Thursday, 31 December 2009

No Shopping Until May. Are you in?

A friend and I have challenged ourselves to NO shopping until May 2010. Our aim is to restrict all our shopping that includes clothes, bags, shoes.... or anything else that can be found in our wardrobes. Going to the hairdressesers is permitted, and so are items that are necessary for one's personal hygiene and health.

Are you in? If so, please join here!


So, yet another year is coming to an end. Here are the facts and numbers.

Trips to the beach: 4
New places: Madrid and Barcelona.

The "woohoo of the year": running a 6K (which is amazing if running scares your pants off)
The experience of the year: seeing U2 at Camp Nou, Barcelona.
The songs that are sooo 2009: Human by the Killers, This is the Life by Amy MacDonald.
Film/Book of the year. I´ll have to say the Millennium-saga by Stieg Larsson, although I'm sure I've read something better.
Dream sort of coming true: studying Hungarian, now I just have to learn to speak it!

Activity of the year: pilates, it is sooo good.
General feeling: the year has been good with lots of fun moments, but something has been missing. Apart from general massconfusion, I think I have quite a clear picture of what I wanna do. Finally.

Best memories: all the tea/coffeedates with a certain Canadian, as well as the trips back home.

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

How is it that you always realise that you're drunk when you're in the loo?

Yesterday we had a really nice birthday dinner with a couple we know and some incredibly tall Spaniards. The food was good, the glögg (known as mulled wine in English) was good, the conversation was loud, and someone had a bit too much to drink.

Anyhow, I want to thank all the bribeable readers for leaving comments, muchas gracias a todos!

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Happiness is... [Peanuts again]

La felicidad es quedarte dormido de camino a casa
 Happiness is falling asleep on the way home.

La felicidad es quedarte en casa porque estás malo, pero no tanto como para no poder ver la tele.
Happiness is staying at home because you're ill, but not so ill that you can't watch telly.

Are you bribeable?

If you are, please leave a comment to this post, telling me about the most amazing thing you are going to do in 2010. 
I want to know who reads this, if anyone actually does. The winner gets a price :)
You have time until let's say Friday at noon CET.

Would like to name this post "Fu**ing Genius" but swearing is not nice.

Today is the last Tuesday of 2009. Just in case you didn't know. I'm sipping on flavoured  rooibos tea and cursing my right hand which is out of action after a slight disagreement with the can containing dog food.
My newest hobby is listening to music in Serbian and trying to figure out what they are saying and then translate the stuff. Haha... does anyone have a spare life they would like to lend me? One with no languages and two functioning hands, please.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Love story po polsku

Talking about love, here's a Polish Love Story.

I <3 CEE

It is true love, now go awwwwwww.

It all started at the ripe age of 7 when the Eastern bloc was falling apart but Yugoslavia remained in one piece. The encyclopedia had a picture of a field full of sunflowers somewhere in Yugoslavia, suddenly something called the CIS appeared in the winter olympics of Albertville and there was a film on tv, apparently the first film ever made in independent Slovenia. And then there was war... a lot of it. The Balkan was bleeding and life was fascinating. That eastern part of Europe was mysterious, wild, beautiful. Russia, I'm sorry to say, was only odd at the time, and in Riga they had plenty of toothpaste but no bread. And you weren't allowed to bring any roubles back from there, but we did anyway.

A very wise friend of mine once told me that I'd end up there, that it was some kind of a strange joke that I was born in Finland instead of some random Ukrainian village. We will see about that, but I feel a certain attraction and I doubt that it will ever disappear. I have lived in or visited some of these countries (Russia, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary + the Baltic countries), I am studying some of the languages (Russian, Polish & Hungarian), I love the literature and am hooked to the music. At the same time, it is a journey that I'm afraid to embark on, a bit like a love affair. Sometimes you are too afraid to lose you heart, it might get broken in the process. But hey come on... we are talking about a geographical entity, not a person, so maybe this is another fear I need to face in 2010. Instead of dreaming, maybe I should give it a real chance?


I know this makes very little sense to anyone. Imagine having someone or something in your head, calling your name without stopping. That's what this strange relationship is like, even if it will make even less sense now.
The picture, by the way, is from Kosice, Slovakia.

Saturday night and I should be asleep, or at least do something useful

We always imagine eternity as something beyond our conception, something vast, vast! But why must it be vast? Instead of all that, what if it’s one little room, like a bathhouse in the country, black and grimy and spiders in every corner, and that.

 The words of Fyodor Dostoevsky. Maybe eternity isn't such a good thing after all, ey?

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Take me to A to Z

Amsterdam, Brno, Copenhagen, Dublin, Edinburgh, France, Gdansk, Hungary, Iceland, Japan, Kamchatka, London, Munich, Norway, Odessa, Podgorica, Qatar, Rome, San Francisco, Tartu., Utrecht, Vilnius, Warsaw, Xiropigado, Yaroslavl, Zagreb.

NB at 0:35: I definitely think I'll swap Qatar for Quebec. Oui oui, Quebec it is. 

Inspiration filled with cappuccino

Sometimes all you need is a cup of coffee and a good conversation to fill your head with inspiration. Now, time for some research and scheduling. Or something like that.

Last but not least, I would like to share a quote by another favourite writer, Albert Camus. It really is completely off topic but so what, it makes sense:

Nobody realizes that some people expend tremendous energy merely to be normal.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Merry Christmas!

I wish everyone a merry and peaceful Christmas!

 My favourite Christmas carrol is En etsi valtaa, loistoa, and it was written by Zacharias Topelius and composed by Jean Sibelius in the 19th century. Christmas is no longer what it used to to be, but to me, this song describes what it should be about. The below translation was found here.


I seek no gold or majesty, no pearl or shining gem,
but Lord above, I pray to Thee for peace on earth to men.
O Lord divine, my heart is Thine! Oh, let my thoughts to Thee incline!
I seek no pearl or shining gem but peace on earth to men.

Among the children, in our home, give blessed harmony.
The light that on the shepherds shone, oh, let it shine on me!
O Word of light, O truth and might, oh, shed thy blessing glad and bright.
O Word of grace and pardon free: give peace and harmony.

Let Christmas come to rich and poor, its brilliant light unfold
and with the wealth of God allure to heaven's streets of gold.
I long for Thee, I wait for Thee, O Lord, I need Thy charity!
May rich and poor alike abide in peace at Christmastide.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Day Before Christmas

The day before Christmas and it's raining outside. I honestly don't feel like Christmas at all, because almost everything I associate with this holiday is missing (darkness, snow, candles, family, food and sweets), but oh well, you have to do the best of what you got.

So here's my little list of things that have to be done today:

- cook some Christmas food. This year we will not be eating at home so there is no need for a lot of cooking. However, I would like to have some of my own Finnish favourites on the table.

- find the last gifts and get some candles. I thought of some really good ideas yesterday... so now I just need to find them, which means going out in the rain. Brr.

- book the plane tickets to Finland. Yey.

Randomness continues

I just phoned to Belgium and they insisted on speaking SPANISH to me. How very random!
And I'm sure you didn't know that an hour of ski-jumping (without walking up the hill) burns about 200 kcal an hour. That´s surely a very important piece of news.

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Saturday morning 5 am

This morning at about 5 am I though of my first resolution for the year 2010.

Empathy and compassion are two very positive feelings, if you know how to handle them correctly. For me it seems nearly impossible. My problem is that I can understand almost any person and their actions: it is completely possible to understand the logic behind almost any action if you analyse it and go through all the separate steps that led to it. The root cause (s) for a certain behavioural pattern is usually quite easy to track down (psychologists might disagree...).
In the end, I usually end up forgiving people who hurt me, just because I understand them. However, I need to learn that just because someone might have a good reason to behave in a particular way, it doesn't mean that the action itself must be forgiven.

Friday, 18 December 2009

An unimportant question on Macedonia /FYROM

As you all know, there is a slight disagreement between Greece and Macedonia about the name of the latter country. So far, so good (although they could use their energy for something far more important, like fighting world poverty) but according to Wikipedia, Finland has no official position on the issue. So what do Finnish politicians call the country,"that spot between Greece, Bulgaria and Serbia?"

Раз, два, три ... Давайте смеяться!

           If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they'll kill you.
(Oscar Wilde)
I'm so hooked on Oscar Wilde and his crazy quotes at the moment. The man was a genius, and he spoke the truth.
Anyhow, this blog and I have been a bit negative lately, I don't know if it's due to the cold weather, the fact that I still haven't learnt that not everything can go my way (typical oldest-child-syndrome one could assume) or to general boredom. The truth, however, is that life is amazing. There are lots of great things going on, so let's just concentrate on those, shall we?

A little sincerity is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal.

Mr. Wilde knew what he was talking about. Never open your heart, you might get punched in the face.

Get happy, get married!

According to research conducted at the University of Otago in New Zeeland, married people tend to suffer less from depression, anxiety and problems with drugs and alcohol than unmarried people. This conclusion was reached after studying 34,000 people in 15 countries.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

My friends in Swenglish

This is soo fun, almost like being back in school again.

This great idea was found here

Snoopy on the run

Yesterday I found a very nice little book about happiness that really cheers one up in moments of distress. You see, at the end it is always important to remember that we are not happy because of all the big things that happen to us, but it is rather the little pleasures of life that bring us joy.

La felicidad es despertarse, mirar el reloj y ver que todavía te quedan dos horas para levantarte.
Happiness is waking up, checking the time and seeing that you still have two hours before you have to get up.  

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Minä lähden sinne, missä nauraa saa.

The last few days I have been feeling mad, angry, sad, confused, disappointed and a lot of other negative feelings have also been living in my head and my stomach. Well, no more.
I will now try to sort out my feelings and thoughts, figure out what it is that I really want. All I know, is that I want to laugh, have a good time and be a bit crazy.


Monday, 14 December 2009

Things you shouldn't do when you have an exam tomorrow......

... clean the toilet
... write blog posts about flowers
... listen to loud music in the wrong language
... run around the house like a headless chicken and get nothing done
... think about other things that are completely irrelevant (the day I found out what exactly is relevant to Hungarian grammar, I will gladly inform you all).

Instead you should sit down, concentrate and read.


Did you know that many lilies are toxic to cats?

I Miss Thinking

Thinking, analysing, using those little grey cells, solving problems, filling one's head with facts and information, finding solutions, answering questions, doing research, investigating, writing, creating, learning. I miss all of that.


I think that both neighbours, boyfriend and all my friends are prepared to kill me for listening to this song constantly. But there's just something incredibly fascinating about their voices. It's not Slavonic, but Spanish is a pretty amazing language anyway.

Stumbling upon Memories

Sometimes you can find quite strange things on the internet, like photos that you thought had been lost forever. The pictures below were made in 2005-2006 during trips to England (York, Hull & London), Wales and Slovakia (Kosice), but not necessarily in that order.

Thursday, 10 December 2009


The topic of today has been revolving around overdosing on vitamines. Apparently you shouldn't eat polar bear (or at least the liver) if you want to stay alive.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009


Old fortresses, climbing, cacti, tourists smoking pot, horrible food and service that was even worse, walking on the beach, sitting in the car, jumping in the sea, leaving prints in the sand. That was today.

Only in Spain...

... can you wear a tiny top and bathe your feet in December.
And I just realised that I have some exams this week, wonderful!

Sunday, 6 December 2009

More Music

A bit of U2 in the candle light is never bad on a dark Sunday night.

Moment Of Surrender
I tried myself with wire
To let the horses run free
Playing with the fire
Until the fire played with me

The stone was semi-precious
We were barely conscious
Two souls too cool to be
In the realm of certainty
Even on our wedding day

We set ourselves on fire
Oh God, do not deny her
It’s not of I believe in love
But if love believes in me
Oh, believe in me

At the moment of surrender
I folded to my knees
I did not notice the passers-by
And they did no notice me

I’ve been in every black hole
At the altar of the dark star
My body’s now a begging bowl
That’s begging to get back, begging to get back
To my heart
To the rhythm of my soul
To the rhythm of my unconsciousness
To the rhythm that yearns
To be released from control

I was punching in the numbers at the ATM machine
I could see in the reflection
A face staring back at me

At the moment of surrender
Of vision over visibility
I did not notice the passer-by
And they did not notice me

I was speeding on the subway
Through the stations of the cross
Every eye looking every other way
Counting down ‘til the Pentecost

At the moment of surrender
Of vision over visibility
I did not notice the passer-by
And they did not notice me

Friday, 4 December 2009


What do you do when its your last night home? Instead of packing, you drink one cider, watch skijumping, get drunk, listen to depressing Finnish christmas carrols. And seriously think about going out with a bounch of 18 year olds. My God.

Piece of evidence 1: Goodlooking Norwegian ski-jumper.

Piece of evidence 2: Finnish Christmas carrol.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Sleepy likes Depeche Mode

Lying down, closing my eyes and listening to this. This reminds me of drinking tea and staring at the red Moscow sky in the middle of the night. Perfect!

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Say hi to Tomi!

This updated version of blogger is great, love the stuff you can do with the photos!


It's not the end result that counts, the result in itself is not what will make you happy. It will be journey of getting there, everything and everyone you meet on the way, that will bring you most of the pleasure.

Winter On Its Way, Enjoy the Silence

In an attempt to to defy the tummy ache, I decided to go for a long walk earlier. Feeling the cold air rush through my lungs and enjoying the total silence helped me to regain some energy and find some peace at the same time.

Now it's time to hit the books!

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

The magic pot

This face protector, made of hemp, from the Body Shop is a miracle that comes in a tiny pot. It´s green, thick and smells strange. It is also very rich and makes sensitive and dry skin soft all day long. It's mosisturising and soothing, not to mention that it lasts for ages (a couple of months if applied daily).

The series also includes hand cream, foot cream and some sort of lip protector. At least the hand cream is a little miracle as well.

Stomach ache and lack of inspiration

Give me a blanket, ice-cream and a good film and I will be grateful to you forever.

Two Moons

These two pictures were taken within two minutes, at about 4 pm. Welcome to the darkness once again!

Monday, 30 November 2009

Hello Darkness!

I have been in Finland for one day and I'm starting to remember why I left in the first place. November is not a very nice month. It's dark, even when it's supposed to be light, everything is grey, it's depressing.

So today I have:

- visited the library and studied for a couple of hours. The local library is amazing: big, light, filled with books and lots of comfy sofas. 

- found out that my Russian is not stone dead after all, had a really nice conversation with a couple of Latvians.

- been freezing. Not only is it dark, but it's also cold. Leaving the house is almost not an option.

- drank about five cups of tea, and it´s only 5.30 pm.

And that's about it... the books are waiting so I'm out!

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Tortilla de patatas y Castle

Thursdays are dedicated to delicious food (tortilla de patatas aka Spanish omelette, i.e. omelette with potatoes) and a lot of laughter (thanks to the show Castle). Somehow, it seems to give the extra kick of energy needed for the weekend!

Castle is a show that I really recommend, it's fun and quite different from "typical" police series. You have a jolly mix consisting of a macho writer (who also knows how to be a softie), a diva mother, a wise teenage daughter, a lonely female cop, and a bunch of dead people whose cases need to be solved.

In this house we are also hooked on Merlin (Mondays), Big Bang Theory (Tuesdays), Supernatural (Wednesdays), Bones (Fridays)and Fringe (Saturdays)... Dexter is on standby at the moment, and I think that should be all.

The picture is borrowed

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

No me gusta nada.

Visit 1 to the unemployment office, 2 hours of queueing: "Sorry, I can't help you, you still have a few days of holidays, come back on Monday".

Visit 2 to the unemployment office, 1,5 hrs of queueing: "Everything's OK. You can go home and wait for a letter which will inform you about the status of your application for unemployement benefits. Really, I promise, you don't need to do anything else, but if you want, you can check online".

Phone call 1 to the unemployment office, a lot of rambling in Valencian: " Well, actually you have to fill in the application form. You can do it online. If you have any further questions, you can come and visit us".

Information that appears on the website: "applications have to be made in person at the unemployment office. "

Question of the day: how can people be so freaking INCOMPETENT?

Monday, 23 November 2009

Tired Monday

Today has been a strange day which has been mainly spent under the duvet, shivering and wishing that the headache would go away.
The good thing (?) is that I am now officially unemployed and that there is no need for me to go to the unemployement office to queue with hundreds of other people (I kid you not) - not until March at least. Now it is time time to start the job hunting!

Other plans for this week include:

  • Today: lots of tea and Hungarian class. After that I'm hoping to finish a chapter on European fiscal harmonisation (oh the fun!).
  • Tomorrow Tuesday: exam. Lunch with some family members. More studying in some nice coffee shop.
  • Wednesday: Lunch with the Scandinavian gang. Shopping for Christmas presents!
  • Thursday: studying.
  • Friday: studying.
  • Saturday: lunch in town, train to Alicante and off I fly to the cold and dark North.
Happy week to everyone!

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Japanese Night With The Girls

Last night the three of us gatheres for a night which had some real Japanese flavour to it. First, dinner at a Japanese buffet in the centre of Valencia. The thing that makes the place a bit special is the fact that you can ask for as many mini-plates as you want and the waiters will bring them to your table. We ate at least miso soup, sushi, spring rolls, dumpling, salmon, some other kind of fish, chicken, fried rice, seaweed salad, dessert and so on,
The night was rounded off by the film Hachiko: A Dog's Story, about the Akita dog Hachi that keeps waiting for his owner at the train station. In the middle of the film we were all asking ourselves if there was any point to it, but at the end it turned out to be sad and moving enough.

Friday, 20 November 2009

My brother

Sometimes you can find funny photos when you decide to "clean" your camera. This here is my brother last Christmas, isn't he adorable?

Thursday, 19 November 2009


Goulash is one of the most famous Hungarian dishes, a soup or a stew based on beef, onion and lots of paprika powder.
My lunch from yesterday is apparently a Czech version, although I took the freedom to change some of the ingredients. The plate to the left consists of lamb, garlic, onion, red pepper, fresh tomatoes, and fried tomato. For more spicyness, I added a couple of chillies.

This is how you do it:
fry pieces of meat in olive oil until they are brown, add one or two garlic cloves as well as 1/2 onion. Fry until the onion is golden, add a red pepper and the chillies, two tomatoes and a couple of spoonfuls of fried tomato. Add a cup of water, cover the pan and leave the mix to simmer for about an hour. Serve with rice.