Friday, November 27, 2009

ÄOM-päivä/ Say no to buying day


"I bought it so that I would have something as nice as my friends' have"

"I bought it so I could relax"

"I bought it because I had a bad day"

"I bought it because it was on sale"

"I bought it because I didn't dare to say no"

"I bought it because I desired it"

Some sentences to make you think about today's theme.
Today we celebrated the so called "do not buy anything day", which emphasized the meaning of being able to say no to meaningless buying. The organizer for this theme day was Luonto-liitto, the Finnish Nature Union. The idea was to make people think before buying. The current date was chosen since it's the last Friday in November which stands for high season concerning Christmas shopping. This is also the time when shops start with their so called agressive marketing and prolong their opening hours.

According to the Finnish Nature Union a lot of people forget to forthink about what they're buying due to the lack of time and big quantity of people in the shops. Crowds sometimes tend to make people buy without giving the purchase process itself any further consideration. The union would like the remind people on this day that 80% of the world consumation is done by only 20% of the world's population. There's something to think about.

I am a strong believer in recycling. I hate to throw things away so I have come up with a new rule for myself since I like to renew especially my wardrobe quite often. I am not allowed to buy anything new if I don't sell any of my old clothes. Once I've sold some of my old clothes, I am allowed to purchase something. This slows down my purchasing. I know I still tend to buy too spontaneously gifts for my friends and family members but I would like to think that I have put more thought in my Christmas presents this year than before. One example was my Christmas gift to my mother - I hired a cleaning company to offer her a thorough housecleaning as her Christmas gift. I wanted to pamper her but in a eco-friendly way.

Question yourself- why do you buy things?

A green step for Helsinki

Today I got to try a new treat - the hybrid bus called Solaris Urbino. Helsinki has engaged a new try by borrowing hybrid buses from Poland. The reasoning behind this try is the metropolitan area's need for low-emission alternatives. The hybrid buses use while starting and accelerating, an electric motor which allows them to release less emission. They are also said to give out less sound, so they would even lower the noise level in a busy city like Helsinki.

My first impression was that these buses seem longer than the usual ones we've had in Helsinki. This is good since it means that it fits more people. The lines it has been tried on so far are some of the busiest lines in downtown Helsinki so a need for more seating places is a reality.

The bus itself had a little bit slower speed, but nevertheless offered a pleasant travelling alternative. I liked the fact that it offered more possibilities for people with children, prams and people with handicaps. I hope this try will make the decision makers understand that the hybrid buses stand for a greener and, therefore, better public transportation system.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A turning point



Yeah! Helsinki has been elected the world's design capital in 2012! Finally our beautiful city will be acknowledged for its sense of design!

The design capitals have been chosen every second year by the International Council of Societies of Industrial Design (Icsid) since 2008. That year Italy's Turin won the honor and in 2010 Korea's Soul will carry the title.

According to front page of the web site devoted to this brilliant news, www.wdc2012helsinki.fi, Helsinki makes design part of every day life! Damn right! The site also tells about the city's great expansion and growth and supposes that Helsinki is the most changing city in Europe over the next ten years! What an exciting time to live here! The biggest changes will happen concerning the city structure and population. Especially the areas close by to the harbors and beaches will change thanks to Helsinki's dynamic character. Helsinki's mayor Jussi Pajunen is calling the election of becoming the design capital a turning point in Helsinki's history since it will bring the city so many changes.

I quote the site "Design is a factor deep-rooted in the urban lifestyle of Helsinki. Design is manifest in the everyday lives of Helsinki citizens in many ways, ranging from home furniture and items that represent old Finnish design traditions to modern urban solutions in the city and contemporary interior design."

The fact that we've won this honor means that 2012 will bring lots of design events and projects to our fine city. Can't wait.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Finding my sense of taste

Last Friday me and three of my classmates were in for a treat- we went to an annual ladies' dinner which offered both good fun and entertainment. It was held within the legendary walls of Nylands Nation, Finland's oldest student nation, established in 1643 in Turku and later on moved to Helsinki. The lady dinner is like I mentioned an annual event organised to remember and honor the ladies. Since the dinner is annual, it also has some famous characteristics; the ladies are always dressed in cocktail length dresses and the dinner always has a theme. Earlier it has been e.g. an underwater world. This year the theme was a fire department, quite suiting for an audience of ladies. Our waitors were dressed according to the theme and the free drinks we were offered carried the names "flaming fire man" and "hose it". Even though I enjoyed my table company and the food&drinks, I would have wished that the dinner would have had a seating order. Now, as you can guess, the ladies divided themselves into groups and it was therefore difficult to get to know new people. All and all I was happy to have had experienced my first ladies' dinner, even though I think I might have had a few too many hose its.

On Sunday I attended the second chocolate festival ever organised in Helsinki. I came to see though that even if we're talking about a relatively new tradition, it has found its audience. The event was full by noon. I didn't have high expectations for the festival since Finland is mostly known only for the Fazer chocolate, but I came to see that we have much more. I must say that my clear favorite was the new aquaintance - Reuter & Stolt's wine chocolate! Delicious! I also liked the Nescafé combination with After Eight chocolate chips, yum! Some other goodies were orange, honey and mint chocolates..incredible!

Even though I had prepared myself for chocolate eating, I must say that after eating it for more than two hours, you definately felt a chocolate haze. Me and two of my friends decided therefore to add some to the haze and attend a tasting- wine & chocolate. Enjoying chocolate with wine to bring out new features in wine has become quite a trend in Finland. Wine knowledge is considered chic. We had a great lecturer telling us about what we were about to experience. We combined four types of wine (one white, two red and one port) with four types of chocolates (white, milk, and two dark. According to the lecturer we take advantage of all our senses while tasting. Actually we start by seeing, then smelling, followed by feeling and last actually tasting. I had never before combined eating chocolates with wine drinking. I must say that the experience was thrilling since the wine really tasted different depending on what chocolate type it was combined to. It seems that the chocolate's rich and greasy character diminish e.g. the strong tannins or fruity taste of the wine. I recommend you all to organise a wine+chocolate evening to get in touch again with your sense of taste, so often forgotten!
Saturday, November 21, 2009

The emotional language

Not so long ago, I posted an insert on my blog talking about the problems we Swedish speaking Finns are incountering in today's Finland. Funnily enough, today again this topic has come up. It's amazing how languages can cause so much discussion and dilemmas. I can understand Finns not wanting to be forced to study Swedish in school, but then again, would I have studied Finnish at the early stage I did if I wouldn't have been forced to? I think since we have a country with two official languages, Swedish should not be such a huge issue in Finland. I mean, deal with it. It's been a part of our reality for over a hundred years.
Interesting enough, even foreigners coming to Finland seem to think "Finnish in Finland, Swedish in Sweden". This kind of narrow minded way of thinking would make other multilingual states, like Switzerland and Belgium just to mention a few, seem ridiculous. Having a wide culture with influences from other countries is a benefit!

In the end, Swedish for us Swedish speaking Finns is not only our language but it is a part of our culture, which differs from the Finnish one.

Last Thursday in my Italian class, my teacher began to talk about something he called "our emotional language". Some of the people in my class were saying that even though they might learn different languages, a person faces a lot of difficulties if he/she needs to talk about feelings in another language than their mother tongue. They used children as an example. They meant that it is difficult to express feelings and closeness to a child in another language than your mother tongue. This is true also for other strong feelings, love for instance. I must say I think they are partly right. But once to really start to use another language, on a daily basis even, eventually you really can start to think in that language. I first experienced love in Italian and therefore that has remain my language of love. It's difficult to express feelings in the same way in other languages. Besides that, my mother tongue Swedish is not a romantic language in my opinion. At least not in the same way as Italian.

In Swedish, like in other languages e.g. English, the word of affection is darling, while in Italian it's love. I also like the fact that you can talk to your friends in a affectionate way. Tesoro, which means treasure is commonly used for close people. I don't think a person should restrict oneself to just one language. My mother tongue is a beautiful language that is a part of my identity as it stands for the Nordic part of me. It makes me feel that I belong somewhere. Just yesterday I met a Norwegian guy on the street and I could immediately communicate with him in Swedish. Nevertheless Italian for me is not merely a foreign language, but in a way one of my emotional languages.
Friday, November 13, 2009

Trash treasures

Someone's trash is somebody's treasure.

Yesterday I saw that one of my acquaintances had made an interesting documentary film. She introduced it to me on Facebook. It seems she has done a documentary film about living for a certain amount of time without consuming anything. This by living in a commune and only eating things she finds in the supermarkets throwouts and garbage.


Watch the clip even if you don't understand Swedish.

You will still have an understanding of the matter.

I think it's something astonishing and mind blowing, doing something like this in Finland, where we want to believe everything is fine and that we are taking care of nature. Like the maker of this documentary film says this is an attempt to live a more ecological life. How far would you be ready to go for the same values in life?

Fighting for an identity

Yesterday, the topic of the day among all Swedish speaking Finns, to which I happily belong, was the news about one of our major TV channel announcing that they might close down the only channel in Swedish if cuts are necessary due to the economic crisis we find ourselves.

This piece of news, probably not meant to cause all this attention, started a chain reaction. Immediately, a discussion about this was awoken on our biggest Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat's internet site, and not merely a discussion but it was the question of the day.

The newspaper has on a daily basis a question of the day at it wasn't anything of out the ordinary that there was one yesterday. The ironic part though was that yesterday about 30 000 people answered to the question of the day, when usually it's around only eight thousand. Why? Obviously because Swedish speaking Finns react to things like this very strongly. In fact, earlier that day, I received three SMSes telling me to please go and tell my opinion about this question. Somehow an every day question of the day was suddenly important.

This made me think about our dimishing role in the Finnish society. If we can't have our TV channel, what else are we not allowed to have? Is this truly the beginning of a larger chain reaction where our rights are reduced? Are we making history right now, studying in Swedish and having a childhood where we have been allowed to support our roots and traditions?

I certainly hope not. I refuse to give up this battle for the right of our future children. Sometimes the Finnish reality scares me. If our identity's cornerstone, our language, is made into to something invisible in everyday life for regular Finns, do we still exist?

Choo heaven!

My holy house of fashion, H&M that is, has done it again. Contradicting our traditional way of looking at fashion, they continue to smur the line between reasonable priced clothing and high fashion. Their newest attempt is the collaboration with the designer Jimmy Choo, a Malaysian fashion designer based in London. An interesting fact about him is that he made his first shoe at the age of 11!
I have already found my favorites in his collection new collection, opening tomorrow.
I do like the clothes like the leather dress and leggings, but I LOVE the shoes, or should I say choos! Look at these beauties, collector items for years to come! Which is your choo favorite?


Slow relationship

In a world of slow movement, slow travel, slow food etc. it's about time somebody combatted against fast relationships as well. I've been going through a very rough period in my life, almost losing my faith in what's worth what in it last week but now I'm back again, filled with hope. I guess Friday the 13th doesn't bring only bad luck to everybody ;)

But seriously, during the last week or weeks actually, I've been discussing my life with a lot of my friends and some even suggested at some point that I would rip my relationship away like a band-aid. She even said that if I only let it be like it is right now, it would start feeling like ripping a band-aid slowly and only prolong the hurting. When she said that, I actually thought she had a point. Maybe it would be easier to just walk away, but would I then be happier? When I've chosen to be without the one person that makes me the happiest?
How messed up is that?

Maybe instead of thinking about a fast fix, we should take it slow. Solutions might not turn up immediately but with time. I know what I feel and I want to continue feeling it. I'm keeping on my band-it.
Thursday, November 5, 2009

Painting my windows

It's funny how spontaneous actions surprise you sometimes. Late Tuesday evening I was up writing on msn with one of my friends and he invited me to a musical evening on Wednesday. One of his friends plays acoustic music and sings. With his brother they play and sing cover songs, but this friend of my friend also writes his own songs. The reason why my friend invited me to this event was that I've had the chance to hear some of his own songs thanks to my friend, and I've always liked them. I know a good singer when I hear one. It was even nicer to see him perform live. I have to promote him, at least a little bit :) If you want to hear some nice music, go to http://www.youtube.com/user/Bjornisen

I like the music because the lyrics are really good.

"When I think about the world out there, I can't help about feeling a little scared so I hide from the shadows and colors of grey and I paint my windows again"

It's so true. Sometimes it feels like you just want to see the reality in your own way.

Like I mentioned, they were also singing some cover songs yesterday. My favorite was an oldie from the 90's - Bon Jovi's "Bed of roses". What a beautiful song that is too. Of course hearing my friend's friend perform it, it was even more special. What a talent it is to be able to sing good! I couldn't help but being touched as I was hearing to these songs yesterday. Acoustic music is truly wonderful. It touches you and carries your thoughts away.