Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Under the falling chestnuts

Last weekend when I was walking to the closest tram stop and crossing the park outside my home, I noticed that chestnuts were falling down on the cars. It got me thinking about autumn. I took this as a sign that the autumn has finally arrived to Helsinki. I love autumn. It's a time for reflection. I love walking in the nearby areas in my neighborhood and just watch the nature changing. Ruska (the colored leaves) have not yet arrived all over Helsinki, you can only find them in some parts. We still have around 10 degrees, even more during the days, even close to 15-17 degrees.

I also love watching how the summer fashion turnes into the autumn one. I personally love balerinnas but I definately do not have anything against putting on some boots. Boots makes any kind of outfit look good. I also love trench coats and leather jackets. This autumn there have been even additional and new fashion trends shown here in Helsinki. Suddenly fake fur vests have been seen on the Helsinkian streets. I've even seen some fake fur hats, never seen before. Shiny leggings with tunikas are here to stay. But besides this, even hair trends can be seen. Plaits are back! This autumn I've seen so many girls with their front hair braided that I really can call it a trend. I like it as a trend, and started to use it occasinally. In my opinion it looks very Nordic, and therefore I like it.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The secrets of the city

Incredible! For once I must say that I am surprised about how dishonest Finns are! In this case our biggest newspaper actually! I'm sure all the Finns know which newspaper I'm talking about if I name it the biggest one. No name is needed here in order to explain my frustration.
The cause for my frustration?

Well, about one month, one month and a half ago, an Italian I got to know came to Helsinki on a short work practice experience. He worked in a hotel and stayed at some kind of campus apartment in Haaga, Helsinki.

He spent one month here in Helsinki, and when he and his Italian friends were about to live, they decided to leave a sign of themselves on the Helsinkian streets. Therefore they came up with the idea to hang some shoes close by to the Glass palace also known as Lasipalatsi, a wellknown building in centre Helsinki. They hung these shoes on electricity cables hanging between two buildings. On the shoes they had written different things; how much they liked the city, about their plans to return and so on. The point behind this? To leave a mark in the city that had touched them so deeply.

This is all fine, but soon after they did this, different theories about the shoes started to occur among the people of Helsinki. Some actually thought the shoes to be a sign of drug dealing like it is in some other countries.

Anyhow, this all lead to the fact that the biggest Finnish newspaper started to ask for stories about these misterious shoes. I thought, since I knew something about it that I should say something. So I sent one of the reporters at the newspaper an email explaining what I knew about the shoes and there origin. I even sent him some pics that I had got from my Italian friend, just to show that I didn't come up with this story but that it was actually true.

The reporter soon contacted me, asking me for more details. At that point I told him that I didn't want to participate with a more significant role in this whole story. He continued to send me emails and asking me to call him. When I didn't do so, I thought the whole thing would fade away. But how wrong I was...

Last Sunday when I was at work, I opened the newspaper and what shock was there waiting for me. I found an article with my story, that was fine, but even with my picture that I had never given the permission to publish!!! It wasn't even my picture!

Well, I must say that I learned something from all this. The secrets of this city should be kept as secrets since anonymousity is not respected. I feel like I let down my friend because I didn't ask his permission to publish his pictures, but I didn't mean to publish them. Arrghh! I must say this changes how I feel about the newspaper we call our most important one.

Preplanning events

My last course in school is in event planning. The last assignment we had was quite nice; we were supposed to plan a marketing/promotional event for Aquafina, one of Pepsico's products, basically bottled tap water, still not sold in Finland. Basically it could be any kind of an event but we had of course to take into consideration our "so called" client Aquafina. My group's idea, since Aquafina stands for community work and eco friendliness as well as purity was an orienteering event in downtown Helsinki.

The idea was that through orienteering, the people would understand Aquafina's commitment to the community by not organizing a commercial event but by relating it to an activity already being carried out. We wanted the event to be sporty since we're talking about water. We wanted the event to move in different parts of the city in order to get visibility.
The assignment was a great way to brainstorm and think about everything that has to do with event planning. The down part with the whole project of course was that our teacher gave us the project so soon in the course when we had very little theory to base our planning on.

Actually she used our lack of knowledge as a way of teaching us after hand. Besserwisser-style teachers have never been my favorites, so I really think she made a bad choice. At least she could have given us some guidelines to follow. Anyways, I loved the assignment itself although we did in a too much of a hurry. Some of the other groups had really nice ideas too. I'm sure I'll get a lot out of this course, I know I did already in Italy during my exchange when we planned a fashion show. Later on we'll plan for real an event, and I cannot wait.


Sometimes it feels like I've forgot to tell about all the great customers we've had at the Helsinki City Tourist Office. One example of this was a lady that passed by the office on Sunday last weekend. Lately I've been working at the office only weekends since the rest of my weeks go to school and my other half time job at Academic Work. Anyways, I was saying that this sweet lady came by. She was wondering where an exihibition about mushrooms were taking place and it just so happened that the place where it was held was the exact same where I go for my Italian classes once a week. Yes, they started last week and I'm already excited about them :) I just love my teacher, he makes all the classes worth while going to! The lady got so thrilled over the fact that I knew where the place was, and of the fact that I study Italian, that she wanted to give me a tip about a book. She mentioned a book telling about a girl moving to Rome, Italy and becoming a companion to an old lady in order to enjoy the city. I think this book is a must for me as an Italian lover. Cincin by Valeria Ofter.
Friday, September 18, 2009

Interior changes

Autumn is a time for changes as I've been mentioning in my earlier posts. For me and my boyfriend this means making some adjustments to our apartment which has served before only as my home. We have bought some new furniture, but some things are still to come, e.g. our new sofa from Koti idea. Found a photo of it on the internet though, so I can give you an idea about how it will be. Ours will be chocolate brown, so a little bit different than the one in the picture but the model is the same. It's a sofa, but can be turned into a guest bed. It also has a helpful spare box on the right side where we can store blankets, pillows and so on.

Otherwise you can see on the picture here beneath that we have moved the chest of drawers from the entrance to the living room and added a scaffold for cds and dvds.

We have also made some additional changes to the livingroom. We bought a cabinet for different type of glasses. Note that the sofa in the picture is still the old one. We have to wait three or four weeks for the new one.

The major change happened in the entrance from where the chest was move and a new kind of stand was built. There are also finally some boxes for my beloved shoes. What do you think?

Vital knowledge

Immediately after I entered mine and my boyfriend's apartment today after school, it started to rain. I think that means I was meant to come home before the rain, since I didn't even bring an umbrella to school with me today. What a nice sign of welcome.

Today at school we continued with the first aid course we started yesterday. In my opinion it's about time we touch the subject. First aid skills are needed in everyday life, but definately in our line of work. I must say that the last course I've chosen, the one of event planning, has been a wise choice. The course is divided into three parts; event planning & design, event security and bureaucracy and first aid. Through the part about security, we will receive a card which proves our skills concerning risks and security matters in the line of events. The first aid part on the other hand will give us a card showing our first aid skills. Today we got to try to do CPR on a doll. Seeing as I'm quite small of size, pushing on the victims chest turned out to be tirening. I was surprised though about how well I managed to blow air into the victims lungs. The best thing with this course is that I know I'll feel safer working knowing how to perform CPR. Therefore first aid courses are vital for the working life.
Thursday, September 10, 2009

Twirling around like an autumn leaf

Life is what you make of it. This is the old saying, once mentioned even in the Forest Gump movie. It truly is so. Autumn depression is common seeing as autumn means going back to daily rutins, responsibilities and everyday life, but this autumn I'm feeling more than that, anxiety actually. Let me explain myself better.

Autumn has started here in Helsinki even though we still have quite warm days with about 20 degrees and sunshine. Actually it has turned out to be quite impossible to determine what to wear each day since it can be chilly in the morning but warm during the day. During the day the temperature rises with an incredible 5-10 degrees! Therefore I have decided that layers are the answer for this autumn's temperature dilemma. I'm still waiting for ruska, a word we use to describe the colorful trees during autumn. I saw some colors in the trees in Lappeenranta, but they still haven't arrived here in Helsinki.

This is all fine, but the reason for my anxiety is changes. I find myself in the middle of them. This summer I feel I have been overwhelmed by work. I know it has been my own choice to work as much as I have, but still I have a feeling of overdoing. And I definately need a break. My working habits have even affected my home life, seeing as I am trying to live together with somebody I love. Work tiredness ads unwanted pressure to any relationship.

Don't get me wrong. I've had some great times at work. I have received thank yous, letters, business cards as well as unforgettable stories at the Helsinki City Tourist Office. I know that I for sure have a good understanding for the tourism of Helsinki. My job has taught me an incredible amount of things about the visitors we have here in my dear home city. One of the most memorable customers was an Asian man who recognized my perfume and told me that I reminded him of his ex girlfriend. Moments like that astonish you and makes it all worthwhile since they are hard to find in other kind of jobs. And let's not forget the people I've worked with. One of my dearest colleagues moved recently to the States and that got me thinking. The friend in question has a very strong sense of will and personality. I look up to her. Seeing her going through this change in her life has made an impression on me. I wish I could be as sure as she about a whole lot of things.

I've been living about one year and two months now in my apartment. I've grown very fond of the place where I live and consider it my home. Despite this, my thoughts run towards the future and new adventures in other places. But that has to wait for now.

Last Monday we had a visit from our landlord. I hadn't seen him in over a year, and of course he wanted to check that the apartment was still in good condition. The great news was that he was so pleased with the way we have it here that he promised to buy us a new fridge! Yey! Something I have dreamed about for over a year! We get to choose what kind of fridge we want, and we have decided on a combination fridge with a separate freezer underneath the fridge. I cannot wait to start filling the freezer! How luxiurious some everyday items can seem when you don't have them!

One uncertain factor is of course the little matter of next year and my whereabouts. According to plans, I'll get my diploma in February. And then what? Thoughts of going to the States for a year as an au pair and/or going to Sweden for a master program in tourism have crossed my mind. I find myself puzzled.

In moments like this, I find it best to spend some quality time on my own and gather my thoughts. I should choose what feels right for me. I needed a self-esteem boost in order to manage with this questions in my mind, and therefore I decided to do something radical to my hair, as usual. It's my way of regaining strengths, like one of my friends have taught me. And I must say that I already on my way out from the hairdresser felt better...now I'm ready for this autumn!