Monday, 27 June 2011

“Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.”*

Right now I love the colour yellow, as in sunshine, the soft breeze caressing my face. And melancholic poets and happy musicians who sing about the beauty of life, and the sadness, the longing and the twinkling stars, everything that makes life what it is.

The nights are growing longer now, the butterflies will be dying one by one, until it’s time for them to re-appear in a year or so. Because re-appear they will. But their wings haven’t slowed down yet.

I also love my friends and watching people falling in love. And love as such is a great feeling, too. There is something beautiful about fathers and their children. And playing puppies. The word svoboda (+ alternative spellings) is one of the most important words in the world.

Yoga has partly conquered my heart, even though it hurts and makes me want to scream.

But maybe. Most of all. I love cold coffee the most. Right now.


* quote by Thich Nhat Hanh.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Last Night

Last night we sat around a wooden table in an old house, drinking an incredible amount of tea and talking about times long gone. Who would have thought that we’d become such responsible and “serious” adults? We talked about one particular night 9 years ago – that was the night when I saw the love of my life and threw up vodka through my nose. Now, that’s the way to impress a guy! (then we stopped being  so serious and dedicated the rest of the night to absurdities).


The radio was playing some old songs – the kind of songs that bring back a bunch of great memories. The song below reminds me of watering plants with Malibu, dancing around Manchester, slumbering parties, partying until 5 a.m. and colouring my tongue blue.

Friday, 24 June 2011

Just. Some. Random. Thoughts.


… the other day, a friend commented on my workload. She thinks that I have too much to do. That comment really made me think – and I think she’s right. I do all the things I do for two reasons. One, if you love something, you should do it. And two, out of fear. Fear of having nothing to do – all these things fill my life to such an extent, that there is no reason, or time, to think about some painful issues that are locked up in my mind, which would surely start haunting me the moment I sat down and started “rolling my thumbs”…. Obviously, one should meet these thoughts, work them out… but what if there is no capacity to do that?

…so thank God I’ve found yoga. Once or twice a week I manage to achieve a state of complete relaxation and an empty mind! The instructor is a very sweet girl, too… and pretty (I might be a bit in love Smile)

… I just read an interview with a Finnish opera singer and she said something very thought-provoking about love: “I love my husband for everything he is, not despite everything he is”. (Does that sentence even make any sense?).

…listening to Hungarian makes me really, really happy!

Iloista Juhannusta! [FIN: Happy Midsummer]

Midsummer is one of the most important days for us Finns - we will admire bonfires (except on Åland*, where people will dance around a Midsummer pole), get drunk (drowning is optional), eat lots of fish and new potatoes. Girls might do some traditional spells in order to get the boy of their dreams - one of the more common "spells" is to pick seven different kinds of flowers, jump over seven fences, and put the flowers under your pillow - if you're lucky, you'll dream about your future husband. He might also visit your dreams if the sock on your left foot is insideout. (now, I should probably try these to find out who would marry an oddball like me :)).

My plan for this weekend is to rest - I honestly feel like I've just crashed into a wall. So, tonight will be all about eating good food and entertaining slightly mad relatives at the cottage**.  Tomorrow I will spend some quality time with two really good friends, we have planned a "meatless and alcohol-free" celebration with a lot of delicious food and laughter!

* Although the midsummer pole is the most common way to celebrate midsummer here on ÅLand, I've only visited one once - in my family we adhere to Finnish traditions.

** one of the visitors is my aunt, who also is a translator (she has translated a lot of famous British and American writers into Finnish), and talking to her always gives new perspectives on things.

Thursday, 23 June 2011


I bumped into the following on facebook:
Lájk, vagy nem lájk?
Now you know how to spell the word like in Hungarian. It’s a bit like the Russian word бойфренд - hilarious to a foreigner.

Let’s be modern poets in Hungarian.

Lájk, vagy nem lájk, ez a kérdés.
To like or not to like, that’s the question.

Forever Young?

Colleague: so, what were you doing before you joined our company?
Zsuzsi: well, I was studying, among other things.
C: So, you’ve just graduated from lusse (local high school). Congratulations!
Z: …….(????)……… well… that was a while ago…
Have a great Midsummer, everyone. With love, Zsuzsi (not a day over twenty plus a few more).

When thinking requires too much an effort…


…*silly* tests will help you pass the time. This one is good in the sense that I agree with it Smile (or maybe not with the part that says “mentally quick” – my brain has been feeling like porridge lately).

…personality type.

Your personality type: "Dreamy Idealist"…

Quiet, reflective and idealistic. Interested in serving humanity. Well-developed value system, which they strive to live in accordance with. Extremely loyal. Adaptable and laid-back unless a strongly-held value is threatened. Usually talented writers. Mentally quick and able to see possibilities. Interested in understanding and helping people.

Careers that could fit you include:

Writers, artists, counselors, social workers, English teachers, fine arts teachers, child care workers, clergy, missionaries, psychologists, psychiatrists, scientists, political activists, editors, education consultants, journalists, religious educators, social scientists.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011


It’s only Tuesday but this week I’ve already seen a rainbow, negotiated a 10 % rise in my salary, managed to confuse a young boy (my specialty), get mad at my stomach (you need to stop eating bread, you silly girl) and harass my own bum (pilates is a lot harder than it looks).

By the end of tonight I will also have finished an assignment for uni.

The great thing about this week is that Friday is off. And since I’m an intelligent creature I decided to work from 5 am to 3.30 pm on Thursday, I kid you not. These kinds of days should always take place right before a holiday, the pure of euphoria over the upcoming day(s) off gives you all the energy you’ll need to survive the day.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Natalie at Fluent Historian published a post that reminded me of the Moomins, and their creator, Tove Jansson – a wise woman, who had a lot of important things to say.

"One summer morning at sunrise a long time ago
I met a little girl with a book under her arm.
I asked her why she was out so early and
she answered that there were too many books and
far too little time. And there she was absolutely right."
Tove Jansson

Tove Jansson (Moomin: The Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip - Book One)

"A theatre is the most important sort of house in the world, because that's where people are shown what they could be if they wanted, and what they'd like to be if they dared to and what they really are"
Tove Jansson (Moominsummer Madness)

"It's funny about love', Sophia said. 'The more you love someone, the less he likes you back.'
'That's very true,' Grandmother observed. 'And so what do you do?'
'You go on loving,' said Sophia threateningly. 'You love harder and harder."
Tove Jansson (The Summer Book)


Quotes were borrowed from this site

Sunday, 19 June 2011

Why We Do The (Crazy) Things We Do

“Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind.”

- Bertrand Russell -

Lunch For Tomorrow


Bulgur, feta cheese, garlic, spinach, tomato and olive oil.

The Things We Did, And The Books We Read





Ale wspaniałe!

Juz powiedziałam wam, ze bardzo, bardzo lubie polski jezyk (chyba "kochac" jest lepszym slowiem tu…)? On jest tak wspanialy, tak piekny. Nie wiem czy to mozliwe (a wydaje mi sie, ze tak), ale tak tesknie za tym jezykiem, za tym krajem. Na szczęście Polska nie jest daleko, i mam moich polskich przyjaciol, zeby troche porozmawiac  Smile 

Saturday, 18 June 2011


Yesterday it was decided what the new Finnish government would look like. 6 political parties will form the government: the National Coalition Party, the Social Democrats (6 ministers each), the Left Alliance (two ministers), the Swedish People’s Party of Finland (two ministers), the Green Party (two ministers), the Christian Democrats (1 minister).

Basically, a big majority of the elected parties are also in government – two of the big ones, the True Finns and the Centre Party were left out.
The big question is whether six parties with such different ideological standpoints and backgrounds will be able to govern for the next four years without falling apart.

Zsuzsi the Academic

The other day a workmate called me a typical academic*. Apparently a typical academic is a person, who’s living in his (or her) little bubble, not noticing what’s going on around him/her. Shortly, that person is absent-minded.

Now, I’m starting to think she might be right.

This week, I have managed to:

  • forget my phone at the gym (at least, I got it back)
  • destroy two gym cards and one debit card. Remember folks, mobile phones and cards with magnetic stripes should ALWAYS be kept apart. (and I was so lucky that the person attending me at the gym was a young male – he fixed it straight away without questioning anything, not to my face anyway… Hopefully he’ll be as attentive tomorrow! )
  • try to do some laundry without putting the clothes in the washing machine.

I’ve done worse things, believe me, but I’m so relieved to finally have a diagnosis that explains all the symptoms.

So, are there any other typical academics out there? What is the silliest thing you’ve done?


* Now I just need to get my Master** so that I can sort of call me an “academic” – although the right to actually use that word would require A LOT more.

** I still don’t know if that’s an MA or an MSc.. clever, right?

Sleepy Saturday

Nothing new at the Northern Borderlands.

Except… there is no need to be sad about the fact that the nearest Starbucks is at Arlanda airport (and that their coffee tastes like… well, disgusting).

The nearest supermarket is providing me with these (daily sugar rush guaranteed)


Oh… and the thought of the day is:


When life is grey, look for colours!

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Kuuntele sun sydämesi ääntä….

This is what I’m listening to right now. Again and again. And then a little bit more.

Hiding from the evil dog…




Heard in the living room.

Zsuzsi (exclaiming excitedly): I just figured out what I want my thesis to be about*.

(Actually it sounded more like this: “tiedätkö, päätin äsken mistä aiheesta aion kirjoittaa graduni”) – but I won’t bore you with the details.


She explains the idea, using as many adjectives as possible.

Zsuzsi’s mother: You’ve never thought about working as a waitress, have you?


Gee, thanks. Seems like the worst idea ever.

* The other day I was killing time at a coffee shop in Stockholm. Actually, I was reading about sociological aspects of risk analysis. Suddenly I bumped into one of the most exciting topics ever, and that’s what I want to do some research on: the difference in risk perception among natives and immigrants – how to improve risk management and communication in order to reach out to as many people as possible in society.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

err… right…

Zsuzsi dislikes immigrants (living in Finland) who start criticizing Finland for allowing too many immigrants to enter the country. Contradiction, anyone? If it’s so horrible, why don’t they pack their suitcases and go back to wherever they came from. Adiós, I won’t miss you.

Actually, Zsuzsi dislikes anyone who shouts and criticizes and yells and screams at foreigners. There is no point in blaming your bitterness on them, they didn’t cause it. It’s not their fault that you didn’t go to school, that your job is tough one, that life has been hard on you. They won’t ruin your life.  Be a man, or a woman, and take responsibility for your life.

All this dissatisfaction is scaring me – people seem so… angry. Where did that anger come from?

Because the value of being human cannot be measured in citizenship. Or nationality. Or ethnic background. We are all worth the same, and as long as everyone contributes to society, we should not create manmade differences between us.

90 Years Ago In Paris

90 years ago the League of Nations decided that the Åland Islands would continue under Finnish sovereignty, but it was also guaranteed that the islands would be an autonomous, demilitarized and monolingual territory. This decision shattered the hopes of many an Ålandish, an estimated 96% of the population had signed a petition for re-unification with Sweden in  January 1918. Sweden and Finland were not able to solve the political crisis that followed, and thus it was the international community that solved the conflict.

What is the situation now?
The autonomy has been extended and nowadays the local government deals with most internal matter. Åland also has a special status within the European Union. (Here it might be worth mentioning that Åland has its own referendum on accession to the union).

Wikipedia tells us that according to Protocol 2 (on the Åland Islands) of the Finnish accession treaty, “While most EU law applies to Åland it is outside the VAT area[2] and is exempt from common rules in relation to turnover taxes, excise duties and indirect taxation. There are also restrictions on the freedom of movement of people and services, the right of establishment, and the purchase or holding of real estate in Åland”.

Basically, Åland is trying to maintain the territory “Ålandish” by the use of two principal tools – language and something called “hembygdsrätt” (“home region rights”), i.e. restrictions for foreigners (also from other EU countries)  to acquire and hold real property or to provide certain services on the island.

As mentioned above, Åland is monolingual, meaning that everything is in Swedish. Apart from language classes, all schools are in Swedish, too.

Recently it is mainly the language issue that has been causing problems with Finland, where the status of the Swedish language has declined.  Few people would actually strive for independence, and most “Ålanders” feel Finnish when it comes to sports Smile However, it must be said that culture and traditions are very different between Finland and Åland – I would go as far as to say that the “general mentality” is different, too. It is equally true that most people in Åland speak very poor Finnish (if they speak it at all – it’s an optional language in school), but usually it has less to do with negative feelings towards the Finns than with uncertainty and fear of speaking in a foreign language.

The following tune is a traditional Scandinavian songs that is generally considered to be of Ålandish origin.

Monday, 6 June 2011


The other day when I asked for some inspirations for soups, I received a lot of ideas and suggestions from all around the world. All the soups sounded very delicious, so I think I will keep myself busy making soup for weeks to come.

Here’s a list of all the ideas, the countries in the brackets are not related to country of origin of the soup in question – no, the countries just indicate where my little helpers live Smile


  • Moroccan soup with onion, celery, tomato and chickpeas + spices (UK)
  • Leek and Potato Soup (UK, US)
  • Solyanka – spicy stew (Russia)
  • Okroshka – cold soup with spring onions, new potatoes, sausage + herbs (Russia)
  • Chicken soup with potato, carrots and onions (knickknacks in Singapore)
  • Lentil soup with chicken stock, onion, cilantro  and lime juice (also knickknacks in Singapore)
  • Nettle soup (Finland)
  • Onion soup (Romania)
  • Miso soup (USA)
  • Zurek (Poland)
  • Харчо, soup with rice, tomato, garlic and smetana (Kazakhstan)
  • Rassolnik (Kazakhstan)
  • Tom Yum Soup with coconut milk (France)

summer–sommar - kesä - lato–лето–nyár–verano


It’s officially summer! And how do you know it’s summer? The newspapers are filled with photos of newly graduated people, everyone wears a t-shirt and eats lunch outside, the mosquitos try to eat you… and – it’s almost as warm as in Spain Smile 

During summertime I always feel like partying  - having a picnic in the park with some strawberries and sparkling wine, lying in the grass and just talking, and then staying up until 4 am talking to strangers in the streets and in the clubs.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Next Week


This is part of the exercise plan for next week – hopefully I will survive the week (right now I’m walking like a duck as a result from the bodypump class I went to on Friday.

This week I went to the gym 3 times – on Thursday I did yoga + strength training, on Friday it was time for bodypump and today I tried kettlebells. Both yoga (with an instructor) and kettlebells were new for me, they both turned out to be an amazing experience, and I will continue going to both Smile

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Imperfectionally Quadrilingual

I use four languages every day, both in written and spoken form – a few days a week I also need to speak a fifth one. Let’s be clear, that’s a fact, not boasting. (I always have a feeling that people think I’m boasting when I mention languages, so that’s why I prefer not to talk about them at all).

However, I feel that the level of my language skills is slowly sinking – I make stupid mistakes (not only in English), and I often find it difficult to express myself. My brain seems to be stuck – the information should be in there somewhere, but how do I recover it? There is no use of information that only wants to hide. And it should be growing.

I’m also very insecure about my language skills (or any other skills, for that matter) – maybe that’s a cross every perfectionist has to carry.

The question is – what is the ultimate goal? I can communicate, people understand me perfectly well – most of the time, at least. That’s not enough. Producing texts is not impossible a task either. I managed to write a first-class dissertation in English, among other things. What then?

For me learning a language is becoming the language. It’s about understanding every word, every nuance. I’ve never had a proper mother tongue, nor a complete cultural identity. For me, a language has to achieve just that, it has to offer me a “home”,  a place where I belong – provide me with the roots I have never had.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Picking a foreign language, deciding that this language is the place where you belong. Making it replace a whole childhood, culture and years of existence. You’ll never belong: you can be good, very good, fluent – but never perfect. And those people who are part of that language, who have lived with it for all their lives, they are perfect in the way that matters. At the same time, you will never stop halfway, you will struggle until the end, because that’s all you can do when you don’t have another place to go.   






Lately I’ve been in a strange phase, where I haven’t had any appetite.. all food just seems to taste of wood. Today it hit me that soup might be the solution, so please help me dear readers.

What soups do you usually eat? What kinds of soups are typical in your country? Do you have any secret recipes you’d like to share with me?

Come on, share the inspiration Smile

Friday, 3 June 2011

Canciones de amor en sueco

Heard on the radio today at 7.30 a.m…. This is one of the most beautiful songs I know. Those of you who are more interested in the Swedish language, read the lyrics

And a song about another kind of love – the love for life and oneself.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Day Off Tomorrow…

Heh, I started my new job last week, but I’m already excited about having a day off. Tomorrow is a public holiday (and a lot of people graduate today) so there will be a lot of parties around the countries. I’m stuck with my uni books and pair of eyes that might or might not stay open for a few more hours. 

Fortunately there is at least one place that will be open tomorrow – THE GYM.


There are two gyms on “my” island, and both would have suited my needs just fine. At the end I picked the one my friends go to. It’s also fairly close to my house, it’s cheaper than the gym I went to in Spain, there’s a good selection of classes AND there is a separate strength training room for women. Today I paid for my membership and tonight I’ve been checking out everything that they offer, as well as signing up for classes. Tomorrow I’ll do yoga + strength training, on Friday it’s time for body pump and on Sunday I’ll try kettlebells. Now  I just need to figure out when I’ll have time to go for a run….