Monday, 27 February 2012


Yay, it’s the last week of the worst month of the year. For me this month is ending with three deadlines plus a presentation in Hungarian.  I’m hoping that March will bring with it some trips (to Hungary and to Finland), good times with friends and family, less deadlines (!), pampering and love. This morning, while admiring the sunrise on the way to work, I realised that spring really is here soon.

Spring, March, is also waking up the fighter in me. While February has been characterised by apathy at all fronts, I want March to be fun, warm and challenging.


You know where this is going, right?


CHALLENGING, she said. Let’s think of a challenge, something that has to be done in March.

One my great plans for March is to run more – my challenge for March will be regular running. Regular means 4 times a week: 1 x interval running, 1 x quick, short run, 1 x medium run and 1 x long run. If possible, outside the gym and the treadmill. Hopefully I’ll have the chance to go for a run in some pretty amazing European cities during this month.


In March I will also finish my current job. This has been clear for quite some time, and I decided to opt for a “risky” option: instead of looking for a “real” job, I have been offered an internship at a place where my studies will be really useful. As it starts after Easter, I’ll have some time off (hence the travelling) for the first time in a long time. I’m excited!


So, come on, tell me: what’s new with you and… what are your personal challenges for March?

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Vanha suola janottaa...

…eli tässä tapauksessa venäjän kieli. Ai ihanuus! Kunpa ihmislapsella olisi enemmän aikaa…


Good morning!

A badly slept night behind me and I look like a red-eyed zombie. Thirty minutes more and I will be awake, let’s hope so. Lately I have been experiencing the “pling”-syndrome a little too often. You know when you’re calm and cool, and suddenly you hear a “PLING” in your head? The sudden realisation of things not being what they appear to be. Or suddenly seeing the world from a whole new perspective. Or being physically so tired that you can barely keep your eyes open, but your mind decides to run a long-distance race and keep you awake while doing so. Your mind just never stops. That, my friends, is the pling-syndrome.

I have been blessed with a curiosity towards a lot of topics; sometimes I feel it’s just too much. Curiosity makes life rewarding, but it can never be fully satisfied. Sometime very soon I need to take a few days off and do absolutely nothing, otherwise my mind will explode. Another feeling I’ve had lately is that something within me is changing: maybe there is a new type of maturity in my thoughts and my being, maybe I value myself more. Or maybe it’s just spring announcing its arrival. Whatever it is, it’s making me feel even more curious, more forgiving, and more complete in the way I am.  


If (by Rudyard Kipling)

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!


Monday, 20 February 2012

Sure Sign You’re Getting Old

You know something weird is happening when the girl going for the “intellectual type” suddenly likes ties and shirts.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Chili Sin Carne



5 mushrooms

1 large red pepper

1 small onion

1 zucchini

2 dl TVP (soy meat)

Tomato pure

250 g chickpeas


There are so many great things happening right now so I don’t really know what to do with myself. The one great piece of news is that TT was very attentive to my wish regarding my birthday present, meaning that he booked me tickets to one very special European capital at the end of March. And I can’t wait. I spent most of last night reading a guide book Smile. For my holidays I’ll also try to squeeze in a trip to the other side of the Archipelago Sea. It’d be nice to see my cousins again, as well as meet up with a couple of blog readers in the Capital.  
The other great thing is that I bought scales. The result was expected, so I had already prepared myself mentally to embark on a journey of being my own nutritional guinea pig. Does anyone else find these things (i.e. fitness and nutrition!) interesting as well?

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Once Upon A Time…

…Zsuzsi decided to make herself a smoothie. It was going to be a delicious one, with lots of yummy ingredients…

DSCN1616She opted for mango, strawberries and blueberries…


and some strawberry flavoured protein powder that’s usually hidden in an enormous ice-cream jar…



Yoghurt and cinnamon were added…

…as well as the berries…DSCN1626


…at this point everything was still going well. That is, until…


Zsuzsi’s inner blonde (she was actually born a blonde) decided to unscrew the lower part of the blender. Now she’s decided that if she’ll ever write a book, it’ll be called Blueberry Wars.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Language of the Heart, Language of the Soul

Have you ever thought about what makes you happy, really happy? What could you spend hours doing without noticing the time passing? I thought about this last night when I couldn’t sleep. I’m very lucky in the sense that I have been given the possibility to occupy myself with activities that really make me happy.
One of these activities is language learning. More specifically, translation. I can sit for hours analysing and translating a text. It’s fun and it keeps the brain young. There are two languages above all others that appeal to me: Russian and Hungarian. Hungarian is like a jigsaw puzzle. It’s about finding the right pieces in a myriad of grammatical structures and rules. Russian, on the other hand, is possibly the most beautiful language in the world. It’s as simple as that really. I hear it, I read it, I feel it and that fuzzy warm feeling appears in my stomach.
Understanding the mind and understanding society are two other things that I like to spend my time on. One question that has been occupying my mind lately is whether an individual can be held (morally and ethically) accountable for his actions if those actions are the result of societal pressure. What do you think?
I have a dream: sitting in my own library. It’s got high ceilings and big windows. It’s colourful and light. And there I can write and philosophise. And translate Alexander Blok and all those fantastic Hungarian writers. The other day I wrote about not feeling like being good enough: I think this feeling stems from the fact that I know my own limitations. I won’t seriously be philosophising in any library because I don’t have the intelligence to do it. I have secretly checked out different PhD-programmes too, because life without learning and taking it to the next level isn’t an option. I don’t really know what to focus on, though: politics? International relations? Psychology? Political psychology? Social psychology? Sociology? Continue with Russian? And of course, all of the subjects are equally tempting. First I need to finish that dissertation, though. The first draft is due in a couple of weeks and I have set the deadline in June.  
And – lately I have found myself longing for Russia. I’d really like to walk down the streets of Moscow again, soon.

Last but not least, a tip for all of you out there who’d like to listen to Russian radio. I found a site where it’s possible to listen to many different Muscovite radio channels. Go ahead, check it out:

Sunday, 12 February 2012



I really don’t know. Is the whole Beach 2012-project going anywhere? Hard to tell. Sometimes I think I see a difference, but the next moment the mirror is saying something else. Apart from this I’m having that weird knot in my stomach telling me that something isn’t quite right.  I don’t know what is, but time is flying and I have forgotten something important. The list of deadlines is growing bigger and nothing is certain right now. And then there’s that eternal feeling of not being enough.. not smart enough, not good enough, not clever enough, not pretty enough, not nice enough. The list goes on.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Dinner With K (Or: On How We Forgot The Rucola)

My bestie K and I have known each other for almost fifteen years, and she’s the one friend I see the most after having returned to Finland. We always have a great time together and some of our most essential interests are the same. We love the gym and healthy food. We also adore tasty food so we try to find ways to combine good and healthy. Yesterday we were making dinner together after the gym. After some miscalculations, the dinner turned out wonderful.
Beets, carrots and zucchini. Ready to be put in the oven (where they remained for almost 40 minutes)

Bulgur, shrimps, chili
Pomegranate seeds

Add mozzarella and garlic

Add the beets, zucchini and carrots

Eat with self-made guacamole, cottage cheese/yogurt and pomegranate seeds

Dessert: coconut pancakes with blueberry and pomegranate seeds

Thursday, 9 February 2012


“Respond intelligently even to unintelligent treatment.” (Lao Tzu)


This is something I need to keep in mind, bring with me. Today has not been a good day because the behaviour of others has affected me too much. I cannot change the way people behave, I can only control my own reaction to their actions. People are often thoughtless, sometimes mean, but I should not let that affect my own peace of mind. It’s not worth it. What I can do is quietly accept that thoughtlessness as what it is and respond to it in an intelligent way: by being kind, not letting it bother me. Whatever issues others have are not my concern. Don’t fight fire with fire, fight it with water.   


That Girl Is A Genius

Would you rather be considered a genius or a fun person to be with? Being (mistakenly) thought of as a genius is not a good thing. Of course, it flatters the ego to know that people see you as an intelligent human being. Being “just” intelligent doesn’t automatically turn a person into a genius. Geniuses write wonderful books that last for centuries, they create and innovate, they change the world. Now, if you’re “just” intelligent and someone (mistakenly) calls you a genius the question arises: which attributes are excluded by the concept of being a genius? Have you ever heard of a fun genius or a nice genius? How about a friendly genius or a compassionate genius? The genius who is also a femme fatale? The only adjective that seems to accompany the word genius is in fact mad. And who in their right mind would like to be seen as mad? Of course, there are people (read: Sheldon Cooper) who don’t care about being sociable and socially “normal”. Being nice is just a burden. I dare say, though, that the majority of people (who know that their IQ is indeed average) would rather prefer to live a socially good life instead of scaring away people with their so called genius.  

One interesting observation is that some people tend to associate Russian with some kind of super high IQ. Of all the languages I have studied, Russian is the one that has the most “ohs” and “awws” and “oh, how very clever you are”. Russian is a wonderful language, don’t get me wrong, but I wouldn’t say it’s a lot more difficult than any other language (I personally find French really hard). The first glimpse of Russian tells us that it’s different. “Isn’t it difficult to learn the alphabet?” is a common question. “Can you really read in Russian?” is another one. It seems that the superficial difference (the alphabet) makes people believe that the Russian language is a different species altogether and that those who’ve decided that learning Russian is worthwhile are somehow intellectually superior. Another factor that might contribute is the perceived “differentness” of Russia as a country.

What does it take to learn a foreign language? A lot of work and dedication. Talent helps but it’s not prerequisite. IQ, I would argue, is more important for expressing oneself properly than actually learning the language. Having a good memory is an advantage, too.

What does it take to learn multiple languages? Pretty much the same as above. Maybe a little bit less work if the languages are similar. This also requires a lot of passion, since many languages are not necessarily a necessity. Start learning Finnish just for fun-  that’s passion! High IQ, however, has nothing to do with it.

Of course it is possible to be both a genius and a fun person, but my suspicion is that “normal” people see “geniuses” as different, strange and someone they don’t have a lot in common with. By assuming that someone is a “genius” (even though this might not be true) a wall is built between two people and interaction becomes more difficult.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Dear Fellow Passengers.. (the rant goes on)

.. I dearly hope that your behaviour on the bus today is not representative for our society as a whole. When I entered the bus this morning I almost crashed into two teenagers who were standing in the way and right next to the driver. Why not sit down when there is plenty of space so that other people can get it? Has it ever occurred to you that the risk for an accident is quite probable during the slippery winter months? Oh, I forgot, other people are scary and might bite your head off if they are having a bad day. So, it’s better to fly straight through the front window in case there is an accident. Luckily for me, I found a free seat right away next to an elderly lady. Now here we have today’s odd phenomenon number 2. When we were approaching the bus stop the lady in question was unable to look at me and say: “excuse me, this is where I’m getting off”. Instead she stood up (when the bus was still moving and quite far from the stop) and started waving with her handbag. What happened to your communication skills, lady?

Rumours. I hate rumours. This morning I was greeted with a “rumour has it that you…”. Why not say: “X told me that you are going to Y”? Now I know that at least two people have been discussing something that is absolutely none of their business, i.e. my future. They have been speculating about it without knowing all the facts (or more precisely, any facts) whatsoever. Should I be offended? Probably not, since this seems to be something humans do on a fairly regular basis. The problem is, however, that rumours can never be true because they are not based on any facts, instead they create a reality of their own.



Saturday, 4 February 2012

Veggies And General Ponderings On A Saturday

First I must tell you all about an extremely delicious dish I threw together yesterday. All you need is a little bit of sweet potato, 1/2 carrot, 1 small onion, 2 garlic cloves, 1/2 pepper, chickpeas and spinach. Season with pepper, coriander and curry.’ (serves 2)

I was supposed to go to a yoga class today. It was a class I had really looking forward to because we were going to practice basic techniques. The buzzing and humming in my ears and the black spots in my eyes started 10 minutes after that class had started. In order to avoid fainting right there and then, I decided to pack my stuff and leave. What a pity! So, I’m spending this Saturday freezing and with a sore head in bed, reading this:

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

As of Late

Book: The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery. The book was lying in the “books to read”-pile for quite some time before I dug it out. The other day I started reading it and found it tremendously compelling – it was about all the things that matter in life. Also, I felt deeply connected to the main character – we are both really picky about grammar and the proper use of language.

Music: Bon Jovi is good and cheerful during my walks home in the afternoon. Their music makes me think of summer!

Defect: I keep getting cramps in my toes. Not fun!

Object of interest: sociology – I’ve realised that it sort of connects all the dots together.

Plan: drink red wine and read some Marx. I need to start connecting the dots, so I can just as well start with him.

Food: there’s a sweet potato that needs to be cooked. I’m thinking sweet potato and chickpeas, maybe some spinach… do you have any recipes that include these ingredients?

Lesson learnt: if you want to impress people, tell them you’ve got a degree in Russian. It works every single time because people (mistakenly?) assume that you must be an intellectual in order to be interested in Russian. (Only try this if you actually have a degree in Russian). Unfortunately this doesn’t seem to work with Hungarian, which is a pity, because it’s far more difficult than Russian.

Object of interest no. 2: morality and how it affects decision making

Reason for joy: I’m almost certain than in some cases (depending on the light) my abs and biceps are visible. Wohoo. We are moving in the right direction.

Activity: walking. Fresh air, possibility to choose your own pace + lots of health benefits. What’s there not to love?

Beverage: coffee with cardamom


Quote: “Amor Fati – “Love Your Fate”, which is in fact your life.” (Friedrich Nietzsche)


What Happened To You? You Look Awful Today

…my colleagues really know how to charm a girl. Truth is, though, that I probably did look quite awful when they saw me, considering that I had just sneezed. And why is this worth saving this information for all eternity on this blog? Well…  boys, mind your tongue when you are near a woman.


It’s February. What’s happening?

  • This month I want to dedicate more time for yoga. In January I didn’t go to yoga even once, and I can really feel it – I’m about as flexible as a carrot. This week I’ve booked two classes, so that’s a start.
  • I’ll have to write and finish the first draft of my dissertation. It (the dissertation) will be about the integration policy on this island. As the island is autonomous, its laws and policies also differ from those of Finland. I think it will be interesting, and I will be able to use my knowledge from decision analysis, policy analysis and social psychology. I’m also trying a crash course in sociology so that I will know the basics at least.
  • On Sunday we will find out who is going to be the president of Finland for the next six years. I voted already, and now I’m hoping that my fellow citizens share my opinion.
  • I’m considering a trip to Stockholm to rest my head a little bit. Otherwise I’d like Helsinki but it’s so expensive and getting there is a pain.
  • The cold has reached us. I don’t like it so I need to pamper myself a bit more than usual in order to survive the remaining part of winter.


What will you be up to in February?