to the gym might be a good idea for any real results, though.

Oma maa mansikka, muu maa mustikka*

Hi again!

Istanbul was fantastic, and now I'm home with a tan, sore feet and two more days to go of my summer holidays (+ the weekend). Just realized that we will be away for at least the three upcoming weekends, so I'm quite forced to do laundry. Woop!

Anyway, Istanbul. It was (in no specific order): huge, chaotic, colourful, friendly, loud, smelly, disorganized, hilly, historical, cozy, upsetting and quite amazing. I believe that I had to confront some of my prejudices as well, so it was a useful trip from that perspective. Our timing was perfect, on Sunday there were parliamentary elections in Turkey so I had the opportunity to ruminate upon the campaigns (without understanding any of it). Speaking of the language, I don't like the sound of Turkish at all when spoken. In music it is a beautiful language, and written Turkish looks like a lot of fun, but it just sounds very strange to me.  And we walked over 90K during these days, I'm quite happy I only have one blister on my left foot.

These are just some random thoughts - there will be more, so stay tuned!

The Galata Tower

* In Finnish, "home sweet home" becomes "own country strawberry, other country blueberry". I personally prefer blueberries, so I do not really get this. 

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Spänningen stiger, jännitys nousee...

There might be a trip abroad happening tonight. Is it 100% certain? No! Where to? Dunno. Exciting times, my friends, exciting times. 

It'd be nice with some Palm trees to hug... 

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

What if...

  1. Travel anywhere, where would it be? South America. 
  2. Meet anyone, who would it be? Emm, I have a certain fascination with politicians. So, any politician, really.
  3. Bring anyone dead back to life, who would it be? Pass
  4. Be anyone for a day, who would it be? ...
  5. Get anything for free for the rest of your life what would it be? One monthly trip abroad would be nice
  6. Change one thing about your life what would it be? Future wise I'd love to feel sure about my career
  7. Have any superpower what would it be? Reading people's minds
  8. Be any animal for a day which would you be? A goat
  9. Date anyone who would it be? I don't do dating
  10. Change one thing about the world what would it be? The people and their attitudes
  11. Live in any fictional universe which would you choose? This one is interesting enough
  12. Eliminate one of your human needs which would you get rid of? The bathroom business
  13. Change one thing about your physical appearance what would it be? My natural hair color
  14. Change one of your personality traits which would you choose? I'd very much like to be more self-disciplined
  15. Be talented at anything instantly what would you choose? Even better language skills
  16. Forget one event in your life which would you choose? Too personal to be shared here
  17. Erase an event from history (make it so it never happened) which would you choose? History is filled with so many events that should not have happened. How about changing human behavior? 
  18. Have any hair/eye/skin color, which would you choose? I love my green eyes and freckly skin, my hair could be a bit less meh.
  19. Be any weight/body type, which would you choose? The one I have, but a wee bit fitter.
  20. Live in any country/city, where would you choose? Maybe some city on the Balkans, that part of Europe inspires me. 
  21. Change one law in your country, which would you change? Can't think of specific laws, but instead of penalties, I'd like to see laws that endorse individual action WHILE guaranteeing an equal society. Oh yes, now I know. I'd like to see laws protecting the personal sphere and personal data. I do not want the government - and especially not foreign governments - to know anything about my life or my preferences. 
  22. Be any height, which would you choose? My height is good as it is. 
  23. Have any job in the world, which would you choose? When I was younger, I dreamt about becoming a diplomat. Otherwise, a writer or an educator of some kind. 
  24. Have anything appear in your pocket right now, what would it be? Flight tickets to the sun! 
  25. Have anyone beside you right now, who would it be? A goat named Charlie

Monday, 1 June 2015

With June Come the Holidays, Cheers to That!

Outside my window the typical Swedish summer is showing its face (it's raining cats and dogs and elephants) and here I am, sitting with my cup of tea. My good ol' friend the Laptop has finally been switched on. Two weeks of freedom await me. I have plans for the first three days. Today I will be attending a seminar on comparative politics (Finnish and Swedish) - this is fairly exciting, as the political situation in Finland is very interesting at the moment. Tomorrow I will attempt to run a 10 K. Wish me luck! And on Wednesday my taichi group is planning on getting the best of all worlds with taichi AND wine (ehem, actually a picnic) in the park. 

I know someone how told me that she'd spend half of her summer holiday cleaning. CLEANING! Now, I know that people are different and who am I to judge anyway? But... for me, time off work means more time to explore and learn new things. And possibly to catch up on missed sleep. 

One of the must-go places in Stockholm: the library