Friday, 26 June 2009

It might seem like craziness...

Vodka and orange on a Thursday...

... wearing a scarf when it's over thirty degrees outside....

... but really, it's just a sore throat!

Topless in Public

I must admit that I was a bit shocked when I heard that the city of Malmö in southern Sweden has decided that women are allowed to bath topless in public swimming pools. Mostly I'm surprised with my own reaction: why should it be wrong or immoral for a woman to show her breasts? After all, it´s one of the most natural things in the world. But, after spending some time thinking about this whole issue, I realised that my problem is my highly conservative idea that a person's worth should be based on his or her personality and skills, not on some strange concept of beauty or ugliness based on the size of one's breasts. It has nothing to do with swimming pools.
If a woman prefers to swim topless because it is more comfortable, then it should be up to her to decide. In the western world, the female body has been treated with a lot of controversy and idiotic assumptions of what is right and wrong. A feminist stance is to claim that all these ideas come from men, who have suffered slight problems in understanding that a woman is a more complex creature than just a wife/mother/mistress. Female sexuality was (and still is) seen as something dirty; men were attracted by it, but wives and mothers had to be "pure", and asexual somehow. Their sexual desires were fulfilled by prostitutes and other fallen women who had no morality and were ignored by the "good people". Which, if one thinks about it, makes very little sense. But, of course it made a lot of sense to those who decided to suppress female sexuality altogether. Once upon a time it was a great sin for a woman to show her ankles, the latest trend is for girls to overexpose themselves to feel that they are acccepted by men and envied by other women. Maybe more nudity, in its natural form, would do our society some good; maybe the myth of what a female body should look like could finally burst just like the bubble that it really is. Men would wake up to see that not all girls look like porn stars, and some women might realise that there is no need to look like a porn star.
So really, there's nothing wrong in allowing toplessness. At the end of the day, it gives women the possibility to decide what is comfortable for them personally.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Random Question

How come that I haven´t been to the beach even once even if I live like 30 minutes from the Mediterranean Sea?

This, my friends, is nothing else than madness.

The Pineapple Effect

After hearing so many good things about grapefruits- it is supposed to get your metabolism going, and it may also help against some forms of cancer and heart disease. Not to mention the amount of vitamine C - I decided to give it a try, the last time I tasted it was more than ten years ago and I tried to convince myself that the bitter taste I remembered was a ghost created by my imagination. Well no. It's still bitter and tastes bad. Unfortunately, the pineapple effect does not apply to grapefruits :(

The pineapple effect simply refers to a thing (whatever you like) that you spent the best part of your life disliking, until one day you realised that it actually is extremely delicious.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Sundays were created for napping.

Today has been an incredibly relaxing and nice day, the way a Sunday should be.
For the first time in my life I went to a spa this morning (how very uncool of me), and although all the bubbles and massages were really satisfying, the Finnish sauna might have been the highlightof the day as it dampened some of my homesickness. It was like being home all over again (only a few degrees in the thermomoeter were missing). The spa visit was rounded off with some delivious raspberry ice cream after which I and the dog took a long, long nap. What else... we've seen the last two chapters of the second season of Veronica Mars. I don't want to see the third one, because the hopeless romantic in me wants to believe that Veronica and Logan lived happily ever after. Yes, I promise to start watching more serious things. Soon. I managed to do 50 minutes of pilates on the ball without falling off too many times. Equilibrium, where are you hiding? And even managed to find one (of very few) interesting chapter in big book of macroeconomics. Japadapadaa...

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Miss Moody Strikes Again

Sometimes I just don't understand myself, the last few days I have been covered by some big black cloud that has made me both intolerable and horible.

Here are the steps of the moodiness process

a) some external, irritating aspect attacks: it can be the heat, hunger, pain, female problems, or somebody's behaviour. Or all. at once.

b) instead of locking myself into a room and stay there until bad temper has passed (like I should do), I opt for the more dangerous option; wanting my boyfriend to cheer me up. Obviously I cannot tell him about it, because I don't want to come across as whiney and demanding. Boyfriend probably feels that something is wrong because he escapes to his computer after checking that I'm OK (come on, even if my mouth says that I am OK, it should be evident that this is not the case).

c) level of moodiness hits a new all time high because now everything comes crashing down.

d) welcome stubborness: I, the egocentric horrible whiney girlfriend, am feeling bad and am not going to suggest anything because he has hurt my feelings and ladiladilaa. So I prefer to sulk and think about bad things, making the big black cloud grow even further.

Seeing my behaviour written down in a list like this, I see the solution very clearly. Although one of the best and most comforting things in the world is to be hugged by my boyfriend (you should try), I probably should hide in some dark room until the moodiness has passed. Make myself a moodiness-emergency-package (good book, chocolate, fruit and something nice to drink) and try to cheer myself up. As someone wise once said: don't expect from others what you can't do for yourself. Or something like that.

Monday, 15 June 2009


My getting fit project is going, if not completely according to plan, then at least forward. The last four days I have done quite a bit of exercise; pilates and walking/running. The pilates exercises are showing their true face in the form of sore stomach muscles. I have given the cardio quite a smooth start, better to take it slow and steady than to face a total collapse. Now I should slowly start increasing the distance, so that the running will have some effect. The other day we found a good route, so maybe I will try it out tomorrow (today is devoted to grocery shopping and cleaning). Once I can run 60 minutes without stopping, I will try to improve the intensity.  


The food part is more of a mess: three days of pasta is not ideal, although I dare to say that it's not as unhealthy as many think. On a more positive note, my intake of white bread has dropped dramatically (very much helped by the fact that I'm a great fan of rye bread). Furthermore, I'm starting to get into the tea-rut again. Drinking hot tea during a heat wave that lasts for 3-4 months is not the most appetizing of ideas, but who said it has to be hot? Instead of buying ready made iced teas with tons of added sugar, putting a tea bag in a glass of cold water and with ice is just as good.  Green tea is surprisingly tasty, and a lot less bitter than the hot version.


Anyways, there are several salads I want to try (shrimps, salmon, goat cheese), so maybe this week could be the good moment.



Friday, 12 June 2009

6.30 am

Strange night and morning. First I dreamt about my brothers disappearing to a parallel universe and the only way to get them back was to use stones to make a fire. Got up at 6.15. Something that I would like to do every morning but I'm too much in love with my bed. Had breakfast and got out of the house… Halfway  down the stairs I realised that something fairly important was missing; my glasses. What's that a sign of? Old age?


Once again it was proved that morning walks are good for your brain activity. While racing up and down the hills of Paterna while listening to Zveri, it dawned on me. I am an immigrant. An immigrant of the lucky kind. The kind that is embraced with open arms because of the right passport, the right kind of education and the right appearance.


My passport used to be blue. Now it's red, but nonetheless it grants me access to most countries of the world. If I would feel like it, I could move to Romania and nobody would harrass me. I've gone to a good British university, one of the best in fact. Not because my parents are wealthy enough to spend thousands on their adventerous daughter. Although my parents helped, I think the Finnish state has been the most contributing part, together with my own work. My light hair and light skin makes me blend in in this European paradise and very few xenophobic idiots are likely to start calling me names on the street. Even in Russia I managed to avoid problems to such an extent that it was almost unnaturally hilarious. One drunken guard with vodka in his head does not matter much as long as the militsia boys leave you alone. If I get into trouble, I won't need to start any illegal activitites. If Spain won't look after me, I can always rush back to Finland and the problem is solved.


So, I'm an immigrant because it's fun and because I'm in love. I'm not starving, being threatened or being bombed at. The risk of being tortured is not very big either. Wow, I am lucky. Lucky, lucky, lucky. And completely pissed off with people who sit on their big fat asses complaining about how immigrants (the bad kind, the illegal ones) are invading their country and taking their jobs. Is it more ok then that another European comes and takes their jobs? I knew a guy once, in Manchester. A good catholic with a master's degree in sociology who was telling everyone that his children would go to a private school so that they wouldn't need to associate with Muslims. They should all just returnto where they came from. This highly educated man from northern Poland had been living in England for a couple of years, many of the Muslims he was critising had come to the UK decades earlier.  


Blah. A veces la gente piensa con sus dedos.


Lucky lucky lucky… Now I have Kylie Minogue singing in my head. Lalalalala.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Day 1

Food/Excercise diary from yesterday (10/06-09)


Meal 1 (9.45): dried rye bread with cheese and cucumber. Yogurt. Cappuccino.

Meal 2 (13.30): wild rice and vegetable stir-fry (carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, onion, garlic, pepper). Blueberries.

Meal 3 (18:00): plum and cup of coffee.

Meal 4 (21:00): Spanish omelette made by the best Omelette cook around + raspberries.


Other: 2 breadsticks. 2 cups of green tea.


Pilates 40 minutes: basic training + legs. Especially my legs felt very stiff.



Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Lack of pictures... I'm giving you some dolphins. Nie za co!

Right now I want to...

… jump into the sea and feel all the chilly waves washing over me. And stay there for a long time. Did anyone say it is hot today?

Fit List

One more blog entry without photos, but who cares really?



For a while now I have been feeling like a balloon ready to explode at any minute, and it has affected my mood and self-esteem in a most disturbing fashion. I'm not going to go into details, because the important thing is not to think about the problems but how to solve them.


The below "fit list" is the summary of various points that I think might help me reach some goals…



1) Exercise: easy. 12,000 steps a day is what it takes for an average person to maintain his/her weight. One does not need to be Sherlock Holmes to realise that the average office worker does not reach that number by sitting on his/her bum all day long. So 12,000 steps a day it is. Running four times a week (wednesday, friday, saturday and sunday). Pilates on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays. During the week between 7.30 pm and 8.30 pm, which means that at those times I will be unavailable for cooking, cleaning and Veronica Mars. That hour is going to be holy from now on, and nobody is allowed to suggest any temptations.


2) I have noticed that it is quite fun to do exercise but as soon as my rhythm gets interrupted by anything at all (parents visiting to having a bad day), it is difficult to get back on track. I need to find a way to keep going even when I don't feel like it.  But where on earth do you find the motivation for this?


3) 3 meals a day: breakfast at 9.45 a.m, lunch at 13.30 and dinner at… Maybe a snack at 18.00 depending on dinner. Scheduling my meals, especially dinner, is a complicated task due to culture differences. I would prefer to have dinner at 19.00 the latest, but due to Spanish standards it is completely impossible, so I can choose to have dinner alone or have it way too late. *


4) Colours, calcium and proteins. Colourful food usually means vegetables and fruit, apparently different colours all have different health advantages. Calcium is not only good for the bones but it also helps weight loss, and proteins are important for the muscles. I'm especially having problems with the proteins and should try eating more fish, eggs, lean meat and dairy products.


5) Drinking matters: tea effectively flushes your system, soft drinks make you bloated, alcohol kills braincells, coffee wakes you up, milk is good for the bones and water keeps you alive.


6) Rest… rest does not necessarily refer to sleep, it can also refer to a long walk that clears your head, a relaxing foot bath or literary escapism in its best form.


7) Pampering: massages, baths, intellectual stimuli and aesthetical inspiration.  

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

How many have you read?

The BBC believes most people will have only read 6 of the 100 books here.
How do your reading habits stack up? (Remember, seeing a movie is not enough) Instructions:
Look at the list and put an ‘x’ after those you have read once. Make sure you delete my x’s!

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen x
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte x
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling x
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6 The Bible **
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte x
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott x
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy x
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy **
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky x
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy x
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens x
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen x
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden x
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown x
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez **
44 A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery x
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding x
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan x
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen x
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zifon x
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens x
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov x
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas x
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding x
69 Midnight’s Children
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens x
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker x
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett x
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Inferno - Dante
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert **
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle x
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas x
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factoy - Roald Dahl
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo x

27/100... quick analysis: someone who likes Russian literature and childrens' stories, who has no great interest in neither Shakespeare nor the French. Above BBC average, but come on... if most people have read only 6 of these then I'm seriusly worried about the so called western civilisation...

** These occupy some extra room in carton boxed...

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Translation is Art

Translation: tool. skills. time. art. To do it well you don't just blow the dust off your dictionary and start writing. No, you play with words, look for the right piece to complete the puzzle and spend plenty of time on google. You talk to yourself while trying to figure out which sentence sounds better. At time it must rhyme and at others highly technical vocabulary almost drives you mad.


Patience. Curiosity. Willingness to learn.


And an obvious sign of a tired translator is when translation funnily becomes traduction just like in France.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

One Year in Spain

One year and a few days ago I packed all my belongings, jumped on the bus at 5 a.m.  and reached Liverpool airport an hour and a half later. The yellow submarine was there, and so were some of the most typical tings that I associate with England; Starbucks (how many hours did I not spend in there), Boots (I’m scared to think how much time I spent on smelling things) and Superdrug.

A certain Irish airline took me to the Spanish east coast and here I am, one year later.

Although it has been a tough year in many ways, I have also been very, very lucky. In a time of increasing unemployment, I managed to find a job, despite the lack of any real Spanish skills. Without going to classes, those skills have actually improved quite a lot during the past year, although I still mess up once in a while. I have also figured out what I want to do with my life, which isn’t too bad either (only if it means that I’ll have to learn French, no offence to anyone, but the relationship that I have with the French language is slightly ambiguous).

And well, the main reason why I can say that moving to Spain was worth all the trouble is that every morning I get to wake up next to the only person in the whole world that I want to wake up with (touch wood!).

We celebrated this anniversary in the most typical fashion: there’s one place where we like to go to celebrate things. It’s nothing fancy or cool or romantic. It’s a typical Spanish bar with typical Spanish tapas where the waiter kisses you on the cheek and where the flans are to die for. Maybe we like it so much because it’s like us: uncomplicated and quite content with the little things in life. After all, who wants gourmet when you can have potatoes covered in Roquefort and goat cheese with blueberry jam? Not to mention those flans… And they even have coke! (as in coca cola… the other day we found a bar that only had beer and schweppes).

Summa summarum: the first year has been good, the second one will be even better!