Saturday, October 31, 2009

Remember to breath

Coming back from school on Thursday, I passed by a home for elderly where somebody had made some urban art: somebody had attached a piece of a plastic strap on a fence creating the text in Finnish "muista hengittää"= remember to breath. It touched me in an urban surrounding where hardly anyone has time to stop and actually do just that. I like urban pieces of art like that. They tell about life in this great city. Voices that reach out.

I've recently started to go through my wardrobe and renew it. I never want to look the same for two seasons. I develop and change, so should my style. I have found that the best way to renew personal items is to sell and buy them on Finland's own Ebay called I've already made some incredible findings there like perfumes, jeans and clothing packages. It really is a talent. The more you stay on that site and the more you get addicted to it. It's a nice hobby and source of income, and even space saver.

On Thursday, I also met my teacher that functions as a tutor for my thesis. It seems I now have gathered enough respondents for my research and I can finish it and start to discuss the research method I chose and then start to analyze the data I have. This means I'm back on schedule and might actually graduate next January as planned.

Today I went to fetch the last details of my Halloween outfit that I plan to wear's not a traditional one, so I hope I'll get nice reactions to it. It seems like Halloween is really big in Helsinki this year because the mascarade store was full of people last Saturday as well as today. You could hardly get through the corridors there. I think it's nice to notice that Finns do make an effort for some parties. I can't wait for tomorrow's!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A new experience - cinema goes concert hall

While I gazed through my inserts in my blog, I noticed I had forgotten to write about last Tuesday. Last Tuesday I met my friend S and we went to the cinema- to see Robbie Williams' concert live through satellite! That's right. In three great movie hall rooms they were showing Robbie's new concert, after three years of silence. At first, it felt funny. I mean, sitting in a movie theater looking at a screen, following a concert. But once it started and people were applauding in the room and singing with the songs, I started to feel more at ease. Actually it was quite fun. Well, the concert itself was wonderful. Robbie is such an artist! He might be just one person, but he is a true performer and entertainer. But what I mean with fun was that it was like going to a concert without all of the problems of queueing, noise, delays and so on. You actually just went there for listening to the music and then you went home. I couldn't help of thinking if this could be a sign of the future once again..might this be the future concerts? Of course nothing can beat the live feeling of being in a concert hall. The atmosphere is unique. But maybe one day, they can convey that atmosphere even through satellite. Who knows?


Today we switched to winter time. If nothing else, this is a clear sign of the seasons changing. We still have quite warm days due to the fact that it has been raining a lot here. We've had some 5-7 degrees, far more than we are used to during this time of year. This of course might change in just a blink of an eye, but for now we're happy with the autumn weather continuing. Of course changing the clocks means that it gets darker earlier here, something I don't love but hey, look at the bright side. Like this we get to have loads of cozy candle light evenings.

Something related to this, is the new trend here in Helsinki for shops. Lately we've had a lot of shopping evenings, when shops lower their prices between six and nine o'clock, the latest hours that is. Next to come are the "Mango shopaholic night" and Diesel's "Rock is back again" event. I think this is a great way to spend an evening and a great effort from the shops' point of view.

While reading my favorite Finnish magazine "Trendi", I suddenly noticed something that made me feel all warm inside. There was a one-page-long article about Milan, and what places the Finnish designer Teemu Muurimäki would take his guests in the city. I smiled, since I recognized all the places. I realized that I miss Milan. At that moment I came to think about a terrible fact- it's been a year since I've been in Milan!! Not in four years has there been one year that I haven't put my foot in that city. Hmm..I've been thinking about going to Florence in the spring. I think I must pass by Milan. Definately. I must. My second city is calling for me. I feel it in my toes. Must go.

It's funny how you realize how lucky you are with the person you're with when you quarrel. I mean, from time to time I show some signs of the unsecure me, and it's quite natural that we argue with my V. But it's funny, we can be as angry as bees and then we sit beside each other on the sofa and just pretend to watch TV. The only thing we need is one of us reaching out for the other one, and boom, we can't stay more than 3cm from each other again. Just the other day, I said to V that if we really didn't love each other, we would have broken up so many times already. We just know that the other one is the right one and there is always a point in the arguments we have when we realize that it would be so much more terrible to stay without the other one than to give in and compromize. I know we both take this relationship seriously and that makes me seriously happy.

Halloween is knocking on the door. Just yesterday I ran in to a costume store in downtown Helsinki and it was swamped. You could hardly get through the corridors in the store. Halloween in Finland is a somewhat new tradition and therefore people do not merely dress scary, but you can use your whole imagination to come up with an outfit. I immediately noticed that nobody else was thinking of anything any way near my idea. I can't wait. My school is organizing a party next Saturday so I have one week to design and complete my outfit. Oh what fun it's going to be!

Before that though I have a lot to do: school tomorrow, work on Tuesday, Michael Jackson's "This is it" documentary on Wednesday, school again on Thursday with my meeting to discuss my thesis-yeeek! Let's see if I'll survive, hehe...I'll let you know!
Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pride in the way of more important things

"A book is like a good friend, but nicer to open."

One part of getting older is to get disappointed. One can not always have what one wants. When we are in our teen years, we fantasize about a life where everything goes as we plan and we never get disappointed. Many of us believe that once we move out from living with our parents, we achieve true freedom and it's difficult if not impossible to get disappointment. The unfortunate part being of course that life is full of disappointments. And when we start to feel too safe and secure about ourselves and our lives, something happens to stir it up a bit.

Disappointments are easier to bear concerning some parts of our lives, but when they are caused by people close to yourself, that is when it hurts. Friendships are not something you get for free, and I have always tried to work hard for my oldest friendships. I have always reserved a lot of time for my friends and made myself accessable and available for them.

The honest truth though is that when we get older and start to study and work in different places, we might get too concentrated on what we are personally doing. How can you make a good balance so that everybody feels equally important?

Another problem is pride. Sometimes we get too proud, which is never a good mix with friendship.
"lo sai, con orgoglio non si può amare mai" = you know, with pride you can never love...
So true, so's worth a thought.

Yesterday, while cleaning, I stumbled upon some of my favorite sayings and citations written down on a piece of paper..I thought I would write down some of them. Maybe they brighten up someone's day :) I have also been thinking about starting my blog inserts with sayings. We'll see. Anyhow, here we go..

I have a very simple taste. I only want the best of everything. -Oscar Wilde

Out of two alternatives, I always choose the one I haven't tried before. -Mae West

A little too much is just enough for me. -Jean Cocteau

Life is like a puzzle, at least one part is always missing.

You don't have to do all sins on your own, you can read about them.

Women are like apples. You need to wait for them until the time is right.

What is forbidden will always taste better.

There are no boundaries in life, only the ones we set for ourselves.

What you hear, you soon forget. What you see, you remember a little bit longer. But what you experience, that will always be a part of you.

A goodbye and thank you

Why is it so difficult for some people to say goodbye? Don't they understand that nothing good comes from just disappearing from somebody's life. Today I realized that a good, old friend has left Finland, probably for good without saying anything to me. Must say it hurted. I guess that person thought I would read about it on FB, but we haven't been friends there for some time now thanks to differences in opinions and ways of thinking..after all, one shouldn't rely on FB too much as a source of information. It's a pitty that people don't let you know things anymore, and just assume that you read about it on FB. Anyways, I want to wish that person all the best in the world. Thank you for being such an important part of my life and for making me grow so much. I believe only you and me can know what our relation was and in my opinion will be forever. I hope to hear from you soon again my friend.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Make a statement with your head!

Headbands are here to stay. The trend that started last spring shows no signs of fading away, but even more of evolving and staying around at least this autumn. This autumn, you can make a statement with your head!

What's your favorite?

An international Finnish leaf

Today I fell in love with a designer's work. Not that this name is something new in design but browsing through the Design Forum Finland's pages, I found this treasure. I thought since it's the time of ruska, this would be a perfect add to my blog. The designer's name is Maria Jauhiainen and this item's name is Lehti, the leaf. It is in the permanent collections of London's V&A Museum and MoMA in New York City. Way to go Maria! Can you believe it's made out of metal? Maria takes her ideas from nature, vunerable pieces that she transforms into something lasting and strong. Beautiful.

Friday, October 16, 2009

The silver lining

I want to use a little bit space from my blog to write about the teacher of our last course at my school. She's been nothing but trouble during our whole course, which also happens to be the last for many of us. It's not the fact that she is incompetent, which she clearly is. It's the fact that she thinks she's good in teaching. I've tried to like her, I really have, but everytime you cut her some slack, she does something stupid again. The biggest problem of course being her lack of knowledge of the English language, in which the course is being held.

Last Thursday we literally spent our lectures writing down all the mistakes she made using English, a language she CLEARLY does not know. Above resembling something like "a bow" and sentences like "there has been some misunderstoods" as well as "mens", "womens", vehicle pronounced as "vessssil". It is actually difficult to follow her.

Not to forget the other things she's done. She is probably what, around 30 years old. And most of my class is 23 or more, some even 25 and there isn't that much of an age difference. Despite this, she continues to call us her children and it drives us crazy.

She also flipped a couple of weeks ago because some of us haven't been attending all of her classes. Like we would have to. Since this is actually our fourth year, I think we are capable to decide for ourselves. She went far enough to show us her daily programme like some of us actually would care about when she takes our her dog. Haha, couldn't care less! The sad part being of course that the course could be interesting and this teacher is ruining everything for us.

The only good thing she's done is organizing a guest speaker from one of the leading event organizing companies in Finland and making it possible for us to plan that company's "little Christmas" party, a kind of pre-Christmas party we have in Finland to celebrate the approach of Christmas. Usually just another reason to party, primarily with your co-workers. It's also the event when most of Finns cheat their spouses. Horrific. But I really look forward to this event and the planning of it. It's going to be a great add to our CVs. I guess it's true what they say; every cloud has a silver lining.

Unpacked issues

There is one easy way to figure out if you liked the place that you visited the last, outside your city I mean. At least when it comes to me. I find myself not wanting to unpack all of my belongings that I took with my on my trip. This is the exact dilemma that has been bothering me ever since I came back from London. I've been looking at my hand luggage bag and I don't want to unpack it. Of course the things I've needed, I've had to take away, but the others I just left there in a convenient way so that they remind me of the trip everytime I see them.

How is it that every time we feel unsecure and sad, we return to things we know so well. Things of comfort that makes us feel good. For me an evening of comfort is a glass of wine with the Sex and the City girls. Imagine, I picked one disc out of my SATC box and the one I grabbed was the one that explained my problems perfectly. That's what you get from a perfect relationship, hihi.
Monday, October 12, 2009

Autumn breeze from London- shoppingwise

Some of the things I bought in London, and LOVED!

A pair of violet gloves. Violet has been one of my favorite colors even since I lived in Italy, and finally there are a lot of accessories in that color! These go well with my new violet winter jacket.

Fake fur vest with belt. Keeps you really warm-love it!
Saturday, October 10, 2009
When everything else seems to be going wrong, life has a funny way of bringing wonderful news to your knowledge. Sweet pea.
Friday, October 9, 2009

London, UK

I'm a Irish woman in London

London, London, London..what a city! I loved it! I must belong to the few people who haven't been to London. That's one of the reasons I decided to go there on "an autumn get away from everyday life" trip. And it was definitely worth it! I also thought it would be a great place to go to with my boyfriend since he doesn't speak e.g. Italian like me. In England, we could feel equal.

We left on Monday around twelve o'clock with the air company Blue1. I must say that we had terrible luck at the airport, checking in at terminal 1 and then departing from terminal 3. That meant walking through the entire Helsinki airport. I don't know who planned that, but it was awful and caused some unnecessary stress for us. After all, we all know England doesn't belong to the Schengen zone, so we knew the flight would depart for sure from the terminal 3. Sigh. Anyway, we made it on time and we were off!

We arrived in London at around one o'clock since they're two hours behind us and the flight took three hours. I tried to research as good as I could about the city before going but I wasn't sure what way would have been the best to reach our hotel from the Heathrow airport, so I relied on the receptionist at our hotel. That turned out to be a mistake since she only mentioned on the phone the most expensive way to reach the hotel from the airport, the Heathrow Express train that is. We decided to take the Heathrow Connect train and arrived at Paddington station in 20 minutes. From there it was easy to change to the underground. We bought the weekly ticket for about 27 pounds.

Our hotel was not exactly what I expected, but it was fine for its purpose - a place to sleep in. We had our own room and toilet and a view to the garden and next street, that was fine. But the doors were paper, the lift didn't work and we found somebody else's boxers underneath the bed. The receptionists weren't the greatest either. The included breakfast consisted of toast and corn flakes. We managed, but I wouldn't return there. The neighborhood of Baywaters was nice though. We had a lot of restaurants and pubs nearby. Besides that, we were located close to the Notting Hill area which I very much was looking forward to see and explore.

The first afternoon in London we spent at the free and awesome British Museum. I knew that they had a lot of Egyptian treasures there, but I came to see that the collection was even far greater than I thought! I felt I had never been that close to history before, never been to Egypt. The museum was beautiful and well kept and organized. 10+!

We passed by the King's Cross station on the way back to our neighborhood to see the Harry Potter trolley put into the platform 9 3/4 at the station in honor of the movies. It wasn't that easy to find, but it was worth the search.

We had dinner at a cozy Italian restaurant that turned out to belong to an English chain of Italian restaurants called Bella Italia. Great Italian food, really Italian standard. The dinner costed us each about 15 pounds with drinks included. Before returning to our hotel, we stepped into a real authentic British bar called the King's Head. The atmosphere was wonderful. I felt like I stepped into Emmerdale, hehe. I found it a little bit tricky to find something to order since I don't drink beer. Luckily they serve Corona, the only beer I accept. My boyfriend was in heaven with so many different beer types to choose from!

The next day we got up early and headed for Notting Hill directly after breakfast. Notting Hill is an enchanting area with colorful houses and boutiques. So idyllic. An immediate love story. I even found the Travel book shop where the Notting Hill movie was shot, what an honor. I actually felt the atmosphere of the movie.

I had heard about the change of guards. Since we went to London quite late in the year, the summer season was considered to be over and, therefore, the change of guards only happened every second day, on even dates. So I knew that Tuesday would be our only chance to see it. We hurried to Buckingham palace and managed to see a glimpse of the proud guards.

After that, we thought it would be a good idea to go to the Madame Tussaud's wax figure museum. I'd heard that there were long queues to get in so therefore it was a good idea to go there early. Before going in the queue, we stepped into a local pub again for lunch. This time I had some delicious meat pie and chips with peas and ale gravy. Yummy! My boyfriend had a grilled steak and he loved it as well. By now, I realized that Coke was a rarity in England and it belonged to the Pepsi kingdom. What a pity!

Madame Tussaud's was a fun experience. We entered after 45 minutes of queuing, not that bad in my opinion. I was surprised about the little amount of wax figures. Somehow I had imagined more of them for 25 pounds. But I got to see Brad Pitt and Dalai Lama so I was happy. I would have been even happier with Audrey Hepburn, but you can't have it all. The most original part of the museum was the scary part where they had live actors inside that yelled at you and blowed air at you. I was so scared that I had to hold on to my boyfriend all the time and scream, hehe.

We saw that there was a discount if you bought the Madame Tussaud ticket together with the London Eye ticket and therefore we decided to combine these on Tuesday. This also offered us the possibility to watch a 4-minutes-long clip about the London Eye before going on the ride. The 4D clip was nice since I've never experienced any 4D before. During the clip, there was a scene with soap bubbles and at the same time I could actually feel some coming at me. They had released some bubbles in the room. Incredible sensation! There was a similar situation when it snowed during the clip and they dropped snowflakes into the showing room.

One of my friends had recommended Oxford street to me as the greatest shopping street and oh was she right! I bet you can find anything you want on that street. Me and my boyfriend fell in love with a shop called Primark.

That evening we had dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe London. We managed somehow to get into the restaurant the back way so we came into an empty restaurant. That was really scary. We continued walking until we came to some stairs and came to understand that the actual restaurant was on the second floor. There was a really nice hostess at the restaurant. She was great at her work! She reminded me of the hostesses I've seen on the TV show "Sex and the city". On the show Carrie has always made it clear that the laws of a major city are clear: you need to get along with the hostess or you've lost the game. If you get a hostess angry, you'll never get into the restaurant you want. This hostess was exactly the same. She was calm and equally kind towards everybody. She actually apologized to me because we came in the back way and let us pass another couple and so we only needed to wait about 20 minutes to get in. I'm sure that if one would live in London that would be a contact you wouldn't like to miss.

We got a surprise trying to get back to the hotel. It was raining so the underground stopped working. That's why we had to try something I'd actually looked forward on trying-catching an English taxi. It turned out to go smoothly. The tricky part was to understand where to get them. The taxi driver was very polite and the way home went well.

The next morning we spent going to the Tower of London and taking a Thames cruise. The cruise was nice even though it was difficult to hear all the explanations on it. It was nice to see another part of London and especially some of the sights nearby, e.g. Shakespear's Globe Theater, Tate Modern..we went into Chinatown for lunch. On the way, we got a surprise at Piccadilly Circus. Some of the PETA people had arranged a demonstration against fur on the square so there was some half naked women sprayed with body paint trying to get attention. And they sure did get some, hehe.

Chinatown turned out to be a little bit of a disappointment. The Chinese people tried to sell cheap English stuff, such as umbrellas and so on. That kind of took the whole glow away from it. We still had a delicious three course meal at the London Dragon restaurant for 17 pounds each. I was full for the rest of the day.

We passed by the West End area on the way back to the underground. It would have been so nice to manage to see a musical, but you can't squeeze everything into just four days. Not even four full days! There must always be left something for the next time and I'm sure I'll visit London again. I liked the city so much! We spent the evening at Oxford street for some final shopping and headed back to our hotel.

Thursday morning before departing for Helsinki, we went through the Harrods department store. What a beautiful store! It felt like walking into an American candy shop! Seeing as I'm against all luxourios things, I didn't like all of it, but I like the part with tea, chocolates, candy and food. Yummy!

It was funny because the clerk at the tilly ask me if I had the Harrods card when I wanted to purchased some candy. I told him that it was my first time in England, that I wasn't from around here. Then he replied "So from what part of Ireland are?" I thought that was the cherry on the cake. The top of the top. What a great compliment!

On the whole, London left me with such a great impression. London is a open minded city where everybody is accepted. It doesn't take long to get used to moving around in London and the people are super friendly and great. Never before have I been spoken to as "madame" and "darling". I really felt bad for leaving. I left a part of me in London. I'll see you soon again, London, my darling.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A happy woman

Uh, I just made a call to our hotel in London, and everything's fine with our booking! This means we are actually going there, I'm so thrilled! Never been there before and I always wanted to go! Therefore I'm spending the day watching movies related to London; Notting Hill (which is actually going to be close by to our hotel area!!), Match Point, Closer and so on. I'm getting in the right mood and atmosphere!

Otherwise lately I've been thinking about the dating life here in Helsinki. One of my colleagues told me that she'd met somebody on the internet from another city here in Finland and that he was coming down to Helsinki in order to meet her. I must say that at first it striked my mind as strange, but later on I started thinking how cute it actually is. How nice it is that some people actually still consider dating something serious and they are ready to make an effort to find somebody special. I actually personally think that internet dating is one of the ways of dating where you get to know the person you're going out with. Of course a lot of people lie on the internet, but I think after a while they get caught doing that since they don't keep track of their lies anymore. I mean my friend knew a lot about this guy not ever having met him. Seldom we already have a mental profile of the people we date. I find it interesting to follow my friends' dating life since I find myself so far from that kind of life nowadays.

Last Friday me and my boyfriend celebrated our 9 month anniversary. My superb boyfriend had bought us some champagne glasses for our new wine cabin and we had some sparkling wine. It was perfect! I actually feel that this is the healthiest relationship I've been in, and I am genuilly happy. For this reason, my new favorite song for my Ipod Shuffle is Scandinavian Music Group's "Onnellinen Nainen", a happy woman. Here follows some parts of it that I like:

Mulla on vain yksi ilme
se ei ole surullinen

Olen onnellinen
olen onnellinen
olen onnellinen
onnellinen nainen

pitkään se vei
vihdoin voin sanoa hei hei
ilman että jään miettimään
niitä jotka taakseni jää

I've also been thinking about where the line goes when it comes to friends doing physical things with people you've had a history with. I mean, if you have spent the night with somebody in your history, are your friends allowed to do the same? I've always thought that the is an unwritten rule concerning friendships and that there is no need to say it out loud. But now I've noticed that you should never expect anything to be a matter of course. I mean in my situation, it's not the fact that I long for something I've had. I am completely satisfied with my life situation. I just don't like the idea that one of my friends would have something with somebody I've had something with. I mean, I don't like the feeling about knowing too much. Having had a history myself with that person, his glow has sort of been switched off and I hope for something "better" for my friends. After all, we all have our reasons not to pursuit somebody.

The working ethics in Helsinki have changed. Before you could be sure to get your pay check on time, that your colleagues would be on time and give the same kind of input as you on their job, that your rights would be honored at work etc. What I have come to notice is that this is a completely false assumption. I was chocked about the fact that like I mention before, nothing is self-evident. You have to fight for your rights, especially as a student working part time. We have pressure from our school's side to do well and graduate in time, but at the same time we have to work hard in order to have enough money to pay our monthly rents. Until now, I've been having two part time jobs on the side of studying. Fortunately this has now ended and I will from now have free weekends, something I haven't had since the end of June!!! Of course this also calls from some sense of being stingy during the rest of the year. Every euro is important when it comes to getting through the everyday life. After all, Helsinki does not belong to the cheaper European capitals. But after heard what my boss told me about the Norwegian prices, we have still nothing to complain. According to her, a McDonalds meal could cost 14 euros in Norway, double of what it is here. A cocktail costs 20 euros there, not even 10 euros here.

I went to the Picasso exhibition yesterday with my dear sister. We have the honor of hosting the Parigian permanent exhibition of Picasso's works until the beginning of January. We've placed it in beautiful surroundings in the Finnish National Gallery called Ateneum. The exhibition has been highly awaited and I actually bought the tickets for us in March for my sister's birthday.

Since the exhibition started the 18th, I didn't expect there to be a queue. And seeing as we already had the entrance tickets, I thought that we could basically just walk in. Way was I wrong. There was a queue of about 50-100 metres.

But I must say that the waiting was justified by the exhibition which in my opinion was one of the biggest ones we've arranged here in Helsinki. My favorite thing about the whole exhibition, was its wideness. There were not merely paintings but even sculptures, photos, graphics and drawings. Since Picasso was active during such a long of a period, he witnessed some of the main events in recent history, e.g. the world wars. This could be seen in his production and the exhibition was divided into different rooms with themes. I was really proud of Helsinki managing to arrange something so well. Walking around in the Ateneum, I actually had the feeling of being in a major European city. Well done Helsinki!

Although there are many positive aspects of Helsinki, I wouldn't be honest if I wouldn't tell about the negative. Going to work on Friday, I was chocked thanks to one of these. Me and my colleague were sitting on the tram at 10.50 a.m. when an about 35-year-old man pulled down his pants and started urinating all around the tram. He was apparently drunk or high, maybe both. Luckily after about five minutes, the driver let us know that we had to change the tram as the man was escorted away from the tram and the tram was to be washed. The situation was handled well even though it got me thinking about how lacking the alarm system is in the Helsinkian transportation means. I mean, we were almost only women on the tram when this happened. What were we supposed to do? There could also have been children or elderly on board. I think that especially on trams, trains and underground trains, alarm buttons should be installed.

I also got chocked about the neverchanging fact that we have these sort of people here. How can we be completely happy with our society as long as we have these unhappy and lost people?