Wednesday, 30 December 2009


Please meet Irmeli, the curious cat, who found a hole in the wall and crawled in there. Too bad the hole was full of sawdust. The story ends in the shower.

Irmeli also liked to play with all kinds of things, especially with the string of my camera. My mother got so excited because of Irmeli that she said she's dreaming about owning a cat one day. Thank you Helena and Aliisa for bringing Irmeli to Kuopio with you!

And then meet Urpo, the huge cat, which spends a lot of time outside although it's extremely cold. When he wants to come inside, he just jumps on the door handle to make a sound and we open the door. My brother's family bought Urpo from local animal shelter and he has been a big part of their life ever since.

So my catsmas was fine and this is how a christmas tree looks like when you watch it through a glögi mug...Interesting. I met my friends, visited all relatives and ate vegan ham as well as casseroles and pizza. And chocolate. The most memorable moment must have been when I played Iskelmä (Finnish schlagers) board game against my mother and her husband. It's like Trivial Pursuit but all questions are about iskelmä music. It was so absurd, but in a weird way it was fun as well. Except when we had to listen to the music. TORTURE! (luckily the clips were less than 15 seconds!)

I also spent some time in the trunk of my brother's car with lots of bags and the greatest suitcase I borrowed from my grandmother. Sometimes you need to travel in challenging surroundings to appreciate the pure comfortableness of a basic car, bus or train seat.

Tomorrow it's going to be the last day of work. Kind of sad, kind of happy :) It takes time to get used to the fact that I don't have to wait for the (too often late) bus number 202 in the cold ever (?) again. Last week I also experienced how it feels like to be in a cold, dark bus for half an hour. The bus broke down on the road and the driver wanted to save battery (although the fault had nothing to do with it) and so he turned out the lights and heating (and of course it was -20 celsius outside). So it was me and 9 other people sitting in the dark bus in total silence...And I was thinking "this is all so Finnish" :D

2 weeks -> Korea.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

This month in pictures

Press Ctrl-Alt-Delete to begin.

First there was no snow and it was warm. So much rain and no minus degrees! There was a forgotten shovel on the yard one morning when I went to pick up the mail.

Then I was going to Jyväskylä to have a small xmas party with my mudder friends. This weird fellow traveller wanted to show off in a bus stop.

In Jyväskylä we spent our time with Rock Band, when I got the microphone I didn't want to give it to anyone else. I also learnt to play the drums. Also sauna, extremely powerful versions of Enter Sandman and big scary guys.

I went back to work, it was finally sunny and got colder. Sunshiiiiiine! Beautiful trees around the library.

We had an amazing console game day in the library, 100 people visited and almost everyone was happy. I liked especially ski jumping but also Guitar Hero and Buzz :)

It was "a bit" crowded next to the doors, luckily only one backpack got mixed with someone elses and we took care of the problem.

Last weekend was time for our own pikkujoulut (xmas party) and I baked these gingerbreads for the event. I also made potato and carrot casseroles and rosolli (traditional finnish christmas salad). Thank you guests for your company and foods!

This week it got colder, around -20 celsius every day. I heard so much complaining, but I was feeling so great. Finally real winter, white trees, freezing nose and stars at night. The most beautiful time of the year :)

Thursday morning I had my last shift in the mobile library, it was so cold that my breath came out as a white steam. All my photos looked like this :D

The view from the front seat is nice and I liked to wave at the other bus or truck drivers :)

Today, cold wind. We had 2 Korean friends (Kitak & Hejin) staying at our place for one week and today we all woke up before 1pm and decided to go to the shop. Notice red faces and ultimate protection!

I want to wish everyone a happy xmas and see you next year :) I'm going to spend my xmas in Kuopio and have my last work week before New Year's eve. Then it's time to just wait for our flight to the land of hangeul and kamsahamnida!

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Come Play Perfect

It's finally cold here and in the morning, after waiting 20 minutes for the bus outside my fingers were totally frozen. But who cares! Anyway it's much better to have cold outside than never-ending rain and dark clouds hanging above your head. On this kind of days I specially enjoy crispy plants under my shoes and the sound they make when I stomp around. I had plenty of time to do that while I was waiting for the bus again in the afternoon for 20 minutes. Waiting is nice if your mind is full of thoughts and you have crunchy plants near you. (it's all about the attitude)

Today morning was crowded in the mobile library. Imagine a bus completely full of elementary schoolers. Most of them are pushing each other and giggling at sex books. There are 2 long queues and rising voices are demanding us to first make reservations for Simpsons comics, then renew all loans, borrow new books and show where are Goosebumps and Ella books.

So hectic, but so great.

Rest of my day I leafed through books of local school library. So cute old editions of Winnie the Pooh or Robinson Crusoe! Also (too) many religious stories made to look like proper adventure or fairytale books...In my opinion it's not appropriate to have "secretly" religious books in the library for young children to read, especially if the stories are full of preaching against nonbelievers. I just wonder who on earth decided to have those books in the elementary school library in the first place?

Lately I've been enjoying knitting, baking, aerobic, singing, games and sleeping. It's amazing how couple of free days can revive your body and mind completely! Tomorrow I'm going to sleep until 10 and pack my stuff and have a tiny journey.

Bis bald! (gr8 german l33t skillz!)

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Why don't you let it happen

We HAD snow. For a winter person like me it felt so good to be surrounded by white snowdrifts and the calming atmosphere that makes you want to light candles.

Now there's rain every day, black evenings and how it all makes you tired! I've been sleeping 12 hours during the weekends and I have no power to do anything efficient/diligent/sensible.

To put some colour in my life and to get me through these black days I bought red rubber boots.

I've always had the passion for jumping in the small water puddles and now I can do it without getting my socks wet. Why people are not using rubber boots more? They're the most practical shoes in rainy times like these.

I've also knitted colourful things like scarfs and dishcloths. I have big plans about knitting a vest, but I don't have time before christmas.

And one thing that gave me energy during these weeks was school children. I was teaching library skills to 12 classes of 7th graders and most of the youngsters were awesome! I rarely feel comfortable with babies or really small children, but when they get older, they start to have their own thoughts and they start asking difficult questions. Is there a better way to challenge often so stale and stable thoughts of older people? (I also read an interesting book about parenting, Tom Hodgkinson's The Idle Parent, which was excellent! Less work, more play!)

6 weeks left of work. 54 days left in my Korea Countdown. Snow has plenty of time to fall before I leave.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

From grey to white

This week has been like this photo: grey, spiky, dull, gloomy. I've missed the busses, had horrible classes to teach, slept badly at nights.

But there's nothing good friends, music and food (and snow!) can't make better. Also winning the quiz for the 3rd time in a row felt like the cherry on top :) And to tell the truth, most of the 7th graders are adorable and sweet and they are happy to come to the library and ask all kinds of questions. And I'm happy to help them.

Kent's new cd Röd was released this week and today I've been mostly listening to it. It's nice to listen to the new cd's from Spotify before buying them, but it's impossible to get the same kind of experience as when you listen to the music for the first time from your own cd. I listened to Imogen Heap's new Ellipse from Spotify, but didn't find the music interesting; only until I bought Ellipse from a salesman (who sells cd's to the libraries) I really concentrated on the music at home and it was amazingly beautiful.

I'm also thinking about buying a new camera from Korea, I'd like to be able to take good photos also inside...If someone has some spesific model/brand in mind that's both good and quite cheap (and of course cheaper in Korea!) then let me know!

Last weekend I had guests as well, Tuula and hiding Nelson. It was so funny to talk about cultural differences! This time Tuula sent me a message saying if it's ok that they're coming and I said yes. In Chile that's not how people do it, they just wait for invitation and go for a visit when they're invited. So Nelson was feeling a bit awkward, because I was not the one who suggested that they could come :) Also if you invite someone to your place, you should clean and prepare dinners and lunches and be a good host. First thing Nelson thought when he came to our place was that "oh, it's so messy" :D For me that kind of formal visiting is a nightmare, because I believe the best thing you can do at your friends' place is to relax :)

But we had great time anyway, that's the main thing.

Why breakfasts in local places (ABC, different cafes etc) are so horrible? I'd love to go and eat something fresh and good if I ever miss the bus in the morning again and have to spend one hour in the centre.

Tea and knits Saturday!

Friday, 23 October 2009

"Watch it closely you see it begin to flicker"

This week I've seen someone trying to find something useful (food?) from the garbage bin next to a bus stop - TWICE.

This week on a local school there was a boy who was drawing swastikas and telling the teacher how he wants to be a skinhead, hammer all negros and have Finnish flags tattooed all over himself. This boy is 5th grader in an elementary school.

Those things have made me sad, of course. Doesn't sound like an affluent society to me.

Teabag had this message last weekend: You are unlimited. And there are days when I feel like it!
(You should, too!)

This week can only get better. I'm especially waiting for the quiz and all the shamefully stupid answers escaping from my mouth. How that kind of quiz can make you feel happy and foolish at the same time! And tomorrow, bubbly conversations between people who are here now but who might be leaving too soon.

Sunshine for the weekend, absorb some from this photo ;)

Saturday, 17 October 2009


Today I was surfing around the net and looked for all kinds of cake blogs. It's so amazing what kind of cakes some people are able to do! And what kind of products there are these days for making the cakes look so beautiful; glitter spray, pasta colours to name few. Most of the time I'm trying to make all food as natural and E-free as possible, but today I decided to try something completely different. You can see the result below...

Shahram, my iranian friend turns 25 today and this cake should be his birthday cake.

I'd be very satisfied with the result IF ONLY I didn't read baking blogs and compare my "cake" with all those Hello Kitty and Halloween cakes.

What can we learn about this? NEVER COMPARE ANYTHING WITH ANYTHING or at least never compare the things you do yourself with something that's done by professionals.

Birds are eating rowan berries and flying like crazy outside. Maybe that's a wise thing to do, because it's going to be snowing later.

I'm mostly dreaming about some luxury hotel in Seoul, where I want to spend one night and see all the lights of Seoul at nighttime. So tempting! So expensive! So shallow!

Time to get going.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Blue wings

So I've booked tickets to Korea now! And suddenly tiny excitement is starting to grow inside me, this time I'm really going there for 2 weeks! One travel guide came in the post on Friday and I've been reading it all the time, I also have some (old) books about Korea from the library at home. I'm trying to absorb all the information I can get before going there!

But that's all from my plans. Except that I'm going to watch Lost in translation this evening, just to enjoy the sceneries, which are similar to Korea :) My 4th time to watch the movie, which gets better every time.

(and I was cleaning today, also washed sauna for the first time. I never want to do that again, please give me just public sauna where I can go once a week and I never have to wash it!)

I keep my blog so that my friends and relatives can keep up what's going on in my life. But which blogs are my favourite ones that I read often? Or which pages I check almost every day?

1) Grand Narrative tells about Korean pop culture in an interesting way. I accidentally found this blog in summer and I've been reading it since. I like especially the writer's bloggings about Korean women and the world they're living in.

2) Liivian Talossa (in Finnish), just because I like the photos :)

3) Ravelry is for knitting addicts, countless amounts of patterns that are just waiting to be made for someone or for yourself. I go there and dream that I had more time to knit.

4) The Ecologist was a magazine which came to me until this summer, but the paper version was turned into e-magazine so I have to take my daily dose of Ecologist from the net these days. My favourite part of the magazine is "Behind the label", which explains everything you need but don't want to know about basic products, which are not good for you or the environment.

5) Blogilista (in Finnish) is for those days, when I don't have anything to read. Then I check for some fashion blogs (and it just can't stop amazing me how some young girls are so interested in fashion!) or any blog that has been updated that moment.

and finally

6) Osmo Soininvaara 's blog (in Finnish) is one of my favourite's because I like his books and most of the new ideas he has. The best part is the lively conversation which brings lots of different perspectives to the things he's writing about.


7) Kemikaalicocktail (in Finnish), which is just basic stuff for people, who are interested in environment and their own health.

Tomorrow there might be snow on the ground, so maybe these are the final times of taking this kind of colourful, stormy and leafy photos :) I'm waiting for snow SOOOO much, so let's hope I'm surrounded by white in the morning...

Sunday, 4 October 2009

More to read!

That's how my working room looked like two months ago. Luckily there's a bit more room these days :)

Today I ordered 4 books about Korea from the cheapest internet bookstore. I'm going to get travel guides and Korean phrase book, so that I can try to remember some of the things I've learned before but which are now completely forgotten.

I love books, except when I'm moving, 2 full bookshelves are not the easiest movable objects. For me books are not just books, they are worlds of information and imagination. I don't know why I feel so strongly about them. It's just that if I could and had time, I'd buy new books every week for myself and stayed home and just read read read read. I wonder when I'd get bored, is it even possible?

Now self-made apple pie (looks so ugly I don't want to take a photo about it!). I'm hungry.

PS. Happy birthday Hejin and Huynjae!

Saturday, 3 October 2009

October moon and big plans

Long time no words.

Busy busy busy b-u-s-y. I hope I had more time to be, like the title of this blog is emphasizing. Photos from Tampere are so old that I don't feel like putting them here anymore.

Besides, it looks like this now.

Not in the centre of Joensuu, but on the countryside. Winter's one breath away. And the limpid air has the scent of snow, which I totally love. Snow snow snow!

Earlier, I spent time with the children of my brother. Nea is 5, Moona is 4. My brother and his wife were enjoying the sun of Crete and after watching the aeroplane leave, I was adventuring with the girls a bit; first by train, then by bus and finally by car. We also visited the library, which was also a big adventure for all of us ;)

On the last sunny day of the autumn we walked to a local bird tower, everything was so blue and water was low. Huge reeds were filling the beach and we saw no birds. It was +19 celsius that day and the next day the weather changed suddenly, only +5.

To get through these busy times, I have something to wait for. I'm going to travel to Korea (please don't ask if it's south or north, everyone should know that it's (almost) impossible to travel to north!) in January. To spend time with my lovely friends, to experience the huge masses of people, to visit Panmunjeom, to eat kimchi and drink tea and soju (oh, the taste is so horrible!), to adore old buildings and temples and yes, I thought about stopping by at the local library :)

(photos from here)

I'm not so fond of travelling, I consider myself more like a person who likes to stay at home (and besides, flying is very bad for the environment...) and find interesting things from everyday life. I was travelling a lot when I was a child, I was in an aeroplane for the first time when I was 3 and I've been flying around in Europe at least 20 times. It's not much compared to people, who fly A LOT, but for me it's much.

All this time I've had bad conscience that Hyeyeon and other Korean friends have been telling me to come for a visit, but I've never had enough money or will to decide that this time I'm going...until now.

I guess you just know when it's time to go :)

"Deep river runs its course
to a warm horizon
shadows of falling leaves
october moon and rusty skies
ever changing feelings
seeds of autumn in my mind"
(Chicane : Autumn tactics)

But now back to this moment, there's apple pie to be baked, hats to be knitted, clothes to be washed.